Muay Boran Training
Muay Boran (Old Style Boxing)
The recent release of the martial arts movie “Ong Bak – The Thai Warrior” has generated a huge upsurge in interest in the traditional martial arts of Thailand, particularly the empty-hand system of Muay Kaacheurk/Muay Boran. In one particular scene from the movie, there is a mammoth of a man whom nobody can beat. Up steps the Thai warrior and using traditional Muay Thai defeats him hands down. None other than Arjarn Yodthong from the world famous Sityodthong Camp in Pattaya, Thailand plays the cigarette vendor in this scene. Arjarn Yodthong’s character in the movie is particularly well versed in the traditional arts naming every technique used by the warrior in defeating his opponent.
In fact the interest in traditional Muay Thai in the UK goes back much further than this. In 1994, over two decades ago, Kru Tony Moore in traditional dress (Buddhai Swan uniform) appeared on the cover of “COMBAT” magazine performing the technique “Yok Kao Pra Sumer” which is where the boxer springs into the air stepping on to the opponent’s thigh and delivering a stunning round kick to the opponent’s head.
Finding the correct information on this subject is akin to searching for a needle in a haystack. The confusion arises from the fact that some techniques have the same name but differ somewhat from camp to camp and region to region. It is also believed that some camps used subterfuge during a bout by changing the names of the techniques around to confuse the opponent; in effect creating a code to make the opponent expect one technique only to be struck with something completely different.
Many of the original records from Thailand regarding the fascinating subject of Muay Boran training were destroyed in the sacking of Ayuddhaya in 1767 and others lost in the mists of time. The late Arjarn Samai Messamarn from the Buddhai Swan Institute in Thailand was able to make a study of the Thai empty hand system using the scant resources available in Thailand. This research also took him to Burma where he was able to gain access to historical records on the subject of the Siamese systems of warfare.
Using this information and the painstaking research done within Thailand, Arjarn Samai was able to document and confirm 60 Awudt Muay Boran techniques and fighting methods. Only two records of the techniques, hand-painted on parchment now exist. Arjarn Samai’s son, Arjarn Werayut Messamarn visited the UK in 2005 bringing with him one of these unique documents.
Using modern technology it was possible to reconstruct a more practical document that can now be used to teach the techniques. This syllabus is a legacy handed down from Arjarn Samai. It remains the property of the instructors of Buddhai Swan and in fact there are only two instructors in Europe authorised to teach the syllabus, Kru Tony Moore and his senior student Kru Carl Johnson. It is truly apt therefore that the Thai tradition of handing the knowledge down through the generations continues with the syllabus passing from Arjarn Samai, to his son Arjarn Werayut and then on to his son’s student Kru Tony to finally reach the next generation of teacher, Kru Carl.
Besides the Buddhai Swan techniques, we have uncovered at least another 60 different techniques from various sources including Arjarn Yodthong from the Sityodthong Camp, Arjarn Panya Kraitus author of the book “Muay Thai Most Distinguished Art of Fighting”, the late Mr Bunyuen Suvanatdha former head of the Amateur Muay Thai Association of Thailand and Kru Lang of the Sitpralang Camp in Ayuddhaya.
The discovery of Muay Boran and Muay Boran training methods in the West has taken us on a journey back through time. The modern sport of Muay Thai has been established here for nearly 30 years, we are now moving backwards and have discovered the time before sport when contests were fought for honour or freedom. It is merely a blink of the eye in time before we reach our final destination and find the mother of the Thai martial arts – Krabi Krabong.
Contact Kru Tony Moore, Sitsiam camp, Ashton-under-Lyne, Manchester-Click to E-Mail
Kru Tony Moore and Muay Boran in Combat magazine 1994
Muay Boran Training –
Mae Mai – Luk Mai Techniques for Muay Boran and Muay Thai
Click the Name to watch how to perform the techniques
Muay Boran techniques by Sitsiam Camp << Click to watch