Muay Boran is the original art form of Thai Boxing/Martial Art, but they were not allowed to use many of the techniques in competitive sports fighting due to the deadly nature, so the way Thailand put Muay Boran into the arena was by removing various elbow strikes, knee strikes, and some kicks, thus, Muay Thai was born.
Muay Boran is an art like no other, being that it is extremely different. It is difficult to explain so here are a few example videos of what Muay Boran looks like.
Bear in mind, not all techniques shown in this video are illegal on the mat, but most of them are Muay Boran, and they will most likely not be taught at any Muay Thai dojo you attend in the U.S. This includes climbing up your opponent to deliver a crushing blow, or a leg catch followed by an elbow strike to the knee.
For a more entertaining view of Muay Boyan, movie actor and Muay Boran / Muay Thai professional, amongst other martial arts, Tony Jaa presents his skills in these films: Ong Bak, The Protector.
So as you can see there were many flying elbows, knees, and spinning/flipping kicks, which you would not commonly see in Muay Thai today. These techniques are advanced and difficult to perform, they require great flexibility and control.
Muay Thai is similar to Boxing. They both have the 4 basic punches:
Muay Thai goes further by applying:
- The Clinch
Clinching an opponent is not allowed in a boxing match, so when you see two boxers go into a clinch, the referee breaks them up and restarts the fight. As for a Muay Thai fight, you get in a clinch, that opens up many opportunities to drive your knee into your opponents sternum, rib cage, or abdomen. As for everything else, in a boxing match, elbows, knees, and kicks are illegal.
Since Muay Boran is mainly taught in Thailand, many Muay Thai practitioners won't learn unique elbow, knee, and kicking techniques that Muay Boran has to offer, but that does not mean Muay Thai is any less effective. In fact, Muay Thai is a very practical and effective martial art to learn in terms of self-defense, competition, and unfortunate street fights.
One of the most popular things people talk about when it comes to Muay Thai are the leg kicks. So many times, in competition fights and UFC, one fighter has defeated the other because they punished their opponents legs throughout the entire match to the point they could no longer stand on it. Through my own experience, it honestly does not take much for your leg to shut down if your opponent knows how to aim and kick swiftly with great force. If you know what you are doing, you will perform a leg check (Image)...
... did you know that bone on bone really hurts? If you are capable to check your opponents kicks, they will become drastically discouraged to kick you again because bone on bone hurts like a mother!
This is what normally happens when a fighter does not check leg kicks, they are getting kicked multiple times on the same leg, inside and outside, they are still fighting, standing on their leg, pumped with adrenaline, the bell rings, they go to their corner to sit down, when the bell rings again they stand up, adrenaline worn off, they can feel the the heat from their leg, as they put weight on it their leg begins to shake, and they freeze up. This person has just lose the fight, without that adrenaline, one more leg kick and they are going to fall straight on their side. If your opponent is brutalizing your legs, it is imperative that you check their kicks.
Two videos are Muay Thai competiton fights and show what leg kicks can do to your opponent and how it causes them to lose the fight. Remember, you don't have to get KO'd to lose, if the referee can clearly see that you are not able to stand properly, he will call the fight.
If you pay close attention in this next video you can see the fighter with blue gloves limping on his left leg in the middle of the match. He made efforts to bring his leg up to check but that was all he was focused on towards the end.
So if you ever find yourself in a situation where someone is kicking at your legs, don't let them have it. Your body can only take so much before it shuts down. If you can't check then move back or to the side.
There is a lot going on in a competition fight, your mind is constantly thinking where your opponent is going to strike, if they are going to feint to pull off a combination blow. You have to keep your guard up at all times, even at your sides. If you let one roundhouse kick make full contact with your ribcage, you can be sure your ribs will break.
That is all for this take. There is a lot of information I left out. If you're interested in learning Muay Thai, it isn't a bad idea at all. Its a good set of skills that can save your life, or someone else's life, as well as keeping you fit.
Elbows up, peace.