Muay Thai Equipment

equipment-and-outfit.jpgTraining equipment is no less important than any other aspect of Muay-Thai. Building strength and endurance to keep a fighter in top physical condition must rely on quality and up-to-standard training equipment. 

Punching or kicking bags are very important in keeping a fighter in top physical condition. They are usually filled with sawdust and sand. Some training camps, like the Ket Songkram Camp, pack their bags with scrap cloth. But one camp, the Chuea Chaiya Camp, once owned by the now-deceased grand old master of Muay-Thai, Ajarn Khetr Sriyabhaya, fills its kicking bags with sliced-up pieces of old automobile tires. 

Specially-designed protective pads which are worn by a sparring partner, are used to build up the reflexes of all the boxer’s weapon. One of two types of pads can be used, depending on what techniques the boxer wishes to concentrate on during the sparring session.


Headgear is worn while sparring to protect the head from glove blows and prevent brain damage. It also lessens the impact of blows by other weapons: 

Skipping ropes are important in building up stamina and the leg muscles. 

Bags gloves lessen the impact on the fists when working out with the punching bag. They protect 

against sprains around the heel of the hand. There are several types of bag gloves, with the fingers either covered or exposed. 

Punching balls help develop eye reflexes and speed in dodging and blocking. The different types include the single-ring ball suspended from a horizontal beam and the double-ring ball tied both to a beam and to the floor. 

The stopwatch, although a small item, plays a significant role in all workouts. In the hands of the trainer, it is used to help the boxer develop a sense of time intervals and the amount of time remaining.

Scales may be the most important piece of equipment for a boxer. They can tell him exactly what his weight is. 

Anklets help to prevent ankle sprains. They also help to give the boxer agility in delivering foot kicks. 

The boxer’s outfit or fighting gear consists of the “mongkon”, armbands, bandages, gloves, trunks, groin guard, and anklets. 

(ch 19) 

To practice Thai boxing is not simply having a few punches and kicks at a punching bag and then going into the ring. It is essential to know how to survive in the ring. For this, one must learn how to protect oneself against an onslaught of kicks, knees, elbows and punches, so the proper knowledge of boxing guard is indispensable. 

The right boxing guard

                A classic guard for Thai boxing is the one associated with Master Khetr Sriyapai (now deceased) of the Chua Chaiya camp. The standing position must be correct, namely, place for feet parallel to each other so that one can move on the opponent with the right or left leg from whatever angle of attack. It is immaterial whether one guard with the right or left arm in the lead; one must position both shins in the direction of the opponent. Bend the knees a little, so that they are sufficiently flexible to meet the kick of the opponent, and springy enough to execute the footwork to get the body out of harm’s way. There is no need to flex the knee muscles would react immediately to any move and launch an attack on the opponent whenever there is an opportunity. The body must be angled towards the opponent by about 2/3 of the frontal position. 

                Before we proceed any further, it is important to understand the weak points which could be paralyzed by an opponent so that the boxing guard can be correctly appreciated. The thigh is an obvious weak point, as it is part of the vulnerable line starting from the groin down to the calf until the heel. 

                One arm leads with the fist at the level of the forehead or its approximate level. The other fist stays back but a height approximate to the middle of the leading arm so that it can cover the gaps at the flank and abdomen. The elbows should also be in the alert position. 

                The above mentioned guard is the normal position adopted in stepping towards the opponent. The reason why one hand is held back in that way is because it protects a very important part of the body. The chest consists of the ribs and breast-bone. The ribs are like a cage which protects what is inside. Whereas the breast-bone would protect one of the most important organs of the human anatomy, that is, the heart. The breast-bone joints could expand a little like the collar bones. Below the ribs, there is nothing as protection, because all is muscle, namely, the stomach muscles. The important organs below the ribs are the kidneys which are close to the backbone. If the back is hit, the kidneys will also be hit. There is also the bladder. These organs will be protected if the stomach muscle is regularly exercised. 

                Several kinds of damage can be done to the chest, namely, the bone around the chest can be ruptured due to heavy impact, the ribs could be bruised, infected of broken. All the examples mentioned serve to underline the importance of protecting oneself properly by using the right guard against an attack by the opponent. One can not overemphasize the potential physical harm to the body. 

                The first thing to do whenever there is a clinch is to pull back the leading fist still pointing towards the opponent. The other fist will be behind and lower. The front leg should be lifted the tip of the foot pointed ready for a quick kick, the elbows and knees should be close together. 

                This boxing guard is touched upon to show how one can protect oneself. 

The Right Movement

The movement or footwork used to approach the opponent in the old days was the Sam Khum Step. This makes a quick attack and retreat possible, and it is impossible for the opponent to guess the style of attack. He might be puzzled pr completely lose his way around the ring. The Sam Khum Step is the most lethal form of footwork, as was already mentioned in the chapter on the Yang Sam Khum Step. But we would like to warn the boxer not to be too nervous, or else he will run out of steam too soon and miss the opportunity for an attack. 

The Correct Principles

In Thai boxing, every part of the body must be in complete synchronization, regardless of boxing technique but taking into account the important parts, namely, the torso, feet, arms and chin. 

The Torso can be divided into three parts, namely, facing the opponent for only one quarter of the body. When the upper body is positioned in this way, we must see to it that we are ready to rain various types of blows on the opponent, and to think ahead about how to cope with the counterattack and how to reduce the body target. 

Feet will have to be in harmony with other parts. Feet are most useful for Thai boxers. They have to be positioned in such a way that they point a little bit inwards, the shins are parallel, ready to take the lead with any foot. The legs should be parallel, and ready to support the body weight equally. 

Two Parts of the Arms are used namely, fists and elbow. The arms should be on constant alert as the weapon to attack the other side or as the shield against the opponent’s strike.