Krabi Krabong, Thai Traditional Martial Art

Krabi Krabong

In its history, which was shaped by many attempts to be colonized by neighboring countries or European countries, Thailand has repeatedly managed to oppose such invasions and to be victorious. Ultimately, it is thanks in particular to the strong fighting power of the Thai armed forces that Thailand was never colonized and has remained independent to this day. The strength is based on martial arts, such as Muay Thai (Thai boxing) and the Krabi Krabong.

Especially in the periods Sukhothai, Ayutthaya, Thonburi and in the first part of the Ratanakhosin period, a great many armed conflicts were waged.

Not only were the common soldiers and officers trained in these martial arts, but the kings were also very good Krabi Krabong fighters. They mostly sat on the backs of elephants, from which they could fight their enemies very well with long weapons.

Krabi Krabong is a very complex system, which not only includes fighting with different weapons, but also unarmed all the techniques of Muay Thai.

Krabi Krabong and Muay Thai are still part of the training of the Thai army and various police units. Today they count as an official cultural asset of Thailand!

In a figurative sense, Krabi Krabong means nothing else like, handgun and long gun.

Here is a brief overview of the various branches of weapon used in Krabi Krabong:

  • Weapons that are used in the infantry sector (infantry)
  • Weapons used in cavalry (horses or elephants)

Krabi (Swege)

The sword is ideal as a blow and sting weapon. It has a narrow blade and a round hand guard is attached between the handle and the shaft. Figure 1 shows a steel rapier in the upper area and a wooden rapier in the lower area, which is used more in weapon dance. The sword was used as a one-handed weapon for the fighter on foot.

Daab (Sword)

Probably the most effective weapon of a fighter at that time. Possible uses are a sword, double sword or sword with shield.

Ngaw (Lance with sickle attachment)

This is a so-called long weapon, which was mostly used very successfully on the back of an elephant. But you can also find a good application in the floor area. This weapon consists of two parts. The lower, longer handle part is made of wood and is rounded. The upper part is similar in its basic shape and material to the sword already described above. It forms the cut and stab area with which the opponent was mainly attacked. But the long handle part is also ideal for hitting and blocking.

Plong or Sri-Sok (Stock)

The stick is the typical striking weapon. The material used is wood (rattan) with various engravings and ornaments. Pure wooden sticks are used as training weapons.

Dung, Kaen and Mai SUn (Different Long Shield)

Long shields were used for two different reasons. As a pure block and protective weapon or as an attack weapon like the Mai Sun. The basic materials mostly consisted of wood or animal skins. The Mai Sun could be used as a double weapon, so that a shield was attached to each forearm. Here very effective punch and block techniques were possible.

Loh (Round Sign)

The round shield is made of wood with an animal skin cover or of metal.

Shut Krabi Krabong (Krabi Krabong Uniform)

In the traditional arms fight in Thailand, the fighters wear corresponding uniforms, which are called Shut in Thai. The main features of these uniforms lie in the different epochs, from this the appearance can be clearly defined. Nowadays, the appearance and color of the Krabi Krabong are also determined by the respective grades of the fighters. The respective school and which region it comes from also play a role.

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Photo credit:
Sergio Piumatti

JC. Princen

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