Muay Kaad Chuek literal translates “wrapped in twine boxing” Somewhere along way during the development and evolution of Muay Boran, an innovative fighter decided to wrap his hands. The practice caught on and varying wrapping styles and applications evolved. Some fighter’s wrapped only their hands while others covered their entire forearms.
Fighters also had special techniques for making their wraps more lethal. It was said that fighter would dipped their wrapped hands into water. The wraps would harden as they dried. Fighters developed methods for wrapping their hands so that there would be knots or protuberances (Gon Hoi) on their knuckles for added impact. This may be where people get the whole resin and glass thing. Who knows… anytime you get people fighting you’re always going to find someone looking for that extra edge. I’m sure it did happen at some point.
Jee Chang and Yang Harn Talay old school mixed martial arts
At the time Muay Kaad Chuek was a bit archaic. It lacked a set of codified rules and regulations. There was an instance where a fighter was killed in the Lak Muang Arena. His death would most likely have been avoidable if there were a set of clearly defined rules governing the combat. The story goes that he was killed because he held on to the ropes refusing to give in. Muay Kaad Chuek was around until the late 1920′s until the wraps were eventually phased out in favor of Western style boxing gloves.
The photo above is of Yang Harn Talay a practioner of Muay Korat (a regional style of Muay Boran) faced off against a Chinese fighter Jee Chang. Apparently this even was quite the hit and was sold out. They drew lots of people of supporters from both the Thai and Chinese community. The fight ended when Yang Harn Talay followed up a punch with a kick to Jee Chang’s neck.
Modern Day Muay Kaad Chuek
You can still find Muay Kaad Chuek during festivals along the Thai, Myanmar and Thai, Laos border. The annual fights take place during the water festival (Songkran) The Thai Laos fights happen in Nong Khai, while the Thai, Burmese fights are held at Mae Sot.
The fights are fairly well organized and are often televised.
I found this clip on Youtube. This looks like some serious upcountry shit. This looks to me like a smaller local contest along the border. The commentator is actually pretty funny. He says of the Burmese fighter “It looks like his blocking technique is to fall to the ground” So here is what happens… the guys is getting worked, I’m sure he refuses to fight… he bluffs by saying he’ll only continue if he’s allowed to take off his wraps. The Thai responds by calling his bluff and takes off his wraps as well. The Burmese guy calls bullshit and refuses to fight. His friend? Steps into the ring and says he’ll fight in his place. After he gets knocked out the announcer says “Doesn’t look like he’ll be swimming home today!” They offer to take him to the hospital, but his peeps say they would rather him “Die in Burma”!