This week hundreds of young muaythai athletes compete for gold medals at the IFMA Youth Championships. But the tournament is about more than just sport, as they also take part in a Wai Kru and Muay Boran contests.
The Wai Kru – the ritual dance done before bouts by all athletes to show respect for their trainers – has evolved over centuries from a martial beginning. It is done to the tune of music played by four musicians live at the side of the ring, using traditional Thai instruments including an oboe and drum.
In times past you could identify an athlete’s hometown or trainer by the style of their ritual. And even today modern athletes like to add in their own touches to the routine so for example painting their face for battle or pretending to throw a spear in the direction of their opponent.
Muay Boran is the oldest form of muaythai surviving, and is easily recognised by the distinctive white hemp rope bindings fighters wore on their hands instead of gloves. Obviously in today’s version it is confined to demonstrations but the young athletes practice some of the more dramatic moves including leaping onto your opponents knee to mimic a strike to the head with the elbow.
The first rounds of the Youth Championships Wai Kru will be held at the stadium, but the finals are this year being held in Asiatique. This photo below is the stage:
IFMA will shortly be contacting all Team Managers present at the Youth Championships with details of how to enter these contests. All rules are in the Event Technical Handbook.
Follow IFMA Facebook for updates!