For outsiders, the Pahuyuth’s traditional workout clothing may seem like an anachronism. It does not correspond to current trends in martial arts functional clothing, nor does it look in any way like Thai box pants, a karate suit, a judo uniform or something similar.
Basically, it wouldn’t bother a Pahuyuth person to ever train in other workout clothes or street clothes, especially since most real-life applications don’t take place in this outfit anyway. However, the traditional training clothing fulfils a variety of useful and cultural functions, which is why we continue to this design to this day.
The Pahuyuth training clothing consists of a top, trousers and a belt. The three-quarter-length trousers have always been the clothing of Siam’s ordinary citizens and Free-Warriors while the wide-cut shirt design originates from the garment of Thai fighting troops from the Nanjauw era.
The tying of a hip cloth or sash has always been a part of the Southeast Asian clothing culture and has a traditionally representative character. The origin and significance of the belt colours is explained here.
The Pahuyuth training clothing is not only used for the maintenance of customs – its timeless design offers various practical functions.
The cream-white colour of the fabric helps to detect any injuries and blood loss more quickly during training. Small scratches, abrasions or cuts can always occur during training. Being able to see and treat them immediately serves the hygiene and health of the participants.
From a cultural-historical point of view, the Pahuyuth training clothing also symbolizes death or shrouds. The color white is often considered in Asia as the color of death and ghost beings.
The simplicity and the idea of equality lead to the Pahuyuth training clothing being unisex. The uniform, wide cut and the coarse fabric conceal body shapes and problem areas alike. This ensures a harmonious training atmosphere and more concentrated learning.
The Pahuyuth training clothing usually has no individual embroidery, badges or embellishments.
Training in the temperate zone (Europe)
The average temperature in Berlin (Germany) is 23.5°C in summer and -2.3°C in winter, which is much cooler than in Southeast Asia. For this reason, wearing a simple T-shirt or longsleeve under the workout clothes has become established. On particularly cold days, some students also use sweaters, hoodies and functional underwear.
Training is usually barefoot. If the ground temperatures fall below a tolerable level, socks with rubber knobs are used. These keep warm and prevent unintentional slipping on the mostly smooth floor.
In the last forty years there have been repeated tests and attempts to enrich the design with special fabrics and other features. For example, for a time there were special summer and winter editions, which 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 for partner training and trains peripheral vision. In practice, the blurred look towards the sternum helps to take a non-aggressive posture (no direct eye contact) and still be aware of 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 other person during training. Especially for beginners, this is a valuable help.
The seams of the upper always run sideways on the body. A seam that runs along the spine was deliberately dispensed with, because it would hinder, if not pose a safety risk while practicing falling and rolling techniques.
Special features of the trousers
The trousers are usually made from 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 falling and rolling techniques.
The trousers have no pockets to prevent participants from accidentally carrying around hard, sharp or pointed items that can pose a major safety risk during training.
Occasionally you can see a black ribbon on the side of the trousers. This is the so-called “Warrior Stripe” that identifies the carrier regardless of his graduation as a fighter who has publicly demonstrated his abilities. The Warrior Stripe symbolizes the cords with which the deceased were wrapped in shrouds. Wearers of such a strip are, figuratively speaking, warriors who should have fallen in combat, but resist death by virtue of their fighting knowledge.
Warrior stripes are given to middle-level students (white belt) or primary-level students (green belt) who have participated in a public demonstration or competition.
In Pahuyuth there are six different belt steps and a special graduation. Each of these belt levels has its own meaning.
The belt is worn around the hip by both men and women and tied with a special knot.