Muay Thai is a type of hard martial art that is practiced in many parts of the world, but has the longest history in Thailand, where it originated and is now the national sport. The type of traditional Muay Thai that is practiced today is significantly different from its original form, as it uses punches and kicks and takes place in ring where participants wear gloves, so it bears a resemblance to Western boxing. Muay Thai is often referred to as “The Art of the Eight Limbs” because it involves extensive use of the hands, shins, elbows, and knees. As such, those who practice Muay Thai have the ability to strike using eight points of contact, rather than the two points of contact in boxing and the four points of contact used in many other martial arts.
Muay Thai involves striking and binding the opponent for both offensive and defensive purposes, so those who practice the art engage in stand-up grappling with their opponents. Almost all Muay Thai techniques require full body movement, such as rotating the hip for each block, kick, or punch. Hip rotation and the intense focus on core muscles (abdominals, back, pelvis, etc.) sets Muay Thai apart from other popular martial arts, and it also makes it more appealing to those who are seeking to practice a martial art for the purpose of losing weight and building muscle.
Muay Thai can be practiced as a fighting art of attrition, which means that opponents exchange blows until their strength is diminished. This is often the way that traditionalists in Thailand practice Muay Thai, but it is less popular in Western countries. With the rising popularity of mixed martial arts (MMA) fighting in America, Muay Thai has become the favored martial art of competitive MMA fighters. This has accelerated the evolution of Muay Thai to its current incarnation, which incorporates many of the same striking techniques and conventions of western boxing.
Practicing Muay Thai, along with other martial arts, is a great way for people of all ages to improve self-confidence, increase focus, build discipline, and foster leadership skills. If you want to learn more about practicing Muay Thai or another martial art, contact the experienced professionals at NY Martial Arts Academy today!