Human beings were born with an instinct to fight for survival, especially self-defence against the most serious danger, that is, “the danger of war”. Each human race created methods of self-defence both with and without weapons, varing according to geographical and racial characteristics, until they became their national art of self-defence and a part of their culture. In Thailand, the Thai art of self-defence with bare hands is “Muay Thai” and one of those withweapons is, e.g., Krabi-Krabong. Both of the arts of fighting have kept Thailand an independent country up until the present day.
The Sukhothai, Ayudhaya, Thonburi and early Rattanakosin (Kings Rama I – IV) periods of Thailand were all periods of wars against invaders. All men bore the responsibility to be soldiers. The Thai tradition beleived that being a fighter was the important characteristic of “brave men”. Not only were the commoners fighters, but the nation’s leaders or kings had also to be brave fighters. Every type of fighting was considered to be an art for rulers. In the past, training for the art of Muay Thai and that for Krabi-Krabong would be carried out together, simultaneously. This was because in real fighting all sorts of weapons were used, but if the weapons had been dropped or fighting was at close quarters, the skill of Muay Thai would also be used.
Knowledge of Krabi-Krabong includes the equipment used in fighting, the skill of dancing, the fight itself and personal skills and talents. The following are the details:
Krabi-Krabong is the art of fighting with various kinds of weapons; both short and long, e.g. sword, long knife, long wooden staff, a glaive with curved blade, lance, short staff, and protective equipment, e.g. shields of various shapes. Each weapon can be used differently, as follows:
1. Krabi (long knife): a weapon for slashing and stabbing, made of good quality iron, flat with a pointed tip, to be used for fighting on level ground. 2. Daab (sword): a weapon for slashing and stabbing, made of good quality iron, flat with a curved tip, heavier than Krabi, to be used for fighting on level ground.
3. Ngaaw (glaive): a long weapon for slashing and stabbing, the Ngaaw itself is made of good quality iron, flat with a curved tip similar to that of the daab but shorter in length, with a long wooden handle, to be used for fighting at a distance from an elephant’s back 4. Plawng (long staff): also called “Si Sawk” (lit., “two yards”) is a long weapon for striking.