The Thai people in a constant state of warfare lived near water sources in dense forests. They gradually cleared the forest areas and hunted with axes, spears, arrows, sling shots and fishing hooks. Finally, by the late twelfth century, the Ahom emigrated into Thailand and settled in the lowlands. Master Sriyabhaya continues, " When the refugees had settled in the area where there were "fish in the water and rice in the fields" (the quote comes from an inscription by King Ramkhamhaeng in 1292 describing his thriving Sukhothai kingdom) elders of the different
Thai clans attempted to build up the courage and skill of the young men by promoting athletic games "...for reasons of security and to ensure their future freedom, a system of self defense was devised...". The development of the initial set of weapons such as knives, swords, battle axes, blowpipes along with hunting traps were frequently some of the tools from their everyday life (much like the Okinawan adoption of the common sickle and tonfa into fierce combative weapons). They created these tools initially with just stone choppers and knives.
"Sophisticated metallurgy also developed in Southeast Asia as early as anywhere in the world. Copper and Bronze working is attested by the excavation at a site in what is now northeastern Thailand of a mold in which bronze axes were cast, dating back to more than 5,000 years ago. There was also iron working in the same region around 3,000 years ago and a considerable pottery making technology," explains David K. Wyatt, a noted historian on Thailand, "It is not unreasonable to suppose that by 2,000 years ago the peoples of Southeast Asia shared a common, distinctive, and advanced civilization". The Thais were a progressive race of people and through much trial and tribulation, changes and improvements, a fierce fighting system began to emerge. Born of the ashes of their persistent battles for survival. Attempting to trace the roots of the actual fighting techniques is difficult since they are now so distinctly Thai. But Buddhism which has a long and extensive influence within Thailand is a good place to start.
The following is taken from Nagabodhi Tomio's study of 'The Bodhisattva Warriors'. "In ancient Hinduism, nata was acknowledged as a spiritual study and conferred a ruling deity, Nataraja, representing the awakening of wisdom through physical and mental concentration. However, after the Muslim invasion of India and its brutal destruction of Buddhist and Hindu culture and religion, the Ksatreya art of nata was dispersed and many of its teachers slain.... The Muslim invasions and subsequent slaughter of the Buddhist monks and nuns caused many to flee into Southern India, China, and elsewhere. because of this, much of what we know concerning nata within Indian Buddhism comes to us via Chinese tradition and Buddhist writing. Refugees carried with them living knowledge, not only of Buddhist spiritual teaching, but also of its cultural arts and skillful means of teaching... In the countries to which Buddhist nata was taken, particularly Thailand, Korea, and Malaysia, we find evidence of various unarmed martial arts, which were still practiced with nata movements patterns and techniques.." Some commonality can be seen in some of the motions of the ceremonial Krabi as well as the Daab Song Mue.