When it comes to mastering the art of eight limbs, it isn’t just the hours that you put in at the gym that count. Reading books about Muay Thai is a sure-fire way to expand your knowledge, hone your craft and become a better fighter.
There are just over 1,000 Muay Thai books on Amazon, compared with over 30,000 about football. With relatively few books about Muay Thai on the market and even fewer in English, choosing what to read can be difficult.
Sit back and allow us to dive into all of the best reads, from the history of Muay Thai to western perspectives on the sport. Without further ado, here are our favourite Muay Thai books.
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8 Essential Books About Muay Thai
1. Muay Thai Basics – Christoph Delp
If you’re looking for a good Muay Thai introduction or training book, this offering by Christoph Delp is a must-have addition to your bookshelf. Delp is a professional trainer who takes fighters through the basics of the sport in this guide.
Simple yet informative, this is a great book for beginners who are looking to develop their Muay Thai skills. In his writing, Delp demonstrates the correct footwork and strategies needed to up your fighting game. Clear instructions on attacking strategies and defensive techniques make this a great resource for your training.
Even though Christoph Delp is not Thai, you should not doubt his knowledge. He has over fifteen years of fighting experience and owns a Muay Thai gym in Thailand. If you want to pair your learning with guided training but can’t afford a trip to Thailand at the moment, Delp offers a range of Muay Thai courses on Udemy at a reasonable cost. Buy Muay Thai Basics here.
2. A Prayer Before Dawn, A Nightmare in Thailand – Billy Moore
If you’ve been interested in Thailand’s national sport for a while, you may have already heard of A Prayer Before Dawn. This is because back in 2017, it was made into a movie.
Based on one man’s real experience, A Prayer Before Dawn documents author Billy Moore’s struggle with addiction which results in a hellish stay in one of the world’s toughest prisons, Klong Prem Prison in Bangkok. Here he joins the prison Muay Thai team and embarks on a whole new journey.
Billy is a man who has nothing to lose and is determined to fight his way to freedom. This memoir is a fantastic story of self-resilience, the battle for survival and beating the odds. A great choice for anybody who loves prison stories or Muay Thai. Buy A Prayer Before Dawn here.
3. Muay Thai Unleashed – Eric Krauss
This Muay Thai training manual is one of the best on the market. It begins with the basic concepts, working from the ground up. Although it is a useful resource for beginners, experienced fighters are sure to find this book useful too.
It includes easy to follow descriptions on clinches, knees, punches, defence and footwork. This information is also accompanied by clear pictures which depict the techniques being executed.
As well as honing in on important techniques needed to refine your fighting skills, there is also an interesting section that offers insight into growing up as a fighter in Thailand. The history of Muay Thai is also covered. Buy Muay Thai Unleashed here.
4. The Boxer’s Soliloquy – Matt Lucas
No matter your Muay Thai knowledge, if you are a lover of stories, you’ll enjoy this book. It is essentially a collection of tales that are linked by a common passion for fighting. Loosely based on the author’s own experience, Lucas has nailed the narrative of living life in The Land of Smiles as a fighter.
Through his detailed descriptions, you are transported to the streets of Thailand. Although the book will be a favourite with Muay Thai enthusiasts, it can be enjoyed by anybody who has an interest in travel.
If you are interested in enrolling in a Muay Thai camp in Thailand, this book is an invaluable read. It documents the many sacrifices which have to be made in order to truly mould the body and mind into the ultimate human weapon. Buy The Boxer’s Soliloquy here.
5. Muay Thai: Peace at Last – Michael Goodison
If you’re looking for a training book, then this is not the right book for you. However, if you are looking to discover more about the culture of Muay Thai, it is a great read. The book follows Goodison as he travels to Chiang Mai to pursue a more minimalist life.
A farang perspective on the sport is hugely valuable for those considering heading over to Thailand to practice. Unlike some of the other books on this list, it is also wonderfully accessible and a good read for anybody who likes to read about travel.
As well as a healthy dose of Muay Thai, there are also capers in the jungle, up-close experiences with exotic wildlife and plenty of spiritual musings. This book will have you booking your own flight in no time! Buy Muay Thai: Peace at Last here.
6. 123 All-Time Greatest Muay Thai Fighters of Thailand – Various
Prepare to be inspired by these iconic Thai boxers who are arguably some of the greatest of all time.
Unfortunately, if you are not currently in or planning a trip to Thailand, you may as well forget about this one unless you have an eBay account and a stack load of cash. 123 All-Time Greatest Muay Thai Fighters of Thailand is notoriously hard to get hold of outside of Thai bookshops.
However, for those lucky enough to get their hands on a copy, it comes complete with stories and photos of the most acclaimed fighters from the Golden Era of Muay Thai. Although much of the book is written in Thai, there are English translations throughout.
7. The Fighter’s Mind – Sam Sheridan
Most people will know that a disciplined training regime is a vital aspect of making it as a Muay Thai fighter. Yet, so many people neglect to consider the mental strength that is required to really excel in the sport.
Sheridan’s book The Fighter’s Mind offers an insight into sports psychology, while still being understandable to the general public. This educational book delves into the reasons that propel people to fight. The author interviews a number of high profile fighters and digs into what it is that makes them mentally strong.
As well as the philosophical discussions in this book, it also follows the author as he journeys across the globe, keen to put his mental strength to the test in a manner of fighting sports. Buy The Fighter’s Mind here.
8. Muay Thai: The Most Distinguished Art of Fighting – Panya Kraithat, Pitisuk Kraitus
The fact that there have now been ten published editions of this book speaks volumes as to its utility and quality. For those interested in both the philosophy of Muay Thai as well as the techniques, this book is a good choice.
It covers many aspects of the sport from its history, tactics, rituals and training programmes, leaving no stone unturned. Essentially, it is the bible of Muay Thai!
Muay Thai: The Most Distinguished Art of Fighting is a definitive guide to the art and is a great introduction to Muay Thai for beginners. The detailed nature of its contents also means that experienced fighters will be able to glean a lot from its pages. Buy Muay Thai: The Most Distinguished Art of Fighting here.
Know of a great book about Muay Thai that we have missed off of our list? Let us know in the comments!