Fight Night!

Drumroll please… THE main reason I was absolutely stoked to go to Thailand- TO WATCH A GENUINE MUAY THAI BOXING MATCH!!

Events leading up to our almost missed ultimate Muay Thai experience

Honestly, it almost didn’t even happen! We had tickets booked for Rajadamnern Stadium, one of the two main boxing stadiums in Bangkok. However, the “Bike For Dad” event that was happening had created quite a stir in our plans. Roads there were closed and we were told there was no way to get there. And to top it off, it was Thursday and there wasn’t another match until Sunday!! We would already be gone… Luckily, there was one more boxing stadium and they had Friday matches! Frankly, I didn’t care which stadium was better at this point because I was bound and determined to see a Muay Thai match no matter what!

So on Friday evening we were able to pack in some punches at Bangkok’s new Lumpinee Stadium. The brand new stadium has been open since the end of February 2014. The former Lumpinee Stadium, at a separate location, was falling apart. The roof leaked in heavy rain and I read that apparently, a cat once famously fell through the ceiling into the ring during a show!! The original Lumpinee represented a cultural landmark, holding some of the greatest fights in Muay Thai history since its opening in 1956. It would have been neat to be a part of that history but hopefully the new and improved, futuristic box-looking arena can make another landmark in Thai history.

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The new Lumpinee Stadium.

About Muay Thai

Muay Thai boxing in Bangkok is an experience not to be missed! The power and grace of the fighters is impressive and bouts come thick and fast with around 20 separate fights on each programme. Bouts are fought over five, two-minute rounds, with the pace visibly picking up until the last round when the intensity of the fighters (and the crowd) becomes electric, all backed by the exotic, rhythmical music played by the oboes and drums of the muay Thai band. Its unlike anything you’ve ever experienced.

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Women are considered dirty and it is bad luck if they touch the stage! (We were actually told that one of the reasons was because women have “monthly times” so they are unclean).

Bouts are arranged by weight and start with surprisingly young fighters weighing as little as 52 pounds! But most fighters are around 126 pounds, often called featherweight in fighting circles. The level of fitness of the fighters is incredible, as is the spirit of endurance shown. In Muay Thai all limbs can be used to strike the opponent: punches, elbows, knees and kicks (otherwise known as the ‘Art of Eight Limbs’). Kicks are the most common form of attack in most bouts, although it is common to see fighters grapple and trade punishing knees to the abdomen which are cheered loudly by the crowd. (I may have thrown in some gasps as opposed to cheers at times as I was not accustomed to the fierceness of this sport. It can be pretty brutal at times!). Combining martial arts and kickboxing, Muay Thai is much more dynamic to watch than just the two of those sports alone!

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Bouts of younger and smaller fighters in the rink.
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Bouts with the older boys towards the end of the night.
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A crowd of gamblers in the stadium.

As Muay Thai is such a longstanding tradition in Thailand there are many ancient rituals to perform before and after the fight. Before the fight can begin, a sacred dance is performed by the fighters who will flex and dance around the ring in garlands of flowers and draped in bright robes. Also after the fight, boxers pay respect to the coaches and teams of their opponent as showing respect for your opponent and his team is very important.

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A sacred dance being performed by one of the opponents before the match begins.
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Winner!!!

 

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Lindsay View All →

Our roots will forever be from here, America, born and raised. Yet, life requires us to move more frequently than we care to count. Whether living stateside or abroad, you can always find us traveling somewhere. We scout out places that you only think you can dream of one day seeing and we seek out those that aren’t found in guidebooks. We then bring them to life here in our travel memos, so hopefully, one day you too can visit them or at least be able to live vicariously through us. This blog isn’t just about crossing off places from a bucket list. It’s about absorbing and learning how other cultures grow and fit into the same world that we do. Life is short and the world is big. Enjoy and get out there!

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