Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Birth of Pahuyuth and Ancient Muay Thai

Prior to the Sukhothai era, Thai civilization dated as far back as those of the Egyptians, Babylonians, and the Assyrians. They were established before the Buddhist era in a land called “Aay Loa Kingdom” one the river banks of Huang Ho and Yang Jue rivers, presently known as Schezuan, Hubei, Anhui, and Kiangsi in China. There were later defeated and had to continue migrating south to maintain their freedom.

Thais are known to be liberal and great warriors. They have always been an independent nation and have evidently fought to protect their right and loved ones. During those times, villagers along the Thai borders prepared themselves by engaging young men in physical activities like wrestling, boat race, and bull race.

For practice of self-defense, many generations of old masters continuously assembled and developed the fighting techniques passed on from their ancestors for thousands of years. They finally established a fighting system for Thais called “Ching Kom” and “Pan Lam”, both well-known.

Master Ketr Sriyapai (the author’s senior teacher) once said that “boxing means punching as taught by your teacher or fighting to survive”.

Thai boxing is “an art that has been developed by our ancestors as a national heritage to their children for thousands of years.” The genuine Thai boxing is best performed by Thais. Unfortunately, the Thai boxing we see today in rings is not the true Thai boxing.

By Kru Praeng (Amornkrit Pramuan)
Muay Thai Chaiya Boxing Foundation

Monday, August 28, 2006

Pahuyuth AwudThai


.....When I was asked to write about “Ancient Thai Boxing and Muay Chaiya”, I felt it was a difficult task because the society at large has lost interest in the subject. But after thorough consideration, I have come to the decision to do so, in order to honor and show my gratitude to my teachers who have patiently taught me and to my homeland, the Kingdom of Thailand. .....Please note that the following articles (and the ones that follow) are based on what I have learned from my teachers. So there may be different teachings from different teachers, or different interpretations from the same teacher. The beauty of Muay Thai is that it is a flowing style, open to change as long as the basics are strong.

“To my dear young ones. Remember that he who has taught you even only one step, one day, one month, and one year is considered your teacher for life. Be grateful to him. Repay and treat him with respect.”

With this in mind, I would like to pay full respect to all my teachers who have taken their time to share pass their wisdom to me.

All living creatures, human in particular, have, since the age of dawn, fight for survival. Each has their own ways of fighting to protect themselves and to hunt for food.

Animals fight based purely on instincts and brawn, while human beings used their intelligence and developed their fighting skills with bare body and weapons.

If we believe in the theory that mankind evolved from apes, then they should have started fighting approximately one million years ago. With their primitive inheritance, historic man fought similarly to animals. They fought with their natural instinct using biting, kicking, snatching, scratching, punching, kneeing, throwing, breaking, etc. Their fights were purely a means of survival.

Historic Men fought for two reasons:
.....Food and territory

In the Stone Age, when men still lived in caves, brawls usually occurred because of jealousy and lust. Later on, men formed a more complex social group, starting with small communities and eventually on to nations. In the process of doing so, they also developed more civilized approaches, such as rules and regulations, to resolve their conflicts.

However, with each nation having its own set of beliefs and needs, there are inevitably more conflicts and violence. The in individual brawls thus turned into battles and wars.

Muay Chaiya Original Muay thai

Thai national martial art is, naturally, MuayThai. But how many really know the true Muay Thai beyond the thought of two big, muscular boxers furiously exchanging kicks as seen at the boxing camps or the famous stadiums such as the Lumpinee and the Rachadumneun?

The original Muay Thai uses one’s wits more than brute strength, and ends up with injury sustained by both sides. Muay Chaiya, a style of Muay Thai, has clearly illustrates this fact.

Muay Thai Chaiya, or as called by it’s full name as Pahuyuth Muay Thai Chaiya, translated to be the way of Thai fighting, hand to hand combat, Chaiya style, can hardly be seen now a days. But there is a place where Muay Chaiya is taught to interested public, so the heritage of the old and traditional Muay Thai, or Muay Boran, can be passed down. This is to keep alive a true Thai tradition, which most people have only seen in books or movies.

Master Amornkrit Pramuan, or Kru Preang to his Muay Thai students, has carried on the intention of the masters, who had come before him, to continue the legacy of preserving Muay Thai in it’s true form, which had been forgotten since the banning of fighting with rope, or hem binding as we called Muay Kad-Chuek. Many techniques, unique to Muay Thai, have been lost due to the imposing of rules adapted from western boxing.

Kru (teacher) Preang, was the close student of Kru Thong Chuer-Chaiya, who had inherited the Muay Thai Chaiya from the Grand Master Ketr Sriyapai (the last grand master of Muay Thai), who had learned from his father, Phraya Wajeesatayarak, the provincial governor of Chaiya. The Grand Master also learned from another 13 masters until he was well versed in MuayThai.

Muay Thai Chaiya, not only utilizes fists, feet, knees, and elbows as we commonly see in the main stream Muay Thai, but also uses the forgotten elements of throwing, pressing, grabbling or clinching and joint breaking (Toom-Tup-Jub-Huk), they are no less dangerous than the throwing and joint locking of other martial arts. There are other sets of techniques with names that rhyme and contain deep meanings. They are to lure, to mislead, to elude, to avoid, to deceive, and to tease (Lor-Lork-Lop-Leek-Lorklor-Lorlen), or to hug, to squeeze, to swing the opponent from side to side, and to cast or throw the opponent down (Kod-Rad-Fad-Wieng). These are the techniques for inside fighting, that we no longer see in today’s Muay Thai. Even the way to fall, to get up, to roll on the ground, and to crawl (Lom-Look-Klook-Klan), which deal with proper way of rolling on the ground and falling so the practitioners wouldn’t get hurt.

So, an exponent of the old and traditional Muay Thai, such as Muay Thai Chaiya, does not limit oneself to only one-dimensional fighting of stand up strike. If the fight takes one down to the ground, one still has to be able to fight effectively. Since the old traditional Muay Thai was created for the engagement in battlefields, being able to engage with several opponents at the same time has made Muay Thai Chaiya so formidable.

Classes are conducted in the old traditional and systematic way. Students will learn from basic. They will learn how to defend themselves by blocking or shielding, brushing away, covering, and opening (Pong-Pud-Pid-Perd), until one is proficient and confident enough to protect oneself from being attacked. Then one will gradually learn other extended Muay Thai techniques, or Look-mai. This is different from the main stream Muay Thai, where the boxer will train to take offensive posture of solely kicking, punching and to destroy one’s opponent, and in return, by depending on the physical toughness of oneself, to receive kicks and punches from the opponent. As the teachers, or “Kru’ of Muay Thai Chaiya have strongly affirmed that an exponent of an art of self defend has to be able to actually defend oneself from harm. One should not achieve winning status because of one’s durability.

Corrections and changes were made through the wisdom of past Muay Thai teachers, Muay Thai is devastating with numerous trick techniques, extended techniques, and principal techniques. These said techniques can branch out, virtually, without limit. The learning of this devastating art of fighting, develops oneself to be a person with patient, strong determination, and yet, serene. All in all, to learn the way of fighting, will develop an exponent to be a good member of the society, who is always consciously alert, well behave, just as one who has been taught by a teacher.

Kru Preang has also drawn a curriculum for weaponry that co-exists with Muay Thai Chaiya. It is commonly known as Krabi-Krabong, or “sword and staff” which actually means the use of short and long weapons. They consist of two-hand swords, knife, long pole or staff, short staff, or elbow staff (mai-sork), as well as, all other old traditional Thai weapons, that one can not easily find a place to learn. This is a true combination of all the traditional Thai martial arts.

Muay Thai Chaiya and Thai Weaponry Conservation Foundation

Kru Preang (Amornkrit Pramuan)Muay Thai Chaiya and Thai Weaponry FoundationOffers Classes on the Chaiya Style of Muay Boran (the old traditional Muay Thai), Muay Kad-Chuek (the hemp bound fist fighting), Thai sword fight, and all other traditional weapons.