Teacher Initiation

Teacher Initiation (Krob Khru)

In the Krob Khru ceremony, Muay Thai students who have all the necessary qualifications are elevated to the rank of teachers themselves. The teacher has first to consider which students are sufficiently knowledgeable and technically skilful to be worthy of promotion to the ranks of instructor. After the selection has been made, the Krob Khru ceremony is held to publicly announce and promote the chosen students who then become teachers in their own right, entitled to pass on the skills and traditions of Muay Thai to students of their own. As in Kuen Khru, the teachers-elect offer the traditional symbols of respect to their teacher, who then makes the official proclamation:

Today is a propitious day, and this hour of good omen. You have proved yourself to be a person of virtue and knowledge, skilled in the art of Muay Thai, to the extent that you are now worthy of becoming a teacher yourself I therefore appoint you a newly-created Muay Thai teacher at this Krob Khru ceremony, capable of instructing others in this noble art. Always remember your duty to preserve the traditions and art of Muay Thai. Be a person of good conduct and apply your knowledge and abilities in such a way as to benefit both yourself and the community.

While the teacher utters these words, the Muay Thai fighters kneel on the floor before him, their hands pressed together in the panom mue wai position at their breasts, both their bodies and faces bending down, all signs of the utmost respect they have for their teacher.

When the khru muay has completed the citation, the fighters, bearing in mind their gratitude to and love for their teacher, respond in a suitably reverential manner:

I, your disciple, recollect the deep obligation I have to the Thai ancestors who evolved the art of Muay Thai and have passed it down as a precious legacy through countless generations. I also bear in mind the obligation I have to my teacher; who has trained me in the skills of this art, and who now considers me worthy of becoming a teacher myself I vow to follow in their entirety all of his teachings and to conduct myself with honor; using my knowledge and skills, for ever after.

When the fighters have completed their response, they prostrate themselves three times before their teacher, and then kneel in a posture of obeisance, hands pressed together in the panom mue pose, while the teacher places a mongkon – circlet – on their heads. When the students have received the mongkon, they back away from their teacher on their knees to a suitable distance. The musicians then start to play and the fighters perform the Ritual Dance of Homage in the style, which they have learned from their teacher.

When the Ritual Dance is completed, the fighters approach their teacher, again on their knees, hands once more in the panom mue pose, while the teacher removes the mongkon from their heads, after which, the fighters once again prostrate themselves three times before their teacher and receive the mongkon in their own hands, to be treasured thereafter as a legacy from their teacher. It is believed that this mongkon is now endowed with sacred properties and can be worn only by its owner, except if they give their express permission for another to do so.