On January 28th, Blood, Sweat and Tears appeared at True Arena in Hua Hin. Not the iconic 60’s Rock Band but the Women’s Fight Muay Thai World Championship. His Excellency Suwat Liptapanlop, former Deputy Prime Minister presided over the opening ceremony.
Muay Thai, also known as Thai Boxing, is a national sport and cultural martial art of Thailand. Referred to as “The Art of Eight Limbs”, it uses eight points of contact to mimic weapons of war. The hands become the sword and dagger, the shins and forearms hardened to act as armor against blows, the elbow to fell opponents like a heavy hammer, the legs and knees the axe and staff. The body operates as one unit. The knees and elbows constantly searching and testing for an opening while grappling and trying to spin an enemy to the ground for the kill.
The former King of Thailand, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej was an avid fan of Muay Thai. Since being crowned Muay Thai’s popularity has grown more than in any other era in history.
In 1238, the first Thai army was created in the northern city of Sukhothai, Siam being its capital. The recorded history shows that a need to defend the capital city was spawned by many wars being fought between neighbouring tribes and kingdoms. The Siamese army was created to protect the government and its inhabitants within the city and surrounding villages. Soldiers were taught hand-to-hand combat and how to use weapons, as well as how to use the entire body as a weapon. Their training is what eventually evolved into Muay Thai and Krabi Krabong.
Learning the military arts or “Muay Thai” became engrained in the culture of the early Siamese people. With the constant threat of war, training centers slowly began to appear throughout the kingdom. These were the first Muay Thai camps. Young men practiced the art form for various reasons: self-defense, exercise, discipline; monks even instructed at many Buddhist temples, passing down knowledge and history from one generation to the next.
As Muay Thai became popular with the poor and common people, it also became a required staple for the high-class and royalty. The two sons of King Phokhun Sri In Tharatit, the first King of Sukhothai, were sent to learn at the Samakorn training center. The common idea was that good warriors made brave leaders and this would prepare them as future rulers of the kingdom.
Phokhun Ram Khamhaeng university is named after the writer of the first ancient text of Muay Thai. It is located in Bangkok along with the Sport Authority of Thailand.
Apart from carrying on the legend of previous Kings Fighters and Thai heroines, this championship was purposely held to support and promote Women’s Muay Thai fighters who have increasingly developed boxing skills and gained worldwide recognition.
True Arena’s sunken center tennis court was transformed for the evening into a classic Thai boxing stadium.
The evenings highlight match was a defending title fight which pitted Thailand’s Ticha Rongraenkeela Korat, the World Muaythai Council WMC Champion against Lisa Wor Santai from England. The 5-round bout saw Thailand’s Ticha, aka “Wai Jadjan,” scoring with her left kicks and left punches and in the last 3 rounds her peak conditioning was too much as she kept up her fast attack allowing her to successfully defend her title.