4 Ancient Muay Thai outfits and equipments you need to know
According to the long history of Muay Thai, which start from the pre-Sukhothai period (year 1238). Outfit and equipments have been changed and developed over and over the period of time. From there were no formal rules of using outfits and equipments to, until now, there are many of rules of using equipments, especially in amateur and professional Muay Thai sport competition. However, the development of Muay Thai outfit and equipments can be described as there are three development stages, which are traditional Muay Thai, amateur Muay Thai and professional Muay Thai.
In ancient time the very common style of Muay Thai outfit was what people could find in their local community. Boxers could wear anything that they can afford with no strict rules of using. Shorts that they wore were what they use on everyday basis. There were no gloves at all, instead, they use bare fists to fight. However, amulets have become even more important for them than any clothes or outfits. Traditional boxers always had some kind of amulets because they strongly believe in superstitious, which will bring them confidence and be able to beat the opponent. However, even though there are many types of Muay Thai forms today but the basic formal outfit of Muay Thai can be summarised as;
1. Mongkol (มงคล)
Mongkol is the Thai word, which used for describe something with a good bless or prosperous. In Muay Thai, Mongkol refers to a circlet that boxers wear on their fore head which they believe Mongkol will safe them and keep them free from danger. In the past, Mongkol was used as a formal outfit that boxers have to wear at all time during the fight, and never take it off until the fight is finished. However, at present time Mongkol is only some kind of amulets rather than the formal outfit and boxers do not have to wear Mongkol throughout the fight. They just wear Mongkol just before the fight, during Wai Kru Ram Muay ritual dance and take it off when fight begins. The tradition of wearing Mongkol in Muay Thai was from the ancient times when soldiers use holy frontlet wear on their forehead before go to the battle.
2. Gloves and Hand wraps (นวมและผ้าพันมือ)
In the past, traditional Muay Thai did not use gloves to protect boxers from injuries. The traditional fist binding, called “Kad Chuek” (คาดเชือก) is the way that commonly used. Kad Chuek is a traditional style of fist binding method that boxers in the past use to protect their fists from hand sprain and other injuries. By using soft string wrapping both on hands. Today, Kad Chuek fist biding is rarely seen. We can see traditional one only in festival and performance that occasionally organised during the year (in Thailand). Muay Thai formal competition today, boxers are required to use boxing gloves. The Muay Thai gloves that used in formal competition are not different from the type of gloves that used in western boxing, which they have different weight and classification.
3. Shorts (กางเกงมวย)
Not only gloves that has been developed to use the same practice of western boxing. Boxing shorts has also changed accordingly, especially in Muay Thai sport competition. Shorts for traditional Muay Thai in the past also not strict. Boxers could wear any kind of short that make them feel most comfortable and the style of boxing shorts are developed accordingly over and over the period of time. However, there are some rules of using boxing shorts that the colors of shorts should be red and blue to represent boxer's side and boxer must not wear any kind of belt.. Wording on the shorts must not be rude, offensive or intimidate to any party.
4. Groin-protector and mouth guard.
These kind of equipments have defined as a compulsory for Muay Thai amateur and professional sport competition these day. In order to make the most safety for boxers themself. Boxers who do not wear these two outfits are not allowed to continue the competition.