Royal Pastimes

While I like learning about history, I think I learn more about people by seeing how they play. That’s why I love exploring different arts and sports when travelling!

Muay Thai is a martial art that gets its name from the Sanskrit word ‘mavya’. This means ‘art of eight limbs,’ which makes total sense once you see it in action! Muay Thai fighters can punch, kick, elbow, knee, and even head-butt their opponents.

Muay Thai has been used for hundreds of years. At first, it was used on battlefields by the Thai military, where trained fighters protected the legs of the royal elephants.

In 1700s, this army technique became the national sport of Thailand. Today, athletes around the world fight in the Muay Thai style, including America.

Another traditional Thai art is shadow puppetry. When you think of puppets, you probably imagine a grouchy character in a garbage can teaching you the ABC’s. These were the only puppets I knew, until I saw Thai Shadow Puppets.

Thai Shadow Puppetry, or Nang Yai, is one of the country’s most respected art forms. It began about 600 years ago, and has been performed in Southeast Asia for centuries. One of the most popular shadow plays is the story of Ramakien. This is a story of a young prince, who saves his wife after a demon god kidnaps her. Many other cultures, like the ancient Greeks, have similar stories of gods and demons. I love how different cultures share some of the same basic stories and myths.

What types of art and sport do you most enjoy?