Martial art is a discipline that attracts many young people. The fights of high-class karate fighters, boxers and other competitors of similar disciplines have attracted and continue to attract crowds of spectators. For a long time, fighting has been a favourite pastime for both Caesars of the Roman empire as well as ordinary people.
The fighting has always accompanied man on daily basis. It was an inseparable part of everyday life and a driving force in the history of mankind. Nowadays, combat sports have remained a substitute for fights in its original sense. Muaythai is one of the most spectacular martial arts. Many great martial arts masters admit that the adept of Thai boxing is the toughest rival in the fight. Nowadays, Thai boxing is primarily a sport, and its traditional and spiritual aspects has moved into the background. Thai boxing techniques have been used long time ago to train Thai soldiers. This system had great popularity among Thai people, both poor and rich. The group of enthusiasts and exercisers united even Kings of Thailand. The biggest Thai boxing fighters are wrapped in legends and stories about them and their achievements are passed down from one generation to another.
In 1930, Thai boxing underwent a transformation (P. Lewis, 1998). Back then, new rules were introduced, which required among other things, the use of boxing gloves, genital protectors, and - which is the most important - weight categories were determined. Before this changes, the fight in the ring was almost without any rules, and the favourite element of the "outfit" to fight with was a hemp rope wrapped around the fist, which was dipped in glue and pieces of glass were stuck to it. The effects of such fights, as it was easy to guess, were often dramatic.
The techniques of Thai boxing are simple, although not crude, they are easy to exercise and master quickly, simply translate into real self-defense techniques (P. Ochniowski, Krakow 2002). This style is famous around the world for the most brutal rules among the fighting sports as it allows attacks with elbows and knees. As a result of these regulations, this system is nowadays deeply specialized in the field of effective elbow and knee fighting and kicking in the leg, which contributed to its huge popularity.
Thai boxing fights allows an attack with elbows and knees. It is due to these techniques that Muaythai distinguishes among many other full-contact combat sports and make this sport practiced by people with high mental and physical resilience.
Before each fight, fighters perform Ram Muay – a dance, in which they show their respect to each other, teachers and viewers. But Ram Muay is also a psychological preparation for the fight. It is a moment of great concentration and focus. These features are supposed to show the opponent that I am well prepared, I am not afraid and I am free from unnecessary thoughts - ready to fight.
Research on the level of anxiety and behaviour control mechanisms occurring in players training martial arts and taking part in competitions are very significant. It is because the level of perceived anxiety is of great importance in the pre-start period as well as at the very start, it affects the players' starting form.
From my many years of experience, both as the coach and the Muaythai player, it appears that Thai boxers are characterized by average level of timidity and an average level of anxiety as a state. This dependence was also demonstrated by Wilochowski (1984) in his research, indicating that handball players characterized by average anxiety as a state and as traits make fewer mistakes while playing in relation to players with low levels of anxiety.
Usually in response to the question regarding main reasons for appearing of the fear and fear of competitors before competition is the awareness of being knocked out by the opponent.
Moments before the start, the main symptoms of psychological stress among combat athletes is the feeling of anxiety, in addition, some of them need peace and quiet, and in the other part, strong excitement.
Studies show that anxiety connected to competition (Martens et al., 1990) is essential in achieving success. However, only when it reaches the optimal level it is considered to be a positively affecting factor to the level of performance. On the other hand, if anxiety is understood as a trait and as a situational fear that occurs in a large extent, it prevents the competitor from showing all his skills and amount of work put in preparation. Similarly, too low level of anxiety is also not conducive to the effectiveness and efficiency of conducted activities.
Martial arts fighters due to the specification of this discipline, both during training and competition, must count only on themselves and during the fight they can rely only on their knowledge and experience. Through the whole fight, they must make their own decisions, choose the order of the techniques used, they must try to "outsmart" the rival, attack when the opponent does not expect it. The fighter must demonstrate both the speed of moves, but also the speed of thought processes. Therefore, an emotion control is a necessary factor for achieving success in this sport.
Nowadays there is a clear division between martial arts and combat sports. Therefore, training concentration and meditation, which is an inseparable element of martial arts training, in combat sports training are not widely known and used, despite the high qualities of these techniques.