Are There Weapons In Muay Thai?

Muay Thai is often regarded as one of the toughest martial arts in the world.

Practitioners use strong strikes with their arms and legs to turn their limbs into weapons; but are there any actual weapons used in Muay Thai?

Are there weapons in MuayThai

After all, other martial arts such as Taekwondo, Kung Fu, and Jiu Jitsu involve the use and defense against different weapons – so where does Muay Thai fit in?

If you’ve ever wondered whether or not there are weapons in Muay Thai, you’ve come to the right place!

In this handy guide, we’ll take you through the ins and outs of weapons training in Muay Thai, and look at whether the martial art involves weapons at all.

So read on and find out if there are weapons in Muay Thai!

Does Muay Thai Have Weapons?

First things first – are there actually any weapons in Muay Thai? The short answer is no, there aren’t – at least, technically not.

Muay Thai is centered around the use of your limbs as metaphorical weapons, particularly the hands, shins, elbows, and knees (which the Thai count as limbs).

These are used to strike at opponents in a similar way to various types of weapons, and each limb represents a different weapon.

In fact, despite not featuring any actual weapons, Muay Thai is often referred to as “The Art Of Eight Weapons”.

So while Muay Thai doesn’t deal with weapons such as knives, swords, and even firearms like other martial arts, its fighting style uses limbs to replicate the strikes and attacks of these weapons.

Muay Thai: The Art Of Eight Weapons

So what are the ‘eight weapons’ used in Muay Thai? Let’s break it down.

As mentioned earlier, the weapons of Muay Thai refer to your limbs, each of which functions as a different weapon; as a result, this nickname is occasionally changed to “The Art Of Eight Limbs”.

There are technically only four weapons in Muay Thai – the fists, the elbows, the knees, and the shins – but they combine into eight because they come in pairs.

In this section, we’ll break down each ‘weapon’ and how it is used.


Fists are the most common part of the body to strike with in most martial arts, and Muay Thai is no exception.

Punches and other strikes with the fist are one of the most common attacks used in Muay Thai, and are the best option for a fast and powerful hit at close range.

Jabs and crosses are the fastest strikes in Muay Thai while still hitting hard, and are strengthened even further by Muay Thai’s style of guarding and footwork.

Other techniques like hooks, uppercuts, and body shots are also used. The fists (and forearms in general) are used as swords, with a focus of strong but precise swings and stabs.

The front fist is generally used for light-but-fast strikes and as the primary guarding hand.

The most powerful strike from the lead hand is a hook, as it lets you put the most weight and momentum behind it.

Meanwhile, the rear fist is the one with the most power.

Here is where you’ll see the most crosses, hooks, and uppercuts, as you can put far more power in your rear fist by pivoting and leading through.

While rear-fist hooks are devastating, crosses are arguably the more effective strike with the rear fist; this is because hooks require you to open up your guard more and it’s easy to shift your balance too far.


Are there weapons in MuayThai - Elbows

Elbows are one of the most effective weapons in your arsenal, capable of dealing massive damage at close range. Many other martial arts don’t allow elbow strikes, but Muay Thai turns them into incredibly dangerous weapons.

Elbow strikes are primarily used at close range, particularly against the head. They are highly effective due to the power behind them and their increased resilience when compared to fists.

Unlike punches, which can damage and injure your hand, elbow strikes deal a lot of damage without the risk of injury.

The powerful swings of elbows are often likened to axes or hammers.

Most of the time, elbow strikes are aimed at the left or right side of the head – this allows you to get the most weight behind them for the fastest and strongest possible strike.

However, elbow strikes can also be aimed upward, which is particularly effective in enclosed spaces without enough room for an uppercut.

The elbows can also be used for stabbing attacks, which is a style unique to Muay Thai. This is reminiscent of knives in how they are used for close-quarters stabs.


Shins are one of the more versatile tools in Muay Thai, as they can be used for both offensive and defensive techniques.

In addition to standard kicks like roundhouse kicks and side kicks, the shins are also used to check kicks and block attacks to the lower body.

This makes the shins as important in your guard stance as they are while kicking, as a strong and secure stance gives you an advantage in a fight.

Because of this combination of defensive and offensive options, there are multiple weapons that the shins can represent.

Typically, they are used to represent shields, but they can also be likened to swords and even axes in the same way as fists or elbows.


The knees play a similar role to elbows, despite being completely distinct in their use. Like elbows, knee strikes are best used in close quarters, especially during clinch maneuvers.

The strong knee joint is used for powerful strikes to the body or head, with well-placed knee strikes being capable of flooring an opponent.

Another similarity to elbows is the weapons that knee strikes represent.

The most common likenesses are axes and hammers due to the crushing blow a knee strike can achieve; however, they can also be compared to spears and staffs with their powerful stabbing attacks.

Final Thoughts

While there may not be any literal weapons in Muay Thai, the powerful and deadly techniques used in this martial art can turn an experienced practitioner’s limbs into their own weapons.

With the powers of axes, swords, spears, knives, and hammers contained in the fighter’s body, it’s not hard to see why Muay Thai is seen as one of the toughest martial arts in the world!

Christopher Anderson
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