Muay Thai Boxing is one of the most entertaining and interesting events I came across the past 9 months of travel around Asia. I was fortunate enough to get access ringside to photograph 3 exciting nights of action at the Muay Thai stadium in Koh Tao, Thailand, providing me with an awesome opportunity to get some neat photos of the fighters from unique perspectives. I literally had to shield my camera (and myself) from sweat and blood whenever they got close!
For those not very familiar with Muay Thai Boxing, here are some tidbits of knowledge to help you better understand the sport:
Muay Thai is a Thai combat sport focused on stand-up striking with the hands and feet along with various clinching techniques. Muay Thai is described as “the art of eight limbs” and fighters utilize fists, elbows, knees, and feet to deploy viscous blows to their opponents. The 8 points of contact utilized by the combatants is different from traditional boxing (2 points – fists) and kick boxing (4 points – fists and feet). Muay Thai gained popularity in the 16th Century and was used heavily in warfare at the time. It gradually transitioned in to a spectator sport and was an integral part of many Thai festivals and celebrations, especially those held at temples and other holy places. Today, Muay Thai is practiced around the world, and many boxing and fitness gyms around the country offer Muay Thai training to their members.
Watching the pre-fight ritual is a beautiful thing, where both opponents integrate prayer, traditional dance and dress, and mutual respect in to their warm up routines. What struck me as most odd (and incredibly interesting) were the fights between the younger opponents, some as young as 11 or 12 years old. Aside from being some of the toughest and best conditioned athletes I have ever seen, these warriors are also very humble and respectful towards each other. Western Muay Thai fighters (Farangs) are very popular in Thailand, and some of the Farang-Thai fights draw the biggest audience. If you are ever in Thailand (or anywhere a Muay Thai fight is occurring), do yourself a favor and check it out – it will be a unique experience you won’t soon forget.
Thanks for visiting and feel free to subscribe to posts by email in the upper left column!