The Art of Eight Limbs Like You Never Knew

Most of us know that Muay Thai is a combat sport that utilises the whole body as a weapon and defense - but why exactly is it coined the “Art of Eight Limbs”? Why do some Muay Thai fighters wear a headdress or an armlet during fights? Here are some fun facts about Muay Thai you might find interesting!

  1. Art of Eight Limbs

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In Muay Thai, fighters utilise the combined use of their fists, elbows, shins, and knees - this is how Muay Thai earned its title as the "Art of Eight Limbs". The “eight limbs” actually refer to using moves like the power punches, kicks, elbow strikes, and knee strikes in those exhilarating Muay Thai matches you can catch ever so often at The Ring. It's as if one had the power of eight limbs with these Muay Thai techniques and moves!

2. Muay Thai in movies

When we talk about martial arts movies, boxing movies like Rocky or Million Dollar Baby pop up into our minds. Did you know, that there are some award-winning films that feature Muay Thai too?

One such movie series was Tony Jaa’s Ong-Bak. Ong-Bak was first released in 2003 in Thailand at the 2003 Bangkok International Film Festival, and subsequently gained international recognition. The movie introduced the world to the arts of Muay Thai. Tony Jaa himself acted in the film as the lead role, with him performing all the Muay Thai moves in the movie himself. He had been practising Muay Thai since the tender age of 10, and knew the martial art well to perform them confidently on-screen.

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3. Other kickboxing variations

Did you know that other countries have their own version of “Muay Thai”? There's Lethwei, a full boxing contact sport originating from Myanmar, which is known as the "Art of Nine Limbs" because headbutting is encouraged in this variation of the practice. Pradal Serey is another unarmed combat sport that originated from Cambodia. Elbow strikes tend to be the most utilised amongst the fighters in this variation of the sport. There are many other combat sports that adopt similar techniques and stances to Muay Thai, mostly in the Southeast Asia region.

4. Wai Khru Ram Muay

Before a Muay Thai bout, competitors traditionally perform a ritual known as the "Wai Khru Ram Muay". This is some sort of a greeting, and used for giving thanks, and is a display of respect. Fighters individualise their “Wai Khru Ram Muay” as they give respects to their mentors and everyone who trained and helped them to be the strong fighters they are today. These humbling displays of respect are magnificent sights and one should experience it to have the full experience of Muay Thai.

5. Muay Thai superstitions

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It is not uncommon to see Muay Thai fighters bearing special tattoos in professional Thai inscription. These unique and traditional tattoos are meant to ward off any bad luck from their bout in the ring, to prevent injuries. They believe that with these tattoos, they increase their luck and fortune as well.

Fighters sometimes also don a headdress (also known as the Mongkong), or an armlet, in which they wrap ancestors' bones - they hope to transcend the good spirit of their ancestors into the ring and bring them good luck.

Now that you know a little bit more about this intriguing sport, it’s time to pick up your wraps & gloves and join us in the amazing world of Muay Thai at The Ring!