Today’s contemporary Muay Thai is a mixture of radical contemporary influence and profound ceremonial loyalty to history. Ceremony and ritual is a cultural production with focus upon entertainment. A martial art however, whilst being a part of culture, has no interest in entertainment, only the dissemination of effective knowledge.
That which occurs in the present, be it behavior, opinions or attitudes, will always have their historical roots. An action performed in the present moment always reflects its heritage, whether it wishes to or not. The same applies to martial arts and fighting. A martial style, like language, requires a deeper understanding if one is to do more than simply communicate. To work on the grammar and the punctuation of a language will not just aid communication; rather it will assist the flow and creativity of ones spoken language. Similarly, to learn the foundation of an evolved art broadens and challenges the practitioners skills and mindset around their chose art.
The key to studying anything lays in what to look for in order to make the important transition from information to application as effective as possible.
Learning how to apply an art through understanding its essential principles is what makes that art effective.
The art known as Muay Boran does not deny its history; on the contrary, it is an ancient source, a guiding structure and a pedagogic system revealing Muay Thai. History hides in plain sight and owing to its age requires a translator. Find the right translator/instructor then you will learn a powerful language, however, if you find yourself a mediocre translator/instructor then the price is the superficiality of a few names and a few clichéd techniques.
Do not mistake the superficiality of consumer culture and its desire for entertaining the masses with martial heritage and its indifference to cultural fashions and trends.
What does a modern fighter want?
Muay Lert Rit is a perfect example of this evolution. Muay Lert Rit is Muay Thai adapted to fit the needs of modern students, i.e. the full spectrum of mentality, body size and experience of educated international people. Yet, the art remains profoundly rooted in Muay Thai’s rich martial heritage.
To prepare a student both physically and psychologically is a fundament of any martial art. To accommodate variation there will naturally be a demand for in depth study into all areas, biological, psychological as well as the technical. The specialization of uniting heritage with present day knowledge allows A traditional fighting strategy to excel. In return, the art will not to become lost, nor will it become reduced to pointless performance stunts (often incorrectly associated with old Muay Thai).
Through the advancement of modern day’s wealth, accessibility of information and desire for knowledge, martial art and its history must also respond to this evolution. Yet, not at the expense of dilution, superficiality and cliché. Choose your school wisely.