Jan 26, 2024

Pra Jiad – Muay Thai Arm Band, History and Ranking System

Discover the rich history behind Pra Jiad (Muay Thai arm bands), secure your seats to witness this tradition in action at Rajadamnern Muay Thai stadium

Muay Thai is a combat sport significantly known as a living piece of Thai culture with deep-rooted traditions. At the heart of this ancient martial art lies the Pra Jiad, the seemingly simple but profoundly symbolic Muay Thai armbands. 

Through this article, you will dive into the cultural essence of Muay Thai and the meaning of Pra Jiad, a symbol of commitment and respect that ties around fighters’ arms, reflecting their dedication to tradition and the sport.

Moreover, you will learn Pra Jiad’s role in Muay Thai’s ranking system. Throughout this exploration, you’ll understand how the small armband carries the spirit of Thailand’s ancient traditions, connecting the past with the present.

The Legacy and History of Pra Jiad

Pra Jiad, the distinctive Muay Thai armband, has a rich legacy that stretches back through Thai history. Its origins can be traced to ancient times when the martial art was not merely a sport but an essential skill for self-defense and warfare.

The roots of the Pra Jiad date back to the ancient kingdom of Siam (now Thailand), where Muay Thai was used as a form of combat on the battlefield. 

During these early times, warriors would wear colored cords or cloth pieces around their wrists, arms, or head to symbolize their allegiance to a particular king or army. These cloth pieces gradually evolved into the Pra Jiad, serving not only as symbols of loyalty but also as amulets for protection and luck. Moreover, it has now become one of the Muay Thai symbolisms. 

Why Muay Thai Fighters wear Muay Thai ArmBand

Muay Thai fighters wear the traditional Muay Thai armband not only as an accessory but as a profound symbol of their journey and a direct connection to Thai culture and traditions. The reasons for wearing these armbands are deeply rooted in the essence of the sport and are intertwined with centuries-old rituals and ceremonies. Here are a few reasons why Muay Thai fighters wear the Pra Jiad;

  1. Honoring Tradition 

The Pra Jiad serves as a visible link to the past, honoring the ancient traditions of the art. It signifies that the fighter is not just an athlete but a guardian of a cherished heritage.

  1. Strength and Protection

Historically, these Thai boxing armbands were believed to provide protection and bring good fortune to the fighters. The blessings from monks and the inclusion of personal charms or amulets within the Pra Jiad add a layer of spiritual significance. 

  1. Rank and Experience

The type and color of the Pra Jiad worn by a fighter indicate their rank and experience level. This system allows spectators and fellow fighters to estimate the skill and status of the competitors. 

In addition, The Pra Jiad is tightly connected to Muay Thai culture. Fighters often participate in rituals, such as the Wai Kru, where they pay homage to their trainers, ancestors, and the spirits, seeking blessings for their fight. The Pra Jiad is an integral part of this ceremony, signifying the fighter’s commitment to these spiritual traditions. 

Besides, Muay Thai is a source of national pride for Thailand. The Pra Jiad represents the Thai identity and serves as a reminder of the country’s resilience and history. Wearing it is an honor and a demonstration of respect for the nation’s cultural heritage.

Pra Jiad’s Rituals and Ceremonies

There are some important ceremonies that are associated with the process of presenting and wearing this Muay Thai ritual accessory.

  • Blessing: Before the fight, the Pra Jiad is blessed by a Buddhist monk or a respected elder. This ritual imbues the armband with spiritual significance and blessings for the fighter.
  • Wai Kru: The Wai Kru dance is a pre-fight ritual where fighters pay respects to their trainers, ancestors, and the spirits. During this dance, the Pra Jiad is worn with great care and respect.
  • Respect for the Opponent: When fighters exchange Pra Jiad before a match, it’s a display of respect. This tradition fosters a sense of camaraderie and sportsmanship, despite the intensity of the bout.

What are the Different Types of Muay Thai ArmBand (Pra Jiad)?

The Pra Jiad comes in various types, each with distinct colors and materials, and holds a special significance. Let’s delve into the different Pra Jiad variations, the selection process, and how fighters choose to wear them.

The Pra Jiad’s Colors and Their Meanings

Traditionally, Pra Jiad were made of cloth or cords. However, as Muay Thai has evolved, fighters began using more ornate and durable materials, including satin and silk. These designs can vary, and fighters may choose a design and colors that resonate with their personal beliefs or preferences. Here are the variations of Pra Jiad’s symbolisms;

  • Red Pra Jiad: Red symbolizes bravery and courage. 
  • Blue Pra Jiad: Blue represents wisdom and intellect. 
  • Black Pra Jiad: Black Pra Jiad is a symbol of power and authority.
  • Green Pra Jiad: Green is often associated with balance and adaptability.
  • White Pra Jiad: White is a color of purity and can symbolize humility. 
  • Yellow Pra Jiad: Yellow symbolizes respect for fighter’s trainers, teachers, and the traditions of Muay Thai. 
  • Orange Pra Jiad: Orange signifies energy and enthusiasm.
  • Silver/Gold Pra Jiad: Silver or gold armbands are often reserved for higher-ranking fighters who have achieved significant milestones in their Muay Thai careers. 

Pra Jiad’s Selection and Wearing

The selection of a Pra Jiad is a deeply personal process. Fighters, with input from their trainers and mentors, often choose the type and color that they believe best represents their characteristics, strengths, and beliefs. It’s a decision that goes beyond aesthetics; it’s a statement of identity.

Wearing a Pra Jiad is done with great care and respect, often as part of the Wai Kru ceremony. The armband is placed on the fighter’s bicep and secured in a manner that ensures it will not come loose during the match. The precise method of wearing the Pra Jiad may vary among fighters but always includes a sense of reverence for the traditions and a commitment to representing their chosen color and type.

Pra Jiad and Muay Thai Ranking System

The Pra Jiad plays an important role in Muay Thai’s ranking system, symbolizing a fighter’s progress and status within the community.

Hierarchy of Muay Thai Rankings

Muay Thai employs a tiered ranking system that categorizes fighters based on their skills, experience, and achievements. The system typically includes different levels, often referred to as “khan” (or grades), with fighters ascending the ranks as they gain more experience and prove their abilities in the ring. The ranking system is hierarchical, and fighters progress from lower to higher khan levels. 

Accordingly, different colors and types of armbands signify the fighter’s level of experience and expertise. Typically, lower-ranking fighters wear simpler and less ornate Pra Jiad, while higher-ranking fighters wear more elaborate and prestigious Thai martial art accessories.

Progression through the Ranks

Fighters move through the ranking system by accumulating experience, winning matches, and demonstrating their skills in the ring. As they progress, they earn the right to wear more prestigious Pra Jiad, often with additional symbols and colors that reflect their higher ranking. 

The process of advancing through the ranks is a testament to a fighter’s dedication and growth in the sport. 

Therefore, trainers and mentors play a significant role in guiding fighters through the ranking system. They assess a fighter’s abilities, determine their readiness to move up the ranks, and provide guidance and training to help them achieve their goals. Trainers also play a part in the blessing of the Pra Jiad, adding a spiritual dimension to the process.

Conclusion

Pra Jiad represents Muay Thai fighter’s pride, journey, progress, and ranking within the community. The arm band is a tangible symbol of their dedication, skills, and accomplishments, with different types and colors signifying their experience and expertise. 

In addition, Pra Jiad not only serves as a visual indicator but also participates in rituals that highlight the spiritual aspect of the sport. The exchange of Pra Jiad before a match and the Wai Kru ceremony showcase the respect and unity among fighters.

The armband is a living symbol of Muay Thai’s history and traditions and a bridge between the past and the present. It showcases the enduring cultural significance of Muay Thai and exemplifies the values that are deeply ingrained in Thai culture, making it more than a sport but a way of life.

Securing Your Muay Thai Stadium Tickets

For those seeking an authentic Muay Thai experience and the opportunity to witness the tradition of Pra Jiad in action, Rajadamnern Stadium is the place for you. This legendary stadium in the heart of Bangkok, Thailand, offers an unparalleled setting to watch live Muay Thai matches and witness the fighters proudly don their armbands before battling it out in the ring.

Witness some of the most thrilling and authentic fights in the sport with an electric atmosphere and the mesmerizing bouts. Don’t miss the chance to witness the beauty of Pra Jiad and the adrenaline-pumping live matches at Rajadamnern Stadium. Click here to book your ticket now!

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