The World Wai Kru Muay Thai Ceremony – Thailand Pays its Respects

 

Respecting an Ancient Thai Martial Art

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Over the past ten to fifteen years, the growth and popularity of Muay Thai has exploded onto the world-wide boxing stage. People come from all over the globe come to study at the numerous schools teaching this ancient martial art form all across Thailand.

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WATCH: 12th World Wai Kru Muay Thai Festival

The growing popularity of MMA has also helped the people of the world become aware of Muay Thai as being an exceedingly effective form of martial arts. But, in Thailand, most people have been aware of Muay Thai ever since they were small children.

Press Conference of the 13th World Wai Kru Muay Thai Ceremony
Muay Thai boxers perform a demonstration onstage.

The Discipline of Muay Thai

For the people of Thailand, Muay Thai is a part of the culture and its roots go way back before any of the current world-wide population had the inclination or the opportunity to step into the ring and begin their training in Muay Thai.

12th World Wai Kru Muay Thai Festival
A Muay Thai boxer pays his respects to a teacher.

The ‘wai’ is the traditional form of paying respect to someone. It’s performed by putting one’s palms together and bowing one’s head. ‘Kru’ come from the Sanskrit word for Guru. So, Wai Kru is literally translated as paying respect to your mentor or teacher.

12th World Wai Kru Muay Thai Festival
Teachers and mentors that are passing down the traditions of Muay Thai.

This sense of respect and the discipline instilled by this sense of respect is one of the main reasons why Muay Thai has become so well-received as a style of fighting. This discipline is reflected in the extraordinary toughness of the Mauy Thai fighter’s training regimens and out of that, the stamina, determination and resiliency it provides to the fighters.

Paying Homage to Muay Thai

The World Wai Kru Muay Thai Ceremony was first staged in Thailand in 2004. Muay Thai fighters and enthusiasts from around the world gathered in Thailand to learn more about the history of the sport and to pay their respect to the teachers and mentors of the past. Since then, it’s grown to be seen as an important part of the world-wide Muay Thai culture.

Press Conference of the 13th World Wai Kru Muay Thai Ceremony
Both male and female boxers participate in the ceremony.

This year, the Tourism Authority of Thailand is holding the ceremony in the ancient capital city of Ayutthaya and accompanying it by staging “The Amazing Muay Thai World Heritage Competition” that will showcase matches between the best boxers that Thailand has to offer going up against skilled, foreign opponents from the program “Thailand Festival Experience – Mission 1: Amazing Fight”. The bouts will be shown in video format online.

Press Conference of the 13th World Wai Kru Muay Thai Ceremony
The Tourism Authority of Thailand has organized the ceremony since 2004.

The Ayutthaya venue of the ceremony will also host booths, displays and exhibitions from all over Thailand that will provide Muay Thai aficionados with the ability to shop for Muay Thai schools, boxing equipment and clothing. There will also be displays of sword and knife-making skills and even the ancient practice of Sak Yant tattooing.

12th World Wai Kru Muay Thai Festival
The ancient art of Sak Yant Tattooing being demonstrated.

For anyone interested in the history, disciplines and culture surrounding Muay Thai, mark the date of March 17th on your calendar and head to Ayutthaya where you can immerse yourself in the ancient martial art of Muay Thai. If you’re in Thailand and need more information about the ceremony, please contact the TAT call centre by calling 1672.

Press Conference of the 13th World Wai Kru Muay Thai Ceremony
(From left to right) Mr. Kirby Repolido, Creative Director of the iTravel Channel, Mr. Buakew Banchamek, a champion boxer, Mr. Noppadon Pakprot, Deputy Governor for Tourism Products and Business of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and Ms. Thapanee Kiatphaibool, Executive Director, Product Promotion Department of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) join in welcoming visitors to the ceremony.
Press Conference of the 13th World Wai Kru Muay Thai Ceremony
Well-known foreign Muay Thai boxers come from around the world to participate in the ceremony.
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