Wai – means showing respect by holding palms together, the same way like for prayer. Khru in Thai means master or teacher. In the ancient Thai traditions Ram means dance and Muay – boxing.
Before each fight the tradition requires performing the Wai Khru dance. The fighter walks around the ring for three times showing respect in each corner by bowing and saying prayers. Then he/she kneels on the middle of the ring and bows for three times as a sign of respect to God and teachers as well as to Buddha. Contestants asks for good fortune for himself but also for the opponent and for honest and clean fight.
The next step is the Ram Muay, which are easy movements that allows to demonstrate fighter’s own style and tempo. Each side of ring is dedicated for each fighter to show off their skills and power to the audience. It is rather personal ritual, its complexity only depends on individual approach of the fighter, Ram Muay could be simple and quick as well as complicated and prolonged. Sometimes it is possible to trace certain trainer by the moves he/she taught the fighter.
The contestant is allowed to wear Mongkon which is special headband and armbands called Prajioud during whole Wai Khru Ram Muay ceremony. Often during this dance and prayers there is traditional Thai music in the background. Ta Pong or Glong-Kag (Two face drum), Toe Pee Java (Javanese flute) and the Ching (cymbals) are the instruments used during this performance.