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Origins and History of Muay Thai Kickboxing

Muay Thai, Thai Boxing or Siam Boxing is the national sport and cultural martial art of Thailand (previously known as Siam, 16th century – 1932, 1945-1949). It developed over several hundreds of years as a form of close combat fighting system that uses the entire body as a weapon, to what we know today as modern Muay Thai.

The Art of Eight Limbs

Muay Thai is referred to as “The Art of Eight Limbs”; and using eight points of contact the body mimics weapons of war. The hands become the sword and dagger; the shins and forearms were hardened in training to act as armour against blows, and the elbow to attack opponents like a heavy mace or hammer; the legs and knees became the axe and staff. The body operated as one unit. The knees and elbows constantly searching and testing for an opening while grappling and trying to spin an enemy to the ground for the kill.

Its definitive origins are still debated by modern scholars, as much Muay Thai history was lost when the Burmese ransacked Siam’s capital city during the 14th century.

Foreigners named it “Siam Boxing”

While many foreigners travelled to Siam prior, it was during World War II, Muay Thai was introduced to foreigners who named it “Siam Boxing”. Soldiers from Europe and America would watch attentively as the Thai soldiers practised Muay Thai amongst themselves. They were so impressed with the style of fighting that they asked the Thai soldiers to teach them the fundamentals and traditions of Muay Thai.

International Growth

As Muay Thai has become more popular internationally, the rules began to
change so it could be better organised and governed like established sports such as boxing. In the 1920’s, rings were introduced to replace open courtyards, which ultimately planted the roots of modern Muay Thai.

The popularity of this style of fighting in the mid – late 20th century was adapted, changed & influenced by other styles from western countries and Kickboxing swept the world.

First bout in Australia

In 1976 the first Kickboxing bout was held in Australia, under the World Kickboxing Association (WKA). After that, bouts were contested under ‘Australian rules’, with ‘American rules’ bouts also introduced in 1983.

In the late ‘80s, ‘Oriental rules/World rules’ were introduced paving the beginning of a ‘Muay Thai’ rule set opponents would fight under.

Rule sets

Today there are several sanctioning bodies that have minor variations in the rule sets for competition but in general fighters compete under:

  • Kickboxing – no knees or elbows,
  • K1 rules,
  • Modified Thai – elbows to the body only, or
  • Full Thai Rules – knees and elbows to the head and body allowed

Our Head-of-Style Khru Malcolm Anderson

Muay Thai in Queensland and throughout Australia has been heavily influenced by Khru Malcolm Anderson through:

  • his implementation of structure and technique to BJC Muay Thai
  • travelling frequently to Thailand during the 80s & 90s to introduce true Thai techniques
  • running fights shows in Brisbane and
  • bringing Thai fighters to Australia to fight on these shows.

He’s travelled extensively throughout Queensland to share his knowledge and skill to instructors and students alike.

Many of his students have competed, and won state (Queensland), national (Australian), & World titles.

Many Muay Thai clubs in Queensland can trace their roots back to him.