Have you ever watched Muay Thai fighters in the ring or on television, and wondered why do Muay Thai fighters wear armbands before and after the fight? If so, you’re not alone and are in the right place.
Many people are curious about the significance of this, so we are going to delve right into the history behind this old tradition, and what it represents to give you some answers!
Table of Contents
The History of the Muay Thai Armband
One of the most common traditions in Muay Thai is the Muay Thai armband (or a Prajied, if you want to sound just like a local) worn by fighters before and after a fight. These armbands were originally worn by fighters for protection and luck on the battlefield, even the strongest of Muay Thai fighters want to avoid getting cuts and bruises!
If you would like to learn more about the tradition in Muay Thai check out my article about headbands.
Fighters used to make the armbands from a piece of their mother’s clothing, which is called a Sarong. This was the mother’s way of wishing their son good luck and keeping them safe from their opponent and originates back to when the fighters’ mothers used to wish their kids good luck, as they left the neighborhood to fight.
The Significance of the Armband
It is very common in a lot of martial arts for the fighter to wear something which represents the fighters’ experience level or ranking. In the Korean martial art, Tae-Kwon Do, for example, a colored belt starting at white, and ending in black is worn to show this. This principle differs in Muay Thai. There is no clear ranking system in Muay Thai, therefore the color of the armband worn by the fighter does not represent their ranking in the sport.
As Muay Thai gained popularity in the Western world, gyms started to use colored armbands to represent the fighter’s level of training. These are not universally common and can differ depending on the gym or school. Similar to other martial arts, some schools will use colors such as white or yellow to signify a beginner, and red or black to represent someone with a lot of experience, (so make sure to be careful around anyone with a black armband!)
The significance of the armband worn in Muay Thai is tied to the country’s spirituality and strong beliefs in faith and superstitions. The armband can bestow different powers upon the fighter, depending on how the armband has been prayed over, by a monk. Fighters often pray for fighting techniques such as speed, knockout power, defense, and more. It is almost like a genie in a bottle giving a wish to the fighter, minus the genies in a bottle, of course!
Muay Thai Armband Practises
You might see a fighter wearing an armband during a fight, but most of them wearing them before and after a match. Armbands are also not worn during training, as the fighter doesn’t need luck or protection while they train (well, they hope.)
It is also a common practice to keep the armband somewhere safe. If they were stepped on or dropped, they would lose the power (or the genie’s wish) given to them by the monk’s prayers.
Hopefully, this article helped you understand the meaning behind the armbands worn in Muay Thai. If you ever find yourself holidaying in one of Thailand’s beautiful islands, or the historic north, make sure to go and see a live Muay Thai fight, so you can show off the new knowledge you have to your friends or family!
Last Updated on May 21, 2022 by Deni