- 1 Pre-combat rituals of Muay Thai
- 1.1 Kuen Suu Weitee
- 1.2 Ram Muay
- 1.3 Ram Muay is developed in three basic phases:
- 1.5 Pitee Tod Mongkon
- 1.6 Conclusions
The phase that precedes the fight is the part that can be defined as the most important for the athlete.
In these moments, the fighter must find the concentration, tranquility and favor of benign spirits to ensure that the fight has a good outcome.
All this occurs with the performance of three pre-combat rituals of Muay Thai which are:
- Kuen Suu Weitee
- Ram Muay
- Pitee Tod Mongkon
Kuen Suu Weitee
The entrance into the ring is a very important moment, being a focal point in the preparation of the athlete for the match from a psychological point of view.
It is a phase of meditation, prayer and spells as well as a succession of superstitious and magical gestures such as the way to climb the stairs of the ring and pass the ropes.
All this serves to instill confidence in the athlete and to clear the mind of useless thoughts that can condition the way of facing the meeting.
Ram Muay is a ritual dance that is performed with slow and symbolic movements accompanied by music that takes the name of Dontree Muay (music that accompanies the whole course of the meeting, the intensity of Dontree Muay grows as the meeting becomes more bloody).
This dance serves to gain the favor of benign spirits and to drive evil spirits from the terrain of confrontation.
This ritual has a value not only religious but also practical, in fact, it is used as a form of stretching to warm up the muscles and prepare them for the clash.
The execution of this dance is accompanied by the silent recitation of prayers and propitiatory magic formulas, which serve to obtain a successful outcome of the clash.
The movements that characterize Ram Muay can vary or be completely different depending on the school to which they belong or the fighting style used by the athlete.
The Ram Muay in addition to having a mystical-religious meaning basically aims to demonstrate religious devotion, humility and gratitude on the part of the student, in ancient times the ritual was aimed at demonstrating devotion to the King and his mentor, today instead it is aimed at the organizer of the meeting and his coach.
Ram Muay is developed in three basic phases:
- Whai Khru or Whai Khru Ram Muay
- Taa Phrom Naang
- Phrom Si Na
Wai Khru is one of the most important parts of Ram Muay, it is a ritual of pure respect that takes various forms in different contexts.
To understand the meaning of Wai Khru correctly in the context of muay thai it is necessary to know that Khru in Thai language means “master”, a term that in Thai culture is given to parents in the family environment, to monks in the religious context and more generally to the king.
The term Wai indicates the traditional Thai way of revering and greeting.
Anyone who benefits from the teachings absolutely respects his teacher and treats his peers as if they were his brothers and sisters.
There are three different forms of Wai Khru that students learn during their learning journey:
- Kuen Khru, Yor Krhu: This is the form that is performed by the pupil when he is accepted as a student by the master, who undertakes to teach him all his knowledge.
- Wai Khru Prajam Pee: This is a particular form of Wai Khru that is performed on special occasions, (for example on the occasion of religious celebrations), as a tribute to one’s master and as a form of respect for past masters.
- Wai Khru Ram Muay: This is the form that athletes perform before a fight and takes this name because Wai Khru is inserted into a ritual dance called Ram Muay.
Many argue that there is a fourth form of Wai Khru called Krob Khru, a form that is reserved for those who after a long learning process are initiated into the role of teachers, and considered ready to spread their knowledge.
This dance is undoubtedly a fascinating and spectacular aspect of Muay Thai and not being closely linked to religion can also be performed by Western athletes.
In addition to being a sign of homage and respect towards one’s teacher, this dance is full of meanings that take on a different value depending on the athlete who performs it, but all athletes, as a sign of respect, turn towards their teacher and must make three bows “Saam Krab” alternating them with the classic position of hands joined in prayer which takes the name of “Thep Panom”.
With these passages we intend to thank and pay homage to one’s nation, one’s religion, and one’s master and all the past and present Thai warriors.
The term Wai Khru literally translated means homage to the master, or to the one who gave you his knowledge.
Taa Phrom Naang
This part of Ram Muay is carried out on the ground; The athlete performs slow and precise movements that simulate the old bandages used in ancient times, the flight of the swan symbol of freedom (considered a sacred animal).
The movements are repeated three times to pay homage to one’s master, past warriors, one’s homeland and religion.
In addition, this phase allows the athlete to stretch the legs preparing them for the meeting.
Phrom Si Na
This phase of Ram Muay is the standing part of the dance, in which the athlete repeats three times the same movements made in the Taa Phron Naang with the same meaning, in this phase the hips are stimulated to prepare them for the effort they will undergo during the match.
This is an important part for the boxer, as he shows off his warrior disposition to the opponent by repeatedly performing the warrior’s step.
Pitee Tod Mongkon
Once all the phases of Ram Muay are over, the athlete goes to his teacher, who with his hands joined on his face begins the silent recitation of prayers and propitiatory magic formulas for the success of the fight.
After the prayers, the propitiatory rites and pronounced the formula “from man to warrior” removes the Mongkon from the student’s head and places it on its corner with the function of protecting the student from evil spirits for the duration of the meeting.
Muay Thai for Thais is a national sport but it is also an art that is mixed with their religious faith that makes them assume for practically a real lifestyle, a very respected social belonging.
Knowing the rituality of the Thai tradition is very important but I believe that Westerners should not emulate something that is very distant from them unless it becomes for them a true mystical religious immersion, but they are opinions.
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