Muay Chaiya is the style of the South, created in Chaiya city in the province of Surathani in the South of Thailand. The style was created by a soldier named Por Tan Mar from Bangkok who eventually became a monk in the temple of Wat Tung Jab Chang in Chaiya city, where he remained until his death.
It was during his monkhood that Ajarn Por Tan Mar developed the Muay Chaiya style. He taught the style to the governor of Chaiya ("Praya Vajisata Ya Rat") named "Kam Sriyaphai". The governor had a son called "Kiet Sriyaphai" who learnt Muay Chaiya from his father. Kiet Sriyaphai also learnt other styles from 12 different Ajarn's. He was to become the Master of Muay Chaiya. The last Ajarn of Kiet Sriyaphai was the famous Ajarn Kimsaing who was master of the Paak Klang style.
It is believed that the style of Muay Chaiya is more than 250 years old. The Muay Chaiya stance is very low and compact, with the center of gravity between the legs. Both knees are bent and all the joints are facing forward, ready to be used as a shield against any incoming attack. In Muay Chaiya, the fists are placed one higher than the other, facing upwards. Proponents of the style usually lead with the right side of the body but can use both sides very well.
Muay Chaiya specializes in blocking with the elbows and knees. Every leg or arm is bent, even when the boxer attacks. Limbs are never extended completely. Some people call it the "Durian Style", named after a fruit covered in very sharp spikes.
The footwork is fast and smooth, and sometimes the body weight is placed entirely on one leg. The Muay Chaiya boxer often moves in a springing motion. The attacks are very quick and come as a series of machine-gun like blows coming from all angles. Muay Chaiya is considered by some teachers to be a hybrid style. This is because the person who developed the style, Ajarn Por Tan Mar, brought the style from Bangkok.
The Muay Chaiya style was developed by a monk, so the style carries many Buddhist concepts amongst its teachings. The Muay Chaiya boxers were trained in meditation and the Thamma (teachings of the Buddha). The Muay Chaiya boxers wrap only their hands as they want make their primary weapon, the elbow, as effective as possible.