“Muay Kaad Chuek” is Muay Boran that fighters use strings to wrap both of their hands or cover up to their forearms instead of using boxing gloves like present days. Some of the fighters had special ways of wrapping by using varies of knots which make the wrap harden and more impact. Some of them may hang a spiritual amulet to have good luck in a fight which depends on an agreement between both sides.
Before every fight, both fighters need to show their skills and fitness by sparring to the ring’s owner. If both fighters are at the same level and decide to fight, then the fight will be organized and promoted.
Grass field or temple’s out-door hallway often use as the ring with a rope place on the ground in a circle indicates the ring area. The rules are simple. The fight will continue until one fighter gives up or stay down and ground attack is not allowed. If not, it will be a tie and rematch in the future. There is one referee just to pull up the fighter who is on the ground to keep on fighting. Muay Kaad Chuek is focused on skills and techniques more than physical strengths.
Professional Muay Kaad Chuek began in King Rama 6th era (1910 –1925) in the Suan Ku Larb area in Bangkok. Then many rings came after that such as Tha Chang, Sua Pa, Suan Chao Chet and Lak Muang. The ring’s owners are high-rank officers who enjoy watching fights and searching for good fighters to fight for them. For this reason, many fighters across Thailand or even from nearby countries came to Bangkok which can be considered as the rise of Muay Kaad Chuek. Then, In the King Rama 7th era (1893 – 1941), there was a tragic accident that changes Muay Kaad Chuek forever.
There was a big fight at Lak Muang ring. One of the famous fighters came from Cambodia name “Jia” who rose to fame by his impressive skills and has been knocking out countless of Thai fighters across E-Sarn and Eastern area. Not only his record was amazing, but there was a myth about Jia that scares Thai people. The rumor was, he uses dark magic and he kills people with his bare hands. Some said Jia’s dark magic can make him looks much bigger to his opponent and he is immortal and has never bled a single drop.
Jia’s arriving Bangkok meant a lot of pressure on the ring’s owner to find someone to fight him. He recruited many fighters and finally find one, his name was “Phae Leangprasert”, a young Tha Sao style fighter from Uttaradit Province. Phae was born in a true Muay Thai family. Five of his brothers were all famous fighters called “The Five Tigers of Tha Sao”. His master heard the news about recruiting a fighter to fight with the famous Jia. He wanted to test Phae ability and there is nothing to lose for him even he lost the fight but if he wins. Phae will become a rising star, so he sent Phae to Bangkok and eventually passed the test.
The fight started on November 24th,1928. All eyes turned to this fight because the expectation was so high because both fighters were famous. As the fight started, the 1st and 2nd round was not so exciting because both fighters are dangerous, one wrong decision can end the fight. Then on the 3rd round, Jia saw an opening and try to punch the finishing blow, which Phae had waited for this moment. When he saw Jia swing his arm, Phae moved forward and lower his body then unleash the uppercut to Jia’s throat. The attack hit right into Jia’s Adam’s apple which is a lethal point. Jia stunned and lean back to the rope, Phae continually attacked the Cambodia fighter until he fell to the ground. The referee counted to 10 and end the fight. However, Jia’s trainer tried to wake him up but he remains unconscious. Now the ring was in chaos and Jia has been brought to the hospital but it was too late. Jia was already dead.
Phae was arrested by the police. The ring’s owner tried to help him in every way because Phae had no intention of killing his opponent. Until 10 pm that night, Phae was released from the police station because there was a law in Muay Thai written “…Both fighters agree to fight on the ring. If there is one person die from this action, it cannot be counted as a crime”.
After this unexpected event, the government banned Muay Kaad Chuek and turned to Western boxing gloves instead of using strings. While Phae returned to Uttaradit and never came back to fight in Bangkok ever again. Muay Thai has never been the same since then.