My first Muay Thai event at the Bangla Boxing Stadium in Patong, Phuket – Thailand was an experience. Attending martial art events is not something I’d normally do but after hearing all day long from a van decorated as a boxing rink driving around the streets of Phuket and announcing from a megaphone “Tonight – Tonight – Big fight, BIG FIGHT” I thought I’d go and see a match.
Muay Thai is the national sport and cultural martial art of Thailand and I had high expectations. The stadium was filled with cigarette smoke and Sarama the traditional music of Muay Thai playing through the sound system adding to the atmosphere in the stadium. Small groups of gamblers scattered throughout the stadium betting on each fight added to the tension of the evening.
I enjoyed watching the wai kru ram muay – the pre-fight ritual dance being performed to pay respect to the fighters, trainers and coaches.
It was fascinating to see ringside spectators facial expressions circulating through a range of emotions as the fights intensified.
Beside us a bench of tourists getting into the spirit of the event and chanting ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi Oi Oi.’
Please see a collection of photographs taken of the ‘nak muay’ and ‘nak muay – farang’ fighters at the Muay Thai event in November 2010.