Muay Boran (Thai: มวยโบราณ, RTGS: Muai Boran, IPA: [mūɛj bōːrāːn], lit. “ancient boxing”) is an umbrella term for the unarmed martial arts of Thailand prior to the introduction of modern equipment and rules in the 1930s. It is thus the direct ancestor of modern Muay Thai. The word muay which means “boxing” comes from the Sanskrit term mavya, while boran or boraan means “ancient” in Thai.
Muay Boran is not a single style but acts as an umbrella term for all traditional Thai styles of Indochinese kickboxing. Whereas Muay Thai is often called the “science of eight limbs”, muay boran is said to make use of nawa awut which means “nine weapons”, adding headbutts as ninth offensive in addition to the “eight limbs” of hands, legs, elbows and knees used in Muay Thai.