Wai Khru Ram Muay, commonly shortened to “Wai Khru” or “Ram Muay” is a traditional war-dance ritual performed by Muay Thai fighters (Nak Muay) before their fight begins. Both participants perform the ritual together in the ring before returning to their corner for a final blessing from their trainer (Kru or Khru). There are many different Wai Khru styles, and many Thai fighters gain positive recognition from promoters for originality, confidence and “playing the crowd.”
Every Wai Khru is different and passed on from teacher to student. Before each fight, the student performs their Wai Khru as a show of respect and gratitude to their trainer, and to appease the spirits. Thai people (and Thai fighters) are very superstitious so the Wai Khru also serves as a way to seal the ring before a fight, ensuring no negative energy or spirits enter the ring.
Many fighters also use the opening Wai Khru to gauge their opponent before a fight. In Thailand, you don’t always know who you will fight on any given night, so fighters may watch their opponent to judge their creativity, balance and movement to vaguely determine their level of experience and overall adeptness. The Wai Khru does not always indicate whether a fighter is proficient or not, but it can give you insight to their movement and state of mind nonetheless.
Every Muay Thai student that fights for AKA will learn the Wai Khru from their trainer, and all of our students practice once a week in the group classes. Even if you do not plan to fight, when you come to Thailand to learn traditional Muay Thai, the Wai Khru Ram Muay has deep roots in the sport and Thai culture. It’s all part of the experience!