Is Kickboxing More Dangerous Than Muay Thai?

With over 500 million people watching varying forms of martial arts, there begs the question of which is more dangerous?

Each style perfects its own rules and techniques. Whether it focuses on ground work like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or on punching and kicking strikes like Karate.

Is Kickboxing More Dangerous Than Muay Thai?

Each style has amazing benefits and has created a wave of phenomena around the world.

But with the benefits comes rather intense risks. MMA Fighters, no matter the specific style, face the possibility of extreme injury. Hence why it is always recommended to practice at a dojo or studio.  

However, the danger is what makes it exciting! Whether you prefer kickboxing or the ancient art of Muay Thai you’ll never be out of an entertaining fight.

Although, which one is more dangerous? Kickboxing with its focus on punching and kicking or Muay Thai which has a focus on winning through “Knock-outs”? This guide has all you need to decipher which sport is more dangerous.  

What Is Kickboxing?

The ethos of kickboxing is that it is a form of stand-up combat. This means it concentrates solely on striking and does not include any ground combat.

The number of techniques available varies depending on the kickboxing style. Kickboxing tactics often include kicks and knee strikes, in addition to normal punching techniques comparable to western boxing.

Elbow strikes, grappling, and even headbutts are all used in some kickboxing schools.

As forms of martial arts including Karate and Muay Thai began to become more popular in the western world, Kickboxing developed in East Asia throughout the 1950’s.

Kickboxing tournaments between various kickboxing styles were held in the 1970s and 1980s. K-1, a Japanese kickboxing organization founded in 1993, was the first unified-rules kickboxing organization.

Competitors from all around the world traveled to Japan to test their talents and determine which kickboxing style is the finest.

Kickboxing is not only a competitive sport. Cardio Kickboxing is a global phenomenon with no competitive objective.

This aerobic fitness exercise includes kickboxing techniques to increase fitness levels without the pressure of sparring. 

What Is Muay Thai?

Muay Thai, often known as Thai boxing, is a martial art and combat sport that employs stand-up hitting and clinching techniques.

Because of the simultaneous use of fists, elbows, knees, and shins, this discipline is known as the “art of eight limbs.” 

Muay Thai as a modern combat sport was initially organized in the early twentieth century, taking components from Muay Boran, the old Thai martial arts.

The sport was influenced by British boxing, which established formalized rules and a boxing ring.

Fighters also stopped using ropes to wrap their hands (“Kard Chuek”) and started using boxing gloves in tournaments during this time.

Before the Rattanakosin Kingdom era, Muay Thai boxing had limited rules and regulations.

During the 18th- early 20th Thai Boxing became a national sport with rules and regulations and is now celebrated on the 17th of March every year as “Muay Thai Day”. 

Similarities & Differences 

Similarities & Differences 

As both sports are derived from ancient martial arts, there are similarities and differences in and out of the ring. 


Muay Thai and kickboxing are both strategic sports that teach footwork, setups, and other methods for avoiding and landing strikes from the opponent.

Similarly, many of the techniques taught in Muay Thai, particularly the fundamentals, are comparable to those taught in kickboxing.

Both sports are fine-tuned striking martial arts that have been demonstrated to be effective at the highest levels of competition.

Both sports have a key element. Fighters are taught to strike on the offensive rather than the defensive in order to defeat their opponents.

Muay Thai and Kickboxing require their students to strike their opponents and evade any strikes which may be advanced onto themselves. 


The first and most evident distinction between kickboxing and Muay Thai is that Muay Thai is an eight-point striking method that includes elbows and knees as well as kicks and punches, whereas kickboxing is a four-point striking system that only teaches punches and kicks.

Muay Thai practitioners use their legs to break down the muscles in their opponents thighs and calves to limit their movements whilst utilizing their elbows to cause harm to an opponent’s face. 

The second distinction is in the manner in which the practitioners move and attack. The fighters in Muay Thai are virtually exclusively heading forward.

Muay Thai fighters are instructed to take their time until their opponent provides them an opportunity, then charge forward and strike fiercely.

These opportunities usually present themselves after an opponent has delivered a strike of their own, and counter-attacks are an important aspect of Muay Thai.

There isn’t as much head movement, weaving, or circling as in boxing or kickboxing.

Finally, the way Muay Thai fighters and kickboxers hurl their kicks differs. In Muay Thai, kicking with your foot or lower shin is extremely rare.

Muay Thai fighters are instead taught to strike with the center region of their shin. Kickboxing, on the other hand, offers a diverse range of kicks that land on the foot, lower shin, and middle shin.

Is Kick Boxing More Dangerous Than Muay Thai?

Now you know the differences and similarities between Kickboxing and Muay Thai, is Kickboxing more dangerous?

You may be thinking Muay Thai is more dangerous as fighters are allowed to use the eight-point striking system whilst Kickboxers are limited to four.

However, Muay Thai has less focus on head strikes. Opponents aim to defeat their opponents through striking the legs, Kickboxers aim to win whilst striking the head.

This makes Kickboxing more dangerous than Muay Thai as head injuries can cause more serious damage. 

Although, a Muay Thai student’s injuries are minimal. With most of the training, when training for fun or fitness rather than competition, being done individually with a bag or pad, the risk of injury is limited.

When advancing to sparring it is done in a controlled environment with both students only using 10-30% of their strength. 

Overall, both sports have their risks and benefits. However, kickboxing can lead to more long-term, serious injuries when in a competitive setting. 

Christopher Anderson
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