Continued.. Historical Brief
It is difficult to imagine the history of Ayutthaya would have been the same without King Naresuan (1590-1605), also known as the 'Black Prince' was once a captive of the Burmese, (see Hero's) for he is one of those rare figures in Siamese history who, by virtue of dynamic leadership, personal courage, and decisive character, succeed in Herculean tasks that have daunted others before them. (Also see battles & wars). King Naresuan encouraged the development of empty handed fighting even though by this time firearms were already in use. These movements developed out of the Krabi Krabong weapons system helped to further its effectiveness. Theses battlefield empty hand techniques eventually developed into the original bare knuckle sport variant of Muay Thai. The King then participated in competitions and training exercises and helped spread the fighting system across the nation.
The knowledge of Krabi Krabong was not only solely restricted to the military alone. Almost every abled bodied Thai of that period was trained in some aspect of Krabi Krabong. Armed citizens of key towns would often arm themselves to not only stall but sometimes successfully route invading enemy forces. It is interesting to note that woman are allowed to train at the current Buddhai Sawan because in many battles they would often dress themselves as men and go out to fight side by side with their husbands and fellow townsmen. (see Hero's - also see Battles & Wars). Many of Siam's greatest warriors and leaders were schooled at the Wat Buddhai Sawan, including the legendary Tiger King (Phra Chao Suua), King Taksin and King Rama I ( see Royalty, also see Hero's and Battles & Wars), all who trained under the celebrated Arjarn Khong.
King Suua (1703-1709) or Tiger King, a ruthless, bloodthirsty ruler who was known for his ferocious fighting ability, traveled often incognito to participate in various Muay Thai matches around the region. Though it has been reported that most villagers knew who he was and in a kingdom where God and country remain supreme, no one would dare touch the King and so many took the fall gracefully. King Sua's reign would be an extremely calm time in Thai history and he furthered the spread of Muay Thai into small towns and fairs as well as making it mandatory training for his army. Being a good Muay Thai fighter was a sure way to military advancement.