March, 17 is just an ordinary day in the lives of most people; however, for Muay Thai practitioners, it is not. For them, it is known as Muay Thai Day, a day the arrival of which they eagerly await, in order to remember, honor and celebrate a legend of their sport.
In 1767, back when Thailand was called Siam, the Burmese invaded the city of Ayutthaya and took many of its inhabitants as hostages. Among those they took, there were some Muay Thai fighters, and among these was the boxer, Nai Khanom Tom.
Now, the Burmese are known for Lethwei, whereas the Thais are known for Thai Muay Boran, two very distinct fighting styles. That is why the king of Burma at that time wanted to determine which of the two was superior to the other.
Therefore, in honor of Buddha, the king, Mangra, organized a religious festival for that purpose. Among all the fighters that were taken hostage, Nai Khanom Tom was the one chosen to represent the Thai fighting style in a match against a Burmese fighter.
Prior to the match, Nai Khanom Tom performed a special dance ritual called Wai Khru, and when the match started, he bombarded his opponent with a series of punches and kicks, leaving utterly crushed and defeated. Despite his win, the referee ruled that the Burmese fighter was distracted by the dance ritual Nai Khanom Tom performed and, therefore, rendered Nai’s win invalid.
Then, king Mangra asked Nai Khanom Tom to prove himself again by fighting nine other Burmese fighters. Nai accepted the request and defeated every one of them without any rest between matches.
Impressed by what he had just seen, king Mangra awarded Nai Khanom Tom his freedom and offered him two choices: massive wealth, or two beautiful wives. Being a wise man, Nai chose the two wives, saying that wealth can easily be acquired. He returned to his city and spent the rest of his life teaching Muay Thai.
The Actual Event:
It is for such bravery that Nai is honored and celebrated each year. It is for his fervor in defending his fighting style that makes Muay Thai enthusiasts flock to honor him each year.
They consider him the father of an art with which they are deeply in love. Therefore, on this day, multiple events are organized throughout the country to commemorate his achievement, and in doing so they acknowledge his contribution to the sport and honor his soul. For example, the Thai Martial Arts Festival and Wai Khru Muay Thai Ceremony are held annually on March 17.
If you are one of these enthusiasts, or just curious to know more about Muay Thai day, then you should witness the event first hand.
March, 17, is close and many people around the world plan to visit Thailand on this special day. If you are unsure about plane tickets and hotel reservations, no need to worry. Our website is here to help!