Description of Muay Boran
Muay Boran is a general term used to refer to any unarmed Thai martial arts before the introduction of modern equipment and rules in the 1930's. Muay meaning "boxing", comes from the Sanskrit term mavya, which means "to bind together". Boran or boraan, on the other hand, is a Thai word that means "ancient". That being said, Muay Boran literally translates to "ancient boxing".
Muay Boran is the ancestor of modern Muay Thai. They are similar in certain aspects like for example, while Muay Thai has the concept of the "science of eight limbs" (hands, legs, elbows, knees), its anscestor, Muay Boran has "nine weapons" (Nawa Awut), which has the head (headbutts) as the ninth offensive element/limb to the aforementioned eight limbs. Muay Boran also has a lower and wider stance than those found in Muay Thai. In this aspect, it somewhat reflects traditional Chinese and Indian martial arts wherein fighters have greater agility, flexibility and speed, so much as to allow them to jump off their opponents knee in order and hit the head. However, the kicking is most probably instilled due to culture, as its influences such as south Chinese martial arts and Indian boxing do not focus so much on kicks.
Matches took place in an open space and was usually limited by the circle made by spectators. Each round was timed by putting a holed coconunt on water. Once the coconut sinks, the round is over. There were no weight classes and the bans only included hitting the groin or the eye, grappling, hair pulling and hitting a fallen opponent.