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The IMBA Encyclopedia for the study of Muay Boran’s fundamentals.

By Marco De Cesaris

Encyclopedia: a work that contains information on all branches of knowledge or treats comprehensively a particular branch of knowledge.

The three technical pillars of Muay Boran IMBA (Combat Muay Boran, Muay Lert Rit and Muay Pram) can only be built on a solid foundation. Speaking of Muay Boran, the bedrock of this Martial Art has always been represented by the following core elements:

– A good knowledge of the nine body weapons (Nawarthawoot) and of the related systems of defence (aka Sillapha Kan Rab or the Art of Defense).
– The basic strategies of Siamese hand-to-hand combat or Mae Mai Muay Thai
– The advanced strategies of Siamese hand-to-hand combat or Look Mai Muay Thai
– The Chern Muay combat strategies, based on the offensive and defensive use of one’s own body weapons
– A specific training system for Muay Boran.

Over the years, IMBA made available to its members a series of specific teaching aids that are useful to explore the topic of Muay Boran’s fundamentals. Let’s take a closer look at these instructional tools.


1. For the study of the correct use of Nawarthawoot, Discoverimba Web App is available, accessible from the homepage of this site for free download
This learning tool offers all Muay Boran students a detailed analysis of several core subjects (skill areas).
Some of them are as follows:

-The nine body weapons
-Combat footwork
-Attack strategies
-Defense strategies

Each skill area is illustrated through a combination of videos, GIFs, pictures and written text: the result is a complete and extremely user-friendly learning tool.
Moreover, a number of instructional videos that deal with specific subject related to Muay Boran system of using body weapons in combat are available through Budo International Magazine.

-Elbow techniques (how Thai Boxers use the elbows to attack and defend)


-Muay Kaard Chiek punching techniques (learning to throw full-power punches with and without traditional Siamese raw cotton hand wraps)

-Flying techniques (Muay Boran’s explosive punches, kicks, knees, elbows performed while jumping)

Each one of these 1hour long instructional videos present quite a big number of basic and advanced techniques, their martial applications and the most useful training systems.

2. The Mother combat strategies of Muay Thai or Mae Mai Muay Thai can be explored through IMBA’s official manual
In the book, all interested students can find a lot of information regarding:


-the history of Muay,
-the meaning of the Mother combat Strategies,
-the hidden elements of each techniques,
-the complete Form,
-several martial applications
-the best training systems.

Furthermore, two instructional videos that deal with Mae Mai Muay Thai practice, training and martial applications are available on Budo International website. Both these 1 hour long videos follow the same structure adopted by the book

3. For an in-depth study of the advanced techniques or Look Mai Muay Thai, you can read the book titled Muay Thai Boran-secret techniques which is largely composed of the analysis of all the 15 Look Mai strategies of Muay Thai. This 340 pages book has been a reference for thousands of Muay Boran students worldwide since its year of publication (2012) .


Together with an in-depth analysis of the 15 Look Mai Muay Thai strategies, along with the whole Form and many martial applications, other crucial topics are covered, such as:

-the timeline of Muay’s development
-the core principles of Muay
-Muay and Physics
-Muay and Meditation
-the regional style of Muay Korat
-the regional style of Muay Chaiya
-the meaning of Chern Muay combat system

Moreover, two instructional videos related to Look Mai combat strategies can be referred to. These videos include the following elements:

-the correct execution of the Form,
-the martial applications,
-the training systems.

The shorter of the two, “Look Mai Muay Thai – techniques and applications”, is more synthetic and is available for free download on the site


The second one titled “Combat Mai Kred” is more complete and can be downloaded at Budo International website (running time:1 hour)

4. Chern Muay fighting principles are the core of one of the 3 Pillars of Muay Boran IMBA: Combat Muay Boran. The fundamental elements of this eclectic approach to hand-to-hand fighting are presented in a full colour book available through Edizioni Mediterranee .
This volume is the official textbook of this highly advanced fighting system. In the book, each maneuver is illustrated and dissected into its core elements:
-the body weapons used by the attacker and the defender,
-the vital points that should be targeted by the defender,
-the kind of energy used by the defender to counter-attack.


Furthermore, a file attached to the paperback book (CD) or included in the PDF version, contains the GIFs of all the basic applications of the 78 Chern Muay techniques that make up the style.

5. The illustration of all the techniques in the world would have little value if it were not accompanied by an adequate training methodology. Muay’s strong point has always been its training system. In the PDF book available on this site, Muay Boran IMBA’s training system is presented, starting from the 4 methodological pillars to all the details of every aspect of a Nak Muay preparation.
Moreover, an instructional video about the use of the most basic impact training tool (the heavy bag) is also available through Budo International

Some of the topics covered in this 1hour long video are the following:

-specific warm up
-power training
-training the impact of single body weapons
-training the combination of strikes
-training the defense and counters


Collectively these teaching tools represent a true Encyclopedia of barehanded traditional Siamese combat: true Muay Boran students should know how to use these tools for their own technical growth, especially if they wish to be recognised as Masters (Khru) of the Art. The official IMBA website already contains all the elements that make up this Encyclopedia: all interested martial artists (students and, above all, instructors) are invited to consult this material on a regular basis, meditating deeply on the topics covered in the various sections, without taking anything for granted.
Without a solid foundation, no one can build a structure that will continue to grow and evolve over time.