Traditional Muay Thai Rope Binding

The rope binding or fist binding is a unique character in Muay Thai varying in pattern and style of each region.

Korat Boxing: The swing of each punch and kick is wide in angle, commonly known as “Wieng Kwai” or Buffalo swing. The raw thread is used to wind up with knot folded round the arms to elbows to absorb the impact from kicking.

Lopuri Boxing: Lopuri is known for precise and straight boxing rather than protecting. The fist binding is done by raw thread round the hands only.

Chaiya Boxing: Boxers form Chaiya are skilful in fighting with arms and elbows. So the wrists need to be covered as for protection against bruising or injury.

The purpose of rope binding is to keep the hands secured into fist form. The raw thread used for this purpose is ordinary thread. No evidence has been found that anybody had mixed broken glass or rubber oil in the thread, as may be misunderstood by some people now.

Teacher Khet Sriyapai has explained the method of rope binding: a boxer places his hands downward, fingers spread out. A boxing Master places “Prachiat or Mongkol” (Headgear for boxer) onto the boxer’s head before other amulets; such as, “Trakrut Pismorn”. The rope binding starts from the wrists to keep 8 pieces of bones secured and stable, then moves on loosely around the back of the hands to the fingertips, back up to the wrists by pulling thread from fingertips through to the nape of the hands thus leaving the knuckles exposed. At this stage, the bound fists are still soft and when the thread is left about 1 meter long, the Master will twist the thread into a hard shell-shape. The boxer has to move his finger slightly so that the binding may not be too tight. Each shell-shape knot is lined up all over the back of the boxer’s hands gradually tighten up. Then the Master uses 1 metre long thread as thick as a match stick called “Rope tail” to pull through the shell-shape knots in order to tighten them to stand firmly on the knuckles.

Evidence found in the history of min Ayutthaya period during the Reign of Phra Chethathiraj (Phra Borom). He suspected that Phraya Klahom Suriyawongse was rebellious and ordered that he came to the palace. Muen Sunphetpakdee secretly sent a warning note to Phraya Klahom. The note read, “It’s the King’s request that you come to watch the boxing match. Everything is ready. You should come in with rope-bound hands.”

Phraya Klahom, having been warned and prepared, came in with his army and took over the throne and became King Prasatthong. The term “Rope binding” was believed to have been in use long before that time and was known as a secret code among the rebels in Ayutthaya period.

It is unfortunate that the rope-bound boxing was abolished during the period of Lak Muang boxing Arena owing to the death of Mr. Chia Kaek Kamane who was hit dead by Mr. Pae Liangprasert.