Thailand vs Cambodia vs Burma

I'm planning to backpack around SE Asia during the cool season this December. I'd love to do some training whilst there and hope to pop into a couple of camps while I'm travelling as well as catch some great fights in some of their great stadiums.

I was wondering if anyone knows where to see the Thailand vs Burma or Thailand vs Cambodia fights...or even learn a little of their respective arts. From what little I understand, their arts are somewhat similar, with the Khmers claiming to be the original and no.1 practitioners of that very general style. Is it true that the name "Muay Thai" is an insult to the Khmers - Muay being a Khmer word for "number one"; with the Thai's taking a Khmer art and telling the world that Thailand are number one at it.

If anyone knows anything about the arts native to these countries and where/when it's possible to watch the inter country fights, I'd be grateful.


Sonic if you want to see fights or train in Cambodia e-mail me.

The cambodians claim on muay thai is ridiculous. It's called Muay THAI for a reason.

Anyone who knows anything about southeast asian martial arts knows that kickboxing with elbows and knees similiar to muay thai is common to ALL southeast asian countries.

Don't know any Cambodians personally, but I have to agree with hedgehogey. In the Thai language, the word "Muay" means boxing/fighting. "Muay Thai" literally means "Thai Boxing".

And yes, the techniques of Muay Thai are not unique to Muay Thai or to Thailand. Hell, there are martial arts from all across the world that share these same techniques. The Thai's were just the ones to combine THAT particular group of techniques and create a ring sport out of it.

Khun Kao

YHM lerdrit.

Khun kao, other countries have done the same thing as far as putting it in a ring:

Burma: Lethwei

Vietnam: Vo Tu Do

Phillipines: Yaw Yan


Hmmm, I'm only semi-familiar with those other arts, but wasn't Muay Thai the first to adapt to ring rules? I don't know. Its all just an issue of semantics anyway.

Khun Kao

True, the thais were the first to adopt western style rules for their form of SEAKB (southeast asian kickboxing), including things like boxing gloves, cups, etc.

But before that there were competitions in every country. They were just in village squares, not rings.

Yeah, I know it. We have a Vietnamese Kickboxing (Vo Tu Do) Champ in our area teaching. I met him long before ever picking up Muay Thai. He's got wicked ass elbow strikes!

Khun Kao

I'm thinking maybe we could compile a document detailing the different forms of southeast asian kickboxing, how they differ in technique, ring rules, histories, etc.

The absolute best person to cover this topic is
forum member Pahuyuth who has been working
on a book on this topic for quite some time. He
has been traveling back and forth through the
region doing a massive amount of research and
training. His email newsletters cover alot of these
topicsand are highly reccomended. I went over to
SE Asia and he provided me with quite a few
contacts. I believe from my last contact with him
there will be another vanishing flame report this
week or not covering his next trip. If you email him
at, ask to be put
on the vanishing report list if you are interested.

ML Ulee

To get info on the Burmese aspect go to

Big thanks to ledrit and Pahuyuth - both are very knowledgable and generous with their help.

Another question:

How did the old styles approach hand conditioning in the days before gloves were used and combat systems were meant for use outside of a sports ring?

I think some used a kind of hand binding, but is that all?

Cheers all!!!

I believe with liniments and stuff like that. In my school we use skin/bone toughenin dit da jow type stuff for the shins, knees, elbows, I could definetely see it being applied to the knuckles.