There are more than 150 martial arts in the world, and their roots span many countries all across the globe.
As a result, it should come as no surprise that there are many different ways to refer to fighters in different martial arts.
But while some of these names are fairly obvious (for example, boxers and wrestlers), others might not be so clear.
If you aren’t familiar with the ins and outs of Muay Thai, you might not know the proper terms for Muay Thai fighters.
Luckily, we’ve got you covered – in this handy guide, we’ll teach you all there is to know about Muay Thai fighters!
Here, we’ll go over the proper names for fighters in Muay Thai, as well as some of the terms used for fighters that follow certain styles.
So let’s get started!
What Are Fighters Called In Muay Thai?
So what’s the proper name for fighters in Muay Thai?
Well, funnily enough, one of the terms you can use to describe a Muay Thai practitioner is a ‘fighter’.
However, this is more of a catch-all term used in many martial arts, instead of a term specific to Muay Thai.
Because Muay Thai is also known as Thai Boxing (in fact, the word ‘Muay’ literally translates to boxing), fighters in Muay Thai are commonly referred to as Thai Boxers, or even just Boxers.
The Thai term for a Thai boxer is ‘Nak Muay’.
This term is sometimes reserved for professional Muay Thai practitioners, but it can also be used to refer to anyone who practices Muay Thai.
In Thailand, Western practitioners of Muay Thai are sometimes called ‘Nak Muay Farang’; this means ‘foreign boxer’.
However, these aren’t the only terms used to describe Muay Thai practitioners.
There are also some more specific names given to Thai boxers who specialize in certain styles of Muay Thai.
There are five main styles of Muay Thai which all focus on the use of specific limbs or techniques.
While these subcategories all fall under the umbrella term of Nak Muay, their names have some slight variations depending on the style.
The Five Styles Of Muay Thai
Muay Thai’s style centers around the use of the boxer’s limbs to strike the opponent, such as their fists and their shins.
The five main styles of Muay Thai each focus on a specific limb, with most of the techniques in that style revolving around its respective limb.
In this section, we’ll break down each of the five styles of Muay Thai and take you through what fighters of each discipline are called.
1) Muay Maht (Punch Fighter)
First up is the Muay Maht. This style primarily focuses on punches and strikes with the fist.
Punches are some of the fastest and most versatile strikes in Muay Thai, and a skilled Muay Maht fighter can unleash a lightning-fast barrage of punches against their opponent.
Muay Maht utilize a range of strikes with their fist to deliver fast-yet-powerful blows.
These include basic jabs and crosses, as well as hooks, uppercuts, and body shots.
However, they aren’t limited to their hands alone, and Muay Maht can use punches to set up other attacks such as kicks and elbows.
2) Muay Dtae (Kick Fighter)
Punches might be fast and reasonably strong, but they pale in comparison to the power and speed of kicks.
Muay Thai is famous for its devastating kicks, and these are the prime weapons of the Muay Dtae, or kick fighter.
Kicks in Muay Thai use the shins instead of the feet, and Muay Dtae will spend years training and conditioning their shins into deadly weapons.
Muay Thai kicks are incredibly versatile, and include roundhouse kicks, side kicks, axe kicks, and spinning back kicks.
All of these are incredibly powerful, and can deal an incredible amount of damage.
Not only that, though, but a Muay Dtae’s powerful leg muscles let them snap powerful kicks out incredibly fast.
3) Muay Sok (Elbow Fighter)
Elbow strikes can be a risky move in Muay Thai, as they require you to get in close to your opponent.
This puts you right in the range of your opponent’s kicks and punches.
However, you can also use elbow strikes to deal incredibly strong blows – this is something that the Muay Sok, or elbow fighter, puts to good use.
The Muay Sok style is far less common than other disciplines due to the risk factor, but a skilled Muay Sok fighter uses fast dodges to get in close to their opponent.
Alternatively, a Muay Sok can use a well-placed elbow to break out of a clinch or sneak through a Muay Maht’s guard.
Muay Maht is definitely a high-risk, high-reward style, but a skilled Muay Maht can be deadly in a fight.
In fact, a single elbow strike can be enough to K.O. an opponent!
4) Muay Khao (Knee Fighter)
Knee strikes are arguably the most devastating attack in a Thai boxer’s arsenal, but they can have limited use in a fight.
However, a Muay Khao turns their knees into vicious weapons that are capable of downing an opponent with a single precise blow.
Because knee strikes are most useful at close range, Muay Khao fighters also make good use of clinches to control their opponent and strike with their knees.
A Muay Khao isn’t just limited to close range, however. Knee strikes can also be used to keep opponents at bay or deal damage from mid-range, while flying knee strikes can be used to close distance quickly and can easily K.O. an opponent.
5) Muay Femeu (Technical Fighter)
Finally, the Muay Femeu (or technical fighter) is the most versatile type of boxer on this list.
Muay Femeu are defined by their adaptability and incredible skills with a wide range of techniques.
Muay Femeu rely more on a calculated and strategic approach to a fight as opposed to powerful strikes, and a Muay Femeu will typically balance staying out of danger with carefully picked shots.
This means that a skilled Muay Femeu can easily take down a more aggressive opponent while barely using any power themselves.
So there you have it! Now you know all there is to know about the proper name for Muay Thai practitioners, as well as the various terms used to describe certain styles of Thai boxing!
Muay Thai is a fun and exciting martial art to watch, and knowing the right names for Thai boxers and their styles just adds to the experience!