Paragraph Indent The 1930's saw the most radical change in the sport. It was then that it was codified and today's rules and regulations were introduced. Rope bindings of the arms and hands were abandoned and gloves took their place.
Paragraph Indent This innovation was also in response to the growing success of Thai Boxers in international boxing.
Paragraph Indent Along with the introduction of gloves, came weight classes based on the international boxing divisions. These and other innovations - such as the introduction of five rounds - substantially altered the fighting techniques that the boxers used causing some of them to disappear.
Paragraph Indent Before the introduction of weight classes, a fighter could and did fight all comers regardless of size and weight differences. However, the introduction of the weight classes meant that the fighters were more evenly matched and instead of there being one champion, there became one for each weight class.
Paragraph Indent Most Muay Thai fighters belong to the lighter weight classes. Seventy percent of all fighters belong to the fly and bantam weight divisions. There are welterweight and middleweight fights but they are not seen that often and the heavier categories seldom fight.
Paragraph Indent The establishment of stadiums, instead of makeshift rings and courtyards, began during the reign of Rama VII before the Second World War. During the war, they gradually disappeared but mushroomed again soon afterwards - Muay Thai had not lost any of its appeal. The boxers from up-country once again headed toward fame and fortune in Bangkok.
Paragraph Indent The glory could be found at stadiums like Rajdamnern and Lumpinee. Later, they fought in full colour fury on television. Thailand's Channel 7 started broadcasting the fights in colour over 20 years ago. Today all four Thai television stations broadcast free to millions of Muay Thai fans throughout Thailand - four nights a week.
Paragraph Indent The battle art has evolved into a popular sport. Ruled, codified and now with five three minute rounds, each with a two minute recovery period between rounds.
Paragraph Indent Those old timers around today who fought before the second world war, lament the changes bought about by the standardisation of the sport. The three minute round and weight classes has, they say, changed the sport as they remembered it.
Paragraph Indent "We had to fight all comers," one recalls. "Had to know all the tricks of the trade. We used strikes and techniques these fighters haven't even been taught. We didn't have these breaks and instead fought 'till one of us dropped."
Paragraph Indent They are also right. Muay Thai has changed across the years. Changed and evolved from a battlefield close quarters killing ground technique based on a fighting tradition passed on from generation to generation up to the present time.
Paragraph Indent But despite the changes of history, Muay Thai has lost none of its exotic appeal and even mystique. Muay Thai is still the fighting art to beat. The fighting art that defeats all challenges from Kung Fu, Karate, Taekwando and the latest kickboxing fashions. They have all come to Thailand, not just once but many times and from many places to test themselves.
Paragraph Indent Muay Thai has lost none of its appeal in Thailand. The television fight broadcasts rate among the Kingdom's most popular programmes.
Paragraph Indent In the provinces, villages cluster around any available TV to watch. In the city, people disappear from the streets while Thailand is watching Muay Thai.
Paragraph Indent Thai Boxing is also becoming increasingly popular outside of Thailand. It has its enthusiasts and practitioners in the Americas, Australia, Japan, Europe, as well as in many other countries around the world.
Paragraph Indent The illustrious history of Muay Thai will continue as it receives greater recognition and gains in international popularity.