This ceremony is an age-old tradition that sees Muay Thai boxers show gratitude and respect to their trainers with a wai – which in Thailand is both a greeting and a way of showing respect to seniors and superiors.
In 2017, the ceremony is scheduled for 17 March. There will be many exhibitions and demonstrations relating to ancient Thai martial arts, including a display of ancient weapons, demonstrations of sword and knife making, and shows of other forms of Thai martial arts, which have developed in different parts of the country.
According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the annual World Wai Kru Muay Thai Ceremony has become a firm fixture on the calendar for Muay Thai practitioners all over the world. The event, which has been held annually since 2004, allows international boxers to appreciate the more respectful and charming elements of this ancient Thai martial art.
Muay Thai, or Thai boxing, is an important part of Thai culture, and it is now best known in the global community, especially among martial arts and boxing enthusiasts. It is different from Western boxing in the diversity of offensive and defensive blows, thus making the art more taxing and challenging to the boxer.
Muay Thai contests gradually became an integral part of local festivals and celebrations, especially those held on temple grounds. Cultural and psychological elements are added to Muay Thai, as the boxer has to perform a traditional "paying respect to the teachers” ritual, or Wai Khru ceremony, complete with rousing Thai music accompaniment.
The martial art also reflects Thai values, such as respect for elders, love of grace, and bravery.
This whole mix of a unique form of martial arts and cultural elements is what makes for the fascination with Muay Thai and explains its popularity worldwide.