Understanding the Traditional Pre Fight Ritual: Wai Khru Rum Muay
Some might say that it is a dance or performance, but actually, Wai Khru Ram Muay is a ritual through which the fighters pay respect to their gods and to their teachers. It’s performed before the fight with traditional sarama or Muay Thai music. Deeply implanted in the Thai culture, the ritual is regarded to bring body, mind, and spirit together. In other words, it is also a warm-up exercise, requiring strength and elegance, self-control, and body coordination.
The traditional Muay Thai dance ritual is composed of 2 parts. The “wai kru” and the “ram muay”. “Wai Kru” means to pay respect to the teacher. The Wai is a traditional greeting by the Thai people where they put their hands together like a prayer. Kru means teacher or guru. “Ram Muay” means boxing dance. “Ram” means to dance and “Muay” means boxing. The ritual is to show respect to the boxing coach, gym, and training partners, and the boxer’s loved ones.
The fighter circles the ring three times before kneeling and bowing another three times to show respect to the religion and Thai royalty.
Each ram muay is personal and unique. Each fighter or training gym has its own style. Sometimes boxing enthusiasts are able to distinguish between which gym the fighter trains when they perform the ritual. Despite differences, many at least start in the same way. While performing Muay Thai fighters wear headbands known as Mongkols and armbands known as Prajioud which each have their own unique meanings, history, and powers behind them!
It’s beautiful, graceful, and mysterious to watch the Wai Kru Ram Muay in its entirety, and it’s one of those things you truly need to witness with your own eyes at some point of your travel in Thailand.