Weapons - Krabi Krabong -1

The sword was the principle weapon during the turbulent history of Siam, but the art of fencing was taken a step further in skill by warriors who fought with blades in both hands. This style of fencing dates back 2,000 years according to experts, and began when men of the Mon race from the North took refuge in Siam and were organized into fighting units called Krom Dap-Song-Mu, or "Sword in both hands". 

 These fierce warriors maintained their skills with constant training, following 10 basic positions which included standing on guard, "dancing", "checking", "swaggering", and the  actual clash of  cold steel. The coup de grace or final blow usually led to the decapitation of the foe, as opposed to the body thrust or slash of Western fencing. 

Besides its deadliness in hand-to-hand combat, the art of fencing with two swords was regarded as a public display of skill and courage during feasts and festivals. These displays were held with the same ritual, as modern Tai boxing. The combatants wore costumes with talismanic figures on them and amulets around their heads. 

Pipes and drums were used to mark time during contests and whip the spectators into the same heady enthusiasm that you would see nowadays at Rajadermn or Lumpinni stadiums. This same rhythm is captured in the Siamese tune "Muan Ram Dap" which was composed in honor of the Mon fighting tradition. In more contemporary times, the famous royal heroes King Naresuan the Great and King Ekatathosarot were highly skilled in fighting with two swords and their art took a big toll of Burmese invaders, who laid siege to the old Siamese capital,  Ayutthaya, in 1586. 

Thai sword-fighting held on as a national art and a means of self-defense until about 150 years ago, during the reign of King Rama II, when the army was reorganized and equipped with modern musketry and cannon developed in the West. Fencing schools now fence the Mon way, most famous of which is the Sritrairat Camp located on the outskirts of Dhonburi.

Copyright 1998 USMTA Inc.   All rights reserved. Revised: October 16, 2004