Muay Thai is an intense sport, sometimes referred to as the "Art of Eight Limbs". This name is owing to the eight points of contact involved in the fighting: two hands, two feet, two elbows and two knees. The sport was born on the battlefield, which long ago in Thailand involved only short-range weaponry such as spears, pikes, clubs, etc. Since it was essentially hand to hand combat in those days, it was an evolutionary necessity for the fighters to develop the greatest advantage they could with whatever bodily means they had available. Thus, the advent of Muay Thai.
Muay Thai boxing has since evolved into a sport from its original use as a military skill. It has been practiced by everyone from young students and commoners to the King of Thailand himself. In fact Muay Thai boxing was actually a part of the Thai school curriculum until the 1920s. It was then discontinued because of concern over the injury rates, but people can and do still practice it in gyms and clubs. It is quite popular, and with the right training injury rates are quite low.
Equipment has seen only moderate changes over the years. It used to be that boxers' hands were wrapped with horse hair, which in later years was replaced with rope bindings or strips of tape. This was both to protect the hands of the fighter and also to inflict more damage to the opponent. It was in the 1930s that the sport was codified and the bindings replaced with today's gloves.
It is the peoples' passion about Muay Thai that was vital in bringing it from the battlefield to the sport ring. Now daily matches can be found all over Thailand, and are always very popular with many avid fight fans in attendance, both Thai and foreigners alike.
Many successful fighters have a background in Muay Thai. The discipline and strength required to be successful in this sport transcends to mixed martial arts easily. Training is intense, and tradition is important. Utilizing the skills you learn during Muay Thai training can be the difference between a good fighter and a bad one.
Whether you're interested in Muay Thai Kickboxing, Jiu Jitsu, or even wrestling, having the skills from across multiple disciplines can create a well rounded fighter which is required in any mixed martial arts sports. Across the World, the sport of mixed martial arts has become incredibly popular.