The Ram Muay is an elaborate dance, which was originally used to express stories from ancient Vedic text and identify the camp to which the fighter belonged. As times have changed there are now fewer and fewer Ram Muay which identify the actual camps to which a fighter belongs, now it is more likely that the Ram Muay is used to advertise the skills and abilities, both real and imagined, that the fighter possesses. A well done Ram Muay will often result in money being thrown into the ring as a sign of admiration by the gathered fans.
Essentially the idea of the Ram Muay has grown out of the traditional rituals of expressing the last wishes of the fighter and the attempts of displaying the nature of their soul. As each fighter was aware every bout might be his last and therefore within the context of ceremonial dance he thanked and asked blessing on:
1. The creator who gave him life and a place to live.
2. His parents who raised him and cared for him.
3. His teachers, who passed on there knowledge to him.
4. His friends, partner and others who stand by him.
5. His opponent for whom he now voices his respect whole at the same time as excusing himself in case of death.
During the reign of Pra Jauw Sueah (The Tiger King) the Ram Muay was given a new form as the art became a sport with nine variations:
1. The Ram Theb Panomn (Dance of the angles)
A dance to welcome the angels and offer the soul.
2. Ram hanuman
(Dance of Hanuman)
a dance depicting the story of and recalling the fighting prowess Hanuman
3. Ram Ruehsieh Jasmin (Dance of the meditating jungle priest)
a dance of the jungle priest Rueh Srie Khru Ku Plaay, the original teacher
4. Ram Naray Doehndong (Dance of the god Naray) dance of the god of war Naray, in the world of humans and his battle with evil demons.
5. Ram Hanuman Kam Kauw (Hanuman going over the mountain)
Dance from theatre showing the movements and fighting ability of Hanuman
6. Ram Tep Tida
(Dance of the Goddess)
the dance of a feminine character, it revels hidden fighting abilities.
7. Ram Khru Tau
(Dance of the old teacher)
dance of the old fighter in which slow, modest and careful movements demonstrate experience.
8. Ram Naray Tam Gwang (Naray hunting the deer)
the opponent is the deer movements demonstrate litheness and superior calm.
9. Ram Tod Hay
(Dance of the fisherman)
the dance of a fisherman, the fighter who catches his opponent in his net.
The modern Ram Muay that people see in the ring today is normally a mixture the above depending on the camp but very watered down as with the sport of Thai Boxing. It normally starts and finishes quite quickly from the Wai Kru through to the end lasting on average 3-5 minutes. In times of old it could have lasted 15-20 minutes.
The Ram Muay was performed before a fight in peace time, as we do in the sport today, the old name was known as Kaad Cherk, because the loser normally came away with very serious injuries at best, at worst losing his life.
RAM TOD HAY
THE DANCE OF THE FISHERMAN
At Chao Phraya Muay Thai our Ram Muay is the dance of the Fisherman which has been handed down from Arjarn Phykadamn to Kru Byron Gibson through to me.
It is a beautiful and traditional Ram Muay whose history is from the fishing town of Krabbi.
The Ram Muay is performed towards the opponents corner and depicts a fisherman casting his net into the ocean to catch fish.
It is performed three times and on the final execution the fish is caught.
The Nak Muay then returns to their respective corner and symbolically presents their Kru with the symbolic fish.