FATHER OF MUAY THAI

Nai Khanom Tom

Nai Khanom Tom provides truth to the ability of Muay Thai fighters. In 1767, the Burmese army attacked the Thai capital city of Ayudhaya (120 kilometers from Bangkok). The Burmese King (Lord Mangra) and his army pillaged the city, raiding the homes of the Thai people, stealing from and demoralizing its' villages, and magnificent temples.

Returning quickly to Burma before reinforcements arrived to save the capital, the Burmese army took prisoners for the long march back home to carry their stolen goods and treasures. Among those prisoners was a nak muay (Muay Thai fighter) of the name, Nai Khanom Tom. To celebrate his victory over the Thai, the King of Burma held a festival and celebration. During the festival, the slaves from Thailand were ordered to fight the best Burmese fighters for entertainment.

When Nai Khanom Tom entered the courtyard to fight, he asked for a moment to prepare; he then began a slow ritualistic dance around the courtyard, waving his arms and making circular motions with his knees. The Burmese fighter looked on in fear, as he thought Nai Khanom Tom was performing some sort of black magic. When asked by the onlookers what he was doing, Nai Khanom Tom explained he was giving respect to his ajarn (teacher), his country, and to Buddha by performing his short dance. Many believe this to have been the origin of the Wai Kru, which is performed by all nak muay after entering the ring, before going to war with their opponents.

When the fight began, Nai Khanom Tom effortlessly conquered the Burmese fighter with a series of kicks and elbows. The Burmese fighter tried to convince the people that he had only lost because he was cursed by the Thai. However, Nai Khanom Tom went on to defeat 10 more Burmese rivals with combinations of hard, chopping, debilitating kicks and elbows, fast punches, and throwing his opponents to the ground. The Burmese King was impressed with Nai Khanom Tom's ability and skill in the face of danger. When Nai Khanom Tom defeated his last rival, the Burmese King granted Nai Khanom Tom his freedom and rewarded him with several Burmese women to be his wives and concubines. Nai Khanom Tom returned to Thailand as a hero, and lived out his life teaching Muay Thai.

This is the reason our beloved Nai Khanom Tom is referred to as "The Father of Muay Thai." National Muay Boran Day (also commonly known as Muay Thai Day) is celebrated annually on the 17th of March, in honor of Nai Khanom Tom.

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