Muay Thai, Thailand’s martial arts, is important to the Thai society which can be traced back to the Suwanna-Phum Era. Most young men, from commoners to the kings learned Muay Thai for self-defence and military purpose.
Therefore, Muay Thai has been developed and blended into the native culture across Thailand. This made the different schools of Muay Thai in varies regions. It is said “The hard punch of Korat, The smarts of Lopburi, The fancy positions of Chaiya, The quick move of Tah Sao” that reflects different points of these schools.
The Korat School
Muay Korat has a history back to the Ayuthaya era (1351–1767) to the Rattanakosin era (1782–present). Since Korat was the First class outpost in the area of Nakon Ratchasima province which often has many battles, this resulted a special Muay Thai style. The school was well-known during the reign of King Rama V to King Rama VI along with Muay Lopburi and Muay Chaiya.
Korat’s fighter fought with both hands covered with strings or yarn that can easily find there. The fighter always used strings wrap from the fist to the elbow. Muay Korat uses a powerful swing and aggressive twist of body, called the “Severed Head Kick” and widely heavy punch, called “The Buffalo Hurling
The Lopburi School
Muay Lopburi was discovered during the reign of King Narai the Great (1656-1688) whose established the rules and tournaments in Lopburi. Then, during the reign of Pra Chao Seua (1703-1709), the king always disguised himself to fight with the locals which was a great support for Muay Thai in this area. The qulities of Muay Lopburi are using fast footwork with quick evasion and sharp punches. It also uses straight punches with an unturned fist. This results the lack of using the hands as protection. The kick differs from other schools that it can effectively breakthrough the guard. For these reasons, Muay Lopburi was famous for its accuracy especially in clinching situation.
Muay Lopburi fighter’s dress uses a half wrapped arms with strings and wrapped ankles which is different from other schools. The fighters wear navy blue bottoms and uses a triangle cloth to protect the groin area.
Here’s Muay Lopburi videos
The Chaiya School
Muay Chaiya is a martial arts technique from Southern part of Thailand since the ancient times. The origin of Chaiya school is hard to traced but it is believed that The Chaiya School originated from “Father Ma” of Toong Jab Chang Temple, Chaiya district of Surat Thani province.
Muay Chaiya mostly emphasis on defence tactics. It once said that Muay Chaiya can defend from tip to toe to the ends of the hair. Muay Chaiya always using unique shin swing that flick the head backwards. This technique can be done when the opponent is launching a punch, while using the shins to attack and dodging the punch at the same time. The qualities of Muay Chaiya: Prefigure to stalking position “Tah Yang Sam Koom”. The Wai Kru dance needs the fighter to wrap both arms with rope. Using defense techniques which is to guard, swipe, protect and ward off the opponent attack.
The Tha Sao School
Muay Tha Sao is originated in the north of Thailand but there is no evidence when it was founded. Tha Sao’s fighters use the weight to the rear, while the front feet touching the ground lightly. This allows the fighters to increase their speed and strengh from this position. Muay Tha Sao is a combination between Kung Fu, Muat Tha Sao and Thai fencing, which make it becomes the most extraordinary school.
The characteristic of Muay Tha Sao is the use of effective and beautiful kicks. Tha Sao’s fighters can kick in any situation and any range, especially close range is the most effective and also using unique elbow slash move. Muay Tha Sao can adapt to offensive and defensive tactics. It teaches the arts of learning strengh and weak of both the fighter and the opponent.