Muay Thai is so much more than just landing a few kicks or throwing punches. In fact, it is an art that relies very heavily on strategy as well as technique.
You will need to assess your opponent’s technique and then plan your response in advance.
You may have seen Muay Thai in movies, and wondered what fighting style it is. We have the answer, so read on to find out more about Muay Thai’s fighting styles.
What Kind Of Fighting Style Is Muay Thai?
Muay Thai, also known as Thai Boxing, is part of martial arts. It is the national sport in Thailand, and developed hundreds of years ago.
Although its origins are a well debated subject today, this kind of close-combat style of fighting works with the whole body, focusing utilizing each part of the body as weapon.
The Different Styles Of Muay Thai Boxing
As Muay Thai’s history is so varied and the sport has been influenced by a number of different Thai sources, there are a few distinct styles that have developed over the years.
Let’s take a look at some of the main styles of Muay Thai Boxing.
Muay Mat is the more aggressive style of Muay Thai fighters. In this style, you use a mix of strong low kicks and heavy punches to bring your opponent down.
Muay Mat fighters typically charge forward in the ring in order to cause great damage and a knockout to their opponents.
They do this even with the risk of hurting themselves, and losing points.
The long kicks from these aggressive fighters can set off their opponent’s footwork, and the heavy punches to the body will destabilize him further.
A good Muay Mat fighter is determined to wear his opponent down with a number of heavy low kicks and the strong punches. The final knockout is usually a punch on the chin.
Similar to Muay Mat, Muay Bouk fighters use a powerful, non-stop and aggressive fighting style that pushes their opponent into action.
Muay Bouk is typically a very popular style because it entertains the crowds. These fighters bring down their opponents with almost any means necessary.
They relentlessly push forward and attack. While this means that they are also frequently under attack, they take the greatest risk for the greatest gain: the knockout of their opponent.
As a Muay Bouk fighter, you will need a lot of energy. With a consistently offensive strategy, you will need to be durable when stepping into the ring.
Some of the best known Muay Bouk fighters are Liam Harrison and Ramon Dekkers.
One of the most recognizable strategies of a Muay Khao fighter are their knockout knee kicks.
These fighters are generally very strong, and they use this strength against their opponents to force them into a clinch.
This helps him control his opponent, and ultimately overwhelm him with a range of targeted kicks and punches to the abdomen, knees, solar plexus, rib cage, head and thighs.
Muay Khao fighters aren’t as aggressive as Muay Mat fighters but they use a similar strength to strike their opponents.
A big advantage of the Muay Khao fighter is that he first puts his opponent into a clinch, and then receives a number of points for knee kicks and punches wearing his opponent down.
One of the most famous Muay Khao fighter is the multiple-winner of the Muay Thai World Championship Sagetdao Petpayathai.
A Muay Tae fighter uses powerful kicks as his most dangerous weapon. Kicks to the legs, arms, head and other parts of the body can cause serious damage to the opponent, and wear him down in a short period of time.
With the right amount of energy, these kicks can even lead to knocking the opponent out in one shot. However, this does take a lot of practice.
The well known World Championship winner in Muay Thai Sam-A Gaiyanghadao uses the Muay Tae style as a strategy to wear his opponents down.
If you watch any videos of him, you will notice his quick left kicks are his main strategy of attack, and these kicks typically throw the opponent off balance.
While all the other styles of Muay Thai Boxing we looked at so far are relatively offensive, Muay Femur focuses much more on strategy as a weapon.
The Muay Femur style uses precise kicks and punches to the opponent’s body.
This is what really draws the Muay Thai lovers into a stadium, as it is the technique and the knowledge of the opponent’s weaknesses that makes a fight interesting in Muay Thai.
Muay Femur fighters know exactly when is the right time to attack and when to go into a defensive. They also understand how to adapt to the style of the opponent.
This makes Muay Femur fighters especially interesting because they can then use the opponent’s style against them.
You will recognise a Muay Femur fighter, such as Saenchai PKSaenchaimuaythaigym and Samart Payakaroon, by his generally greater distance to the opponent.
This means that he typically also just uses kicks, long-range jabs and teep kicks.
Timing is a very important element that a Muay Femur fighter uses to his advantage. He can fight both defensively as well as offensively to cause a lot of damage to his opponent.
Muay Femur fighters have a great sense of balance, and they need to be able to act at great speed when necessary.
As this style of Muay Thai is so variable, you will also find that some fighters that look like Muay Mat fighters, also use some of the techniques from Muay Femur.
Although Muay Thai can be compared to boxing, it is so much more than throwing punches and kicks.
If you choose to pick up Muay Thai, you will quickly learn that this martial arts style is all about endurance, persistence as well as technical strategy.
It does take a little bit of time and self-development to find out what Muay Thai fighting style suits you but once you discovered this, you start on your journey evolving this style.