Muay Thai is not just considered a combat sport, but a martial art too.
Originating in Thailand, Muay Thai is a form of boxing that has many fans and participants and like other sports, it is governed by a set of rules.
Just like any sports athlete (especially those participating in combat sports), not everybody can be a Muay Thai fighter, as it can take quite a physical toll and requires a lot of mental dedication as well.
If you want to become a Muay Thai fighter, you need to have the rules of this martial art down pat.
One of the first things you need to learn as a Muay Thai fighter is what you can and can’t do during combat. For example, do you count during combat, like in other martial arts?
No, in Muay Thai you do not count in combat.
Counting is useful during practice, however, and we’ll get more into that later.
But first, let’s take a closer look at the scoring system in Muay Thai and its rules so we can understand this martial art.
Counting In Muay Thai
While counting isn’t a formal part of Muay Thai and isn’t used in combat, it’s still good to know how to count in Muay Thai for purposes such as stretching.
As we have already mentioned, Muay Thai originated in Thailand, so you can count while stretching or practicing in Thai. Let’s take a look at what 1 to 10 is in Thai.
- One – Neung
- Two – Saawng
- Three – Saam
- Four – Sii
- Five – Haa
- Six – Hok
- Seven – Jet or Ched
- Eight – Bpaaet
- Nine – Gaao
- Ten – Sip
What Are The Rules Of Muay Thai?
While there isn’t a single governing body for Muay Thai, professional Muay Thai promotions base their rules on those set by the WMC (the World Muay Thai Council).
The WMC was established in 1995 by the Thai government, and is sanctioned by the Sports Authority of Thailand.
Let’s take a look at some key areas covered by the rules of Muay Thai.
What Do Muay Thai Fighters Need To Wear?
Muay Thai fighters wear shorts that are usually given to them by promoters, according to what corner of the ring they’re standing in (so either blue or red).
Muay Thai fighters were once not permitted to wear tops, but while this is true for cisgender men, this rule does not apply to cis women and transgender fighters.
Muay Thai fighters are also not permitted to wear shoes.
However, ankle guards are permitted, and so are armbands or prajiads. All fighters need to wear a groin protector.
Muay Thai fighters are also required to keep their nails trimmed short, they need to be clean-shaved, and their hair worn neatly or tied back.
All Muay Thai fighters need to wear a headband called a Mongkohn, and perform the Wai Kru ritual before a fight.
Are There Weight Classes?
In Muay Thai, weight limits exist so fighters can only fight opponents who weigh pretty much the same as they do. Muay Thai has 15 weight classes.
These range from mini flyweight at 105 lbs to heavyweight at over 175 lbs.
Weigh-ins are used to check weight and normally take place the morning of the match.
If a fighter’s weight is over the weight limit, they will be given some time to lose the weight. If a fighter doesn’t satisfy the weight limit they will be automatically disqualified.
How Many Rounds Are There In Muay Thai?
Muay Thai fights normally have 5 rounds at 3 minutes long.
The breaks between rounds last 2 minutes. Matches that are aired on television have 3 rounds at 3 minutes and each round has a 2-minute break in between.
You need to be aged at least 15 to professionally compete in Muay Thai and weigh over 100 lbs.
Fighters are permitted to have two corner-men in the match, and in championship matches you can have three corner-men.
Are There Referees In Muay Thai?
Yes, there are! Referees and judges play a crucial role in Muay Thai matches and are known collectively as a decision committee.
This committee is in charge of officiating and scoring every match, and has a big influence over whom the victor of the match is.
A decision committee normally has 4 members.
This consists of 3 judges and a referee, and they of course need to have some Muay Thai experience and be very knowledgeable on the sport.
The referee’s role is to control the fight in accordance with the rules and to keep everything fair. The referee can make decisions that cannot be challenged.
The referee can also stop a match if the situation calls for it. For example, if a fighter is unable to carry on with the match after suffering heavy blows from their opponent.
A match can also be stopped if the referee detects any flagrant unfairness, such as repeated fouls or rule violations.
A match can also be stopped if a fighter is knocked out.
Meanwhile, the judges are seated at three separate sides of the ring so they cannot influence one another.
Judges are also able to award points to each fighter. The judges will give points to each fighter after every round according to how well they’ve performed.
Following the match, the points will be added together and the judge will write who they deem the victor on a card and sign it. The referee will then collect these cards from the judges.
So now you know how Muay Thai is scored and what the general rules are!
Counting is not used in Muay Thai, but to fully honor the martial art and to assist with your training you can of course count in Thai, the language of where the martial art originated.
If you’re interested in Muay Thai and are an aspiring fighter we hope this article gives you a foundation knowledge of this respected and beloved martial art.