Krabi Krabong


Krabi Krabong (means Sword - long Staff) is a Thai art that combines weapons and empty hand techniques (Muay Thai). Muay Thai actually evolved from Krabi Krabong. It is said to be too deadly to practice. Students tend to break a lot of bones while practicing or learning. It is something that will be hard to find outside of Thailand, though I know of one school in Georgia that teaches it. In a match, Thai boxing strikes and judo-like throws are used. Although sharpened weapons are often used, the fighters do not strike at an opponent, but rather the winner is based on stamina and technical skill.

Some weapons include knives, spears, mai soks, shields, axes, dang, staff and single/double swords. This tradition focuses on hand-held weapons techniques, specifically the "krabii" (sword), "plong" (quarter-staff), "ngao" (halberd), "daap sawng meu" (a pair of swords held in each hand) and "mai sun-sawk" (a pair of clubs).

 

The sword was the principle weapon during the turbulent history of Siam(the ancient name of Thailand), but the art of fencing was takena step furher in skill by warriors who fought with blades in both hands.
This style of fencing dates back 2,000 years according to experts, and began when men of the Mon race from the North took refuge in Siam and were organised into fighting units called Krom Darb-Song-Mu. or "Sword in both hands". These fierce warriors maintained their skills with constant training, following 10 basic positions which included standing on guard "dancing","checking","swaggering", and the actual clash of cold steel. The coup de grace or final blow usually led to the decapitation of the foe, as opposed to the body thrust or slash of Western fencing.

Besides it's deadliness in hand-to-hand combat, the art of fencing with two swords was regarded as a public display of skills and courage during feasts and festivals. These displays were held with the same ritual as modern Thai Boxing. The combatants wore costumes with talismanic figures on them and amulets around their heads. Pipes and drums were used to mark time during contest and whip the spectators into the same heady enthusiasm that you would see nowadays at Rajadamnern or Lumpini stadiums.

This same rthythm is captured in the Siamese tune "Muan Ram Dap" which was composed in honour of the Mon fighting tradition.

In more comtemporary times, the famous royal heroes King Naresuan the Great and King Ekatathosarot were highly skilled in fighting with two swords and their art took a big toll of the Burmese invaders, who laid seige to the old Siamese capital, Ayutthaya, in 1586.

Thai sword-fighting held on as a national art and as a means of self-defense until about 200 years ago ,during the reign of King Rama II, when the army was reorganised and equipped with modern musketry and cannon developed in the West.

Fencing shools now fence the Mon way, one of the most famous of which is the Sritrairat Camp located on the outskirts of Dhonburi, and the more famous fencing school is the Buddhai Swan in Ayutthaya.