#1 Best Guide: National Muay Thai Day In Thailand

national muay thai day in thailand a photo of two Muay Thai fighters competing

Surprised that there is an actual National Muay Thai day in Thailand?

Whether you’re a fitness fanatic or not, chances are you’ve heard of Muay Thai (มวยไทย). After all, it’s one of the world’s most popular martial arts, along with Taekwondo, Karate, Brazilian Ju-Jitsu, and more. I went for a Muay Thai class once when I was in Thailand, and boy was it a humbling experience. I thought that I was pretty fit, but the class knocked the wind out of me!

It was so intense that, I kid you not, I couldn’t feel my arms and abs for a whole week. 

Get this – not one but two days, February 6th and March 17th, are dedicated to celebrating the iconic sport of Muay Thai! And they both go by the same name in Thai: Wan Muay Thai Haeng Chaat (วันมวยไทยแห่งชาติ), which translates directly to National Muay Thai Day.

Before we dive deeper, as a Thai speaker I feel responsible for teaching the proper pronunciation is “mu-wai-thai” not “mu-way-thai” which is commonly bungled.

Breaking down the name: “Wan” (วัน) means “Day, “Muay Thai” (มวยไทย) is our sport’s namesake, “Haeng” (แห่ง) means “of,” and “Chaat” (ชาติ) means “nation.” So slapping it together, these days celebrate Muay Thai pride for all Thailand!

Ready to learn more? In this guide, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about National Muay Thai Day. And while I’m at it, I’ll teach you some Thai phrases that you can use as both a spectator and participant, just in case you’re thinking of stepping in the ring yourself!

An image of a Muay Thai fight

National Muay Thai Day Celebration

Day 1 – Focused On Tradition And Significance

For the first National Muay Thai Day on February 6th, fighters and fans unite to salute the coronation of King Sanphet, the 8th way back in 1702. And this ancient royal wasn’t just a spectator – he fought Muay Thai himself! His ferocity in the ring earned the nickname Phra Chao Suea (พระเจ้าเสือ), meaning Tiger King. Talk about beast-mode boxing at the palace!

But here’s how Sanphet the Tiger earned his Muay Thai legacy: he made his soldiers train in it daily to stay fierce. He promoted Thai boxing as a sport and encouraged his soldiers to keep themselves strong and fit by practicing it.

But his passion didn’t stop there, according to legends. Villagers trying to mimic soldiers’ lethal moves led to casual Muay Thai bouts blazing through the land. These transformative moments spawned a national pastime still roaring centuries later!

An image of a statue of Nai Khanom Tom

Day 2 – Focused On Nai Khanom Tom’s Heroism

The second National Thai Day on March 17th is much more distinct from the first. It’s also known as Nai Khanom Tom Day (วันนายขนมต้ม) to honor Nai Khanom Tom, a Muay Thai fighter from the 18th century who’s regarded as the “Father of Muay Thai.” How did he come to earn this title?

During the Burmese-Siamese war in the late 18th century, the Burmese army captured many Siamese prisoners from Ayutthaya Kingdom, including Nai Khanom Tom. To celebrate their victory, the Burmese King, King Mangra, held a martial arts tournament between Burmese warriors and the Siamese prisoners. 

Even though he was just one of the many men who stepped into the ring, Nai Khanom Tom wowed the Burmese King and the crowd. Nai Khanom Tom defeated Burmese fighters one after another without showing any signs of stopping. No Burmese opponent stood a chance as he fought in a dance-like style, better known today as the Wai Kru (ไหว้ครู). King Mangra was so impressed by the Muay Thai fighter’s skills that he granted Nai Khanom Tom the freedom to return home. 

Today, Nai Khanom Tom Day is celebrated in Ayutthaya. Hundreds and perhaps even thousands of Muay Thai practitioners show up for the big Wai Kru Ceremony (พิธีไหว้ครู), where they pay homage to both Nai Khanom Tom and their Muay Thai teachers alike. Demonstrations of Muay Boran (มวยโบราณ), which involves grappling and ground fighting techniques, as well as Muay Thai competitions, are also a common part of this celebration. 

An image of National Muay Thai Day

Easy Thai Phrases For National Muay Thai Day

Whether you’re gonna be putting on those boxing gloves or if you’re just gonna sit back and be in the audience watching on, here are some useful Thai phrases you should know. Just in case you decide to drop by and check out National Muay Thai Day for yourself! 

EnglishThai ScriptThai Pronunciation
All the best for your match.โชคดีในการแข่งขัน.chôok dii nay kaan khɛ̀ŋ khǎn.
You’ve got this!คุณทำได้!khun tham dâay!
Fighting! (Used for encouragement)สู้ๆ! sûu sûu!
Rest well when you get home.พักผ่อนให้ดีเมื่อถึงบ้าน.phák phɔ̀n hây dii mʉ̂a thʉ̌ŋ bâan.

Ready To Experience National Muay Thai Day?

So you see, Muay Thai isn’t just all about Thai boxing; it’s also about Thai culture, tradition, and heritage. Not only does it pay respect to the late Tiger King, but it also honors Nai Khanom Tom and everything he has done for Thailand with a special ceremony. Whether you’re an aspiring or an existing Muay Thai practitioner, there’s something that everyone can take out of Muay Thai. 

If you’re thinking of going to Thailand to learn Muay Thai for self-defence, why not learn some Thai with the Ling app? That way, you’ll be able to communicate better with your Muay Thai teachers, as well as your fellow Thai Muay Thai classmates. You can do just that by downloading the Ling app, where you can enjoy fun, gamified lessons and learn a hard language like Thai the easy way! 

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