kickboxing or Muay Thai is the national Thai sport,
a fighting style from the martial arts category that
implies only the legs, the knees, the fists and the
In a larger translation, Muay Thai means the
Thais’ way of fighting man to man without guns.
Lately, the term has own a ‘bloody sport’, ‘brutal
fight’ or even ‘fight without rules’ connotation, a
thing true only with few generations before.
Thailand kickboxing means maybe the most complex and
complete art of man to man fight through kick
exchange. In Thailand, it is also called the ‘art of
the 8 weapons’, referring to the fighters
possibilities to use almost everything that can be a
‘projectile’ in a fight: the fists, the legs, the elbows and
the knees. Till the
‘30s, Muay Thai was practiced in very rough forms,
with very few limitations.
kicks in the vital organs, including genital, were
admitted, the projections were practically
inexistent, excepting some bandages from ropes or
leather strips draped around the fist and sometimes
around one part of the forearms. These
were limiting the injuries of the one who was
kicking and not the injuries of the one who was
kicked. Of course, the number of the fights finished
with the kill or the serious injury of the fighters
was big. Once
with the accepting of other social norms, closer to
modernity, tending to put the human life at other
values than in the periods of continually wars of
the pasts, Thailand kickboxing became a sport.
Very rough, but with norms of security that, paradoxical,
make it less dangerous than many sports considered harmless-
the accidental deaths are less than in rugby or in the
American football, for example.
actual security norms are the limitation of the
fight’s duration, the introduction of the rounds and
of the end of the round’s pause, of the weights
categories, to wear the kickboxing gloves and the
dental protection is mandatory, the presence of the
arbitrator and the intervention in the critical
moments, in a similar way with the professional
kickboxing, the introduction of the players in such
way that the victories can be adjudicated at points.
The matches in Thailand have only a professional
regime, the concept of ‘amateur’ being practically a
recent invention of European origin. The
professionals fight 5 rounds of 3 minutes with
pauses of one and half minute.
format was supported by many international organizations
made outside Thailand and even in Thailand, through the
amateur championships promotion. Despite the reticence they
were looked with, the championships made possible the
entrance of Thailand kickboxing in the countries where the
general norms of the fight sports are restrictive with the
competitions of this kind, as well as more ‘gentle’
evolution of the sportsmen from countries with less
tradition before launching on the professional stage. World
Muay Thai Council (WMC) is now the main organization which
supervises the international professional fights of class A
(as an approximate equalization, WMC is somehow the FIFA
equivalent for the national A divisions).