Pupils learn ancient sword fighting martial art in their PE lessons at Thai school

Pupils at this school love PE lessons - they get to learn an ancient sword fighting martial art.

The youngsters practise "Krabi Krabong" at the Thonburee Woratapeepalarak School, in Bangkok, Thailand.

Experts say that the traditional fighting style passed down through generations has been decreasing in popularity, replaced by the more glamorous "Muay Thai".

But now youngsters at the school are reinvigorating the impressive martial art once used in wars in Asia, with their own added modern moves.

Footage shows youngsters during a PE lesson earlier this month, where they battled each other with huge staffs swinging through the air and crashing into shields.

Competitors - girls and boys - have to perfect their reflexes to duck or block the blows before striking back at their opponent.

Star student Nantakarn Duangthongyu, 16, has won several competitions and can go toe-to-toe with the boys her own age.

She said: ‘’I liked Krabi Krabong the first time I ever tried it. It's challenging and also fun playing with friends. It's also a way to learn to protect myself and become stronger.

‘’A lot of girls like makeup and shopping but I like learning new moves then trying them out. It’s something that stays in my mind wherever I am.’’

The martial art begins with a choreographed war dance before the fighters let loose at each other with flying strikes, kicks and rolls.

After the fight, each person bows with clasps hands in a prayer motion as a mark of respect to their enemy.

Coach Phacharaphon Banthitketumala said he learned the martial art from soldiers who worked in the Thai king’s palace, who in turn was taught the skill by their ancestors.

He said: ‘’The history of Krabi Krabong is mainly for self-defence and for fighting in wars in the past. It is one of the eighteen martial arts that Thai kings have to learn.

‘’It is a martial art that is used to protect our homeland. But now society doesn’t value it so much. Because we don't use swords, lances, or sticks anymore.

‘’In this day and age, people use guns and other technological weapons instead. So many people look down on Krabi Krabong. But I want to teach Krabi Krabong to make those people change their mind.’’

The footage was captured on August 16.