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Thai Boxing (Thai: มวยไทย, RTGS: Muai Thai, IPA: [mūɛj tʰāj]) is also known as Muay Thai. It is a combat sport from Thailand that uses stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques. It is similar to other Indochinese kickboxing systems, namely pradal serey from Cambodia, tomoi from Malaysia, lethwei from Burma and muay Lao from Laos. The word muay derives from the Sanskrit mavya which means "to bind together".
Thai Boxing is referred to as the "Art of Eight Limbs" or the "Science of Eight Limbs" because it makes use of punches, kicks, elbows and knee strikes, thus using eight "points of contact", as opposed to "two points" (fists) in boxing and "four points" (hands and feet) used in other more regulated combat sports, such as kickboxing and savate. A practitioner of Thai Boxing is known as a nak muay. Western practitioners are sometimes called nak muay farang, meaning "foreign boxer."
Thai Boxing is the national sport of Thailand and is a martial art with origins in the ancient battlefield tactics of the Siamese (or Thai) army. It evolved from Krabi-Krabong, literally sword and baton, the hand-to-hand tactics of the Thai army. The early Muay Thai bouts pitted different companies within the Siamese army against each other with few rules and no weight divisions or time limits. They became quite popular and eventually were shown in stadium across the country. In the early 20th century, time limits, boxing gloves as well as a uniform set of rules were introduced. During the latter half of the 20th century Muay Thai was exported to many countries and is now practiced by hundreds of thousands of people all over the world.
Muay Thai is known as "King of the Ring" in kickboxing circles. These fights feature punches, kicks, elbows, knees, standing grappling and head-butts to wear down and knock out their opponent. Thai training methods develop devastating power, speed and superb cardio-vascular endurance as well as fighting spirit. Muay Thai training as also quite safe thanks to sophisticated pad training that evolved to keep fighters healthy between fights. Muay Thai has also proven very effective outside the ring and has been embraced enthusiastically by practitioners of a variety of self-defense, sporting, military and law enforcement activities.
Thai Boxing is an art form that utilizes all the bodies natural weapons to create a devastating fighting style, as competitive in the ring as it is effective in real self-defense. In Thai Boxing, hand techniques from Western Boxing are combined with elbows, knees and powerful kicking making it one of the most effective and respected kickboxing art in the world. Thai Boxing is renowned for its effectiveness, power, conditioning and simplicity.
Thai boxing is both a sport and means of self defense. Contestants are allowed to use almost any part of their body: feet, elbows, legs, knees, and shoulders, are all weapons. The playing of traditional music during bouts makes for even greater excitement.
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