Krabi Krabong

Krabi Krabong is a Thai weapon-based martial art closely related to Burmese Banshay and Malay Silat. It was seen in the James Bond movie, “The Man with the Golden Gun” when an unconscious Bond is left at Hai Fat’s dojo. In the scene, 007 watches two fighters fight against each other using the styles, complete with the two swords.

Many of the students of martial arts consider Krabi Krabong to be the most lethal discipline that the human mind has ever conceived.

It was needed to victoriously keep at bay the continues attacks of the neighboring populations and was the reason for the legend of the invincibility, which is still true today. Muay Thai is in fact the part of Krabi Krabong which is dedicated to hand to hand combat and has been improved and transformed into a sport, separating itself from Krabi Krabong.

Still following the old system  not yet transformed into a sport,  teaches how to use every part of the body as a deadly weapon.  Using levers, projection, immobilization, strangulation and blows centered on vital points.

The blows and the parries  used by the elbows and knees remain lethal. It also involves the study of the ancient warrior waepons such as knives, sabers, swards, staffs, etc. Always keeping an extremely realistic contest centered on the concreteness and maximum efficiency in combat and self-defense.

Ram-Awut is the Thai equivalent of Tai Chi and is an integrated part of Krabi Krabong. It consists of slow movements carried out co-coordinating mind, breathing and body, controlled and rhythmic by traditional Thai music. Breathing technique (Phalang Chit) is also studied for the development of inner strength and physical powers (Siamese Chi Kung).

These last practices give not only certainty and determination, but also serenity to the participator, creating a deep integration of mind and body and giving the individual a harmonious relationship with the universe. Krabi Krabong in its completeness and its other educational contents, moral and spiritual, is recommended to all, especially women and children, as the best means of self-defense.

The weapons techniques include training in these weapons:

  • Krabi, single-edge sword
  • Krabong, staff
  • Loh, buckler
  • Plong, stick
  • Ngao, halberd
  • Daab Song Mue, two swords, one in each hand
  • Mai Sawk, or Mai Sun Sawk, a pair of clubs which are worn on the forearms.

Aside from weapons, Krabi Krabong incorporates unarmed techniques as well. The empty-handed form is kick-based but also uses pressure points, locks, holds, and throws.

The origins of Krabi Krabong are closely connected to martial arts from several other countries. As with similar styles like Silat and Banshay, the influence of Chinese and Indian styles on Krabi Krabong can be readily seen.

For example, in the key technique of spinning the weapon in one hand while walking in a circular pattern is also a fundamental move in kalarippayattu. Because this history of weapons use in Thailand dates far back, much of the information on Siam’s past is lost. This is largely due to Ayutthaya’s conquer by Myanmar in the 15th century when many irreplaceable archives and records were destroyed.

Archaeological findings as well as ancient folklore show the multitude of Siamese weapons, many of which are no longer used in Thai martial arts today. Among these are the daab (double-edge sword), keris (dagger), hāwk (spear) and the trisuun (trident). Influence from Cambodia or Myanmar may have come in during this time.

In the early 1600s a large community of Japanese people settled to various parts of Indochina, and Siam in particular. Among these were about 800 ronin who were on the losing side of Japan’s civil war. This had a strong influence on many Southeast Asian martial arts. Krabi Krabong bears many similarities to Japanese styles such as bōjutsu which can be seen in the stances and judo-like throws.

The foremost school of Krabi Krabong today is the Buddhai Swan Sword Fighting Institute, in Thailand, which was led by the Grand Master Ajarn Sumai until his death in 1998. Khru Ajarn Pramote Mesamana studied Krabi Krabong from the age of 6 from his father Semai Mesamana. This tradition of teaching father to son has a long history line of Noble warriors going back to the time Ayutthaya.

Today at 68 he runs the Buddhai Sawan Krabi Krabong in Lad Prao. The Royal family of Thailand has given him permission to teach the Thai Army and to promote Krabi Krabong. His U.K representative is Paul Whitrod.