Technical Tuesdays: Wai Khru Art

Many people may wonder what “Wai Khru Art” or “Ram Muay” is? And why is it so important that every Muaythai fighter must perform it before starting the fight? Well, here are some clues for you to understand more about this intangible cultural tradition – Wai Khru Ceremony.

Muaythai Art and its intangible cultural tradition

For thousands of years Muaythai has been known for its unique styles and magnificent techniques. Tracing back to the time of Ayuttaya, the era where Muaythai was created by a group of Thai warriors using their own bodies as weapons to win battles and protect their loved ones. Muaythai was not only a martial art that most Thai men had to learn and train for war time, but it became common among the community for those who wanted to show their strength and fighting skills in order to be accepted in the society.

Since 1947, Muaythai has spread to many more countries and has been imitated. But all the styles and techniques which represent the significance of Thai culture has also been changed or erased, such as, the performing of Wai Khru art or Ram Muay which is one of the most important element of Muaythai.

Many people may wonder what “Wai Khru Art” or “Ram Muay” is? And why is it so important that every Muaythai fighter must perform it before starting the fight? Well, here are some clues for you to understand more about this intangible cultural tradition – Wai Khru Ceremony.

Wai Khru Art or Ram Muay is a traditional Muaythai dance ritual performed by the two Muaythai participants on every side of the ring to show their courage to the crowd. It is a form of warm up exercise for the two participants before the fight starts and is counted as a holy warship. Wai Khru Art or Ram Muay can be accompanied by thai classical Music called “Piphat” consisting of 4 instruments – Pi (Oboe), Ching (small cymbals) and two Kong Kaek (double-headed drum). Also, the purpose of Wai Khru or Ram Muay is for fighters to pay respect and express gratitude of the boxer toward their Master.

“Wai” refers to the action when one bows or puts their hands together as if they are praying. “Khru” means teacher and, in this case, it refers to Muaythai master who teaches and trains Muaythai techniques and strategies as well as indoctrinates the different beliefs of Muaythai to their student.

The performance of Wai Khru makes Muaythai become distinctive and differentiates itself from other Martial arts, especially, Kick Boxing, who’s technics and styles are very similar to the ones of Muaythai. The only aspects differentiating these two combat sports are the rules defining that the boxers are not allow to use elbow for Kickboxing and no Wai Khru or Ram Muay is performed before the fight.

The main idea of Wai Khru or Ram Mauay is not only for Muaythai fighters to express their gratitude toward their Master, but it is also to help them calm their minds and achieve a better focus for the fight by reminding themselves of the holy spirit and the teaching of their Masters and parents.

 

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