Every year on March 17th, Thailand celebrate the Nai Khanom Tom day. You may hear different names for this celebration such as “National Muay Boran day“, “National Muay Thai day” or “Boxer’s Day“.
As we all know, Muay Thai is the National sport of Thailand but this celebration is not just about Muay Thai.
It’s a commemorative day to honor and homage the great Nai Khanom Tom and all the ancient teachers who developed Muay Boran into the contemporary Muay Thai, the art of the 8 limbs.
What’s the story?
According to the legend, in 1774 Nai Khanom Tom was one of the thousands Siamese prisoners being held by the Burmese King Mangra after the Burmese invasion in the Ayutthaya Kingdom.
In occasion of a festival, the king wanted to see if the Muay Boran could be compared with the Burmese boxing and Nai Khanom Tom was selected to fight against the Burmese boxing champion.
After the ritual of the Wai Kru (the Burmese thought that was some sort of Thai black magic) Nai Khanom Tom fought the Burmese boxing champion and won by Knock Out.
The referee claimed the win not valid because he was distracted by the music and might be some kind of sorcery.
The king then sent other 9 fighters, one by one without time breaks between fights. They were all put on the ground by the hands (and knees and elbows) of Nai Khanom Tom.
Impressed by these abilities, King Mangra said: “Every part of the Siamese is blessed with venom. Even with his bare hands, he can fell nine or ten opponents. But his Lord was incompetent and lost the country to the enemy. If he had been any good, there was no way the City of Ayutthaya would ever have fallen“.
Then he granted freedom to Nai Khanom Tom and all Siamese (Thais).
That day was March 17th, and since then Nai Khanom Tom has been defined as the Father of Muay Thai. By winning the freedom he made this fighting system known and feared.
The story is between legend and history but it’s very famous among Thais making them proud of their very own Martial Art.
Nai Khanom Tom is a Muay Thai hero for the country and every fighter is looking up to him with great respect.
As you will see in the documentary at the bottom page, Muay Thai now is a life changing and straightening system to give young Thais a chance to conduct a life in the right way and stay away from drugs, alcohol and bad companies.
You can watch a MOVIE for free on youtube about the story of Nai Khanom Tom at the following link: Nai Khanom Tom Youtube Movie (be advised that the English subtitles are poorly translated as the movie is pretty old)
There is also a Thai advertising made with sequences of the fight from the movie. (I have to say, the fighting scenes are worth watching the whole movie).
Here is a very descriptive documentary about Muay Thai history in Thailand. Can’t miss it!