Muay Thai, translated into English as 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 long and short weapons, the weapons tactics of the Thai army.
The early Muay Thai bouts pitted different companies within the Siamese army against each other in unarmed combat (Muay Boran) with few rules and no weight divisions or time limits. They became quite popular and eventually were shown in stadiums 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 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 is 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.
The World Thai Boxing Association (WTBA), the oldest and largest Muay Thai organization in the World, was founded in 1968 by Ajarn Surachai “Chai” Sirisute. (Ajarn is Thai for head instructor.) Ajarn Chai came to the United States with a vision to spread Muay Thai to throughout the world, and he is the first-ever Thai boxing instructor to teach Americans this art and he has worked tirelessly for 40 plus years to that end.
The WTBA has now expanded to establish affiliate organizations in countries around the world. Ajarn Chai continues to promote Muay Thai through his select personal seminar schedule, hand picked seminar team and yearly Instructor Development camps in the USA, UK and Australia.