To learn Thai sports is to learn Thai culture. These traditional Thai sports have been passed on from generation to generation, not only you get to know the sports itself but you are as well getting a bit of Thailand’s rich culture. There are a lot of sporting activities in Thailand which entertains and bound the Thai people and the following are the most celebrated Thai Sports.
- Muay Thai
Muay Thai, the national sport of Thailand, is an ancient martial art handed down from generation to generation. Unlike other boxing sports, fighters in Muay Thai can use their knees, elbows, shins and hands to strike their opponent. Bouts have five rounds with three-minutes each round. Contestants wear international-style gloves and trunks and their bare feet are taped. In this sport, fighters must use different techniques rather than just mere brutal force.
Takraw is probably the second most popular Thai sport. One thing that makes it popular is that you can play it anytime and anywhere, wherever there is space. Takraw is a sport which needs techniques, dexterity and coordination. The aim of this game is to remain a woven rattan ball in the air for as long as possible by using the feet, knees, elbows, and head but the players cannot use the hands. There are three main varieties of Takraw: one is Takraw wong or circle takraw, it is freestyle wherein the player is juggling with the ball; the second sepak takraw or net takraw, it is comparable to tennis or volleyball; and lastly is takraw lot huang or hoop takraw, it is similar to basketball.
- Kaeng Ruer
Kaeng Ruer started in Thailand way back the Aytthaya period and it have remained popular until now. It has a long history in Thailand, though; there was no historical evidence of its origin. The races are commonly held during the months of September to November and are usually featured at country fairs to celebrate the end of the rainy season. The boats used in Kaeng Ruer are made from hardwood and it also used colored cloth tied to the boat to honor the guardian spirits
- Chon Wua
Chon Wua or most commonly known as Bull Fighting has long been a traditional pastime in Thailand’s southern provinces and was believed to have started during the Ayutthaya period. The participants in this battle are carefully selected that the bulls chosen have to go through one year training before they can enter the ring. Chon Wua is usually held during local festivities.
- Len Wow
Kite Flying is most enjoyed by Thais during the months of March through May, may it be for fun or for sport. Kites are said to be enjoyed by most people since the 13th and 14th century, the Sukhothai period, though it became more popular during the reign of King Rama IV. During this era, people were granted royal permission to fly kites at Bangkok’s Phra Men ground which is next to the GrandPalace. Kite flying turned into a competitive sport where battles are fought between two different types of kites: male and female. The male kite is called chula, it is shaped like a five pointed star and it is huge that it needs up to 20 men to maneuver it. While the female kite, pakpao, is a lighter one and it only needs one person to handle it. Pakpao is a diamond-shaped kite and usually with a long tail.
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