Muay Thai is a popular martial art in Thailand. Thanks to its success in fight sequences involving famous actors like Tony Jaa, it has gained in prominence over the last two decades. Many people are now looking to get into Muay Thai as a way of learning how to fight, build discipline, and gain respect from the fight community. The one question people always ask about Muay Thai is if it has a ranking system like seen in other forms of martial arts like karate. The answer is, traditional Muay didn’t have the usual ranking system, but they and we going to explore all the Muay Thai belts and rankings in the modern Muay Thai martial arts.
The respect of the fighter was achieved by the fighter participating in many fight matches. The rank was also decided by a fighter beating a professional or master in a fight. Also, the quality of the win also counted in giving a fighter a rank.
The levels in Muay Thai aren’t, therefore as the standard in other arts, most students of Muay Thai move up a ladder every three months. For each level, the student needs to master all kick, punches, and kicking techniques at that level to be able to proceed.
Most schools that teach Muay Thai decided to follow the karate ranking system. It is, therefore, common to see the natural colors as in karate belts used to rank students and master of Muay Thai. The only difference is that they use armbands instead of belts in the ranking system.
The armbands are tied on the arm, and in Thai tradition, it signifies blessing and protection wished to warriors by the monks. When warriors used to go into battle, monks used to tie red armbands to offer protection so that the warriors can come safely back. The levels typical in Muay Thai belts have a color system, with each representing a different level. Instead of Muay Thai belts, we have Muay Thai armbands with colors signifying different skill levels and responsibilities.
The usual are;
This represents the beginning of the training process. It is sometimes considered the birth of martial arts for an individual.
This is awarded when a new student has demonstrated the ability to open the mind and to grasp further information and techniques of Muay Thai. The yellow color usually stands for the sun, which means that white snow in the novice level has melted.
This represents that the sun’s rays has intensified and now burn in intense color. It means that the mind of the student has completely opened to the art of Muay Thai and can be able to master the necessary steps. They can start working up the ladder to an intermediary position or level. It is awarded to a student who has begun to grasp the basic kicking and punching techniques of the art.
Once the student has refined the necessary skills and techniques, they move up the rank, and now they can be transferred to the green armband. The green color represents the seeding itself and that they are starting to germinate into accomplished fighters in Muay Thai. Just like how seedlings break through the ground to get exposed on the surface.
The student is supposed to refine the skills, knowledge, and discipline learned in the earlier levels. They can now control their body and minds to the ways of the art. The blue color represents that move upwards to the sky as the student strives for more knowledge and skills found within the art.
As the student approaches the end of the blue rank, they get a deep appreciation of the art and what entails attaining the black belt means. The purple armband represents a drastic transition for the student as they transform into advanced levels of Muay Thai. They learn advanced skills and training not found in the first levels.
The purple color represents the color of the sky as dawn emerges to reveal the early morning. Therefore the student is now breaking new ground never imagined even when they have begun learning about the art. The student is now at an advanced stage and can now be considered a real muay Thai fighter.
It represents the color of a ripening seed that is now ready for harvest from the field. The student is now available to mature into the more advanced ranks. It is just like the plant in the area just waiting to be harvested and to be used in a new life cycle. The student is, therefore, ready to start reaping the benefits of years of hard work in learning about the art of Muay Thai.
It represents the color of a spectacular sunset. It shows the sign that student is genuinely dedicated to learning the art of Muay Thai as they move toward mastery of the art. They are getting more detailed information and knowledge and are starting to have a strong influence and control over their minds and physical skills.
It can also signify danger and that the student is now like a weapon since they have more dangerous skills and techniques, and they can be lethal to ordinary people.
In many ways, the black armband represents the end of the journey of the student. It signifies that the sun has set to welcome in the darkness. The student had completed the transformation from the unknowing mind when they came in and unskilled into a matured and highly skilled black belt.
As with most journeys, the end only signifies the beginning of a new chapter. The evolution truly begins when you have attained the black armband.
Even though it represents the end of the learning process, it means you are now a master and are ready to share with others the knowledge and skills learned over the years.
It is also a great responsibility bestowed upon a master of the art as you will be required to use your skills responsibly. You are not going to be overzealous and overexcited when using your skills.
You are ready to show restraint and practice calm even in times of aggression. With that, I hope you have the full insight into the ranking system used in Muay Thai and how the transformation takes place.