||Muay Thai (Thai: มวยไทย, RTGS: Muai Thai, IPA: [mūɛj tʰāj]) is a combat sport from the muay martial arts of Thailand that uses stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques. This physical and mental discipline which includes combat on foot is known as "the art of eight limbs" because it is characterized by the combined use of fists, elbows, knees, shins and feet, being associated with a good physical preparation that makes a full-contact fight very efficient. Muay Thai became popular in the sixteenth century, but became widespread internationally only in the twentieth century, when many Thai fighters won several victories over representatives of other martial arts. The sport of muay Thai is solely governed by the International Federation of Muay Thai Amateur and a professional league is governed by the World Muay Thai Council.
Muay boran, and therefore muay Thai, was originally called by more generic names such as pahuyuth (from the Sanskrit bahu-yuddha meaning unarmed combat), Toi muay or simply muay. As well as being a practical fighting technique for use in actual warfare, muay became a sport in which the opponents fought in front of spectators who went to watch for entertainment. These muay contests gradually became an integral part of local festivals and celebrations, especially those held at temples. Eventually, the previously bare-fisted fighters started wearing lengths of hemp rope around their hands and forearms. This type of match was called muay khat chueak (มวยคาดเชือก). Kickboxing was also a component of military training and gained prominence during the reign of King Naresuan in 1560 CE.
Muay Thai match in Bangkok, Thailand
Formal muay Thai techniques are divided into two groups: mae mai or major techniques and luk mai or minor techniques. Muay Thai is often a fighting art of attrition, where opponents exchange blows with one another. This is certainly the case with traditional stylists in Thailand, but is a less popular form of fighting in the contemporary world fighting circuit where the Thai style of exchanging blow for blow is no longer favorable. Almost all techniques in muay Thai use the entire body movement, rotating the hip with each kick, punch, elbow and block