By Singha-siddh S.

Perhaps one of the most misunderstood martial art in Malaysia itself is the art of Tomoi, or also known to some as Siamese Boxing, or Thai Boxing. Some would associate it with Muay Thai while others have associated it to silat. With the influence of the Malay dominated culture an
d tradition, this southern form of fighting art includes its very own unique weaponry system which can only be found in local schools which incorporates techniques derived from the bladed weapons.

It is also inaccurate to say that Tomoi is a ‘Malay’ heritage as this art actually evolved as the result of wars between the southern provinces of Thailand and neighboring states, such as the Burmese and Khmer. A hybrid of techniques has been developed over the years to become one of the region’s most feared fighting arts which have given rise to some of the well known fighting systems such as Muay Chaiya in Thailand.

The modern day Malay language is relatively 'new' (about 1,000 years old) and only been officially codified or made into a common, unified system after the mid 19th century. Like in most other countries, different region has its own unique blend of dialect and accents. In the northern region of Malaysia, there exists a more localized dialect of the Thai language closely associated to the old Siamese influence.

Tomoi is an adapted word in the Malay language. A lot of words in Malay are derived from/ borrowed from other languages. Tomoi, in its true sense derived from the Thai language
ต่อยมวย (Dtoi Muay). 'Dtoi' (ต่อย) generally translates into a general term for 'boxing', fight, and sting or to engage in a fistfight. 'Muay' (มวย) on the other hand, is like how the Chinese describes 'Kung Fu'. It is also a very broad term and can involve a variety or art and style. Thus, the locals might have adopted the word 'Tomoi' as a descriptive term for any art that have a Thai origin (in particular, what might be most common and obvious today would be Muay Thai) owing to its close association with the southern Thais.

สิงหสิทธิ์ ศรียะพันธ์
Singha-siddh Sriyapant @ H.M. Khen
Web Manager,