a journal on hiking and traveling around the Philippines

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Discovering Muay Thai


Yesterday was the most awaited Eraserheads reunion concert but I didn’t go. I thought I could score an invite and get in for free but unfortunately, the organizers changed prior to the big event and if I wanted to go, I had to buy tickets. I then realized that I am not much of a huge fan to actually spend on it.  I do hope the real fans were all able to go and enjoyed their performance. I’m sorry to hear about Ely Buendia (lead vocalist) who was rushed to the hospital during the concert and they had to cut it short. Still, that event must have been monumental.

Me? My Saturday was a bit hectic – socially - ahehehe. I attended a meeting for our outdoor group then after lunch with some of them, I had to rush to a nearby mall to meet my friend Rea. After a business meeting, me and Rea went to a Muay Thai tournament in the Mandaluyong gymnasium. I don’t know much about Muay Thai except that it’s a form of martial art that involves a lot of kicking and punching. We were there because the company Rea’s in – Red Corner was one of the sponsors of the event and she was going to give a very short sort of opening remark speech. I’ve never seen a live Muay Thai match and I was a bit excited to see it up close. We were seated at the cordoned area at the back of the judges and we were so close to the ring. We were also near the Muay Thai athletes and they pass in front of us a lot of times. They’re mostly well-built ....I saw lots of fine looking guys..hehehe

The ceremony started a little before 4:00 PM which lasted for about 20-30 minutes. It started off with a parade of the athletes from various groups around the Manila area. I saw groups from Pasig, Antipolo, Caloocan, Ateneo, Red Corner ..I forgot the rest. There were several weight divisions and I saw athletes who look as young as 6 years old, teenage boys, then some men and women in their 20's. After some introductions and speeches, the matches began and I sat back excitedly and savored the experience.

Parade of teams

A short speech from one of the sponsors

The very first match was with the young guys– I don’t know which weight division it was. They looked really cute in all that padding. They had gloves, shin guards, mouth guard, and that thing guys wear to protect their balls (geez! I forgot what it’s called!). Before the start of the match, each athlete performs a ritual dance which is called - Wai Khru Muay Thai. At first I didn’t know why they had to do it but after a quick glance on my good friend Wikipedia – I now know that it is required in each and every bout.

“It's a tradition in which fighters pay respect to their teachers, parents and things they hold sacred and pray for their safety and victory. The ritual has been developed in different ways, in different regions, even under different teachers and therefore it is theoretically impossible for two fighters to perform identical Wai Khru.”  - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muay_Thai


At first I couldn’t bare to see the kids fighting - it was vicious! Each person tries to kick and punch the other and I was fearful that they might injure each other seriously but I also noticed that the referee was doing a great job in controlling the match. It was amazing to see how tenacious each person fights and after the end of each short bout, and winner is proclaimed, the two competing athletes hug each other or shake hands. The winner also accompanies the loser back to his side of the ring which I find such a beautiful rule. I rarely see that in football games I’ve played in. We usually try to crush our opponents and after the game, we usually avoid each other’s turf.

Another thing that I find interesting in Muay Thai is their oath of sportsmanship which had a line that said – “Let us love one another.” It’s the first time I’ve heard of such and I believe that it’s a value that should be incorporated in all sporting events. It also seemed that everyone involved in Muay Thai do this sort of bow when they greet each other. They bow their heads with two hands in a prayer position.

We were able to see about 6 matches or more and after about three hours, we had to go. It was really refreshing to witness the world of Muay Thai even if it’s just from a spectator’s side. I probably would try it maybe once – my loyalty is still to football.

Here are the rest of the pictures...


Women's match
Ifever I dream of Muay Thai in my sleep, I want Cristiano Ronaldo to be my coach

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