Muay Thai is referred to as the “Art of Eight Limbs” as it makes use of punches, kicks, elbows and knee strikes, using at eight points of contact.

Gaining prominence as far back as the 16th century as a practical combat technique, it soon morphed into a sport fought for entertainment. It began its spread from Southeast Asia in the 20th century as Muay Thai boxers began defeating established practitioners of other combat styles. This has ushered in a wave international growth during the first decade of the 21st century with foreign fighters now stationed around the world.

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These fighters are referred to as Nak Muay Farang, or ‘foreign boxers’.

Muay Thai’s growing popularity in places such as the United States, the UK, Europe and New Zealand has also led to a steady influx of foreign and international fighters making their way to Thailand to train under some of the world’s most experienced and well-versed instructors, in the country that proudly calls it Muay Thai its national sport.

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For any traveler passing through Thailand, a visit to a Muay Thai bought is a must. The quality of the fights can vary immensely, the best way to find a good one is to ask around and hear what both travelers and locals have to say. Costing anywhere between 300 Baht and 1000 Baht, it is well worth it.

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For those who wish to practice, learn, and train in Muay Thai while in Thailand, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in the north of the country, as well as Phuket in the south, are home to some of the best gyms in Thailand, with many travelers as well as locals frequenting the gyms. Some gyms even offer accommodation and training packages for those wishing to focus on their training during their stay. A quick web search will deliver a huge variety of options for anyone looking into possible gyms.

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Muay Thai by James MacDonald

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