The 12 amulets of Muay Thai
Muay Thai is not only Thai martial art but also contains in the art of combat a deep spiritual and cultural root that goes beyond martial art and sport.
The spirituality and mysticism contained in art have been present for hundreds of years and the rituals of Muay Thai that have ancient origins and are imbued with a purely religious feeling that connects to both Buddhist and animist beliefs.
Practicing Muay Thai also means knowing how to understand and honor what Thai culture is.
The meaning must be beyond the sporting one to get in the ring because everything acquires an intimate meaning for every athlete who once reached that maturity and awareness not only sporting but also spiritual takes his Muay Thai to the next level.
It is clear that having faith in amulets is a personal matter and fighters who have no faith or who do not give importance to amulets should never use them because it is not something aesthetic but have a deeper, mystical and religious sigification.
Amulets have always been an essential part of a Muay Thai fighter’s equipment.
These are highly respected sacred objects among fighters and not only to the point that when they are not used they must be placed in a sacred position to be revered because it is said that if they are placed in an incorrect position such as at the bottom or in a place where they can be hit or trampled it is believed that they lose their mystical powers.
There are 2 ornaments from which the Thai boxer will find strength when he faces a match:
- Mongkon (crown) and
- Kruang Ruang (bracelet).
The Mongkon must be worn until the end of the Wai Kru Ram Muay ritual and removed from the head before the fight begins while the Kruang Ruang can be held for the duration of the match.
These are rules related to tradition and fighters have no freedom of choice in this regard.
Now it is difficult for Western people to understand the importance of all these 12 amulets because they are closely linked to Thai culture and the competition of local Thai schools.
Respect for martial art and its spirituality, for rituals, for your Master and for culture must always be fundamental elements of acting in everyday life in the philosophy of Muay Thai fighters.
Through the hard workouts that the practice of Muay Thai imposes you can learn very important values in the gym and in life.
You can learn respect for your training partners, teachers, and opponents, you can understand the value of fatigue to get results, and how rewarding it is to achieve them after you struggle by understanding that the end result is the result of a process and not a random event.
That’s why I repeat that all these things should not be limited to the gym but should be applied in everyday life and you should never forget that practicing martial art like Muay Thai does not just mean playing sports.
KARTAR ARKOM Prayers – INCANTATIONS
Muay Thai fighters but in general all Siamese people have an implicit faith in mystical arts and prayers.
They believe that prayer gives them miraculous powers to overwhelm opponents with ease and equip them with endurance and invincibility, protecting them from things and people.
Some Muay Thai students believed that an enchantment proclaimed before or during a match has the power to avoid their knockout as a gust of wind would immediately make them conscious again.
It is also believed that some charms have the ability to counter those inevitably proclaimed by the adversary as well.
The prayer “Gam Ban Nak Muen” which literally means “Fist raised weighing ten thousand – dhamlueng is supposed to provide the fighter with the certainty of victory with a single punch and the Dhamlueng was a traditional Thai weight: 10000 dhamlueng plus 1000 kilograms.
Generally in the past fighters had tattoos on their backs including the power of the “Gam Ban Nak Muen”.
KruengRang Korng Klang):
Amulets are an essential part of a Muay Thai fighter even more than his equipment.
Among fighters, sacred objects are highly respected and when not used are always placed in a “high and venerable” position because they believe that if placed in an inappropriate position such as on a low shelf or in a place where they can be trampled, they believe that they lose their mystical powers.
Believing in amulets is a matter of faith, it’s something personal and if you don’t care about the amulets you don’t have to use them at all but traditionally all Muay Thai fighters have to use Mongkon and Prajied.
The Mongkon must be worn until the end of the Wai Kru Ram Muay ritual and removed before the fight while the Prajied can be worn for the duration of the match but these are “objects” related to tradition and fighters have no freedom of choice in this regard.
Other commonly used amulets are the Dhagrut and Paa-yan within the Prajied.
Let’s get to know the 12 amulets of Muay Thai:
1 – Pra Krueng
It is a small sacred image of the Buddha that is inserted inside the Mongkon and Kruang Ruang of the athlete, and serves as a lucky charm and to drive away evil
2 – Kruang Ruang
Cloth bracelet, braided rope or any other fabric, made by your master, you can carry individually or on both arms of the fighter.
Inside it can incorporate symbols and/or small objects revered by the athlete, its meaning and its contents know it only the master and the athlete. The material to create the Kruang Ruang is provided by the student, this preparation process serves to give protection to the fighter and create an indissoluble bond between pupil and teacher.
The Krang Ruang is not used by all fighters, but is personal.
The Krang Ruang is made by its Master and its meaning and its contents (inside it may contain symbols or small objects) are the exclusive property of the Master and his athlete.
The Thai tradition wants this amulet, linked to the bicep attachment, to be given to the Thai boxer before starting his boxing career.
In fact there is a period of about six months, in which the athlete is formed spiritually, and in the final ceremony before the entrance to the camp, the bracelet is blessed by the monks, becoming a powerful talisman.
The choice to make this gift to his fighters by the master is made after a period of time necessary to increase in each sense of responsibility towards this important amulet.
This unique and sacred bracelet should not be confused with the Prajaet, also a bracelet that represents only the grades for students and instructors.
Exclusively “stylistic” ornament used in the rest of the world but not in Thailand….where grades do not need to be exposed or encoded, but are attributed solely according to the merits and value of the performance.
3 – Pirod
It is a cloth bracelet, braided rope or any other fabric, made by the master, you can wear individually or on both arms.
It is prepared like the Kruang Ruang and is alternatively worn on one arm at the height of the bicep but it is not customary to wear both the pirod and the prajied on the same arm, so the alternative is to wear the prajied around a bicep and the pirod around the other.
It is said that in the past the Pirod could also be made with a weave of cloth and rattan wood and takes the form of a ring (wehn pirod) or an arm bandage (groan pirod) and is worn around the bicep of a single arm.
4 – Dhagrut
They are small amulets made of bronze or sometimes in wrought and rolled silver, decorated with mystical symbols, with a hole in the middle in which, traditionally, silk threads were strung to be able to tie it around the torso.
The sacred symbols depicting them are intended to protect the warrior who wore them.
You can carry even more than one and sometimes you can insert it into the Kruang Ruang or the Pyrods, if their size allowed and if they were not in the way of the fighter’s movements.
Only one dhagrut tone or more than one (dhagrut puong) can be worn.
If very small, the dhagrut can be inserted into the prajied.
5 – Pitsamorn
It is an amulet made with palm leaf inserted in a coating of natural fiber depicting sacred symbols similar to the Dhagrut.
They can be inserted inside the Kruang Ruang or The Pyrod if the size allows, and always if they are not in the way of the fighter’s movements.
The amulet is inserted into a fabric casing and tied around the torso.
6 – Waahn
It is a herb that, when associated with a magical ritual, provides the athlete who guards it inside the Mongkon, Kruang Ruang or the Pirod greater strength and manhood during the encounter.
Some fighters prepare an infusion by boiling in water and drink an infusion of this herb (similar to our onion) or use it to wash the body before the fight to increase their strength.
7 – Prajied
It is a bracelet that identifies the degree of skill of the athlete in the practice of muay thai and that takes the name of khan.
Often confused with the Kruang Ruang, the difference is that the Kruang Ruang is made by its master and takes on a very important meaning in the life of the fighter, while the Prajied has no mystical-religious meaning and can be done by the student himself, in addition the Prajied changes its coloration according to the khan of belonging.
It is a band of fabric, traditionally red and white, worn around the arm during the match with the intent to give strength and help the fighter avoid the danger where the fighter can insert into the prajied (or mongkon or pirod) anything he believes in and that reveres like a lock of his father’s hair or the sarong fibers that his mother wore when she gave birth to it.
As well as the ability to wear a paa-prajied on one arm and a groan-pirod on the other, possible variants are wearing a single prajied on the right arm, or a wide bandage on the stronger arm and a narrower on the weaker one.
8 – Mongkon
It is a circular protective amulet that is worn on the head before the fight, a ring worn on the head as a lucky charm to bring prosperity and protect the fighter from danger.
The Mongkon is applied to the athlete by his master and only removed by him with propitiatory rite before the start of the match, this ritual is named Pitee Tod Mongkon.
The meaning of this amulet is very particular and very important, because it represents the master, the field of belonging, the teachings received and all the brethren of the camp.
With each victory of the fighter, the master takes a piece of the student’s Kruang Ruang and joins his Mongkon with a propitiatory ceremony, thus transferring the vigour of the winning warrior in the Mongkon that will protect and infuse more vigour to the new fighter who will bring him later.
According to legend, in ancient times poisonous snakes were used to create this magical crown that gave the fighter prosperity and athletic vigour.
In the past, Siamese soldiers wore a kind of bandana around their foreheads before going into battle, and it is believed that the tradition of the Master (Khru Muay) giving the mongkon to his students is believed to be a result of this.
In the distant past, some Muay Thai schools and some Masters have developed their own technique to create the mongkon in order to equip them with extraordinary powers and it is said that some have created mongkon using the skin of poisonous snakes to enhance its effect.
In the past the mongkon was not removed before the fight and if it happened that during the match fell, the opponent would stop to give the fighter time to put it back in the head and absolutely did not take advantage of this moment of vulnerability to attack.
The belief is that the Mongkon has the power to preserve the boxer from serious injury during the fight, driving away the evil spirits. In the past, Siamese soldiers wore a kind of bandana around their foreheads before going into battle.
It is believed that this is the tradition of the Master (Khru Muay) donating the Mongkon to his students.
The Mongkon is applied only by the Master and only by him can be removed and represents the Master, the school of belonging, the teachings received, the group.
It increases its power with each encounter.
In fact, with each victory the Master combines, with a propitiatory ceremony, a piece of the pupil’s Kruang Ruang to his Mongkon thus transferring the strength of the winning warrior in the Mongkon that will protect and instill more vigour to the new fighter who will bring him later.
9 – Suea – yan and Paa -yan
These are fabrics of various shapes(Suea-yan traditional red t-shirt, Paa-yan traditional handkerchief) with mystical depictions and symbols of chakra energy blessed by monks, which were worn or inserted inside other amulets such as Mongkon or Kruang Ruang.
The Suea-Yan is similar to a waistcoat, blessed and decorated with figures and prayers, worn during sacred rites or special ceremonies. In the past it was worn by Siamese soldiers during battles.
Often athletes wear the magical symbolism tattooed forever on their body.
A widespread practice in Thailand especially at famous temples such as Wat Bang Phra, these tattoos practiced by Buddhist monks are called Sak-yant or Yantra.
Sacred depictions cannot be tattooed under the waist because sacred symbols cannot be made in impure body parts.
According to education, the head is the purest part of the body because it is the highest, while the feet are the most impure part.
10 – Chakra
Many eastern disciplines base their fundamental theoretical on the existence of meridians,which in Thai medicine are called Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
According to this theory, through breathing the energy that keeps it alive enters the body.
Energy spreads throughout the body, through channels, called “meridians”, which flow into the energy centers called chakras.
According to ancient beliefs, they are still tattooed in the meridian points of chakra symbols or, alternatively, Buddhist prayers.
11 – Phuang Malai
They are garlands of flowers (such as orchids, carnations, jasmine and daisies) that are carried by the fighter before the fight on the bare chest.
These wreaths are auspicious, warding off evil spirits, and protecting benign spirits.
They are also used and especially in daily life as a sign of happiness and benevolence.
These garlands have different lengths, colors and designs based on the regions of origin; although they are all different, they all have the same shapes (they look like necklaces).
12 – Whan Nan Chan Kok
The Whan Nan Chan Kok is a toxic root that grows on river banks.
This root was used in the past before a meeting to the last blood.
The Thai warrior was sprinkled with an ointment made from the processing of this root that caused an immediate reaction to contact with the warrior’s skin, causing a formation of bubbles on the skin.
These bubbles were used to save the fighter from the deep wounds created by the techniques of cutting the skin in the battles to the death.
This poisonous root was used for defense and not for insulting fighters.
Mysticism is something personal but it is also something powerful and fascinating and Thai culture is imbued with mysticism. Believing in it is a matter of faith but also if it is not part of your way of being respected and never mock this power hidden from you unknown.
Have a good trip and always respect what you don’t understand and don’t know!