If you have ever witnessed a muaythai fight in Thailand then you have probably wondered what the link is between amulets and muaythai and why do they play such a prominent role in the sport.
Thai people, aside from being a largely Buddhist population also rely on animistic beliefs which are interwoven into their everyday lives. The faith that evil spirits and ghosts can control the outcome or destiny of a particular situation or scenario is widely held onto and can be seen by the many spirit houses placed outside businesses and domiciles.
For many 100’s of years sacred amulets have been used to combat these superstitious beliefs and inspire confidence in the wearer in all types of situations. Amulets are created and blessed by specific monks with each type of amulet famous for a specific characteristic or power. One only has to read the Thai news to undertsand how embedded this belief is into Thai culture as each day the press is laden with news on miracles pertaining to the wearing of a particular amulet. Often an individual has had a severe accident but manages to come out unscathed or is shot at many times with the bullet being deflected.
Muaythai is a high risk industry so it is of no surprise that amulets are worn by Thai fighters, often seen as they enter the ring for the Wai Khru ceremony placed on the mongkhon or simply worn around the neck .
The belief in amulets is so prevalent in the sport that even the professional rules state that “Boxers shall wear a sacred headband (Mongkol) only when they pay homage (Waikru) before the bout. During the bout boxers may wear an inscribed cloth, amulet, or charm around the upper arm (Prajiad) or strung around the waist (Takrut), considering it is neatly wrapped and covered with cloth to prevent harm". This is a strong example of how superstition is embedded into the sport.
In short it is believed by fighters that wearing amulets will yield magical powers. Some fighters believe an amulet will stop them from getting knocked out or that if elbowed the opponent will not be able to penetrate the skin. Some simply believe that their amulet will ensure that they win the fight which inspires confidence to the fighter. This belief is so strong with some people that there have even been instances where a fighter has refused to fight after they realised they did not have a particular amulet with them.
Nowadays amulet culture has become popular with non Thai fighters also as they are often immersed in the culture and tradition when placed in muaythai training camps in Thailand. It is a joy to see that the cultural and traditional aspects of amulets have spread globally in the muaythai world and will no doubt continue to grow for many years to come.
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