National Muay Thai Day in Thailand Date in the current year: March 17, 2024

National Muay Thai Day in Thailand Thais are so proud of their national martial art, Muay Thai, also known as Thai boxing, that they celebrate National Muay Thai Day twice a year: on February 6 and on March 17, The second date, however, is much more popular than the first.

Muay Thai is a combat sport that developed from the traditional martial art Muay Boran. It is related to other Southeast Asian martial arts, such as Muay Lao from Laos, Lethwei from Myanmar, Pradal Serey from Cambodia, and Tomoi from Malaysia. Muya Thai is sometimes described as the “art of eight limbs” as athletes are allowed to use their fists, elbows, knees and shins. Unlike Western boxing, Muay Thai permits and even encourages clinching.

The history of Muay Boran, and by extension Muay Thai, can be traced back to the mid-16th century. It was famously popularized by King Suriyenthrathibodi (Sanphet VIII) of Ayutthaya, who was an avid practitioner of traditional martial arts. Because of this, some Muay Thai practitioners celebrate Muay Thai Day on the anniversary of his ascension to the throne – February 6.

However, the March 17 celebration of National Muay Thai Day is much more popular. The date was chosen to honor Nai Khanom Tom, who is often referred to as the “Father of Muay Thai”. Because of this, National Muay Thai Day is also known as Nai Khanom Tom Day. Other alternative names include National Muay Boran Day, National Thai Boxing Day, and simply Boxer’s Day.

According to legend, in 1774 the Burmese invaded the Ayutthaya Kingdom and captured several thousand Siamese prisoners. Among them was Nai Khanom Tom, a member of the Royal Guard and a Myau Boran champion.

On the occasion of a festival, the Burmese king organized a boxing match to see which style of boxing is more effective, Muay Boran or Lethwei (Burmese boxing). Nai Khanom Tom easily defeated ten Burmese champions. The king was so impressed with his skills that he granted Nai Khanom Tom and the rest of Siamese prisoners freedom.

When Nai Khanom Tom returned home, people began to call him the “Father of Muay Boran” because he made Thai boxing famous outside Siam. As the historic boxing competition is believed to have taken place on March 17, 1775 National Muay Thai is celebrated on March 17 every year.

The final transformation of Muay Boran into Muay Thai occurred in the early 20th century. The term “Muay Thai” was first used some time after the fall of the Ayutthaya Kingdom and the foundation of the Kingdom of Siam. The name “Muay Thai” firmly replaced “Myau Boran” when Siam was renamed Thailand in 1939. The rules of Muay Thai were codified during the reign of King Prajadhipok (Rama VII), who ruled the country from 1925 to 1935.

Muay Thai became widespread internationally in the 1980s, when Thai boxing practitioners began competing in kickboxing and mixed martial arts. The International Federation of Muaythai Amateur was founded in 1993, followed by the World Muaythai Council in 1995. Although Muay Thai is not an Olympic sport yet, it was recognized by the International Olympic Committee in 2016.

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National Muay Thai Day in Thailand, cultural observance, Thai boxing, Muay Boran, Nai Khanom Tom