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Kru is the Thai word which means the person who teaches 'sid', or passes on knowledge to pupils (sid).
Normally, Krus are highly respected in Thai Society. They are knowledge able, full of perseverance. They practice high moral standards in their way life, leading very respectable lives. They always devote themselves to performing their teaching commitment until their pupils attain full knowledge and are successful in their fields.
Such Kru is usually rewarded by his sense of achievement, respect from everyone and an increase in the number of students willing to submit to his guidance.
To show sincere appreciation and perseverance, dedication and generosity conferring knowledge & providing experience for good opportunities, pupils in return will submit themselves obediently and respectfully to their own Teacher's instruction and advice, serve him diligently, and obey the rules and regulations laid down by him (or her), so that the Teacher can pass on the knowledge of that particular field to them closely, quickly, properly and wisely.
Wai Kru (Paying Respect to Teachers) is a demonstration if the pupil's respect & gratitude to his teacher in submission to the teaching & training. Wai Kru is traditionally practiced by Thais of various professions & Arts, e.g dancers, sword fighters, musicians, as well as academic students, and of course Muay Thai Boxers are no exception.
The word "Wai" means to pay respect by putting both hand together in front of the chest.
The demonstration of Wai Kru does not only imply paying respect to the present Teacher, but also includes homage to all the teachers of the discipline.
When following the tradition, a Muay fighter has to pass through a series of ceremonies. First one is the Initiation as a Trainee Fighter Ceremony (Kuen Kru, Yok Kru) in where Kru accepts young fighters as his student. After that, students participate many times the Annual Hamoge-Paying Ceremony (Wai Kru Prajam Pee) in which students pay respect to their teachers - and souls and teachers who have already passed away.
In the Initiation as a Teacher Ceremony (Krob Kru) the students who are qualified are approved to become teachers and continue to spread the knowledge what they have learned.
In Muay Thai and Muay Boran Wai Kru - Ram Muay is performed before a competition.
The fighter performs three bows, on the third one the fighter concentrates, thinking about someone who is very dear to them. This ritual is meant to show respect towards family, gym and the teacher.
The Ram Muay is the pre-fight ritual conducted after Wai Kru. It is a dance that the fighter performs to traditional music. In ancient times, the Ram Muay was used as a warm-up before a fight, but it is now performed prior to the beginning of a Muay Thai match.
After performing the Wai Kru Ram Muay, the fighters return to their own corners and their teacher will remove the head circlet (Mongkon). Removing the Mongkon ceremony is called Pitee Tod Mongkon. After the ceremony, the contest starts.
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