What is mongkol

Protective amulets and lucky charms in Muay Thai

The Mongkol (also Mongkon)

Is a type of headband that is usually made from unbleached fabric these days. This material is often, but not always, with the sacred writings of Muay Thai teachers or sometimes with a Buddhist protective amulet, a so-called Takrut and is blessed by monks in a Thai temple before wearing.

A Thai tradition that goes back hundreds of years

The tradition of wearing a Mongkol in combat goes back hundreds of years and is an important aspect of Muay Thai culture. It is said that protective amulets and rituals before a fight played an important role in ancient Siam during the war. Even then, Thai warriors tied cloth around their heads or put their Mongkols around their necks to fight (as can still be seen today in muay boran) and recited Buddhist mantras before every fight to protect themselves.
The Mongkols of earlier times, unlike most Mongkols of today, were traditionally made from a piece of clothing of a loved one, e.g. the mother's dress or sarong (a type of cloth).
Nowadays, in modern Thai boxing matches, Mongkols are only worn in the ring during the traditional Wai Kru and are discarded before the fight. When the Wai Kru is over, the fighter goes back to his ring corner and lets the teacher remove his Mongkol again.
A Mongkol serves the fighter as a protective amulet and brings him luck in battle. It is believed that this can help him to victory.

Wearing the talismans is part of the Muay Thai culture

In Thailand, wearing a Mongkol is an integral part of Muay Thai culture and every Thai boxer is required to follow this tradition. However, it also happens that it is partially tolerated that foreign fighters get into the ring and fight without a Mongkol.

Treat muay thai talismans with respect

Since Mongkols are sacred, they are treated with great respect in Thailand.
For example, you may not throw a Mongkol on the ground or even hold it near the ground, which is why you may only enter the ring from above and not lift the ropes to enter the ring from below. If the Mongkol points towards the ground while entering the ring, this is considered a bad omen.
However, it has to be said that these rules are no longer followed exactly by all Thai boxers and coaches - it depends on the camp.

The prajiad

The Prajiad or Prajead, like the Mongkol, is usually made from surrounding material and traditionally contains sacred scriptures that come from Muay Thai teachers. A prajiad can also be a Takrutinclude. Or none of it and just be symbolic, so to speak.
It is also used for protection and is tied around one or both upper arms of the Thai boxer.

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Tags: Mongkol, Mongkon, Muay Thai, Muay Thai Talismans, Prajiad, Thai culture, Thai boxing