How To Score Points In Muay Thai (Beginner’s Guide)

Muay Thai is an exciting sport to watch, but it can be hard to keep track of the score in a Muay Thai fight if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

Luckily, we’re here to help clear up the confusion!

How To Score Points In Muay Thai

In this handy guide, we’ll take you through everything there is to know about the scoring system in Muay Thai – from how points are scored to what judges look out for when awarding points in a fight.

So let’s get started!

How Do You Score Points In A Muay Thai Match?

In a Muay Thai fight, points are awarded for clean strikes to the opponent.

These include any legal attacks that make contact with the target area, including punches, kicks, knee strikes, and elbow strikes.

Clinches, sweeps, and throws also score points, although you’ll only be awarded points for a clinch if you’re the dominant fighter in the clinch (ie. if you’re using the clinch to control your opponent).

Different attacks and techniques are scored differently in Muay Thai, with more complex attacks being rewarded with more points than simple strikes.

For example, takedowns, elbow strikes, and sweeps would all score more points than a regular jab or cross; however, a clean punch can be awarded more points than other moves if it results in a knockdown or causes obvious physical damage.

Essentially, the more effective an attack is, the more points it will score.

How Do Judges Award Points?

Striking isn’t all that influences the outcome of a Muay Thai fight, however, and there are several other factors that can influence a fighter’s score.

Judges use four separate criteria to rate a fighter’s performance, and these can affect a fighter’s overall score regardless of how many clean hits they got in.

The four scoring criteria in Muay Thai don’t all hold the same significance, and judges will prioritize certain factors over others.

In order from most to least important, these criteria are: Effective Aggression (how aggressive fighters are with attacks, and how effective these attacks are), Dominance Inside The Ring (which fighter has the most control in the ring), Technical Execution (how precise and technically accurate the fighter’s attacks are), and Visible Damage (how much damage an attack does to the opponent).

While the amount of successful attacks is the main deciding factor over the points awarded in Muay Thai, these other criteria can make a big difference in a close match.

If both fighters are evenly matched, these factors can be the difference between who wins and loses the fight.

How Do You Win A Muay Thai Match?

So now that we’ve covered how points are awarded in a Muay Thai fight as well as some of the criteria that judges look for during a match, let’s take a look at how to actually win a Muay Thai fight.

The simplest way to win a Muay Thai match is to K.O. your opponent; however, simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy, and most fights won’t end with a knockout.

How To Score Points In Muay Thai

Instead, the winner of the fight is chosen according to their overall score throughout the match.

As we’ve already covered, a fighter’s score is determined by several criteria.

The most important factor in a Muay Thai match is the Effective Aggression, or how many successful clean strikes a fighter makes against their opponent.

This accounts for most of a fighter’s score in a match, but judges may also award points for a fighter’s dominance over the ring as well as how technical their attacks are.

Does Muay Thai Use The 10-Point Scoring System?

In Western martial arts such as boxing and MMA, the most common scoring system is known as the ‘10-point system’.

In this system, judges watch and score each round separately, and 10 points are awarded to the winner of each individual round, with the loser receiving fewer points.

Muay Thai, on the other hand, doesn’t use the 10-point system. Instead, judges will watch all five 3-minute rounds in their entirety, and deliver their score based on the fight as a whole.

This scoring system helps to level the playing field a bit and means that even if a fighter has been losing for most rounds of the fight, they may still have a chance to turn things around in the final round.

While this would only happen if the scores going into the final round were already fairly close, it means that there is a way for the losing fighter to win the match without having to K.O. their opponent.

Can Points Be Deducted In Muay Thai?

One of the most common penalties for fouls in Muay Thai is point reductions.

Losing a point might not seem like it would make much difference, but it can have a major impact on the outcome of a match – especially if a fighter commits multiple fouls.

With that said, however, it’s hard to accidentally lose points in a Muay Thai fight. Muay Thai operates with a 3-foul system, where fighters will receive two warnings before being disqualified.

These warnings may include a point deduction depending on the severity of the foul, but most referees will be more lenient if they believe the foul was accidental.

However, more severe fouls will have harsher penalties that can include point deductions or even result in disqualification from the fight!

Some fouls that can result in a point deduction include illegal moves (such as headbutting, biting, and strikes to the groin), attacking a downed opponent, or disrespecting the referee.

Any of these fouls can result in a warning and a point deduction. More severe violations, like spitting at the opponent or the referee, can even result in instant disqualification.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it – now you know the ins and outs of how points are scored in Muay Thai!

Keeping up with the score of a Muay Thai fight can be tricky, but as long as you use the information in this guide you can keep track of when points are awarded, what they’re awarded for, and what might cause points to be deducted.

Now all you have to do is put your new-found knowledge to the test!

Christopher Anderson
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