Is Muay Thai A Full-Contact Sport?

There are some amazing and crazy sports out there that many people are just dying to try.

When we think of martial arts and self-defense, the usual suspects that are thought of instantly include karate, jiu-jitsu, and even Tae Kwon Do.

Is Muay Thai A Full-Contact Sport?

However, if you’re not a fan of sports like MMA or an expert in the knowledge of martial arts, then you might not think of Muay Thai.

The reality is that this is a great sport that allows people to compete to better their opponent, both physically and mentally.

Because of this, we understand why there is so much interest in the martial art, and why people want to know more about it.

At the end of the day, it’s all about trying to understand the sport and what it entails. Who knows, you might want to try and find somewhere near you that does Muay Thai lessons after our guide!

What Is Illegal In Muay Thai?

One of the easiest things to do with a sport like Muay Thai is to list the features that aren’t allowed, rather than the parts that you are allowed.

It’s a very physical sport and demands the athletes to perform a whole range of different moves and techniques to try and get the upper hand over their opponent.

The main things that aren’t allowed in Muay Thai are some of the features that make this sport a very different form of martial art compared to others like karate, Tae Kwon Do, and even Judo.

You’re not allowed to throw your opponent. This can mean anything from pushing them to the ground, to throwing them over your shoulder or your hip.

Basically, you can’t step across the other fighter, or in front of them to gain an advantage by throwing them.

Using your leg for leverage to throw them is strictly illegal and would land you with a disqualification in any official fight.

Alternatively, you cannot use a waist lock to throw them with a hip throw. The sport is more based on striking and landing clean hits on the other person.

So, What Is Allowed?

For those people who love the sport and know a lot about it, they will have heard Muay Thai is referred to as The Art Of 8 Limbs by some, which makes it sound like there are two octopuses fighting each other in a ring!

However, this is not what it means at all and there is a very simple explanation for this title.

Basically, this means that the sport makes use of 8 different areas of contact. These are punches, knees, kicks, and elbows.

These locations on the body are used for striking and will be used to hit the opponent to earn points for clean hits, much like with boxing.

However, unlike boxing, Muay Thai isn’t limited to just punches with the hands. Kicking is a huge part of the sport and will be utilized by some of the most famous Muay Thai athletes in the world.

Boxing uses two points of the body as the hands are the only point that is used for striking and earning points.

Is Muay Thai A Full-Contact Sport?

Karate, as we also mentioned earlier, is a sport that uses four different points on the body. These are the hands, much like with boxing, and the feet, which are used for kicking the opponent to earn points.

So, as you can tell, Muay Thai is a very innovative sport and requires a lot of different areas of the body to succeed. So, is it a full-contact sport?

Is Muay Thai A Full-Contact Sport?

Sometimes referred to as Thai boxing, Muay Thai is a combat sport that uses a lot of different strikes, clinching techniques, and lots of movement to ensure that you can gain an advantage over the other fighter.

So, yes. Muay Thai is a full-contact sport and requires many different areas for the fighters to focus on. 

However, this is with the exception of throwing and tackling, as we mentioned earlier in the article.

Although kicking is allowed, there are some areas that aren’t allowed to be kicked because of the damage that can occur.

At the end of the day, despite the nature of the sport, the overall welfare of the fighters needs to be kept in mind.

Kicks to the knees are left out of the sport because of the damage that can happen both ways when strikes land against the knee.

Damage to the knee can be permanent and means fighters might not be able to fight again.

On top of this, it is illegal to land strikes to the groin in most sports, with Muay Thai being no exception because of the nature of the area.

Of course, it goes without saying that using the head to strike the opponent is also illegal and can land you with a lengthy ban, or a permanent one!

The head is never really used in combat sports as a tool to inflict damage because of the risks that can come along with using it. Headbutting in Muay Thai is extremely forbidden.

One combat sport, known as Lethwei, actually allows the fighters to headbutt and will score them points for clean connections.

This sport is also known as The Art Of 9 Limbs, as opposed to the 8 limbs mentioned in Muay Thai.

Of course, the ninth limb is the head, with Lewthei being viewed as one of the most brutal and bloody martial arts in the world.


When it comes to martial arts, the vast majority of them could be classed as a full-contact sport by the majority of people who watch and take part in them.

You just have to remember that this doesn’t necessarily mean that every limb can be used and every technique can be used.

At the end of the day, the sport can be violent and will often lead to injuries for either opponent, however, the general welfare of the athletes must always be kept at the top of the priority list.

Christopher Anderson
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