If you’ve ever watched traditional Muay Thai fighting you have may have observed the interesting and distinct headbands that fighters sometimes wear. Though Muay Thai fighters do not wear these headbands while fighting they do hold significance to fighters. If you are new to the world of Muay Thai know that you do not need to have one while you are learning. In fact, the headband is something to be earned. This article will provide you with both what Muay Thai fighters headbands are for and why they wear them
What Are They?
The sometimes colorful and distinct headband worn by a Muay Thai fighter is called a mongkol. Although they look like headbands the proper name for the headdress is Mongkhon. They are much more important than simply keeping hair or sweat out of a fighter’s face. A mongkol is considered sacred and is thought to hold special powers.
Similar to a belt worn by a Taekwondo fighter a mongkol is symbolic and sacred. Like a black belt a mongkol is given to a worthy fighter by their trainer after they have proven themselves. It is a symbol of respect and loyalty and is an honour to be awarded one.
Through their knowledge of Muay Thai and their experience in fighting, a Muay Thai fighter must earn their right to wear a mongkol. It is important to note that only the fighter and their trainer may though a mongkol. This practice is done to preserve the powers held by the mongkol.
When Are They Worn?
A mongkol is not worn while fighting but is instead worn for a ceremonial purpose before a fight. Though not worn in a fight it is necessary to have one before fighting.
The ceremony surrounding the wearing of a mongkol starts by placing the mongkol on a fighter’s head before they enter the ring. Once in the ring a fighter will commence a wai kru dance while wearing the mongkol. Once the ceremony is over the fighter’s trainer will remove the mongkol while praying.
What Should I wear?
Now that you know the significance of a mongkol it should be clear that it is not something to be worn by simply any person learning Muay Thai. If you are a beginner and wondering what you need for your first Muay Thai class, you can be assured that a mongkol is not something you will need. For help with determining what you need for your first Muay Thai class, see our previous blog post “what to wear to muay thai class”.
Through learning and working hard during your Muay Thai lessons you may be able to earn a mongkol for yourself. If you haven’t tried Muay Thai yet, what are you waiting for? Get in touch with a great Muay Thai boxing gym like Grants MMA and see firsthand why Muay Thai is good for weight loss and is a great martial art for beginners.