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Muay Thai Documentaries

The 16 Best Muay Thai Documentaries

In this article, we'll explore a selected list of the best Muay Thai documentaries available for free on the internet

Intro: Muay Thai Documentaries

Muay Thai is a combat sport, and martial art original from Thailand is considered one of the most brutal and effective striking systems globally.

It has become famous worldwide thanks to movies and the vast recognition of combat sports organizations in recent decades.

It's also known as "the art of the eight limbs" because it allows the use of punches, kicks, knees, elbows, as well as clinching and sweeps.

Extremely technical and tactical, Muay Thai elevates itself to a form of art, a dangerous dance where beauty and strength mix together.

In this Muay Thai documentaries list, we'll dive deeper into one of the most potent fighting systems humankind has ever produced.

We'll go from the historical heritage to the cultural traditions, from the underground realities of fighting kids and prison fights to the stories of amateur and professional fighters worldwide.

We'll listen to the tales of some of the most legendary Thai fighters of all time, and we'll discover what kind of people they become through their journey in Muay Thai.

This collection aims to be the most comprehensive list of documentaries about Muay Thai, a thoughtful selection of pieces to bring you on a journey to explore every angle of this fascinating reality.

I wish you a great read.

1. "Born for the fight: The Art of Muay Thai"

Published in 1997, "Born for the fight" is one of the most complete introductions to the world of Muay Thai.

It guides the spectator starting from an excellent introduction to the sport, its history, and origins.

You'll be able to appreciate some of the oldest Thai boxing fights footages around, as well as videos of old training methods.

Worth mentioning the workout where the Nak Muay (fighter) splash water in his face to learn not to blink!

Never heard about this before, and I found it so cool.

Another aspect explained in this Muay Thai documentary is the role of luck and paying tributes to the spirits in Thai's culture, such as the Thai traditional monks tattoos, the use of armbands (Pra Jiad), the headband (Mongkhon), and the traditional dance to show respect to the teachers (Wai khru ram muay).

The documentary continues showing the daily life of a traditional Muay Thai gym where kids train and fight, often as the only way to provide for their families.

2.Yodtong Senanan - Muay Thai Documentary

This documentary is hosted by Yodtong Senanan, one of the greatest Thai fighters and trainers, who produced 57 Muay Thai champions in his coaching years.

It starts with an excellent introduction to the sport and its role in culture and then explores its rituals and traditions.

I really liked the step-by-step demonstration of the pre-fight dance to pay tribute to the teachers, called "Wai khru ram muay".

It continues going in-depth on Muay Thai training, explaining its philosophy, the importance of physical exercise, and the equipment.

Follows an exploration of all the Muay Thai techniques, from punches to kicks and knees and elbows, all corroborated with tactical pieces of advice and tips.

The last part of the documentary features some of the best training camps in Thailand in the 90s, with videos of old-school Muay Thai workouts.

3. Thai Boxing: A Fighting Chance - narrated by Jason Statham

This time will explore the world of Muay Thai through the lives of a Thai girl, a Thai boy, and a Western guy preparing for their next fights.

Brilliantly narrated by Jason Statham.

4. Muay Boran Documentary: Ancient Muay Thai

Muay Boran refers to the combination of all traditional Siamese martial arts styles before the development of Thai Boxing as a combat sport early in the 20th century.

It's characterized by flying attacks like flying knees and kicks and extremely explosive blows.

It also included headbutting, currently allowed only in Lethwei, the Myanmar traditional fighting style.

The use of Muay Boran has been lost over the years.

Modern competitions emphasize scoring points, and Muay Boran techniques are considered too risky. Also, they are not rewarded enough to keep them as a preferential choice.

One of the greatest fighters of our era, Saenchai, keeps alive the tradition of ancient explosive Muay Thai techniques. 

He proved the world their efficacy, slaying much bigger opponents one after the other one.

In this old and unique documentary, you can appreciate lots of Muay Boran techniques.

Unfortunately, the documentary is in Thai, and no subtitles are available, but it's straightforward to understand.

5. Muay Thai Children Fighting for Cash - Unreported World Documentary

In this 24 minutes short documentary, we start to dive deeper into one of the most controversial aspects of the Muay Thai world: the children fights.

Many Thai kids from the countryside and poor areas use Thai Boxing to get out of poverty and have a better future.

Since a very young age, they have worked extremely hard trying to dig their way to Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, and the place where significant opportunities and promotions live.

In this reportage from Channel 4, we'll see a young kid getting ready for a fight and going through a weight cut.

Whoever has practiced some fighting sports would know how mentally and physically stressful losing weight is.

Also, we'll see the dark side of Muay Thai, the crazy gambling industry.

6. Muay Thai Kids Documentary - Aljazeera 101 East

Another reportage about kids fighting in Muay Thai, with a good explanation of the risks these children run fighting from such an early age.

7. Muay Thai Prison Fights 1 - Vice Full Documentary

Muay Thai is so embedded into Thai culture that is a big part of many Thai prisoners life.

It can also be a life-changing opportunity for these inmates to get their sentence reduced after every victory, boxing their way out of prison.

In this short documentary, we'll explore the culture of Muay Thai in the Klong Prem high-security prison in Bangkok, following an event where prisoners fight against foreign opponents.

It also explains how fights in Thai prisons become part of the culture.

8. Muay Thai Prison Fights 2 - by Free Doc Bits

Another short doc about Thai prison fights, following an event where inmates will face foreigners.

It explains well how this underground world works and shows the terrible conditions prisoners live in.

9. Muay Thai Prison Fights 3 - by Assignments Asia

This 27 minutes long reportage talks about the drug issues in Thailand and interviews some Muay Thai fighters inmates.

It also shows a fight between a prisoner and a foreigner contender, ending with a huge knockout.

10. Muay Thai Documentary: The Greatest - Ajarn Gae, The Legendary Monk Trainer

The following documentaries proposed will feature interviews with some of the most significant personalities in Muay Thai of our era.

Listening to the stories and the wise words of legendary fighters and teachers is one of the best ways to access the deepest part of this world.

Ajarn ("professor, master") Gae is a legendary trainer who became a monk for ten years.

He talks about his life and how to approach Muay Thai training in the best way possible.

11. Muay Thai Documentary: The Greatest - The Real Sagat, a man with 450 fights

Sagat is a character from the game Street Fighter.

The inspiration has been taken from Sagat Petchyinde, a legendary Muay Thai fighter from the golden era who can boast 450 fights under his belt.

He walks us through his outstanding career.

12. Muay Thai Documentary: The Greatest - Sitjaopho Gym, The Beautiful Mind of a Champion

This is hands down my favorite interview ever.

The Sitjaopho brothers run this gym in Hua hin and share their view on Muay Thai, a beautiful way of humbleness that forges gentle warriors.

Their style emphasizes a beautifully aesthetic and tactical form of Muay Thai.

They also talk about principles and fighting philosophy.

13. Muay Thai Documentary: The Greatest - Buakaw Documentary

Buakaw Banchamek is a Thai superstar and probably the most famous Thai fighter in the world.

In this great interview, we'll be walked through Buakaw's life, from his childhood to his rise in K-1, one of the most prestigious kickboxing tournaments on the planet.

14. Muay Thai: The Greatest - John Wayne Parr Documentary

John Wayne Parr, a 10-time world champion, in this doc talks about his career.

It's a brilliant interview, his love for the sport is so genuine that it is contagious.

He offers the fascinating point of view of a western fighter being one of the first to move to Thailand and training as a real Thai fighter.

You can also discover the history behind John Wayne Parr tattoos.

15. Under The Lights in Thailand - Muay Thai in America Documentary

This exciting documentary shows the journey of the national team USA competing in the yearly contest World Muay Thai Championship. 

We'll see the perspective of amateur fighters making sacrifices and giving everything for the love of the sport and for the chance to gain glory in it.

16. Tiger Muay Thai Tryouts - Full Documentary

Tiger Muay Thai is the most aspired gym in Thailand, where UFC world champion fighters sharpen their striking game.

Each year, they host the Tryouts, a brutal selection that reminds the Navy Seals Hell week. 

Professional fighters worldwide are pushed above and beyond their limits.

Just a few of them will have the chance to win a scholarship with the Tiger Muay Thai Gym and become team members.

Being part of the team can get them into some of the most prestigious fighting organizations globally, such as UFC or One Championship.

It's an inspiring and dynamic documentary where you can enjoy the Thai trainers beat the hell out of these professional fighters to see who will pass the hardest of the tests.

Bonus 1: Best Muay Thai Movies

Ong Bak 1

Ong Bak is one of the things that made Muay Thai famous worldwide.

Hands down one of the best martial arts movies of all time. 

It follows the story of a young countryside man called Ting trying to rescue the Ong Bak, the holy head of a Buddha statue.

In this film, we can appreciate applications of the ancient Muay Thai techniques, known as Muay Boran.

It includes crazy choreographies, lots of street fights, and a close look at the undergrounds of Bangkok, the "city of angels".

Watch on Netflix (it might not be available in your country)

Ong Bak 2

Ong Bak 2, the second movie of the saga, is set hundreds of years in the past and follows the tail of Ting's ancestor.

Simply put, it's a piece of art.

You can appreciate the ancient techniques in their purest form, one hundred percent focused on killing the enemies.

It also includes many different weapons fights, such as the use of Krabi Krabong, the traditional Thai sword fighting.

Watch on Netflix (it might not be available in your country)

A prayer before dawn

We talked extensively about the reality of prison fights in Thailand.

This great movie, not well known, features the real story of Billy Moore, a British man addicted to drugs who ended up in a Thai max security prison.

He will find redemption by starting training in Muay Thai and trying to earn freedom through fights.

Watch on Netflix (it might not be available in your country)

Bonus 2: Best Muay Thai Youtube Channels

Lawrence Kenshin Striking Breakdowns

Lawrence's channel is one of the best sources for Muay Thai enthusiasts.

He does remarkable work interviewing the biggest legends alive, short documentaries, and, mostly, technical and tactical fight breakdowns.

Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu - Muay Thai

Sylvie documents her journey in Muay Thai, putting out extremely unique content.

She travels through Thailand training the best teachers and shares each aspect of her experience and what she learns.

Sylvie currently has more than 200 fights under her belt.

Gabriel Varga

Gabriel Varga is a 6-time kickboxing world champion, and on his channels, he shares his knowledge and experience.

He's a great tactician and strategist, which I like the most about his channel.

He works smart, not only hard, making his pieces of advice extremely valuable.

In Gabriel's channel, you'll find workouts, drills, strength, and conditioning, techniques, break down, tactics, and much more.


This was a long journey, and I hope you've found value in this selected collection of the best Muay Thai documentaries.

If you're passionated about martial arts, be sure to check out also our collections of documentaries about boxing, lethwei, MMA, judo, kung fu, aikido and karate.

If you want to suggest some documentary that must be part of the list, reach out to me and let me know.

Picture credits: @prvelasco89 on Unsplash

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