One of the most distinctive aspects of Muay Thai, as a sport steeped in tradition and culture, is the Wai Kru Ram Muay pre-fight ceremony. The ceremonial ritual takes place in the ring, with traditional Thai rhythmic music known as Sarama accompanying it. The Sarama is a traditional Thai rhythmic music that is played during the fights. The Sarama's hypnotic otherworldly sounds contrast sharply with swift brutal movements to characterize Muay Thai, a sport unlike any other.
Despite the fact that it is always shortened to "Wai Kru" or "Ram Muay," the entire ritual is divided into two parts. Wai Kru literally translates to "paying respect to the teacher," while Ram Muay literally translates to "classical boxing dance." Fighters in Wai Kru Ram Muay begin by walking around the ring in an anti-clockwise direction along the ropes, pausing at each corner to pray for protection during the fight. They then proceed to the center to perform the "Wai Khru" portion, which entails kneeling, bowing, and repeating the "Wai" three times to honor their parents, teachers, and Buddha.
After the Wai Kru, the fighters perform a dance (Ram Muay) that varies in complexity between fighters and camp, and is often passed down from teachers to fighters. Ram Muay dances frequently pay homage to legendary Thai characters or Sanskrit stories like the Ramayana. The fighters then retire to their corners, where their trainer or a respected member of the camp removes their Mongkhon headdress.
The Wai Kru Ram Muay is not only ceremonial in nature, but it also assists the competitors in physically and mentally preparing for the fight. The posture, balance, and grace of the dance are sometimes said to be indicators of a fighter's form. Saenchai, Buakaw, Superbank, and Namsaknoi are some of Wai Kru's most well-known performers.
The Wai Khru is now taught in Muay Thai gyms all over the world, even to students who do not compete in ring competitions. Thousands of Muay Thai practitioners from around the world gather in the ancient Thai city of Ayutthaya every year for the annual World Wai Kru Ceremony to honor Muay Thai's traditions.
Some people like that you don't have to wear something like a traditional karate gi for competition.
Muay Thai is not the same as traditional boxing as we know it in the West. Thai boxing, unlike traditional boxing, employs a wider range of techniques, including elbows, knees, kicks, sweeps, and intricate clinching.
Kicks give Muay Thai a wider range of striking options, which can be advantageous against a boxer who hasn't been trained in kicking. Punches, defense, and footwork are all important aspects of boxing. In comparison to most Muay Thai fighters, boxers have more power in their punches.
However, some well-known Thai fighters have competed in both sports with great success. Anuwat Kaewsamrit is a well-known Muay Thai fighter with a high KO rate and heavy hands. Somrak Khamsing is an Olympic gold medalist in boxing and a golden age fighter. Both boxing and Muay Thai are excellent skills to have in terms of self-defense or street fights.
The inclusion of ground fighting in MMA or mixed martial arts is the most significant distinction between Muay Thai and MMA. In general, MMA fighters train in a variety of disciplines, including striking, grappling, and Muay Thai, which is a striking art in and of itself. Muay Thai is a popular choice of striking for many MMA fighters due to its effectiveness.
When pitted against another Muay Thai fighter, they will do everything they can to avoid going to the ground. In a full stand-up fight, an MMA fighter who excels at a grappling skill like wrestling or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will likely struggle. When the opportunity arises, he will try to bring the fight to a halt.
According to a study, 7 out of 10 street fights end up on the ground. In such situations, the person with ground fighting experience will often win simply because they are more familiar with the situation and have the necessary skills.
Muay Thai is widely considered to be the most effective stand-up striking martial art, while Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is widely considered to be the most dominant grappling and ground fighting martial art. As combat sports, they are fundamentally different, with one focusing on striking and the other on submissions. Mixed martial artists are also big fans of both martial arts.
Muay Thai and BJJ, like many other combat sports, can be used as self-defense techniques in real-life situations. These martial arts can deter the aggressor and disarm the situation with the right amount of training.
Muay Thai supporters believe that a well-trained Nak Muay will easily put the BJJ guy to sleep. Similarly, BJJ fans are confident that once the fight is taken to the ground, they will be able to strangle the Muay Thai fighter into submission. In a hypothetical fight, it comes down to each martial artist's level of proficiency.
Kickboxing is a catch-all term for punching and kicking-based stand-up striking sports. Muay Thai, along with Kyokushin Karate and kickboxing fought under K-1 rules, is one of the most well-known kickboxing sports.
K-1 was the preeminent international stand-up combat sports promotion from the 1990s to the early 2000s. Competitors from all over the world came together to prove themselves on a global stage, necessitating the creation of a set of unified rules.
K-1 has changed its rules over time, and it now differs from Muay Thai in several ways, the most notable of which is the lack of elbows and the restriction on the use of clinching. Because of its popularity, many kickboxing promotions still follow the same rules today.
Apart from that, the two sports are sufficiently similar that many Muay Thai and kickboxing fighters compete in both and hold titles in both. In general, kickboxers emphasize footwork and punches, whereas Muay Thai fighters emphasize all weapons, as well as clinching, with an emphasis on kicks, which score higher.
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About the Author:
Colton Woodard is a 7th Degree Black Belt in Kuniba Kai Karate Do and holds the title of Kyoshi as well. He loves to teach Karate, Kobudo, and Iaido and considers himself a lifetime student in pursuit of self improvement in both Martial Arts and in Character. Colton loves to visit Japan and speaks conversational Japanese and can write quite a few Kanji. He is a Karate competitor and coach and loves to exercise and make new memories with people all over the world.
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