Kickboxing Vs Muay Thai

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What Is the Difference Between Muay Thai and Kickboxing?

What Is the Difference Between Muay Thai and Kickboxing?

Martial arts have been popular for centuries, and the craze isn't going away anytime soon. The traditional martial arts that make up MMA have grown in popularity as MMA has grown in popularity. Muay Thai and Kickboxing are two examples.

While they both use punching and kicking techniques, Muay Thai is the art of eight limbs, whereas kickboxing is the art of four.

Kickboxing, on the other hand, emphasizes greater mobility through footwork and unique kicking techniques, whereas Muay Thai emphasizes clinching and sweeps.

What Do Muay Thai And Kickboxing Have In Common?

Muay Thai and Kickboxing are not mirror images, despite what the popular narrative or even your local gym might suggest. They may share some similarities because they are cut from the same cloth, but they differ in technique, rules, and equipment, among other things.

Many professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters claim that their training in Muay Thai and Kickboxing is the source of their skill. This gives the impression to the general public that one of the two can be substituted for the other.

As previously stated, there are commonalities, but they are more diverse than they are similar. Muay Thai is a stand-up striking sport with the addition of elbows and knees, whereas Kickboxing is a total contact sport that uses kicks and hands. Both arts use clinching and sweep techniques, but Muay Thai uses them more frequently.


The differences in technique can be broken down into the following categories:

System of Striking

Between the two, there is one notable and distinguishing difference. Kickboxing is a four-point striking system in which only kicks and punches are used. Muay Thai is an eight-point striking system that allows a fighter to land blows with elbows, knees, kicks, and punches. However, elbows and knees are permitted in some kickboxing competitions.


Muay Thai teaches you to concentrate on moving forward. Participants assess their opponent's strategy and take their time waiting for them to present them with an opening, at which point they take an aggressive stance and strike forward.

Counterstrikes are a common feature of Muay Thai, as they usually come after an opponent's strike. Muay Thai, which resembles boxing or kickboxing in some ways, also includes head movement, circling, and weaving.


As previously stated, Muay Thai requires patience from its fighters, as opposed to kickboxing, which relies on a barrage of punches to overwhelm the opponent. You wait for the right moment to strike, and then you act. This isn't to say that rapid blows aren't used in Muay Thai; they just aren't used by the more professional and skilled fighters.

Kickboxers, on the other hand, are more adaptable and rely heavily on their footwork. A kickboxer, unlike a Muay Thai fighter, will be able to circle his or her opponent and move forward and backward in fluid motions.


Muay Thai, on the other hand, emphasizes simple and powerful punches, knees, kicks, and elbows. Kickboxing has a wider range of kicking techniques, some of which are more advanced and thus more difficult to master, and which can throw you off balance if not executed correctly.

They can, however, add finesse to your game and be extremely effective if your opponent hasn't anticipated it.

Kicks And Punches

Punches and some kicks have a greater overlap in both forms of art. They do, however, share some techniques that set them apart.

Kickboxing has more sophistication and variety in terms of kicks, footwork, and leg movement since it evolved from Karate. Its exotic kicks include axe kicks, spin kicks, and sidekicks, to name a few. With the exception of spin kicks, they are not commonly used in fights.

Muay Thai does not use a lot of kicks like this in their fighting style. While some well-known fighters, such as Samrak Kamsing, have used spinning kicks in their fights, it is still uncommon in the mainstream. Muay Boran is the Muay Thai term for these fancy spin kicks.

The Teep and the Saenchai Cartwheel Kick are two fancy kicks that can be seen in Muay Thai. The Teep, or front push kick, is an important skill in a Muay Thai fighter's arsenal because it allows them to create distance or even serve as a deadly strike on their own, though this is more difficult to achieve.

This isn't something you'll see very often in kickboxing. Saenchai has perfected the cartwheel kick, which he uses so flawlessly and eloquently in fights that it's a sight to behold.

Providing The Kick

Muay Thai fighters rarely kick with their lower shin or foot, preferring to use the middle portion of their shin instead. Kickboxing, on the other hand, uses a fighter's foot, middle shin, and lower shin.

Rules While most of their rules are similar, they do have some differences because they are two different types of martial arts.

To begin, kickboxing usually consists of three to five three-minute rounds with one to two minutes of rest in between. Muay Thai, on the other hand, is divided into five rounds of three minutes each. You will have two minutes of rest in between.

Clinch fighting, throws, and sweeps are all permitted in Muay Thai fights, but are strictly prohibited in kickboxing, though they are permitted in some organizations. In competitions, the Chinese version of kickboxing, known as Sanda or Sanshou, elbows and knees are usually allowed.

The International Kickboxing Federation (IKF) is one of the most well-known organizations for sanctioning kickboxing competitions and events around the world. They are divided into chapters, and while the IKF Unified Rules and the IKF International Rules prohibit the use of knees and elbows, the IKF Sanda General Rules do.

Knees and elbows are allowed in the Indian form of kickboxing known as Adithada, as well as the K-1/Low kick.

Furthermore, while hitting the groin was once permitted in Muay Thai, this is no longer the case in kickboxing. Kickboxing does not allow leg trapping, whereas Muay Thai does.

Finally, Muay Thai is an eight-point striking system, which means elbows, punches, knees, and kicks are all permitted. Kickboxing, on the other hand, is a four-point striking system that only allows kicks and punches.


In Muay Thai, the palm of a kickboxing glove should not only deflect shots, but it should also have a grip for when you clinch or hold kicks with your hands. As a result, the fingers on kickboxing gloves are rounded, giving them a more natural feel.

Some of them even have mesh fingers to help with ventilation. Most fighters are permitted to use a clenched fist rather than an open hand. Muay Thai gloves have a more open palm, which requires additional padding. They don't usually have mesh across the palm.

The thumb is also positioned differently. The thumb in kickboxing gloves is kept as close to the fist as possible to protect it, but in Muay Thai gloves, the thumb aids in grip, making it more functional.

Another distinction is the padding on the sides. Boxing gloves typically have more padding on the palm and little to no padding on the sides. Muay Thai gloves do not have a lot of padding in the palm, but they do have a lot of padding on the sides.

Which is better for self-defense: Muay Thai or Kickboxing?

While it may depend on the individual's level of expertise, Muay Thai is likely to be superior in terms of self-defense. In a situation where you might need to use it, the aggressive style of the art and its ability to inflict muscle damage on the opponent can be useful.

To begin with, it makes use of every weapon you have on your person. This means that if you are unable to kick your attacker, you will be taught to strike with your knees or elbows, potentially ending the conflict.

You can use various combinations of strikes and deliver powerful blows to make him/her regret their decision.

Second, Muay Thai techniques are explosive as well as quick. Because few people can withstand hard kicks to the legs or knees to the midsection, this quickly incapacitates your opponent. As a result, it can be used to resolve a conflict in a shorter amount of time.

Another advantageous aspect of Muay Thai is that it allows you to defend yourself against multiple attackers. It's one thing to practice in a controlled environment, but when you're out in the real world and face a similar situation, you're likely to face multiple attackers.

Muay Thai will give you the footwork and thinking skills to strike from a distance and tackle one opponent at a time, all while giving you the option to flee.

Finally, various Muay Thai techniques are employed for various ranges. You have teeps at a distance to keep an attacker at bay. If a conflict invades your personal space, you can use clinching techniques like sweeping, kneeling, and elbowing until you can get away.

Is It Better To Learn Muay Thai Or Kickboxing?

There is no definitive answer to this question; it is a matter of personal preference. It depends on the type of fighting specialty you want, your skill level, and the circumstances in which you want to learn martial arts.

Muay Thai focuses on using your knees, punches, kicks, and elbows to deliver powerful blows to your opponent. Your leg muscles are used to deliver powerful kicks that injure your opponent's thighs and calves, making it extremely difficult for him to maintain movement in them, at least for the duration of the fight.

Elbows are useful for opening cuts in your opponent's face while using the clinch to maintain control of the fight, keep damage to a minimum, and take advantage of the proximity to land knees and elbows that hurt. Muay Thai isn't without its defensive strategies, but its offense is its true calling card.

Early in the fight, a Muay Thai fighter establishes dominance by landing such powerful blows that the opponent is unable to keep up. As a result, Muay Thai training is rigorous and intense, resulting in physical and mental toughness. If you've ever tried simple boxing, you'll notice that kickboxing teaches many of the same techniques as boxing.

As a result, if you pit a skilled kickboxer against a regular boxer in a boxing ring, he'll feel at ease following those rules. A Muay Thai fighter, on the other hand, would not be able to do so because the rules and techniques are different.

While kickboxing, like Muay Thai, includes kicks and punches, it also emphasizes footwork and the fighter's overall mobility. Kickboxers can easily circle their opponent and advance on them with swift and fluid motions as a result of this.

Head movement is another distinct and fundamental feature of kickboxing. As a result, it includes a wide range of strikes that can be translated into powerful blows. Axe and spin kicks are just a couple of examples. Kickboxing may be the best option for you if you want more mobility in your movements. Muay Thai is for you if you want to learn how to strike with all eight bodily weapons.

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