May 8, 2007

Muay Chaiya - The Story behind the name “Yang Sam Khum”

Getting the Chaiya Master Stance correct is of the most importance. The Stance, from which one can defend or attack in any one of the infinite variations, derives its full name “Yang Sam Khum Klum Dan Yuk” (3 steps in 3 step paths covering the entire beast's territory) from Hindu religious references. Grandmaster Ketr Sriyapai explained it as follows:

the banquet of the gods was over, and all the guests parted. The king-god Pra Isuan, host of the banquet, noticed a beast with sun-red eyes still waiting by his side, waiting for Pra Isuan to leave first. Pra Isuan, impressed, by the beast's loyalty and good manners, granted the beast one wish. The beast grabbed its chance and asked for ownership of approx. 100 sq. mile of jungle area where if any form of living were to trespass, it (the beast) would have the right to eat the trespasser. Pra Isuan realized this meant trouble, but as king of the gods, he had no choice but to honor his word.

Time passed and the beast enjoyed its newfound passion immensely. It lure through magic spells, angels, humans, and even other demons into its territory and wasted no time in claiming its right to eating helpless victims. Pra Isuan, after having been plead for help, sent Pra Narai (another god) to set the situation right. Disguised as a young Brahm (Hindu priest), Pra Narai set foot into the beast's territory and pretended to be terrified upon seeing the beast, which, not sensing the powerful force within the young Brahm, set ready to enjoy its meal. The young Brahm said to the beast:

Brahm: “Please sir, I had no idea this was your territory. I only came to perform a common Hindu ceremonial practice, which consists of walking 3 steps while chanting. I realize I will die, but if so may I please perform the ceremony so that I may die a proud Hindu?"

The Beast not aware of being set up, and very much looking forward to its meal rushed the young Brahm to get it over. The young Brahm performed his ceremony – but instead of the human-Hindu ritual he claimed, it was in fact a magic spell of the gods that blew up his size gigantically and in 3 big steps, Pra Narai walked covering over the entire 100 sq. miles frightening the beast. Though trying to runaway and hide, the beast was squashed.

The Yang Sam Khum, which literally translates into “3 steps in 3 step paths”, refers to the ability to increase one's awareness, strength, and courage to the level that would frighten away even beasts. It is from this legend that Muay Thai derives its name for its unique footwork system - from which one can go in all directions safely without having to fear any attacks. Whether a fighter is skilled or not, one can judge clearly from his Yang Sam Khum.


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