• Pahuyuth martial arts dab daab daahb thai thailearn sword fighting berlin potsdam krabi krabong BANNER 2022
  • Pahuyuth martial arts dab daab daahb thai thai learn historic sword fighting berlin potsdam krabi krabong FEATURED 2022

DAAB – Traditional Thai Sword Fighting

DAAB (sword) is traditional armed combat with arm-length objects as improvised weapons and Thai swords, which can be used as single or double swords.

The Thai sword (DAAB) originally comes from a simple rice trucheon (Gab) or a weed scythe (Gab Gleeh). These tools were used as improvised weapons against Chinese invaders more than 4000 years ago and were developed into fighting swords over time.

Typical for this type of sword fighting is the use of the rather centrally located center of gravity, which allows a high rotation speed and complex movement patterns, as well as the use of the grip end with which blunt strikes can be executed. Authentic Thai sword art is always trained with heavy training weapons made of wood or steel, but never with light rattan or bamboo.

The Pahuyuth School in Berlin is the only school in the world where the infamous DAAB NARESUAN (also known as “Sword of Ayutthaya”) is taught. A special one-handed sword style developed and secretly passed on by a paramilitary special unit under the reign of King Naresuan (1590-1605 A.D.)

Dab daab darb dahb Ayutthaya sword drawn cutout

“A sword is not a hammer, so you don’t use it that way.”

Typology of DAAB

Thai swords (DAAB) are worldwide unique and not related to any other sword type. They belong to the arm-long, one-hand and one side sharpened blank weapons and are divided into three equal-length sections.

Sword Face and Sword Catch

The first is the so-called sword face (weakness), which measures about one third of the blade length from the tip of the blade. It is mainly used for attack. The lower blade area (strength) is called the sword catch and is used for defense. While the sharp side of the blade is used for chopping, cutting or tearing, the blunt back of the sword can be used to defend against attacks and to shatter bones. Some swords have an engraved writing or symbols on the blade, which are said to have a magical effect.

Steel and edge retention

Due to the low purity and quality of Southeast Asian steel, these swords have always been prone to relatively heavy wear. Aggressive clashing of the blades is therefore avoided. A Thai sword is not a hammer – therefore the power of the opponent’s attack is preferably used to reposition one’s own blade and to gain power for counter attacks. In times of war, sword blades were occasionally pulled through decomposing corpses or excrement to increase the blade’s effectiveness through the cadaveric poison and bacterial infections.

Image: Daab (Daab Ayutthaya)

Guard

Between the blade and the hilt there is sometimes a very small guard. A hand protection is not provided for Free-Warrior swords (Daab), because it would impair the guiding of the sword. Unlike other sword fighting styles, between a DAAB swordsman and the blade of his opponent lies solely the fighting ability and skill of the one who wields the sword.

Hilt and Pommel

The sword hilt covers another third of the sword and serves for balance. Traditionally Thai swords have a round handle, which allows a secure hold and a smooth change of the grip (blade up or down).

The end of the hilt (pommel) is sometimes reinforced with a solid steel knob. Stabbing with the point of the sword (Ort) are rather unusual because of the curvature of most swords and the often wide bladed tip. Instead, it is preferable to stab or strike with the end of the handle. It is said that in the course of time more people have died by the pommel than by the blade of such a sword.

Sword hull

The sword hull (scabbard) is usually made of hardwood and can be used for defense and attack due to its high stability. The original form of fighting with the double sword is performed with the scabbard in one hand and the sword in the other. The rope attached to the scabbard is mainly used for transport purposes and to secure the sword hull. In the case of teacher’s swords, the transverse bands or stripes can be an indication of the years of teachership already completed.

Balance and handling

Thai swords are not top-heavy but balanced. They are held close to the balance point of the sword. This allows a high rotation speed and enables complex movement patterns by changing direction. The thumb, the base of the index finger and the forefinger act as the axis of rotation, while the opening and closing of the hand creates the rotary swing. Sword strokes can thus be produced not only from the arm or body rotation, but also from the hand or wrist.

The fighting style of the DAAB

An experienced DAAB-Warrior knows how to handle both one and two swords (or a sword hull). Fighting with only one sword is generally preferred and is considered the highest form of sword fighting. He also masters the fight with arm-length objects (e.g. baseball clubs, batons and cudgels) and the fight against one or more opponents with the same or different armament.

A DAAB-Warrior integrates bodily weapons (fist, foot, elbow and knee) as well as ground fighting and grip techniques into his fighting style. He has a considerable repertoire of pommel attacks and handling techniques. This enables him to manipulate the opponent’s weapon (Winden im Band) and to operate with deadly precision in very close environments (e.g. in the jungle or on the battlefield).

Pahuyuth martial art daab dahb thai sword lannaa teacher swords dark

Whoever is capable to learn the ways of the traditional sword (DAAB) becomes a worthy guardian of the ancient sword culture and a descendant of all those who fought for peace and freedom.

– a teacher

Typical Thai sword types

Daab dahb darb thai sword traditional types designs komfaek grabong tahw jaw meed dtoh bong ploong taeng mueh gaab gleeh

The Free-Warrior sword (DAAB) originally derived from a rice trucheon (Gab) or a weed scythe (Gab Gleeh). As improvised weapons, these tools were already used against invaders several thousand years ago and in the course of time were developed into unique fighting swords.

Daab dahb darb thai sword traditional types designs

The two most common types of war swords are the Daab Nueah (Daab Lanna), which is native to the north of present-day Thailand, and the Daab Ayutthaya, which is from the south.

Sword Handling

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Sword Techniques

Pahuyuth compendium daab techniques thai sword

DAAB students of the basic level (green belt) learn 152 school techniques.

Technical Manual

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The Pahuyuth Compendium contains the 152 school techniques of DAAB.

Book trailer

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The Pahuyuth Compendium is the new technical handbook for the basic level.

It contains the basic techniques of MUAI, LING LOM, MEED, MAI SAWK, DAAB, GRABONG and SABAI.

DAAB Topics

DAAB – The original Krabi Krabong

After the execution of King Tak Sin in 1782 AD, the ancient Pahuyuth Free-Warriors retreated from the public. They went underground and took the knowledge about Thai sword fighting (DAAB) with them.

Decades later, during the reign of King Rama II (1809-1826 AD), members of the royal family developed an entertaining stage fencing for noble people: The so-called Krabi Krabong.

The Krabi Krabong has never been used in war, let alone was it designed for it. Nevertheless, in many places it is falsely declared as an ancient combat martial art. For this reason, DAAB (war sword) as it is taught in the Pahuyuth School in Berlin can be called the “original Krabi Krabong”.

Detailed information about Krabi Krabong and its history can be found in our blog article.

DAAB NARESUAN – The sword of Ayutthaya

After his coronation in 1590 A.D. King Naresuan restructured the armed forces of his empire.

On his orders, a group of paramilitary Free-Warriors (Pahuyuth) was asked to protect the country in the event of an invasion and to conduct covert operations.

This resulted in a new sword style (DAAB), which was secretly passed on among the descendants of this sword fighting art – the so-called DAAB NARESUAN, also known as the “Sword of Ayutthaya”.

As the indirect founder of this style, King Naresuan has since then been regarded as sword fighting teacher honoris causa and is worshipped by the members of DAAB NARESUAN to this day.

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The day the fishtails began to twitch

April 8, 2007 (AD): For the first time since the early 1950s students and teachers of different Thai fighting styles met in the Royal Park to talk freely about their styles and exchange experiences.

The various types of Thai fighting styles were always very varied and widely spread. Therefore martial artists and sportsmen of different styles like MUAI, PAHUYUTH, Krabi Krabong and Gila Daab took part in this years meeting.

A long time ago it happened that pickled fish on Ayutthaya’s old market place suddenly started to twitch. This was considered an omen that would prophesy the beginning of a Burmese invasion and summoned hundreds of Thai warriors from all over Thailand to defend their country.

In keeping with this well-known historical event, the motto of this year’s meeting was: “The day the fish began to twitch”.

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Thai sword and European sword

In the year of the Lord 2017 we were invited by our friends from the Brotherhood of the Ascanians to participate in the medieval castle festival at Ziesar Castle.

The mutual deep respect and curiosity for each other’s sword style leads to an interesting exchange of knowledge. We have recorded parts of this memorable encounter of warriors and blades from different cultures and share them in the following video.

More about the Brotherhood of the Ascanians: To the website

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Traditional sword dances (Ram Daab)

The dance with the sword belongs to the traditional cultural heritage of the swordsmen and is taught to DAAB practitioners of the higher learning levels upon request. Necessary prerequisites are knowledge of DAAB and Saiyasart. Three examples of such sword dances can be found in the following videos.

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The Curse of King Naresuan

Members of the DAAB NARESUAN cultivate a special form of the traditional sword dance. Whenever they visit the statue of the king in Ayutthaya, they express their respect and appreciation for King Naresuan with a special sword dance (Ram Daab).

Legend has it that a sword dance performed by a person unworthy or incapable of representing the true legacy of King Naresuan’s followers would be tantamount to an insult to majesty. It is therefore said that those people would fall victim to a curse and die within 48 hours after the performance of such a dance.

We have dedicated a blog post to the curse of King Naresuan.

King naresuan curse history thai sword fight ritual

Make your own practice swords

If possible, members of Pahuyuth weapon fighting disciplines (knife, shield, sword, staff, scarf) always produce their training weapons themselves. Learning a weapon fighting style naturally requires the integration of foreign objects into the movement patterns of the own body.

The production of training weapons is a first step towards establishing a personal relationship with your own weapon and the respective weapon type. All training weapons, with the exception of scarves, are always produced in pairs.

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Sword Fighting 101

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In this video a teacher explains what a Thai sword is, where it comes from, how to grip it properly and how to use it.

Sword Fighting Basic Techniques: Handling for Beginners

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In this video a teacher shows basic handling techniques for beginners.

Sword Fighting Basic Techniques: Attack Techniques for Beginners

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In this video a teacher shows five attack techniques with the sword for beginners.

Sword Fighting Basic Techniques: Attack and Defense Techniques for Beginners

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In this video a teacher shows four basic attack and defense techniques with the sword for beginners.

Sword Fighting Basic Techniques: Sword Applications for Beginners

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In this video, a teacher shows six applications for Thai swords for beginners.

How to use a sword scabbard

In these two videos a teacher shows how to use a Thai sword scabbard. The sword hull is used for safe transport. It usually consists of hardwood and can be used for defense and attack due to its high stability.

An old saying says that a drawn Thai sword is “thirsty”, especially if it is a sword with magic engravings. For this reason in many cases it was decided not to draw the sword at all. They were only completely drawn if it was really not avoidable.

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Advanced Sword Fighting Lessons

In these three videos a teacher explains why DAAB practitioners prefer to fight with only one sword instead of double-sword (Daab Song Mue), why control and precision are more important than strength and where the differences between DAAB (war sword) and Krabi Krabong (show and sport fighting) lie.

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DAB Videos

DAAB Posts

DAAB in the context of Pahuyuth

Swords and sword-like objects have always been among the main weapons of close combat in warlike conflicts. The value of DAAB lies therefore in the ability to master and/or better fight against this type of weapon (arm-length objects).

Practitioners of MUAI and LING LOM can find their way relatively easy in this discipline due to the fact, that bodily weapons are also included in DAAB. For them, this discipline offers a relatively easy entry into the armed combat methods of Pahuyuth (AWUD).

MEED warriors can discover similarities in the use of the sword grip or pommel. GRABONG warriors usually find it easier to get used to the complex turning techniques of DAAB. Studying the handling and turning techniques of DAAB helps MAI SAWK and SABAI practitioners to better understand this weapon and its limitations.

Pahuyuth Skilltree muai ling lom meed mai sawk daab grabong sabai martial art

PAHUYUTH includes seven different martial arts disciplines that can be learned individually and combined seamlessly. Learn more about the other Pahuyuth disciplines on our topic pages.

Pahuyuth martial arts muai muay thai boran berlin germany learn schools kaempfer FEATURED 2022

MUAI is a stand-up fighting using the four bodily weapons fist, foot, elbow and knee.

Find out more

Pahuyuth martial arts ling lom berlin ground combat melee grappling kaempfer fight FEATURED 2022

LING LOM is unarmed Pahuyuth using all capabilities and conditions of the human body.

Find out more

Pahuyuth Martial Arts meed Knife Military Knife Combat Knife Learn Combat FEATURED 2022

MEED (knife) is armed combat with hand-long objects and knives.

Find out more

Pahuyuth martial arts mai sawk shield fight pancawangan sakti tonfa berlin FEATURED 2022

MAI SAWK (Shield) is armed combat with forearm-long objects and shields.

Find out more

Pahuyuth martial arts grabong staff staves combat long staff bo training exercises berlin FEATURED 2022

GRABONG (Stock) is armed combat with body-long objects and quarterstaves.

Find out more

Pahuyuth martial arts sabei scarf Keffiyeh Kufiya shemagh pali scarf fight kaempfen berlin FEATURED 2022

SABAI (cloth) is armed combat with flexible objects and scarfs.

Find out more

DAAB FAQ

Here we collect questions and answers about DAAB, Thai sword, Thai sword fighting, Krabi Krabong, sabre, sword, historical sword fighting and more. This section is under construction. If you have a specific question that has not yet been answered here, please send us an e-mail to [email protected].

We recommend buying Thai swords directly from blacksmiths in Ayutthaya. Often these are small family businesses that have literally several hundred years of experience in the production of such swords and thus contribute to cultural preservation.

We usually craft our wooden training swords ourselves. For this we use simple and inexpensive materials that are available in every hardware store. You can find our video tutorial here.

We purchase our steel swords from Kai Meed Ayutthaya.

Learn DAAB

  • You are interested in topics such as Thai sword fighting, Thai swords, Krabi Krabong, Daab Thai, Gila Dab, Burmese sword fighting, Kali, Escrima, Arnis or historical or medieval sword fighting in general?
  • You are already familiar with one or more of the above-mentioned fighting styles and search for a way to further your education?
  • You are an absolute beginner and want to learn sword fighting?
  • You want to become “worthy guardian of the ancient sword culture and a descendant of all those who fought for peace and freedom” ?

You want to learn DAAB, but don’t know where to start yet?

No problem! With the following steps, you can now immediately start your training and lay the foundation for your sword fighting training – free of charge, without obligation and anonymously. Just train when and where you want, without registration, without devices and as long and as often as you want. Just start!

Pahuyuth martial arts train at home fitness 30 exercises featured
  • Step 1: Your first workout

    The 30 Exercises are our standard fitness training for beginners. Everyone has to get through this. We share this approximately one-hour workout for free on our website.

    We recommend that you take a look at the exercises and try to do them in order to get a first impression.

    Important: In order to start training with us it is not necessary to be able to perfom the 30 exercises perfectly in advance.

    ➔ To the 30 Exercises

Pahuyuth martial art instruction video video 1984 techniques for beginners online muai muay thai boran berlin 1984 featured
  • Step 2: Your first techniques

    You can also learn your first fifteen fighting techniques for beginners completely free of charge and even contact-free from home.

    Just watch our instructional video from 1984 and practice the techniques shown. For this you need neither previous knowledge nor a special talent. Just give it a try.

    Important: In order to start training with us, it is not necessary to be able to perform these techniques perfectly in advance.

    ➔ To the instructional video from 1984

Pahuyuth Anonymitaet anonymous
  • Step 3: Start becoming a "no one"

    Pahuyuth is a method of close combat that was developed and used by paramilitary special forces, mercenaries and commando units (aka “No one”).

    Following the ancient traditions, we place a certain value to data protection and privacy and maintain a so-called “tradition of discretion” as part of our training. This means that we do not use real names during our training, but so-called Warrior-Names.

    Your brain teaser task: Start becoming a “no one” by giving yourself a pseudonym or at least thinking about who or what you would like to be for yourself or others.

  • Step 4 (optional): Register

    If steps one to three sparked your interest and you want more of this, then register with your self-chosen warrior-name either at our trial training in Berlin (up to 3x free of charge) or for our worldwide online training (in German and English). Details on the respective training formats can be found on the topic pages linked below.

    Pro Tip: If you have any questions about the steps above, please email us at [email protected]

Trial training in Berlin

Here you will find further information about our live training in Berlin-Neukölln.

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Online training worldwide

Here you will find further information about our online training format.