The national sport of Thailand is Thai Boxing, often known as Muay Thai or the “art of eight limbs,” and the Thai people are extremely proud of it. The competitors utilize their elbows, legs, shins, and feet just as much as their fists, unlike in boxing, which only has two points of contact: the fists.
It has a lengthy, hundreds of years-old history. Numerous legends and myths describe it, despite the fact that its origin is hotly contested.
Muay Thai is said to have been one of eight disciplines that the males of the country were required to learn in the early kingdom of Sukhothai (1238–1583). Both for the King’s amusement and in the Army, it was employed. Muay Thai fighters with exceptional talent were frequently chosen to join the King’s bodyguard.
In Thailand, there are at least eight main variations of Muay Thai. Each has honed unique combat methods and styles, and they all hail from various geographical regions.
The development of contemporary western weaponry reduced the need for hand-to-hand combat techniques, making Muay Thai more of a spectator sport. Fights were frequently witnessed at celebrations, particularly at gatherings held at temples.
When Thai soldiers served overseas during the Second World War, Muay Thai gained international recognition. The western troops who witnessed them practicing among themselves were interested and eager to learn. The sport gradually evolved into its current shape as it gained popularity in the west. Boxing gloves were introduced in place of the twined ropes that the boxers had previously worn as rules. Muay Thai could eventually qualify as an Olympic sport in the near future.
While there are Thai Boxing events performed around Thailand, including exhibition contests staged for visitors in bars, Bangkok is the greatest city to witness authentic Thai Boxing. Rajadamnern Boxing Stadium and Lumpinee Stadium are the two major Thai Boxing venues in Bangkok.
Of the two, Lumpinee is regarded as the spiritual center of Muay Thai and the venue where every professional fighter hopes to compete one day. In the heart of Bangkok, Lumpinee Stadium was situated close to Lumphini Park for many years.
Then, in 2014, they constructed a brand-new, significantly larger stadium on the outskirts of the city, close to Ram Intra Road. They preserved the stadium’s name, though, and it is frequently referred to as New Lumpini Boxing Stadium.
The two stadiums are in use on different days. Rajademnern Stadium hosts fights on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday while Lumpinee Stadium has fights on Tuesday and Thursday. On Saturday, there are fights in both stadiums.
We decided to check out the brand-new Lumpinee Stadium after visiting the old Lumpinee Stadium a few years ago. A 30-minute journey northwest of Bangkok’s city center, in the direction of Don Muang Airport, will bring you to the New Lumpini Boxing Stadium.
There aren’t any MRT or Skytrain stations in this region right now. Pahonypthin MRT, located 9 kilometers away, is the nearest MRT station. To save money, take the MRT to Pahonypthin and a cab from there. Alternatively, you can take a taxi or a Grab Car directly from the city center. Another option is to take a local bus.
When you arrive, excited ticket scouts will welcome you and work extremely hard to sell you the nicest and most comfortable VIP tickets. The VIP, second, and third classes of tickets are available. You can sit ringside if you purchase a VIP ticket. The tickets for second and third class are a little farther from the ring. I advise you to get your New Lumphini Stadium tickets right here beforehand.
Do not believe reports that the sole air-conditioned area is the VIP area. The arena is extremely well cooled throughout, nearly to an uncomfortable degree. Actually, bringing a sweater or jacket is an excellent idea.
The biggest battles normally begin later in the evening, after the initial fights, which often begin around 6:00 p.m. The boxers enter the arena wearing the customary Mongkon headband before each battle. When a combatant has shown himself, their teacher will award them with the Monkton, a holy headband. They are often weaved together from materials like rope, thread, and silk, and it is customary to have monks bless them.
Some combatants additionally use Prajioud armbands. created customarily from a mother’s clothing and presented to a son going off to battle. The armbands are worn for protection and good fortune. They occasionally include little pieces of bone from revered seniors by the warriors.
The Wai Kru Ram Muay, or pre-fight ritual, is performed by the fighters as they enter the ring. To honor Muay Thai, their school, and their teachers, this is done. In addition, it displays the fighter’s prowess and purges the ring of any evil spirits.
Each fighter’s Wai Kru Ram Muay will be unique. While some will put on lengthy performances, others won’t.
Additionally, this is one of the few locations where gambling is permitted. In the grandstand, betting is conducted through complex hand gestures. Unless you are with someone who is experienced with the system, I personally wouldn’t try it.