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Happy Muay Thai Day!

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we are celebrating Thailand’s National Muay Thai Day (this is not to be confused with National Mai Tai Day, which should be celebrated every day of the year in our opinion). Muay Thai is also known as Thai boxing, and we have several relevant biographies available. The one we like best is of Tony Jaa, an actor and stuntman, and star of international hit martial arts flick Ong Bak: Muay Thai Warrior.

When Jaa was 15 years old, he became the protege of Panna Ritthikrai, a stunt coordinator and director from Thailand. At the age of 21 he entered the University of Mahamarakam, which specialized in sports sciences. There he learned many martial arts disciplines. Jaa then had a professional career acting as a stunt man in films such as Mortal Kombat 2 (1997).

Still working with Ritthikrai, Jaa came up with new stunts that were related to Muay Thai, which resembled a boxing ballet with fast moves. For a time, Jaa became immersed in the study of the discipline, seeking out the masters of Muay Thai and learning new moves. Ritthikari and Jaa then filmed Jaa’s best stunts and approached a known director, Prachya Pinkaew. Though Pinkaew had doubts, primarily because Thais from Jaa’s area of Thailand usually had dark skin and were traditionally cast as villains, not stars, in films, the movie was made, creating a story around Jaa’s martial arts skills.

Jaa has a fun periodical feed in Biography Resource Center, which informed us that he made the sequel Ong Bak 2, which was reviewed in the February 2, 2009, issue of Variety.

National Muay Thai Day commemorates Nai Khanom Thom, a Thai boxer who fought (and defeated) 10 Burmese fighters to obtain his freedom in the 18th century. There are not too many specifics available other than his legendary deca-battle, so hopefully you’ll excuse us if we don’t have a biography of our own on him.

Source: “Tony Jaa.” Biography Resource Center Online. Gale, 2005.

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Posted on: March 17, 2009, 3:24 pm Category: Factoids Tagged with: , , , , ,

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