MUAI – Traditional Boxing (The original Muay Boran)

MUAI (also DTIE MUAI, MUAI DUEKDAMMBAN or “the original Muay Boran”) is traditional boxing using the four bodily weapons, fist, foot, elbow and knee.

In order to survive in times of peace, Pahuyuth Free-Warriors held improvisational fights with punches, kicks, elbows and knees from about 900 AD. This resulted in a new fighting method called MUAI, from which the Thai national sport Muay Thai (Thaiboxing) and other Southeast Asian fighting styles (e.g. Bokator, Pradal Serey, Lethwei, Muay Lao, etc.) were derived.

As a direct spin-off of LING LOM, MUAI proved to be extremely effective in hand-to-hand combat, which is why it was brought back into Pahuyuth by the Free-Warriors and is preserved in its original form until the present day. Due to its unique origin, MUAI can be called the “original Muay Boran” (ancient muay).

In the beginner level, MUAI is practiced with 8oz. boxing gloves. From the intermediate level onwards, they are left off and advanced students also include ground combat techniques from LING LOM.

By focusing on unregulated and limitless fighting with bare fists, MUAI is ideally suited for modern self-defense purposes and offers students a practical introduction into Pahuyuth.

MUAI is like flowing water …

Typology of MUAI

MUAI is an associated stand-up fighting system derived from LING LOM, which uses the four bodily weapons fist, foot, knee and elbow. The use of combat techniques in MUAI pursues the principle of thrusting and striking. Variants and combinations are formed for the four elements.

Pahuyuth Muai Muay Thai Boran four bodily weapons science of eigth limbs

Since the MUAI is not a sport, there are no sports-related restrictions (e.g. competition rules, lap times, fairness, etc.). Fighting against several opponents is just as much a part of the repertoire as fighting without gloves and handwraps (Bare-Knuckle). For the clearer distinction between sports boxing (“Muay”, “Muay Veti”, “Muay Thai”, etc.) and the combat discipline associated with PAHUYUTH, “MUAI” is written with an “i”.

The fist and foot techniques belong to the distance weapons of MUAI. The fist techniques are used straight, curved or mixed punches. They often but not exclusively target the opponent’s head or torso. The foot techniques are distinguished according to their angle of impact into ascending, parallel and descending. They can be used against any part of the opponent’s body.

The elbow techniques are particularly suitable for defense against attacks and as a precise close-range weapon. They are executed in ascending, parallel, and descending direction. Knees are also used for attack and defense. The stability of knee techniques is based on the principles of counter-traction, counter-rotation and balance. The ability to apply these principles determines the effect. As a close-range weapon, knee variants are divided into rising, parallel and falling.

The combat style of the MUAI is based on the combination of the four bodily weapons in relation to ones respective body position as well as in the sequence of attack and defense techniques. The stability of the fighter is considered as basic condition in order to be able to perform the fighting techniques optimally.

The strategy and tactics of MUAI are similar to a hunting game of predator and prey. With increasing competence and ability, the fighter’s focus shifts from simple decision-making to complete control of the course of the fight. He himself determines the nature and timing of the victory. The tactical approach can be compared to a chess game against an experienced opponent, where the willingness to take risks, being cautious and prudence are necessary.

MUAI Techniques

Pahuyuth compendium muai techniques

MUAI students of the basic level (green belt) learn 200 basic techniques.

Pahuyuth kompendium techniques handbook square

The Pahuyuth Compendium contains the 200 basic techniques of MUAI.

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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.

MUAI and MUAY THAI

We are often asked what the differences to the Thai national sport Muay Thai (Thaiboxing or Muay Veti) or Thai kickboxing are. The main differences are:

  1. MUAI is not a sport. There are no rules.
  2. MUAI fights bare-handed.
  3. MUAI fights without shin guards and protectors.
  4. MUAI can include ground combat and grip techniques.
  5. MUAI fights against multiple opponents.
  6. MUAI has overlaps with armed combat (AWUD).
  7. MUAI has no Wai Kru Ram Muai choreography.
  8. MUAI is not designed for sporting competitions.

We have compiled the most important facts and further details on this topic in a blog post.

muai muay thai thaiboxing thai no sports featured

MUAI – the original Muay Boran

The film ONG BAK, starring Tony Jaa, made traditional fighting styles from Thailand known worldwide. What only few people know: The so-called “old-fashioned Muay” (Muay Boran) is hardly older than the above-mentioned film from 2003 and has little in common with ancient martial arts.

Muay Boran was developed in the mid-1990s when MMA (mixed martial arts) began to drive Muay Thai out of the market. An economically oriented community of interests from Thailand then created a loose curriculum of techniques that were no longer allowed in sporting competitions (Muay Veti) and imaginative show techniques that date back to a time after the withdrawal of the ancient Free-Warriors.

For a better demarcation, the wearing of handwraps and ropes was made fashionable. They are said to have been used by ancient warriors on the battlefield. But this seems illogical if one considers that weapons (e.g. Thai swords)have always been used on historical battlefields. Weapons can hardly be expertly used with bandaged hands.

Muay Boran was and is a good business for many. Whether it has done Thai culture a favor lies in the eye of the beholder.

Unlike Muay Boran, MUAI as it is taught at the Pahuyuth School in Berlin can look back on more than a thousand years of history and development, which is why it can actually be classified as “ancient”. For this reason, MUAI is called “the original Muay Boran”.

muay thai boran kaempfer kaempferin thaiboxen kultur

Branded Exoticism – in order to promote tourism, an image of Thai and Southeast Asian martial arts has been promoted that is as unrealistic as it is absurd.

Bare-Knuckle – Fighting without gloves and handwraps

From the white belt level onwards, students deal with the situational application of MUAI techniques, their combinations and teaching their knowledge to younger students. Partner trainings from this level on are carried out without boxing gloves (Bare-Knuckle). Elements from LING LOM, such as grips, throws and ground-fighting can also be integrated.

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“Pack Boxing” – Fighting against multiple opponents

Whether on historical battlefields or in modern self-defense situations, one-on-one fights are rather the exception than the rule. In regularly held “pack boxing” sessions, MUAI students build up their skills and learn field-tested techniques and tactics for surviving life-threatening combat situations with multiple attackers.

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The traditional foot initiation

MUAI is traditionally trained without mouthguard, head protection, chest protection, mats or shin guards. Beginners of this discipline use 8oz. boxing gloves and, if necessary, abdominal protection.

MUAI students (green belt) train at the beginning of their careers only with fist or boxing techniques. Only when a certain level of knowledge is reached they are introduced into the art of kicking. This has always been done with the so-called “foot initiation”.

The foot initiation is a ritual in which the student to be initiated performs a partner training with all those who have already passed through this initiation. He or she is allowed to defend himself at will with fist and/or knee techniques.

Although this unique experience is usually associated with extreme pain, this procedure rarely misses its goal. With professional execution, the foot initiation can help prepare the body and the psyche of the student for the use of kicking techniques.

Usually, this effect lasts a lifetime and replaces shin conditioning and shin guards.

The traditional foot initiation has been practiced in the Pahuyuth School Berlin for over forty years. So far, every single student has successfully passed through this procedure.

For practitioners of the discipline MUAI, it is generally considered a great honor and service of friendship to initiate another Free-Warrior in the foot initiation.

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MUAI Techniques for Beginners (free online video)

In this previously unpublished instructional video, a teacher shows the first 15 of the 45 basic techniques of Pahuyuth according to the 1984 curriculum. The techniques and concepts shown in this video are, except for a few minor details, valid to this day and can be used in Pahuyuth, Muay Thai, Muay Boran and many other fighting styles (e.g. MMA, Kickboxing, Muay Chaiya, Muay Thasao, Muay Korat, Muay Lopburi, Muay Lao, Bokator, Pradal Serey, Lethwei and many more).

Pahuyuth martial arts techniques for beginners featured free online course

717 Counter-techniques for advanced

MUAI techniques are traditionally distinguished into Pre-Teaching Techniques, Basic Techniques, Variants and Combinations.

As part of their training, MUAI students first learn the 200 basic techniques of MUAI (see Pahuyuth Compendium), which are individually adapted, further developed and refined. The amount of possible individual techniques resulting from this fundamentally strives against infinity.

In later levels, MUAI students learn to use these techniques against attacks with fist, foot, elbow and knee, among other things. This results in a multitude of individual counter-techniques, which are characterized by the personal fighting style of each and every MUAI-Warrior.

We have recorded 717 of such counter-techniques and make them available to everyone free of charge in the following blog posts.

Muai muay thai boran 255 techniques fist foot knee elbow featured 1
Muai muay thai boran techniken featured
Muai muay thai boran 181 techniques featured

Muai (Muay Boran) Training in Berlin

Are you interested in stand-up combat and would like to start your MUAI training at the Pahuyuth School in Berlin?

Pahuyuth has a traditional training concept with belt levels. The aim of our teaching methodology is to enable a sound and safe martial arts training in the physical as well as in the psychological sense. At the same time, it is intended to prevent dangerous knowledge from falling into the wrong hands and thus causing damage.

The entry requirement for the discipline MUAI is the Pahuyuth student status (green belt), which requires passing the entrance examination.

Admission to the entrance examination again requires participation in the trial student course.

Interested? Then visit our trial training page!

… and not like a tree that stands firmly in the ground.

More MUAI

Muai muay thai boran 181 techniques featured
Muai muay thai boran techniken featured
muai muay thai thaiboxing thai no sports featured
Waih wai kru khru ram muay muay featured