Muay Thai Mongkol or Muay Thai Mongkhon or in Thai : มงคล [mōŋkʰōn] ) is a type of headgear worn by Muay Thai athletes.
The Mongkhon is given to a fighter after their trainer has seen that the pupil has become an experienced fighter and has learned a great deal of knowledge about Muay Thai.
The Mongkhon was never to be, in any way, close to the ground, otherwise it is believed that it loses its value.
Mongkhon is unique to Thai boxing and is also worn in Cambodia and Burma.
It must be worn during the Wai khru ram muay which is a ritual performed by the participants before fighting in the Muay Thai competitions also accompanied by traditional music
and must be handled only by the fighter and the teacher, so as not to lose his special perceived powers.
Why do Muay Thai fighters wear headbands before fighting?
The Muay Thai headband is more than just an accessory of Nak Muay but it is one of the amulets of Muay Thai, a kind of talisman that the Nak Muay wears during the Wai Khru ceremony.
The fascia, also known as Mongkol/Mongkhon, is considered sacred and aesthetic by all Muay Thai enthusiasts in Thailand.
Of course, Nak Muay don’t wear it themselves either, nor do they wear it during the fight in the ring.
The coach is responsible for adorning his student’s head with the Mongkol as a sign of faith, trust and luck.
The tradition dates back hundreds of years to mark the cultural background and superstitions that held their place in the past of the martial art.
So as you see it is not an ornament that must be bought but it is a ritual between master and student / fighter with a magical meaning and protection.
What is the Mongkol band?
The Mongkol headband was initially known as Mongkhon, a colorful headband worn by fighters before entering the ring.
It can be said that it is the last piece of traditional clothing that the Nak Muay holds dear to them during a game.
A Nak Muay can only receive the Mongkol when his coaches deem him worthy to wear the cloak and honor of his dojo.
It is said that he retains magical powers and good luck to protect the fighter during the fight in the ring.
A Nak Muay will have to train, learn, practice and respect the art of Muay Thai before receiving this adornment that is the sign of recognition of its value in the art of Muay Thai.
A Nak Muay wears the Mongkol not only to indicate the ability to fight, but also to show their deeply rooted love, respect and gratitude towards the muay Thai martial art and, of course, their coach.
The fighter must, of course, prove his worth not only through his own strength, but also with complete knowledge of the roots of Muay Thai, the sacred background of Mongkrol and respect for his coach.
And according to Thai culture, this special bond between the coach and the pupil symbolizes the luck and good fate that mongkol brings.
In ancient times it was forbidden for women to wear the Mongkol but the modern world has freed such superstitions and allows every fighter to show their solidarity with the martial art.
History, Creation and Ancient Beliefs
The Mongkol is a sacred band that is believed to contain ancient powers of good luck and protection.
Once the trainer adorns the fighter, he must sit down for the pre-fight ceremony.
After the ceremony, the trainer helps the fighter take off the Mongkol to hang it safely while the wearer fights.
The Mongkol was a sacred band for Thai soldiers and they perceived it as a talisman that would protect them from all the dangers of an enemy.
Various individuals also attached the strands of hair of the loved one, pieces of lucky charm cloth to increase the said magical power of mongkol.
As you may know, Muay Thai was the last resort of an army man, where they became a human weapon to survive against armed opponents.
The talisman was a sign of hope and later for Nak Muay provided a similar sense of protection and good luck during a match.
The Mongkol is made of reinforced rope and various other materials that help the band stay in place during the ceremony.
Nowadays, you will also find several dojos that provide Mongkol in silk and many other materials.
This, of course, does not change the luck or faith that is believed to wear the sash.
The Mongkol belt is what separates a Nak Muay fighter from a practitioner.
Their dedication, faith and confidence in the martial art shows them ready to wear the Mongkol before entering the ring.
With mongkol believed to bring security and good luck, you can very well guess the presence of superstitions in the belief.
Mongkol is considered sacred and has the highest priority in remaining pure.
So, it brings with it a number of superstitions.
Must not touch the ground