Muay Thai Day lands on March 17th every year, which also happens to be known as St. Patrick’s Day, so it’s possible it’s not the first thing on your mind today. But let’s take a moment to reflect.
Thailand’s National Muay Thai Day, a.k.a. Boxer’s Day, celebrates the legacy of Nai Khanomtom, who legend has it defeated 10 consecutive Burmese fighters to win his freedom from the Burmese king Mangra in the late 1700s.
As the story goes, after Mangra captured the capital of Siam (as Thailand was once called), he decided to hold a fighting tournament to pit his Burmese boxers against their Siamese counterparts. Nai Khanomtom soundly defeated one of Burma’s champions, but officials claimed he had unfairly distracted his opponent by first dancing the wai khru. Mangra requested that Nai Khanomtom prove himself again, and he readily defeated another nine opponents in a row.
Mangra was so impressed with the display of fighting prowess that he granted Nai Khanomtom his freedom. In other versions of the tale, Mangra also released some or all of Nai Khanomtom’s people as well.
As such, National Muay Thai Day is a day to remember the roots of the art, to celebrate the history of Muay Thai and its warriors and teachers, and to pay respects to your own teacher and the lineage of Krus before him/her.
If you’re training today, take a moment to reflect. If you’re out drinking tonight instead, please remember to be responsible and safe. Happy National Muay Thai day!