According to history, Muay Thai competition was as early as 1880’s during the Golden Age of Muay Thai, King Rama V had realized the importance of promoting Muay Thai as a sport. The event was called, “Muay Luang.” as promoted tournament throughout the kingdom of Thailand. Although, there were earlier records of fighting in many different villages before King Rama V. King Rama V understood the value of Muay Thai competition as a sport in Thailand at the turn of the century.
In 1920, the boxing rings were introduced to replace the open courtyard fights, which eventually and ultimately planted the roots of modern Muay Thai. The first formal rules and regulations of sports Muay Thai were introduced after WWII ended. The fights were formally divided into 5 rounds using a clock with a time limit on it, replacing a coconut shell with holes sinking in a barrel of water as determining the length of each fight.
During the first great war, WWI, Thai soldiers were stationed in France, this was the beginning of Muay Thai fights being introduced to Europe. The commander of Thai Soldiers would organize Muay Thai bouts to boost the morale within the Thai soldiers. Often, French boxers would compete and participate against the Thai fighters.
The Suan Khoolab School was the first permanent boxing stadium built after the war in Thailand. Modern gloves were not yet introduced back then; it was still the hands were wrapped in cotton and hemp. Their particular school or style Mongkongs were worn on their heads and pra-jiats around their biceps.
The distinctive Muay Thai style is thought to have developed over the centuries as the major tribes of that era (one of which was the Siamese) migrated from China, Vietnam, Laos, Burma, and into other islands like Malaysia and neighboring islands. The Thai tribes moved south, fighting fiercely to survive as they encountered other tribes in what is now northern and central Thailand, and as far as south as Malaysia and Philippines.
As the modern Muay Thai competition became popular, the rules began to change so it could be better organized and governed like established sports such as western boxing. Gloves were then introduced after WWII, and hard –cover groin protector was added for extra protection from knees and brutal kicks.
Today Muay Thai competition is becoming very popular on an international and global scale. The competition of Muay Thai recently accepted as an Olympic sport, finally gaining the recognition it deserves. Muay Thai will continue to grow in popularity among martial arts practitioners due to exposure by “UFC” and other televised fights.
Master Taningco took his full contact team at that time that was ONLY kickboxing competition back in the late 70’s and into the 80’s under the banner of PKC. Also, the team did well in the “Tough Man” competition held at the Hara Arena once a year. More than several students had won back to back two years in a row championships, notably Christian Phyllis Toleque and Paul Combs and others just with one year win.
Master Taningco decided to bring the Muay Thai competition into the Dayton area. He first introduced Muay Thai competition nationally in 2001. It was the first Muay Thai fight events nationally due to Muay Thai fighters participated as far as from Puerto Rico to California. The event was held at the Dayton Convention Center. And as many Thai coaches attended and supported his events in the likes of Sakasem, Vut Kamnark, Bunkard, Matee, Sakasem, and Samart and others.
Taningco promotes the US National Muay Thai Belt Championship tournament in Dayton, Ohio to this day. Which is an elimination tournament rather than just a single bout. The Dayton Muay Thai competition team travels in Midwest and as far as Canada to compete in Muay Thai tournaments.