March is Muay Thai Month
Let's be real for a minute; scratch that, we're always real around here.
Most Martial Arts, in fact, the best ones, come from countries with a long history of conflict, brutality, violence, and strife. The reasons for this are well known to most of our visitors and members, but like the concept of Aliveness, the connection is rarely made within the minds of people who make up excuses when asked to step up and actually prove the merit of their training.
Muay Thai was sired by such brutality and inhumanity. In fact, "inhumane" doesn't really apply here; history shows that it's fairly dishonest to imply that a propensity for violence is anything other than a definitively human trait.
Maybe it's the fact that Thailand is still just on the cusp of joining the so-called "first world", but their national sport isn't just a means of competition for its participants and a diversion for its fans. There's a raw, genuine, savagery in Muay Thai that isn't seen in virtually any other Martial Art-based sport. Few of the fighters make more than a subsistence wage in exchange for putting their bodies through hell both in and out of the ring. And once in the ring, they fight with a focus and intent that will always be elusive to people who, win or lose, can casually grab a thousand-calorie meal at the drive-through on the way home from playing "fighter".
Thailand is a country where you can be put in jail for insulting its king. Child prostitution and human trafficking are major problems. When and where laws are enforced, they are often enforced brutally. The average income is $4000 a year, less than what many households in the US bring home in a month.
When fighting isn't just a recreational activity, you have to be very good at it. This is a lesson that we should all take to heart. A person who trains because they have to, is almost always going to be better than someone who trains or fights as a pastime. So for the month of March, lets recognize Thai Boxing for substantial its contributions to combat sports and the fighting arts in general. It could easily be argued that their techniques, refined by genuine conflict and the tenacity of the Thai people, have made as much of an impact on modern Mixed Martial Arts as those of the Gracie family.
Good write-up. I'm too much of a sissy for MT, but I have deep respect for the abilities of the practitioners.
Well said. Both on the damn-they're-good-at-hitting side, and the damn-their-situation-is-less-than-ideal side. Historical-political education FTW.
The main downside of Muay Thai for me, is that whenever I think of the countless kids that have to train and fight just to put food on the table, I feel like such a LARPer - going in when I feel like it, taking time out if I get a boo-boo on my shin, etc.
Aside from that, Muay Thai rocks.
I like it and agree with most of it. However, I think your estimation of the anual income for a Thai is a bit high.
Wages are commonly estimated on a monthly basis in Thailand. A figure of roughly 12,000thb per month is what 4,000usd translates to. That's better money than most of the teachers at the school I was going to made, and I know that my host father who was an NCO in the thai army didn't make that much. The average is closer to around 7,000-8,000thb per month.
That aside, I give your article a rating of 5 dii mak maks.
Very well written and brought up good points to be honest I had never really thought of absolutely having to train just to survive.
REMEMBER THAI BOXING DAY IS THIS MONTH, KICK A FRIEND IN THE HEAD AND DO YOUR PART TO SPREAD THE MOO TIE CH33R!!!
Is there anyone who can suggest a good read on Thai history? I might pick it up in honor of the month.
I feel as though Muay Thai carries an even heavier suggestion of intensity/brutality/toughness than MMA. Mostly because it's similar to MMA, except without the parts that aren't hitting people.
Great article, thanks- definately thought provoking.
I thought it was kinda weak.
Especially compared to past write-ups.