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When a student is accepted by the master, the training begins. The first thing a student learns is the slight difference in stance from Muay Thai. Then the holding of the weapon and how to control it. The student is taught the basic strikes and blocks using the sticks which are made of rattan cane and represent the swords, but are an effective weapon in their own right. The sport of "Daab Oon Nuam" (literally translated ;  wooden sword fighting) uses padded sticks which were originally covered in cotton but today are wrapped in foam. The padding allows the students to do full contact sparring which also incorporates the Muay Thai techniques. It is taught as part of the schools curriculum in Thailand.

To see actual  sword demonstrations  one must visit the 'Buddhai Sawan Temple' which is steeped in ancient traditions or the 'Rose Garden' near Bangkok, where students put on daily displays of all the systems of Krabi Krabong.

Before each sword-fighting bout, one would witness the 'Ram Daab' (Sword Dance) which is similar to the Ram Muay (Boxers Dance) which is seen before a Thai Boxing match. The Ram Muay differs from school to school.  This was to prevent students from the same school from fighting with each other which was forbidden by Thai regulation. The dance symbolizes respect to the old masters of the art and to the gods, so that they will infuse the warrior with strength agility and skill, and make the warrior invincible.

  The dance is performed using one or two swords which are ornate and elaborate weapons, but are used purely for the 'Ram Daab' and not for fighting. Krabi Krabong also makes use of   empty handed techniques, including holds, locks, throws, breaks and strikes to pressure points. In Muay Thai boxing these have been reduced down to just a few techniques. 

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photo by T. Moore 1996

photo by C. Heyliger 1996

photo by T. Moore 1996

photo by T. Moore 1995

photo by L. Cotte III 1996

Copyright 1998-99  USMTA Inc.  All rights reserved. Revised: October 16, 2004