Wai Kru: What That Funny Dance Muay Thai Fighters Do Really Means
The Wai Kru: What That Funny Dance Muay Thai Fighters Do Really Means (also known as “the dance”) is a traditional martial art practiced by many different types of fighters from all over the world. Most of them are not even aware that they practice it! However, some do, and when they learn about its origins, their appreciation increases greatly.
It was originally developed by a group of Thai monks who were involved in fighting with each other during the time of the Khmer Rouge. They would perform these dances while practicing their skills, which included hand-to-hand combat, unarmed combat and weapons training. When the Khmer Rouge took power in Cambodia, most of these monks fled to Thailand where they continued to practice their arts under the protection of the government until 1975.
During the Vietnam War, these same monks began teaching their new martial art to American soldiers stationed there. These Americans taught it to others who then taught it to others until eventually it became popular among all ranks of the military. The Wai Kru: What That Funny Dance Muay Thai Fighters Do Really Means is now practiced by thousands of people around the world, including many professional fighters. Some of those fighters have won several championships and titles in various promotions throughout the world.
But what does this have to do with Muay Thai?
In the late 1960’s, Master Chai Sirisute developed his own style of Muay Thai by combining elements of several different martial arts and boxing. He called it Sityodtong and has promoted it as one of the most efficient and effective fighting arts in the world. One way in which he promoted it was by incorporating the Wai Kru: What That Funny Dance into his school.
The Wai Kru is essentially a ritual that involves a traditional dance and set of movements performed by all members of the school before every training session and match. While it may seem strange to people from the Western world, it actually serves an important purpose: it promotes unity.
Many people in the West have trouble working together as a team, especially if they do not know each other very well. This makes group training and fighting difficult at times. The Wai Kru: What That Funny Dance helps to eliminate this problem by promoting feelings of unity and friendship within the group.
Master Chai incorporated the Wai Kru: What That Funny Dance into his school in the 1980’s and it has been a part of the Sityodtong Muay Thai School ever since. As the popularity of his school spread throughout the world, so did the dance. Now, it is common to see the Wai Kru: What That Funny Dance performed by many different groups and fighters, including many of the students at Sityodtong.
A Little Bit of History: How Sityodtong Promoted a Martial Art
The history of martial arts is very much like the history of anything else. It started somewhere, developed over time, changed as people’s interests changed and was eventually transformed into something very different from its original form. The development of the martial arts is no exception.
While people have been fighting each other for as long as human beings have existed, the martial arts actually had very humble beginnings. In ancient Asia, there were several forms of unarmed combat, such as wrestling and what we now refer to as Brazilian Jujitsu or judo, but none of them were really considered to be an art because the methods were usually kept secret to prevent the enemy from defending against them.
As weapons were developed, the need for hand to hand combat diminished and these methods began to disappear. Then, in ancient Asia, several Buddhist monks began to develop hand to hand combat systems based on repelling the attacks of thieves and raiders. These were the first known martial arts. Examples include silat from Indonesia and lua from Thailand.
As time went on, these systems began to spread throughout Asia. The Shaolin Temple in China became very well known for the martial arts and fighting systems taught there, including many from India and other places. Then, several hundred years later, several of the monks at the temple began to show an interest in a new form of fighting called Boxing.
The monks developed a hybrid of martial arts and boxing moves that became known as Shaolin Kung Fu. This was eventually spread to other parts of the world when the temple was destroyed by hostile forces. From there, the martial art evolved even further as different fighting techniques were incorporated into the system.
The next phase in the development of Asian martial arts occurred during Japan’s feudal period when warriors known as samurai began to incorporate certain elements of the martial arts into their training and even their way of life. This started the process of turning martial arts from a means of defense into a way of life.
Eventually, the martial arts of India and other parts of Asia spread to Southeast Asia, particularly to Thailand. These were incorporated into the traditional Muay Boran fighting style that was already known in the region. The combination of these two fighting systems turned into the modern art of Muay Thai that is still practiced and taught today.
Muay Thai quickly became very popular in Thailand, but it wasn’t until the art was introduced to the west that its popularity really exploded. In 1920, the world heavyweight champion from 1919-1922, a Thai boxer by the name of Philadelphian Billy Misak, decided to stay in the US when his championship days were over.
He opened up a gym in his new home and began teaching Muay Thai to several people. In a short period of time, the style became popular in the United States and several champions were produced. Many others took what they learned from these fighters and began to spread the art throughout the western world. Even today, it remains one of the most popular martial arts in the world.
The history and development of martial arts is an ongoing process that continues even to this day. Each new generation adds something to these fighting systems to make them their own or even to completely rebuild them. The only guarantee in this ever-changing world is that the need to fight will never go away and martial arts will always have a place in one form or another.
The Different Types of Martial Arts
Just like the history of martial arts, the number of styles is countless. Literally, new ones are being developed all the time and even the most obscure of styles can have hundreds if not thousands of dedicated followers.
The major types of martial arts can be divided into three distinct groups. They are Eastern martial arts, Western martial arts and primal combat skills. Each major category is then broken down into several sub-groups.
Sources & references used in this article:
Muay Thai: advanced Thai kickboxing techniques by C Delp – 2004 – books.google.com
A Better Version of Yourself: Sweat, Smiles and Muay Thai Tourism by MY Gonen – 2019 – lup.lub.lu.se
Risk, failure, play: What dance reveals about martial arts training by J O’Shea – 2018 – books.google.com
A fighter’s heart: One man’s journey through the world of fighting by S Sheridan – 2008 – books.google.com
Ong-Bak: New Thai Cinema, Hong Kong and the cult of the ‘real’ by L Hunt – New Cinemas: Journal of Contemporary Film, 2005 – ingentaconnect.com
FIGHT LIKE A GIRL: DIGITAL STORYTELLING FOR RESILIENCE STRATEGIES by N Ramoutar – 2018 – digital.library.ryerson.ca
Farang by J Robbins – 2014 – escholarship.org