Brief History of Muay Thai

Brief History of Muay Thai

Muay Thai has become a popular way to get fit in recent years, but many people don’t know the interesting history behind this full-contact sport.

Known as the “art of eight limbs” from its roots in military combat, Muay Thai spread around the world to the point that you can even train in Muay Thai on the Gold Coast with the expert coaches at Fighter’s Haven.

Evolution through Adversity

The modern form Muay Thai Gold Coast fighters will learn goes back to one particular incident during the mid 18th century.

Then known as Siam, Thailand was at war with the invading Burmese Konbaung Dynasty.

During one battle in 1767, a famous Thai soldier named Nai Khanomtom was captured by the Burmese.

Having heard of this warrior’s prowess in hand-to-hand combat, they gave him the option to fight his way to freedom.

Nai Khanomtom proceeded to knock out ten Burmese soldiers one after the other.

This impressed his captors and they honoured their word by releasing Khanomtom back to Thailand.

He returned home to a hero’s welcome and his fighting style became known as Siamese-Style boxing, which later evolved into what we now know as Muay Thai (meaning ‘Thai Boxing’).

The popularity of the style, boosted by folklore and legend, quickly became a national sport.

The rise of Muay Thai’s notoriety skyrocketed in the country and was boosted by several key developments.

The fighting style, known locally as Toi Muay or simply Muay (meaning ‘boxing’) was adopted by the military as the main unarmed combat training.

This lead to structured bouts that drew crowds and gradually the sport became a fixture of festivals and celebrations nationwide. 

Royal Rumble

In 1868, King Chulalongkorn (regally referred to as Rama V) ascended to the throne and ushered in a golden age for Thailand in general and especially Muay Thai.

The king was a patron of the sport and helped spread its scope further as a means of exercise, recreation, self-defence, self-advancement and personal development.

In 1910, the King officially recognised the sport by bestowing royal titles on three fighters that partook in a tournament held in honour of his son’s death.

From there it started being taught in schools and colleges.

Muay Thai meets the world

In the subsequent decade, British Boxing and Muay Thai where being taught together as one art form and this is when the term Muay Thai became concrete.

In 1921 the first permanent ring was built at Suan Kalup College and two years later the first dedicated stadium was erected near Lumpinee Park.

Later in the ’20s, King Rama VII pushed for codified rules so modern style gloves and foot protections were introduced in favour of the dangerous rope bindings that lead to a death in the ring.

In 1993 the International Federation of Muaythai Amateurs was founded and became the governing body of the sport.

So now you know about the history of the “art of eight limbs”, come and learn Muay Thai on the Gold Coast at Fighter’s Haven.

Find out more at or call 0426 997 971.

For more information on Muay Thai, view our previous blog post here

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