A Muay Thai contest is divided into no more than five rounds. Each round is three minutes long, with a two minute rest period in between. Contestants must weigh in before the fight.  Contestants must have been taught the art of Muay Thai boxing by a teacher. There must be a time keeper in every contest.


Fighters must not wear any shoes or shirt.  One fighter must wear a blue pair of shorts and the other fighter must wear a red pair of shorts.

WAI KRU (paying respect to the teacher)

Wai Kru is an ancient Thai custom that demonstrates respect and gratitude.  There are a number of forms of the Wai Kru ceremony in Muay Thai.  Thais always hold their teachers to very high esteem, no matter what discipline they have embarked on.  Parents are believed to be everyone's original teachers and a special bond is believed to exist between those who study under the same teacher, which is regarded as being parallel to kinship.


Thai people traditionally believe that unseen spirits inhabit everywhere. For this reason it is necessary to perform special rites before entering a Muay Thai boxing ring asking the spirits permission to do so, propitiating them and destroying any evil that may be lurking.  The ritual is thought to protect the fighter and lead him to victory.  During this ritual a fighter will determine through which nostril the breath is flowing more freely.  He will take his first step (avoiding the bottom stair) with the foot of that side, for good luck.


After the ritual dance, Muay Thai fighters return to their own corners.  They go to the center of the ring to be briefed by the referee regarding the rules and then return to their own corners for removal of the head circlet (mongkon).  On completion of this ritual the Muay Thai contest can begin.


The sarama or musical accompaniment is a sound recognized as a symbol of deference and respect.  This rhythmic music accompanies the Ram Muay as well as the contest itself.  The music is performed by four musicians each playing either one of two kinds of oboe, a pair of Thai drums or symbols.  The tempo of the music varies.  During the Ram Muay it is slow and stately to match the mood of the smooth and flowing ritual.  When the fight commences the tempo is increased. At moments of excitement during a match it becomes frenetic.  The music increases the atmosphere of the event and urges fighters to try even harder.


Amulets are sacred and highly respected items believed to bestow blessings and protection. All Muay Thai fighters must use the mongkon, a head circlet, which is worn until completion of the Ram Muay ritual dance, and the prajed, a woven armband. The prajed contains a small Buddha image and is worn throughout the match.