Thai Boxing: Muay Thai
This article is about Thai boxing that is different from ordinary boxing because the fists, feet, knees and elbows are used.
Thai boxing is a very exciting sport that is fast and furious at times using fists, elbows, knees and feet which are all allowed in the ring. Hitting and kicking to the legs is allowed too, not like in western boxing where nothing is allowed below the belt.
The hands are often held closer to the head, like a praying mantis inviting your opponent to attack your unprotected middle, then as soon as he does, he gets a kick to the side and sometimes a series of kicks, one after the other in a powerful flow that can leave your opponent winded and even seriously pained.
Repeated blows to any part of the body will cause pain and that is why Thai boxers will repeatedly kick to the side of the leg below the knee; a few good kicks here can leave then limping and off balance.
Balance is important in giving punches and kicks, but also in being able to protect yourself from them. A good centre of balance enables you to flow. When an opening presents itself you need to be ready to move in to punch, kick or elbow in a moments with no hesitation, then move away again before your opponent can react.
When you are properly balanced you can move accordingly to whatever comes at you, blocking then punching before your opponent has fully retracted his blow.
Being really fast can be a big advantage but can be can be severely restricted if you have been knocked off balance and are trying to get your footing again.
Footwork plays its part to keep your opponent off balance. In conventional boxing there is orthodox style and south-port style.
Orthodox style of boxing is when you lead with your right hand and present the right side of your body to your opponent and south-port style is when you lead with the left side. So having an opponent fighting you who is the same means you are both on a level footing. So switching styles in the middle of fighting can throw your opponent off balance and leave him reeling from your unexpected tactics.
In Thai boxing, to lead with one side would leave the other side open to be attacked and so Thai boxers are full frontal in their stance and ready to deliver kicks and blows to whatever advantage they see presenting itself to them with either the right or the left fist or foot.
A weakness in their opponent’s style and delivery can be mercilessly attacked until they are finished.
Training is done every day in the heat that can sometimes be up to 40 degrees centigrade so drinking water is discouraged otherwise cramping and nausea will occur which will put you at a serious disadvantage in the ring.
A perceived disadvantage will be pounced on by your opponent who will not let up until he has beaten you.
There are many things to know before you go in the ring: a good trainer is an absolute must. Speed and strength can only take you so far, and if your opponent can block you for long enough he can wear you down until you are exhausted, and then he can finish you off at his leisure.
With two even opponents it sometimes comes down to just luck; a miss step, a slight off-balance, reaching too far, can be all it takes to get those winning points.
Great style may impress and win you a few status points, but combined with quick reacting, perseverance with stamina; good balance and a good trainer who can keep you moving steadily forward in your fighting will be the best winning combination.
Thai boxing is a hard and brutal sport and so is no place for the faint hearted. It is a sport of winning where no advantage is given willingly, and any weakness is immediately exploited for all it is worth.
After it is over you can bow to your opponent and give your gratitude for putting up such a good fight.
Western boxing may be the sport of kings, but Thai boxing is the sport of the people.
The Thai people are raised in a Buddhist culture, but Buddhist sentiments are left outside of the ropes of the boxing ring.
The art of movement is not always about ducking and diving or a flurry of blows, a one two combination. It is knowing how to dance the steps that best fit the patterns of your opponent.
If you find yourself losing, then withdraw into yourself to find those reserves you have spent so long in building through training. If this is not enough, then learn all you can from your defeat so that next time you can be a stronger opponent.
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