Are you a Muay Thai fan? And you also a fan of Muay Thai movies?
Then you’ve probably watched Jean Claude Van Damme’s Kickboxer in 1989, and recently Tony Jaa’s Ong Bak and Matt Murdoch Daredevil season 3.
And also then you are wondering about the hand ropes they wear during fights. Why do these Muay Thai fighters wear hand ropes?
Read carefully to learn why Muay Thai ropes were banned in the late 1920s which started the modernization of Muay Thai Sports.
What Are Muay Thai Ropes?
Muay Thai aka Thai Boxing gain their modernization as a sport in the late 1920s.
When the rules of more rules, selected rounds, referee, boxing rings, proper gloves were compulsory.
At this time Muay Thai was developed from its origin Muay Boran.
And the Muay Boran fighting style was separated based on the geography of Thailand.
Still many parts of Thailand practiced Muay Boran in the traditional way.
The Muay Thai ropes (Kard Cheuk)are made of hemp and wrapped around the hands of a fighter instead of modern boxing hand wraps. Which offers protection to the fighter’s knuckles and gives more power to their fist.
It’s the same thing as modern boxing hand wraps which offer protection to the fighter’s knuckles and support their wrist but with more power to their knuckles.
What is Kard Cheuk?
The Kard Cheuk is simply means boxing or fighting using Muay Thai ropes.
Muay Kard Cheuk simply defines Muay Boran.
It’s the other name of Muay Boran because of the tradition of fighting with ropes.
And Muay Thai exactly means “Ancient Boxing”.
What is The Purpose of Muay Thai Fighters To Wear Hand Ropes?
You can easily saw a difference between both the old fighting styles and the new modern fighting styles.
In the modern-day, boxing gloves are made with foams for protection reasons. The foam of a glove absorbs and reduced the force to minimize the damages to a fighter’s fists.
And also at the same time, it reduced the impact deliver on the opponent’s head (or crucial areas).
Nowadays fighters use hand wraps under boxing gloves to ensure maximum protection for their wrists.
But in the old days of Muay Boran Muay Thai ropes were worn for protection on their hands, but the ropes were meant to do more damage on opponents.
Muay Thai ropes allowed fighters to drive more force compare to any gloves, because of the little impact surface.
The Thai ropes are such dangerous wrap that can easily make big and deep cuts on your opponent.
Different Types of Kard Cheuk (Muay Thai Ropes) In Thailand
Muay Thai is originated back from the ancient reign of boxing.
Then Muay Boran the ancient form of Muay Thai covered many different types of boxing styles from different geographical parts of Thailand.
The Muay Boran also utilized different types of hand ropes for different reasons.
Let’s see some of the Kard Cheuk Ropes.
Muay TahSao from Northern Thailand:–
This Ancient boxing style is originated from the northern part of Thailand. These fighters are known for their lightning-fast kicks and very agile movements.
Their hand ropes are usually very long and very thick to the forearm, to protect the forearm while blocking the kicks.
Muay Korat from North-East Thailand:–
This version of Ancient Muay Boran is originated from the north-eastern part of Thailand.
These fighters are known for their specialization in Strong kicks and throwing powerful punches.
They wrap their thick Muay Thai ropes to cover the forearm part to block the strong kicks and punches.
Muay Chaiya from Southern Thailand:-
This is a Muay Boran style from the Southern part of Thailand. This fighting style is mostly about low-level kicks with high force.
The hand ropes are tied in a very such way that the ropes can give the wrist the maximum support and absorb the most force of the elbow attacks.
Muay Lopburi from Central Thailand:–
This ancient Muay Boran fighting style is originated from the central part of Thailand.
These fighters are known for their Quick and aggressive punches with very tactical footwork.
They tie the Muay Thai ropes on only their wrist for more protection while using their punches.
The End of Muay Thai Ropes
From 1910 to 1925 the reign of King Rama VI Muay Thai started to become very popular, and they held daily Muay Thai fights in Bangkok.
The fighters were properly matched before fighting and the winner was decided by giving up or if an opponent is unable to rise after getting knockdown.
IN 1928 a fight was permitted between a Thai boxer Phae Lieng Prasert and a renowned Cambodian Khmer fighter.
Their match has been stopped in the 3rd round after the Thai fighter dropped the Khmer fighter with some thriving punches.
The Khmer fighter was announced dead on the way to the hospital.
From that day the Thai Ministry of Interior announced the ban of Muay Thai ropes after this Khmer fighter incident.
Then the Ministry mandatory the use of boxing gloves, which starts the revolution of Muay Thai and which continues today. (Source)
The Modern day Muay Kard Cheuk Ropes
Still, nowadays the Kard Cheuk is used in Southeast Asia. And also in Mayanmar, the Muay Thai ropes are used in Lethwei and Burmese bare-knuckle boxing.
Most popularly the Kard Cheuk ropes are used in the famous Thai Fight promotion and also some other television fight promotors.
The Kard Cheuk fights are occasionally held for temple festivals all around Thailand as an honor of tradition.
For them, this is a very important thing to keep alive their tradition.
But the modern Kard Cheuk fights are not brutal as the ancient fights, nowadays fighters use thin padded gloves before wrapping their hands with ropes.
And also the modern ropes are a bit smoother and very refined as compared to the traditional ropes.
How To Wear Muay Thai Ropes?
In the above picture, you can see the step-by-step guide on how to wear Kard Cheuk ropes.
First, the fighter makes a knot on his knuckles with a hemp rope for more power and knuckle protection, then more rope is wrapped around the thumb and hands.
Then the rope is weaved between the fingers and hand and finally, the wrist and forearm are wrapped.
This is the traditional way of wearing Muay Thai hemp ropes.
But modern-day Kard cheuk is very different than the ancient way.
Nowadays fighters wear thin MMA-like padded gloves before wrapping the hemp rope. And the hemp rope is very smooth and refined so that the ropes don’t give big cuts to opponents.
Also in some fights, fighters don’t make knots, because the knots are cause the most brutal damages.
Muay Thai Ropes & Muay Boran Tradition
Muay Boran is a cultural and traditional non-competitive martial art practiced in especially Thailand and now all around the world.
The practice of Muay Boran is like preserving the heritage of the original martial art of Thailand.
All practitioners focus on the fighting styles and forms of the Muay Boran which has been neglected or banned in modern competitive Muay Thai.
This ancient martial art is very popular among Martial art lovers and Muay Thai fans.
Muay Boran is celebrated in Ayutthaya on 17th March every year as the National Muay Thai day.
Muay Thai fighters and Muay Boran practitioners dress up in traditional Muay Boran attires along with Muay Thai ropes to honor the ancient martial art.
This day they held some friendly Muay Boran bout to honor the tradition.