Of all martial arts turned into sports, how come Muay Thai is the one that left elbows and knees esp in regards to kickboxing?

Bullsherdog

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I am extremely curious about this. Before MMA (and perhaps local Brazillian Vale Tudo and other close equivalents to UFC in Japan), MT was renown for being the most "complete" martial sports. Boxing banned kicks and every other handstrikes (and even the types of punches you can use is limited), most full contact karate forbids punching the face, TKD has been turned to sports sparring, Savate removed knees and elbows and requires a kick for every 3-punch combo, American kickboxing requires kick above the waist and forbids clinching, practically every fighting system turned to sports that has a mainstream following has forbid elbows and knees except MMA and has plenty of restrictions in regards to what you can target and combinations.

MT on the other hand not only allows full hitting almost anywhere (except for groin and other weakpoints) but it left in elbows and knees to the point the entire sport develop counters and strategies for using them. In addition unlike most kickboxing styles, there is no limit to how many kicks you can throw or where you can hit how many times and minimal rules on sweeping.
I am curious why did Thailand go in this direction regarding fighting sports? The main reason elbows and knees are banned in other sports including hard brutal kickboxing styles and full contact fighting such as Savate and Japanese shootboxing is because of just how dangerous they are. Especially elbow where you can easily kill someone with a well timed thrusting strike. Its telling even boxing, a style known to have brutal bloody face injuries and broken bones esp the ribs finds the effects of elbowing someone so terrifying.

Is there any historical reason for this? I mean since Thai fighters historically took quite some time to train and required specialized methodologies, how was Thailand able to maintain a steady flow of fighters despite brutal injuries and death? Boxing lost popularity over recent years because of its brutality and even MMA is getting hacked and the UFC recently added more rules to prevent bloody faces, etc.
What is it about Thailand's culture or geographic features that allowed elbowing and kneeing to be used in sports in contrast to say Savate (which already has brutal steel toed shoes that can break your legs and arms and love up your stomach if hit directly) and Japanese kickboxing (which is basically Kyokushin full contact sparring with punches to the face-Kyokushin is already a brutal karate style with breaking bricks and punching through wooden platforms and most Japanese kickboxers are also Kyokushin practitioners)?

Why couldn't other styles like American kickboxing and Savate be able maintain the brutal elbows and knees? The only other purely striking ring fighting sport I know that left knees and elbows is Bokator in Cambodia. Other than that fighting sports all over the world outside of Thailand have forbidden these two tools until MMA exploded in popularity. What were the historical trends that kept knees and elbows in MT and perhaps a few other styles of nearby countries lthat are not as famous like Cambodian Bokator?
 

Ivan

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I am extremely curious about this. Before MMA (and perhaps local Brazillian Vale Tudo and other close equivalents to UFC in Japan), MT was renown for being the most "complete" martial sports. Boxing banned kicks and every other handstrikes (and even the types of punches you can use is limited), most full contact karate forbids punching the face, TKD has been turned to sports sparring, Savate removed knees and elbows and requires a kick for every 3-punch combo, American kickboxing requires kick above the waist and forbids clinching, practically every fighting system turned to sports that has a mainstream following has forbid elbows and knees except MMA and has plenty of restrictions in regards to what you can target and combinations.

MT on the other hand not only allows full hitting almost anywhere (except for groin and other weakpoints) but it left in elbows and knees to the point the entire sport develop counters and strategies for using them. In addition unlike most kickboxing styles, there is no limit to how many kicks you can throw or where you can hit how many times and minimal rules on sweeping.
I am curious why did Thailand go in this direction regarding fighting sports? The main reason elbows and knees are banned in other sports including hard brutal kickboxing styles and full contact fighting such as Savate and Japanese shootboxing is because of just how dangerous they are. Especially elbow where you can easily kill someone with a well timed thrusting strike. Its telling even boxing, a style known to have brutal bloody face injuries and broken bones esp the ribs finds the effects of elbowing someone so terrifying.

Is there any historical reason for this? I mean since Thai fighters historically took quite some time to train and required specialized methodologies, how was Thailand able to maintain a steady flow of fighters despite brutal injuries and death? Boxing lost popularity over recent years because of its brutality and even MMA is getting hacked and the UFC recently added more rules to prevent bloody faces, etc.
What is it about Thailand's culture or geographic features that allowed elbowing and kneeing to be used in sports in contrast to say Savate (which already has brutal steel toed shoes that can break your legs and arms and love up your stomach if hit directly) and Japanese kickboxing (which is basically Kyokushin full contact sparring with punches to the face-Kyokushin is already a brutal karate style with breaking bricks and punching through wooden platforms and most Japanese kickboxers are also Kyokushin practitioners)?

Why couldn't other styles like American kickboxing and Savate be able maintain the brutal elbows and knees? The only other purely striking ring fighting sport I know that left knees and elbows is Bokator in Cambodia. Other than that fighting sports all over the world outside of Thailand have forbidden these two tools until MMA exploded in popularity. What were the historical trends that kept knees and elbows in MT and perhaps a few other styles of nearby countries lthat are not as famous like Cambodian Bokator?
I would say a large part of it because of how integral Muay Thai is to Thailands culture and society. It is very common for children to be placed in Muay Thai gyms to compete and earn money for their families. Changing the rules to Muay Thai would not only impact the countrys cultural heritage (which is very important to the monarchy) but also the lives and training of a very large proportion of its population.

People there live and breathe Muay Thai and they love it. To the point where many bars and restaurants have rings inside them for locals to fight and compete. Changing it would mean outrage.
 

Oily Dragon

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San Shou has both elbows and knees, including flying knees, not to mention clinch fighting and hip throws. That is not 20th century San Shou material, either, that's the old school stuff.

Muay Thai is a little more restrictive ruleset, but if you look beyond it to Muay Boran and its influences, you start to understand just how pared down Muay Thai really is. That's a good thing because it keeps Thai Boxers alive and kicking, pun intended. I think that if Muay Thai were to include more of the traditional content, it'd be fun to watch (Ong Bak on PPV? Yes please), but a lot fewer competitors.

 

hoshin1600

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I think your impression of how "deadly" these martial arts are, is wildly over blown.
Most martial art rules are not Instituted because of how dangerous something is, they are put in place to keep the largest portion of average participants and viewers interested while keeping lawsuits at bay. America is one of the most litigious countries. Thailand is not. They don't give a flying "F". Thailand is a different country and you need to understand exactly how different that culture is. They have no problem with 8year olds pounding the snot out of each other. Where here in the states and I would guess in Europe people would be calling every agency and congress person they could to ban and outlaw what they see as child abuse. While cock fighting is technically illegal now it's still very common in Thailand. Gambling is a favorite past time, including betting on your local 8 year old to knock out the other local kid from the next village over. It will change over time but there are large portions of those countries that are very rural, very third world and very poor. Rules don't mean squat when your trying to feed your family
 
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Bullsherdog

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I think your impression of how "deadly" these martial arts are, is wildly over blown.
Most martial art rules are not Instituted because of how dangerous something is, they are put in place to keep the largest portion of average participants and viewers interested while keeping lawsuits at bay. America is one of the most litigious countries. Thailand is not. They don't give a flying "F". Thailand is a different country and you need to understand exactly how different that culture is. They have no problem with 8year olds pounding the snot out of each other. Where here in the states and I would guess in Europe people would be calling every agency and congress person they could to ban and outlaw what they see as child abuse. While cock fighting is technically illegal now it's still very common in Thailand. Gambling is a favorite past time, including betting on your local 8 year old to knock out the other local kid from the next village over. It will change over time but there are large portions of those countries that are very rural, very third world and very poor. Rules don't mean squat when your trying to feed your family
This is nonesense for one reason.....


Dd you know Amateur Muay Thai actually use padded elbows and knees, and some at loer levels of skill esp among minors even forbid knees and elbows?


So it has nothing to do with Thaii pried or keepnig tradition considering even some regional tournaments use padded elbows.


So if anything it bring into question why professional MT is no-hols barred in contrast to say Boxe Francaise and modern Sanda? Since even in Thailand they are aware of the dangers enough that some sparring in gyms have forbidden knees and elbows in the country.
 

Oily Dragon

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Most martial art rules are not Instituted because of how dangerous something is, they are put in place to keep the largest portion of average participants and viewers interested while keeping lawsuits at bay.
Such as?

Which rules, I mean.
 

drop bear

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Less of an emphasis on workplace safety I imagine.

 

psycosteve

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Look back to the evolution of boxing in western culture. Boxing used to be bare-knuckle, and, a boxing round only ended when there was a knockdown. This made the fights slow, boring to watch, and more of a chess match than a fight. The addition of gloves, timed rounds along with, rules to promote the safety of the fighters not only made the sport more exciting to watch but protected fighters as well. The evolution of MT is just slower than western boxing due to the socio-economic conditions of Thailand. If one looks at the UFC pre Dana White it was a bloodsport with limited appeal. MT may evolve in time to become more fighter-friendly but not in my lifetime.
 

angelariz

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I am extremely curious about this. Before MMA (and perhaps local Brazillian Vale Tudo and other close equivalents to UFC in Japan), MT was renown for being the most "complete" martial sports. Boxing banned kicks and every other handstrikes (and even the types of punches you can use is limited), most full contact karate forbids punching the face, TKD has been turned to sports sparring, Savate removed knees and elbows and requires a kick for every 3-punch combo, American kickboxing requires kick above the waist and forbids clinching, practically every fighting system turned to sports that has a mainstream following has forbid elbows and knees except MMA and has plenty of restrictions in regards to what you can target and combinations.

MT on the other hand not only allows full hitting almost anywhere (except for groin and other weakpoints) but it left in elbows and knees to the point the entire sport develop counters and strategies for using them. In addition unlike most kickboxing styles, there is no limit to how many kicks you can throw or where you can hit how many times and minimal rules on sweeping.
I am curious why did Thailand go in this direction regarding fighting sports? The main reason elbows and knees are banned in other sports including hard brutal kickboxing styles and full contact fighting such as Savate and Japanese shootboxing is because of just how dangerous they are. Especially elbow where you can easily kill someone with a well timed thrusting strike. Its telling even boxing, a style known to have brutal bloody face injuries and broken bones esp the ribs finds the effects of elbowing someone so terrifying.

Is there any historical reason for this? I mean since Thai fighters historically took quite some time to train and required specialized methodologies, how was Thailand able to maintain a steady flow of fighters despite brutal injuries and death? Boxing lost popularity over recent years because of its brutality and even MMA is getting hacked and the UFC recently added more rules to prevent bloody faces, etc.
What is it about Thailand's culture or geographic features that allowed elbowing and kneeing to be used in sports in contrast to say Savate (which already has brutal steel toed shoes that can break your legs and arms and love up your stomach if hit directly) and Japanese kickboxing (which is basically Kyokushin full contact sparring with punches to the face-Kyokushin is already a brutal karate style with breaking bricks and punching through wooden platforms and most Japanese kickboxers are also Kyokushin practitioners)?

Why couldn't other styles like American kickboxing and Savate be able maintain the brutal elbows and knees? The only other purely striking ring fighting sport I know that left knees and elbows is Bokator in Cambodia. Other than that fighting sports all over the world outside of Thailand have forbidden these two tools until MMA exploded in popularity. What were the historical trends that kept knees and elbows in MT and perhaps a few other styles of nearby countries lthat are not as famous like Cambodian Bokator?
Because Thai people and South East asians are tough and the culture has had Muay Thai Boran for a long long time.
 

lklawson

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Look back to the evolution of boxing in western culture. Boxing used to be bare-knuckle, and, a boxing round only ended when there was a knockdown.
Yes. True.

This made the fights slow, boring to watch,
Umm... not really. Fights always drew fans, often a stadium full. Amateur and semi-pro fights were common and the prizes ran from simple bragging rights through a purse to even (in a few documented cases) a woman. Women boxed bare knuckle too (and in at least one case the prize was a man). The fans loved boxing and enjoyed when one would "draw the claret" (bloody a nose) and particularly loved when the fighters went to clinch because they knew a throw was coming soon; usually a variation of a hip-toss, foot sweep, or lever throw. Wealthy patrons and gentry fans rubbed elbows with the unwashed hoipaloi and cheered for their favorite fighter.

Just because you think it sounds boring doesn't mean that a different culture than yours agrees. I mean, Cricket exists.


and more of a chess match than a fight.
Sometimes, yes, sometimes no. Some matches could last hundreds of rounds and, in at least one case, one was stopped for the evening when it got dark and started again the next morning. But it was still very popular. Numerous books and articles were written, and a large number of schools existed to teach boxing. It was considered a uniquely English method of self defense and treated as both a sport and an unarmed method of defense.


The addition of gloves, timed rounds along with, rules to promote the safety of the fighters
Well... The first rules by Jack Broughton were specifically implemented as safety measures; Broughton killed a man he was boxing and felt so guilty about it that he invented the rules. The next major set of rules, the London Prize Ring rules were basically for the gamblers. They were trying to make a set of rules that everyone agreed on. Earlier, Boxers could send Seconds to negotiate the agreed on rule sets, as happened with the famous Mendoza vs. Humphries match, which reads like a Bruce Lee movie fight scene. The third major rule set, the Marquess of Queensberry rules, were written to hush up a the Victorian era "moral majority" who were complaining that Boxing was a barbaric blood-sport. This was common and you can read articles and occasional boxing manual introductions from the time defending Boxing as a noble sport and self defense method steeped in English tradition. The boxers and fans, mostly, didn't really think that boxing needed to be "made safer," but growing social pressure from the clenched-up Victorian do-gooders made the boxing community look around for things to shut them up. The Queensberry rules helped with that.


not only made the sport more exciting to watch but protected fighters as well.
Meh. I don't think it made it "more exciting" but it definitely changed the way the sport works. While it is widely believed today, and was certainly widely believed at the time, that the addition of gloves protected the participants, modern sports medicine is continuing to weigh in on TBI's and "Dementia Pugilistic."


The evolution of MT is just slower than western boxing due to the socio-economic conditions of Thailand. If one looks at the UFC pre Dana White it was a bloodsport with limited appeal. MT may evolve in time to become more fighter-friendly but not in my lifetime.
I've followed UFC, off and on, since the beginning. Sports related injuries seem to be at a lower percentage, particularly long term injuries. Those that are seem to be related to joint injuries instead of concussions.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

GreatSayiaman

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As I was reading this thread about Muay Thai keeping the knees and elbows in regards to the other Kickboxing Styles, First I do agree that Muay Thai is very much set in tradition and It did had to get watered down a bit from Muay Boran as I was told.

However Lethwei a Burmese version of Kickboxing also allows the Knees, Elbows with the Inclusion of Headbutts. There are some areas where they keep the tradition of a two minute time out rest period if the fighter is too banged up and there are no judges so that means it is a draw if it goes the distance. However with Modern Lethwei rules posted here The New Rules there are now judges and Doctor stoppages but still keeping the Headbutts and bare knuckles in the art and sport.

In reality it just depends on where you are at.
 

Oily Dragon

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As I was reading this thread about Muay Thai keeping the knees and elbows in regards to the other Kickboxing Styles, First I do agree that Muay Thai is very much set in tradition and It did had to get watered down a bit from Muay Boran as I was told.
Western boxing is super-civilized compared to Asian boxing.

What they took out of Muay Boran to make Muay Thai isn't that different from what they took out of Chinese styles to make San Shou. Some countries don't even have a great platform themselves, because of history, so they're forced to compete elsewhere (sorry, Vietnam).

Not necessarily a great move, in my opinion. A lot of value gets lost over time, before you know it, nothing but hits and misses.
 
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