For outsiders, the traditional training apparel of Pahuyuth may seem like an anachronism. It does not correspond to the current trends in martial arts functional clothing, nor does it look in any way like Thai boxing shorts, karate suits or judo uniforms.
Basically it wouldn’t bother any Pahuyuth practitioner to ever train in other training gear or in streetwear, especially since most real life applications don’t take place in a traditional outfit anyways. The traditional training gear, however, fulfils a number of useful functions for Pahuyuth training, which is why still stick to this design for our training.
The Pahuyuth training clothing consists of a top, trousers and a belt. The three-quarter-long trousers have always been the clothing of the common citizens and Free-Warriors of Siam, while the far-cut top design is based on the shirts of the Thai combat troops of the Nanjauw era.
The tying of a hip cloth or sash has always been part of the Southeast Asian clothing culture and has a traditionally representative character. The origin and meaning of the belt colours is explained here.
The Pahuyuth training clothes are not only used for customs – their timeless design offers various practical functions.
The creamy white colour of the fabric helps to detect possible injuries and blood loss more quickly during training. In the heat of the moment small scratches, abrasions or cuts can always occur. To be able to see and treat them immediately is a safety measurement for the hygiene and health of the participants.
From a cultural-historical point of view the color of the Pahuyuth training clothes symbolize death or shrouds. In Asia the colour white is often considered the colour of death and ghostly beings.
The simplicity and the idea of equality lead to the fact that Pahuyuth training clothes are unisex. The uniform is wide cut and the coarse fabric conceal body shapes and problem zones equally. This provides a harmonious training atmosphere and a more concentrated learning.
The Pahuyuth training clothes usually do not have any individual embroideries, badges or decorations.
Training in temperate climate (Europe)
The average temperature in Berlin (Germany) is 23.5°C in summer and -2.3°C in winter, which is significantly cooler than in South East Asia. For this reason, wearing a simple T-shirt or a long-sleeve underneath the training clothes has established itself. On particularly cold days some students also resort to sweaters, hoodies and functional underwear.
Training is usually done barefoot. If the ground temperature drops below a tolerable level, socks with rubber studs are used. These keep warm and prevent unintentional slipping on the mostly smooth floor.
Over the last forty years there have been tests and attempts to enrich the design with special fabrics and other features. For example, for a while there were special summer and winter editions that were very popular with the students. However, the basic design has never been changed.
Special features of the shirt
The right-angled V-neck serves as a focal point during partner training and trains peripheral vision. In practice, the blurred view towards the sternum helps to adopt a non-aggressive posture (no direct eye contact) while still keeping an eye on the entire body of the opponent.
The black hems on the shoulders and sleeves help to better recognize the shoulder rotations and arm movements of the opponent during training. Especially for beginners this is a valuable help.
The seams of the shirt always run sideways on the body. A seam that runs along the spine was deliberately omitted, because this would be uncomfortable when training falling and rolling techniques, if not even pose a safety risk.
SPECIAL FEATURES OF THE TROUSERS
The trousers are usually made of the same material as the top. It reaches just above the knee and offers enough freedom of movement for high kicks and all kinds of fall and roll techniques.
The trousers do not have pockets to prevent accidentally carrying around hard, sharp or pointed objects that can pose a major safety risk during training.
Occasionally you may see a black fabric band on the side of the trousers. This is the so-called “warriors stripe” which identifies the wearer as a fighter who has publicly proven his abilities, regardless of his graduation. The stripes symbolize the ropes with which the deceased were wrapped in shrouds. The wearers of such a strip are figuratively warriors who have died in battle and who resist death by the power of their fighting knowledge.
Warrior stripes are given to intermediate students (white belt) or basic level students (green belt) who have taken part in a public demonstration or competition.
In Pahuyuth there are seven different belts and a special graduation. Each of these belts has its own meaning.
The belt is worn by both men and women around the waist and tied with a special knot.
More information about the graduations and belt steps of Pahuyuth can be found in a separate blog article.