Muay Boran (Ancient Boxing) is an all-inclusive term for the ancient boxing arts of Thailand, from which modern Muay Thai was born. In the old days, fighters would wrap their hands with strips of twisted hemp cloth or hemp rope. Although it is commonly thought that fighters would dip their wrapped hands in broken glass, this is largely a myth. They did, however, dip their hands in water in order to harden the rope.
Rope was used for various reasons, the main ones being for greater traction in a clinch, increased blocking and striking potency, and because the rope was abrasive and able to cut. Today, rope hand wraps preserve this tradition and look really scary. There are a few different ways to do this, but this is the way my Kru showed me.
- At least 40' (30 meters) of 1/4' rope (cotton, nylon, or hemp if you can find it)
- Sharp knife to cut the length you need
I got my rope at West Marine-- they have a huge selection of ropes on giant spools. I went for the traditional white.
Step 1 Tie four knots in end of rope, roughly the distance of your knuckles
These will sit on top of your knuckles. Be sure to leave enough rope at the end to grasp as you wrap (about 6" or 7").
Step 2 Begin the wrap
This step just locks the first segment in and lets you freely wrap the rest.
Step 3 Wrap Between the Fingers/Around the Palm
The next step is to wrap the rope between your fingers, and then around the palm of your hand. I start at the pinky (this is also how I do my normal hand wraps-- just personal preference).
Continue between the ring/middle.
And finally between the middle/first.
Then take the rope toward the inside of your wrist and wrap around the top of your arm.
Wrap around your wrist, up across your palm, and over the notch where your thumb and forefinger meet.
Wrap around your palm 5 times (more or less depending on your preference).
- When wrapping your fingers and palm, be sure to make a fist and reopen your hand often. This allows you to adjust the tension so that it will stay tight when you make a fist, but it won't cut off your circulation
Step 4 Wrap Your Forearm
The next step is wrapping the forearm. Remember that there is no tension involved in this part-- don't strangle your arm! You can adjust later.
First, bring the rope around your wrist one more time.
Then, simply begin to coil the rope around your arm.
Keep your arm in this flexed position and continue wrapping. Flexing your forearm helps with the circulation.
Once you reach the end of the rope, tuck the end into the newly made cuff.
And you're finished! It should look something like this:
- You can adjust the tension of the forearm portion by making an "Indian burn" motion, grasping the wrist and twisting in or out.
Remember that you can add and subtract wraps/coils here and there according to your personal preference and comfort-- what I've shown you works best for me!