Bare Knuckles Muay Thai Fighting
Muay Kard Chiek

by Marco De Cesaris

The most spectacular form of empty-hands professional fighting (or more precisely, wrapped with rope) utilized in the traditional Martial Art denominated Muay Boran is called “Muay Kark Chiek”, or wrapped hands Boxing. According to the most recent studies realized by the Cultural Commission of Thailand, the epochs of development of Siamese combat can be distinguished in three great eras (in turn subdivided into various intermediate periods): the archaic, in which the fights were done with completely bare hands; the middle, in which, in order to increase the power of the attacks and checks, the boxers wrapped their hands with more or less worked cotton rope; and the modern, which marks the birth of Muay Thai with the introduction of Boxing gloves.
Our analysis focused on the intermediate period, studying the combat and training techniques of the era of wrapped hands, or Muay Kard Chiek.
To study and rediscover the techniques and the training systems that allowed an expert in Muay Kard Chiek to strike with maximum force in empty hands without injuring his hands (in fact, that is the principle problem that any boxer has to confront these days, already accustomed to the wrappings and the gloves, and who has to strike the cranium of an adversary in empty hands in a situation of extreme necessity), as well as learning to exploit in the best way possible the grappling movements—possible thanks to the absence of gloves—in order to neutralize the arms of the adversary and block him with a grip, or in order to strike him with the knees on the head and the body, or throw him to the ground: that is the most important objective of the rediscovery of a form of fighting that has been forgotten in mother country for decades.
However, we are currently living a rediscovery of Muay Kard Chiek at the professional level in the East: fighters from Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar are venturing into wrapped hands (of incredible toughness) fighting more and more in the rings of various areas of Southeast Asia. Regulation that allows for a wide possibility of standing techniques (including head strikes), valid only until the adversary’s takedown, is the fighting form that has been chosen in the East for this return to the origins of Muay Thai.
Meanwhile in Europe, with the tight collaboration between the Thai Master Woody and the Italian Marco De Cesaris, a form of professional Muay Kard Chiek competition has been organized, which, totally respecting the traditional spirit of martial confrontation without concessions, thanks to some technical adjustments studied by the two Masters giving more modern and spectacular results, regulated at the sportive level.
IMBA Muay Kard Chiek represents a valid compromise between the extreme toughness of the fights without rules that are done in the Far East and the very important necessity in the West of always taking care of the physical integrity of the athletes: that form of empty hands Muay Thai currently represents the most realistic professional application of Muay Boran, in which, however, all the techniques are not allowed, which in turn, as has already happened in Muay Thai in the past 70 years, can offer the practitioners a valid testing grounds for the effectiveness of their fighting capacities, and, for the studying of the Art, a continuous test of the exactitude or lack thereof of its theories, leading to a continuous development of the discipline toward the achievement of maximum martial efficiency.
For the first time in Europe, it will be possible to attend a series of IMBA Muay Kark Chiek fights between important exponents of the various European teams of the Academy, who will confront one another and—expecting there will be no organizational problems—they will fight against an official Thai team during the coming Budo Festival 2005, which will be in the prestigious Spanish headquarters in Valencia on May 14th.
A date no one should miss!