Muay Boran & Muay Thai

   “Muay” is the martial art that Thai warriors have used since the ancient time. The root of Thai nation was founded approximately a thousand years ago (before 1238 A.D.).

At the time of its birth, there were many battle and feud with many empires near it. Battles back then were fought with melee weapons such as swords, rapiers, lance, spears, halberds, and other ancient weapons and were mostly scrambles. In order to emerge victorious, our ancestors invented the martial arts to be known as “Muay” to be taught to the warriors along with other weapon training, in the case they lose the weapons in a close quarter fight, they would still triumph over their opponents.

The “Muay” art used in the ancient battlefield was much more efficient than Muay Thai due to much more array of forms, techniques, and parts being used (such as knuckles, feet, knees, and elbows) comparing to Muay Thai. The ancient art of Muay also focuses on mutilating or killing the opponents with technique known as “Toom Tubp Jubp Hak” (which is grabbing, depleting opponent’s strength or use it against your opponent, wrestling, toppling, pushing down, arm; leg; neck; finger; and wrist breaking, biting, clawing, clinching, stomping, head-butt, eye injuring, and groin attack). The technique itself has many variations which could be used situationally. (The “Toom Tubp Jubp Hak” is the most advanced technique of “Muay,” consisting of 65 techniques with almost infinite variations.

   The “Muay” martial arts, dating back to the foundation of Thai nation a thousand year ago is considered the root of “Muay Kaad Chuek” “Muay Thai,” and “Amateur Muay Thai” as the following chart.


                   “Muay Kaad Chuek”

                   “Muay Thai”

                   “Amateur Muay Thai”

   Some modern Thai people call “Muay” as “Muay Boran” or “Muay Thai Boran” (Boran means ancient) denoting that it precedes the current “Muay Kaad Chuek” “Muay Thai,” and “Amateur Muay Thai”. In this article, you might find assorted use of the words “Muay,” “Muay (Boran),” and “Muay Boran,” which should give you the idea that the art itself can be called with various name. However, it is the most correct to call it “Muay” since it is the name found in historical evidences.

   “Muay Kaad Chuek” is a martial sport derived from “Muay (Boran). Therefore, the idea that “Muay Kaad Chuek” is the same as “Muay (Boran)” is a misconception. Historical evidences clearly indicates the “Muay Kaad Chuek” was developed from “Muay (Boran).” There is also a false assumption that there was no rule in “Muay Kaad Chuek” due to the fact that the official rules were not written in the scriptures. Any rule for the “Muay Kaad Chuek” would be mutually agreed prior to the fight. One of the natural prohibition for the sport is the full pattern of Toom Tubp Jubp Hak, preventing the fighters from breaking arms, legs, neck, fingers, biting, eye injuring, and making groin attack, since “Muay Kaad Chuek” was considered a festival entertainment and there was no need to mutilate or kill any opponent.

There were rules in “Muay Kaad Chuek” because it was a cultural fighting sport in festivals. There was no rule in “Muay (Boran)” because it was a martial art meant for battlefields. In “Muay Kaad Chuek” fighters are prohibited from mutilating or killing the opponents. In “Muay (Boran),” it is essential to mutilate or kill the opponents since failing to do so might cost life.

In “Muay Kaad Chuek”, fighters are prohibited from breaking arms, legs, necks, and fingers, biting, injuring eyes, and doing groin attacks but there is no rule in “Muay (Boran)” except for the winner walks away alive.

The word “Kaad Chuek” refers to the use of rope or thread to wrap around the hands and wrists (and sometimes up to the elbows). The rope or thread being used would be prepared by soaking with starch gel or resin and leaving it to dry. The prepared rope would be harder and allow the fighters to hit harder. The harder rope would also serve as guard against the opponent’s attacks.

Sometimes, The Kaad Chuek Fighter would coat their wet rope with glass-like rubbles (there was no glass in that age) before letting them dry in order to infuse the knuckle rope with the sharpness of the rubbles, to further harm the opponents by drawing blood. {Normally, the “Muay Kaad Chuek”(The Kaad Chuek Fighter) would use ordinary rope but fighters who practice in the occult as well would try their ability by fighting with sharp ropes.

In “Muay (Boran),” there is no rope wrapped on hands because Muay warriors need to use the “Toom Tubp Jubp Hak,” which includes grabbing, depleting opponent’s strength or use it against your opponent, wrestling, toppling, pushing down, arm; leg; neck; finger; and wrist breaking, biting, clawing, clinching, stomping, head-butt, eye injuring, etc. Attached ropes would obstruct the use of such techniques.

   Muay Thai is derived from “Muay (Boran)” and “Muay Kaad Chuek”

   “Amateur Muay Thai” is derived from “Muay Thai”

   Techniques used in “Muay Thai” and “Amateur Muay Thai” is only a part (approximately 20 – 30%) of what was used in “Muay (Boran).” (Continue reading in Muay Thai: What is true?)

   “Muay (Boran)” does not use the main or applied forms of Muay Thai since it precedes and originates Muay Thai, not vice versa.

“Muay (Boran) originated back in the age when Thai nation formed (before 1238) while Muay Thai came into existence in 1929. (Read “History and Development from Muay to Muay Thai”) Any acclaimed Muay master who teaches main or applied forms of “Mae Mai Muay Thai” and “Look Mai Muay Thai” as “Muay (Boran)” is creating wrong understanding of “Muay (Boran),” disregarding the historical evidence of the development of Muay.

   “Muay(Boran)” does not do “Wai Kru Ram Muay” because there is no time to waste in the real battlefield. It would only consist of short chanting (Borrigumkatha) before running at your opponents. Ancient Thai warriors also train in Jittanubhap, which is an art of using the intensely trained mind to control the body and increase the efficiency in fighting. There are many legends about it.

   The Wai Kru Ram Muay tradition originated with “Muay Kaad Chuek” and carried over to “Muay Thai”

   “Muay(Boran)” was not trained by kicking banana trees: There are misconceptions about the training of Muay warriors that they train by kicking banana trees, which is outright false. Imagine how many trees would be wasted, whether the banana tree growth rate would be sufficient or not, how many acres of banana orchard it would take to train a warrior for many years, how kicking such soft trees would help a warrior getting stronger, and most importantly, how would ancient Thai people would waste such useful plants? Most parts of the trees could be used one way or another, such as cooking, making packages, and rolling sheet for tobacco. Ancient Thai people would not kick a banana tree except for the children due to their reckless behaviors but they would be scolded for it.

In real Muay training, the masters would create specific equipment from natural materials. The younger trainee would start with softer materials while the full-fledged warriors would be trained with harder equipment to improve endurance and strength of their knuckles, feet, knees, elbows, muscles, tendons, and bones as well as their mastery and agility in using Muay Weapons to the optimum accuracy, power, and timing.

Some equipment were designed to have moderate hardness for punch, kick, push kick, knee and elbow strike training with unprotected body parts, while some are intentionally designed to be very hard to further train the warriors. There are also training in wrestling, scripted partner training, sparring, training of the 65 positions of Toom Tubp Jubp Hak for the thorough mastery in the infinite variations.

When using hard equipment, rope would be wrapped around the contact parts of the training warrior to prevent serious injury, which would halt the training or, in worst case, render that warrior incapable. It would then be developed into the form of “Muay Kaad Chuek” .

Once you have seen this video, you will understand the brilliance of the Muay training in the ancient age. (CLICK HERE Expert VDO # 43 Ancient equipment, Forms, and Methods of Muay Training)

"Muay(Boran)" is a martial art which can be applied for self defense, Muay Thai, K-1, Kick Boxing, MMa and UFC. This because "Muay(Boran)" uses punches, feet, knees and elbows similarly to Muay Thai but has broader variety of basics weapons skills and also has a wider range of fighting methods, patterns and techniques than Muay Thai.

Therefore, using punches, feet, knees and elbows following "Muay(Boran) principles is much more dangerous and difficult to predict than Muay Thai.

Furthermore, "Muay(Boran) has and advanced fighting techniques called "Toom Tubp Jubp Hak", wich makes "Muay(Boran)" much more effective than "Muay Thai"