Experience Kickboxing in the Raw

  |  Gorp.com

Better known in Thailand as muay thai, this martial art was made a compulsory part of military training by King Naresuan in the 17th century. It has since become the country's most popular sport and is one of the few ways that a poor country boy can turn his rags into riches. The fights are brutal, to say the least, as the rules are pretty much that anything goes. However, it is very much a skilled sport, more like martial arts fighting than a bar-room brawl, and even a layman will be able to pick out a good kickboxer.

The crowds watching the fights are almost as much fun as the match itself. Betting is standard, and the Thais can be very animated in their support. There are two major boxing venues in Bangkok, one at Ratchadamnoen Stadium, and the more famous one at Lumphini Stadium. Between them, they offer professional bouts virtually every night of the week. Contact the MuayThai Institute, or ask your hotel concierge or travel agent about scoring tickets.

If you're interested in getting a taste of what muay thai—and Bangkok—looks like, check out the 2003 Thai martial-arts film Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior, which has spectacular displays of muay thai boxing and two dizzying chase scenes through the streets of the Thai capital.

More Info: www.thaiboxing.com


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