Muay Thai is easily one of the most popular martial arts in the world and has a lot of depth to it. It’s not one of these sports where you can just jump in and expect to do well from the start.
It takes months and years of practice to learn different techniques and combat styles. People who watch you fight will know your experience and ability, whilst ensuring that you have the respect you deserve.
In other martial arts, there is often a colored belt system, where the people involved can earn different colors and show to the rest of the world that they are improving their fighting style and their self-defense, whilst ensuring that they follow the rules and show discipline.
Because of this, many wonder if black belts can be earned in Muay Thai.
There are a lot of different belts in different combat sports systems, so we’ll have a look into them now.
Let’s find out if black belts are possible to be earned throughout the world of Muay Thai.
Muay Thai – A Brief History
This combat sport is one of the best and most-watched over the globe. Initially being used in the 13th century as a combat system, soldiers and official military personnel used Muay Thai as a way to get an advantage over their enemies.
A bit more recently, the martial art was adapted into a sport in the 19th century. Initially, Muay Thai was known as Muay Boran.
In the country of Thailand, where this martial art originated, many people gravitate toward Muay Thai because of the money involved and the way that it is so popular throughout the area.
Many people who start Muay Thai will do so at young ages to try and get a head start over other people in the combat sport.
Are There Belts In Muay Thai?
So, the simple answer to the original question might surprise you.
You’d imagine that because Muay Thai is such a recognized martial art, you would expect there to be a colored belt system so that the fighters can have a sense of rank and establish what their ability is.
Well, you’d be wrong! There is actually no belt system when it comes to Muay Thai and establishing rank.
Sounds weird, but Muay Thai fighters don’t have a colored belt to show what rank they are.
Because Muay Thai involves a lot of fighting and frequent sparring, the best way to determine what rank someone is at is to simply watch them fight and have a look at the moves and techniques they use when fighting.
Other martial arts such as karate, Judo, and Jiu-Jitsu have all got colored belt systems and have created some sort of expectation that every combat sport and martial art has colored belts as a way of keeping up with abilities and putting a tag on the experience levels.
However, there are those martial arts, like Muay Thai, that don’t have it so easy.
So, How Do Muay Thai Fighters Determine Rank?
As we briefly talked about already, the majority of fighters will spar and fight very frequently so that they have a good chance to display the skills, moves, and techniques that they’ve learned.
Because of this, there is no reason to have a belt system and will allow them to show everyone what they’re made of, rather than putting it down to a belt of a certain color.
Do Any Muay Thai Schools Use Colored Belts?
At the end of the day, there are bound to be some people in the world that use a colored belt system, even though Muay Thai doesn’t traditionally have a colored belt system.
Well, although any Muay Thai school anywhere near Thailand wouldn’t include colored belts in their schools and classes, there are some schools around the world that do.
There is a school in the United States called the Bang Muay Thai School, which doesn’t quite use colored belts, but they use colored armbands instead.
However, it is the same sort of idea and they ensure that people display their armbands when fighting and sparring, so that they can see the ability levels on display.
Famously, TJ Dillashaw, a two-time bantamweight UFC champion of the world, has attended this school and has obviously done quite well for himself!
The World Thai Boxing Association can also be found in the United States, and also offers a system of sorts when it comes to ranking their students.
They also use armbands, rather than belts, which has the same effect.
What Do People Think Of Them?
Of course, there are so many people in the world that there are bound to be conflicting views and opinions on these colored band systems.
There are bound to be those who are for the idea, however, the vast majority of Muay Thai enthusiasts believe that the traditional way is the best way and that these bands and belts aren’t needed throughout the martial art.
Many people will argue that children often benefit from ranking systems such as these because it shows the progress they are making, giving them something to work toward when learning.
However, many adults know the goals they need to hit, which means that many of them don’t mind not having a belt system throughout their training regime.
There you have it! Muay Thai doesn’t actually have a colored belt system, so you’re not going to be able to get a black belt in the martial art.
There is obviously the chance of earning a black armband or belt if you enter into classes where they might have a belt system, however, these rankings are rare and don’t come along very often.
Other martial arts like Judo and karate will often have ranking systems so that people have something to work toward and progress.
Ultimately, black belts aren’t traditional throughout the world of Muay Thai, so you’re not likely to have the opportunity any time soon!