Hua HinThailand

RTA soldiers and Muay Thai champion unite to set new world record

Renowned Muay Thai fighter Sombat “Buakhao” Banchamek teamed up with 3,650 soldiers to break a Guinness world record by performing the traditional Thai dance, Wai Kru, at the Amazing Muaythai Festival 2023 on February 4 in Hua Hin.

February 6 of every year is marked as Muay Thai Day to preserve and promote Thailand’s soft power Thai boxing.

Commander of the Royal Thai Army Narongphan Jitkaewtae wanted to celebrate and promote the cultural heritage of Muay Thai. So, the army collaborated with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and other relevant departments to host a celebration event named Amazing Muaythai Festival 2023.

The event was held over three days, from February 4 to 6, at a historical-themed park named Rajabhakti Park at Hua Hin in the western province of Prachup Khiri Khan.

One of the event highlights is the traditional Muay Thai dance or Wai Kru which was performed by Buakhao and 3,650 soldiers from the Royal Thai Army. A Wai Kru ceremony is held before a fight starts to respect the sport’s boxing coaches.

At the event, the pre-fight dance was performed to pay respect to the King of Ayutthaya, Sanphet VIII or Suriyenthrathibodi. The king was known for his boxing ability and played an important role in passing the art of Muay Thai to the next generation.

Aside from paying respect to the Muay Thai ancestors, the performance was set up to smash a new world record.

The Bangkokbiznews reported that each soldier has been honing their skills in the pre-fight Muay Thai dance since mid-last year, aiming for a flawless performance.

The Amazing Muaythai Festival 2023, which took place on February 4 in Hua Hin, not only aimed to set a world record but also featured several Muay Thai-related activities, including a Muay Thai exhibition, the Muay Thai World Championship, an awards ceremony to honour excellence in the Muay Thai industry, and an expo showcasing iconic products from Prachup Khiri Khan province.

Buakhao spoke to Khaosod to express his excitement and honour to be a part of the performance.

“I was overwhelmed to stand in front of over 3,600 soldiers and perform the pre-fight dance together. We bring the original Muay Thai to the world stage. I want to encourage the next generation to maintain the arts of Muay Thai, as it not only preserves our cultural heritage but also enhances people’s health.”

Recently, Thailand and Cambodia had a row over the origin of boxing and the name of the kickboxing competition in the upcoming Southeast Asian Games (SEA) 2023.

The controversy started when the game’s host country, Cambodia, changed the name of the competition from Muay Thai to Kun Khmer. The country emphasised that the origin of Muay Thai is the Cambodian martial art called Kun Khmer, or Bokator.

The argument later led Thai boxers to withdraw from the game and the International Federation of Muaythai Associations (IFMA) also banned any countries that joined the Kum Khmer competition from joining the World Games, Asian Indoor Games, Asian Martial Arts Games, and World Boxing Championship.

The row has sparked a debate between Thai and Cambodian netizens on the origin of kickboxing and other related topics.

Recently, the Cambodian Facebook page also claimed the Louise Vuitton monogram pattern for being inspired by ancient Khmer art.


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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger focusing on Thai news and what's happening in Thailand. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp.