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Wai Khru Ram Muay
is a warm up activity in Thai
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...
culture that is performed by participants in Muay Thai
Muay Thai is a combat sport from Thailand that uses stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques. It is similar to other Indochinese kickboxing systems, namely pradal serey from Cambodia, tomoi from Malaysia, lethwei from Myanmar and muay Lao from Laos...
The Thai greeting referred to as the wai consists of a slight bow, with the palms pressed together in a prayer-like fashion. It has its origin in the Indic Añjali Mudrā, like the Indian namasté and the Cambodian sampeah...
is an action of Thais to show respect to others by putting the hands together like in prayer. Khru
means teacher. Ram
Dance is an art form that generally refers to movement of the body, usually rhythmic and to music, used as a form of expression, social interaction or presented in a spiritual or performance setting....
in the old Thai traditional style. Muay
Boxing, also called pugilism, is a combat sport in which two people fight each other using their fists. Boxing is supervised by a referee over a series of between one to three minute intervals called rounds...
. Usually Thais prefer to call it short ram muay
or wai khru
. Ram muay is the way to show respect to the teachers and the trainers. Also, in past muay thai was usually fought in front of the king, so ram muay was also to apologize to the King for the brutality in fighting.
The fighter first performs the wai khru, circling the ring three times before kneeling and bowing three times as a sign of respect to God and man. He also bows to Buddha
Siddhārtha Gautama was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from the Indian...
to ask for protection for himself and his opponent and for an honourable fight.
The fighter then performs the ram muay, whose simple movements demonstrate a fighter's control and style. Each fighter performs the ram muay on each side of the ring to demonstrate his prowess to the audience. The ram muay is a personal ritual, ranging from the very complex to the very simple, and often contains clues about who trained the fighter and where the fighter is from.
The practitioner may wear a headband called a mongkhon
and armbands known as pra jiad
Pra Jiad is a type of armband worn by Muay Thai athletes. In the past, their use was to give confidence and luck to the athletes. Some fighters wear one Pra Jiad, some wear two. Some schools also use color coded pra jiads to show rank, similar to belts in karate...
during the ceremony, and the Ram Muay may be accompanied by music. The mongkhon is unique to Thai boxing and not worn in Cambodia or Burma.