Muay Thai is a fantastic sport but it is quite violent, so can you do it as a Christian? I decided to research the internet and find out.
You must consider the fact that Muay Thai can fuel aggression, which contradicts directly with Matthew 10:16. However, there are many Christian MMA fighters like Jon Jones and Yoel Romero who practice Christianity, so ultimately it’s up to you and your relationship with God.
It is important to look at the physical and spiritual implications of doing Muay Thai and decide if performing the Wai Khru (MuayThai dance ritual) is a sin.
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Can Christians Do Combat Sports In General?
Christianity and combat sports do not seem to go together, but it is possible to engage in Muay Thai without sinning. Take a look at Philippians 2:12
“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed-not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence-continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”Philippians 2:12
This verse is saying that everyone practices their Christian faith in different ways, whether you choose to spread the word of God with MMA or with Muay Thai, God is your final judge.
There are many high profile Christian MMA fighters, a sport even more violent than Muay Thai, such as Jon Jones, Yoel Romero, and Ben Henderson.
There are websites like the fellowship of Christian fighters (see the link here) where they have many Bible verses and explain what it’s like to be a Christian fighter.
Also, you have a Christian themed MMA clothing line (Jesus Didn’t Tap) by the former MMA fighter and social media personality Jason David Frank. Since Muay Thai is MMA without the ground and takedown game, all this can be applied to Muay Thai.
In 2014 the American documentary Fight Church looks at the rich subculture of Christianity and MMA and includes the previously mentioned fighters.
The documentary shows the lives of some Church pastors that see MMA as being an important part of their Christian fame with the estimation of over 700 Churches in the US that have added martial arts into their ministers. This number has likely grown since 2014. You can see the trailer of Fight Church down below.
Is Muay Thai Too Violent For A Christian?
This depends on your level. Would you want to do Muay Thai and perform at the highest level? It is the sport of the 8 limbs where you can strike with your foot, hands, knees, and elbows and it is quite intense. If you as a Christian hold anything back you are putting yourself at a big disadvantage.
However, if you are doing it more for fitness and self-defense, then Muay Thai is fine and isn’t more brutal than boxing for example. The potential violence is nothing compared to what you would see in the Old Testament.
Although many scriptures speak out against violence, such as Matt 26:52, when Jesus spoke out against the soldiers, he did not say combat was morally wrong (Matt. 8:5-13). He even told his disciples to take a defensive sword with them when he knew his arrest was going to happen (Luke 22:36).
Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.”Matt 26:52
Jesus also said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.”Luke 22:36
Numerous Christians around the world practice MMA and Muay Thai, as the bible does not condemn self-defense with the use of force being justified. You must look into yourself and your Christian faith and understand Muay Thai would only be a sin if you think it would be.
Do Christians Have Spiritual Implications Doing Combat Sports?
Any spiritual implications from doing Muay Thai will depend on the type of person you are since our relationship with God is a personal one. The issue is Muay Thai in its nature can fuel aggressiveness and perhaps conflict with Matthew 10:16.
“I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”Matthew 10:16
This could lead a Christian to misinterpret the scriptures to justify their passion for combat sports. Not only may this apply to the fighters, but also to the millions who watch UFC on pay per view. The love of violence goes way back to ancient Rome.
This desire to win in MMA can cause an ego complex with even the most humble fighter, which when unchecked according to Luke 14:11 may lead to your downfall. We saw this with the former UFC champion Ronda Rousey whose ego destroyed her.
Although Muay Thai as a sport has ancient nonreligious codes of respect that MMA does not share.
“For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”Luke 14:11
Since this is a controversial topic, as a Christian you need to remember the following factors before you do Muay Thai. First, do not let your Christian faith become weak by practicing Muay Thai (Rom.14).
Second, you must resist the temptation of starting fights with your Muay Thai skills. Third, doing Muay Thai should not take away from your Christian duties such as helping your Church (Heb. 10:25)
“Not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”Hebrews 10:25
Look inside yourself and your relationship with God and ask yourself, what are my motives for doing Muay Thai? Ensure it’s not non-Christian motives but more so about learning and exploring the skill itself.
Can Christians Perform The Wai Khru (Muay Thai Dance Ritual)?
You might have seen the traditional Wai Khru the Muay Thai dance ritual performed before every fight, but can Christians perform it? You can see an example in the video below.
Rituals and ceremonies only have the meaning you choose to give them. If you think doing a pre-fight ritual is unchristian then that’s your opinion. Just like you can be an atheist and still perform grace before eating a meal out of respect for whom you’re eating with, the same applies to the Wai Khru. Think about what the purpose of this ritual is. Is it religious or just respect for the art of Muay Thai itself?
The Wai Kru dance does not have any relation to religion or Buddhist teaching of any form. In Thai “Wai” is a way to greet each other and “Kru” means teacher. There is no direct religious comparison. It’s all about the intention of how you’re doing Wai Khru. If it’s just for the respect of Thailand and the culture then it is fine for a Christian to do.
If you still have doubts read Romans chapter 14 here. This chapter refers to eating food offered to idols, but this spiritual application can be applied to many things. If doing the Wai Khru affects your conscience and hurts your path towards Christ then don’t do it. If you can do it whilst praising God then feel free.
You are not required to do the Wai Khru if you do Muay Thai. The Wai Khru is just for the fighters, but I think doing it is a very Christian thing to do according to Matthew 7:12 “Do to others what you would have them do to you.”
I’ve been to Thailand and Thai people are some of the most respectful people I have ever met. Doing Wai Khru even if you’re a Christian will be a beautiful sign of respect to the culture of Thailand and the sport of Muay Thai.