Saturday, June 6, 2009
Bangkok, Thailand. I've always been a boxing fan, so when a chance came up to score ringside seats for Thai kickboxing (Muay Thai) at Ratchadamnoen Stadium in Bangkok, I jumped at the opportunity. We did one better by taking a training class at Sor.Vorapin Muay Thai Gym, one of several schools around the city to get us in the mood and pumped up for the match.
The art of Muay Thai fighting is as old the country itself and is deeply ingrained in the history of Thailand. "What sets Muay Thai apart from other martial arts lies in its profound connection with spirituality and reverence, which are expressed through ritual ceremonies before and after each fight... each boxer wears 'Mong Kon' (a sacred headband) and 'Pra Jiad' (sacred armband). The headband is believed to bestow luck to the wearer since it has been blessed by a monk or the boxer's teacher."
The matches were exciting to watch. Each match goes 5 rounds. There was a surprise knockout in the first bout. Live sport betting, like on a commodities exchange; including hand signaling, creates an absolute frenzy among the spectators and fans in the arena. A truly unique experience for a glimpse into Thai culture and tradition.