Culture

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Taught in a traditional manner, it is more than just learning to kick and punch. Learn about Thai culture, language and customs. Use the Chaiya philosophy of defense in everyday life.

Tested by time

Kru Aof and Kru Daw demonstrating an old fight

Muay Chaiya was founded many generations ago, and has been proven over and over to be an effective and formidable fighting style.

A Brief History

Muay Chaiya is one of the older style of Thai Boxing, and has a direct lineage going back approximately 200 years. The founder was high within the ranks of the Royal Thai Bodyguard of the day, and after a long life of military service, retired to priesthood within the town of Chaiya in the south of Thailand. Hence of the name of the style, Muay Chaiya.

In modern Thai, the word Muay is used with reference to fighting, but it’s really meaning is closer to ‘re-arranging the hair’ in reference to the attention to detail that is required to maintain your hair and appearance. The analogy associates this grooming with the dedication and discipline required to master the martial arts.

Picture of modern Muay Chaiya's founder, Ajarn Keyt

¬†One of Por Tan Maa’s (the founder of Muay Chaiya) students was the governor of Chaiya, and he passed the style onto his son, Keyt Siriyapai. He then sent Keyt to learn from a further 12 teachers, giving him a thorough understanding and skill in many variations of martial arts. Ajarn Keyt was considered one of the last true masters of Thai martial arts, and was still teaching into his seventies.

Kru Tong Yalae, champion fighter of Muay Chaiya

Kridakorn Sodprasert (Lek) was one of his last students, and trained with him for 6 years before he passed away. After that, Lek learned with one of Ajarn Keyts students Kru Tong, who was a successful ring fighter of the day, both with gloves, and before that using the traditional rope bound fists. Lek learnt for 15 years before Kru Tong passed, and shortly after opened the school Baan Chang Thai (Home of Thai Artisans) in Bangkok, where he is still teaching 17 years on.

Kru Lek demonstrating the Muay Chaiya Gra-Taek strike

The other main teachers of the style are Kru Praeng and Kru Lamp. Both are students of Kru Tong, and teach their flavours of the style.

There are a few other teachers under Kru Lek, Praeng and Lamp, mostly teaching within Thailand.

About the Style

Por Tan Maa’s take on Thai boxing can be represented and differentiated from other styles by the heart, intent and strategy of the style. It shares the same weapons that you would associate with Muay Thai, but with a different usage of body movement and tactics. In fact, much of the movement of Muay Chaiya is pretty unique – but in a practical manner.

Kru Lek demonstrating a Muay Chaiya defensive technique against a kick

Whereas the modern flavour of Muay Thai has is primarily offensive nature, Muay Chaiya focuses on defensive skills, teaching the students to use their elbows and knees to damage an attacker’s offence. In turn, the tight defence expands out into a strong, deceptive offence, incorporating a wide variety of strikes that link together into a flowing blur of attacks.

There are some grabs and take downs within the style (as there are in all Thai martial arts) but, Muay Chaiya focuses on standing fighting, with no ground work taught (although Kru Praeng has added some to his style).