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Differences Between Muay Thai and Other Martial Arts

Muay Thai is a quick-paced fight that blends boxing and kicking into a spinning tangle. It is known as the art of eight limbs in Thailand which generally refers to the eight points of contact used to hit the opponent. Muay Thai is a sport from Thailand where the soldiers of King Naresuan regularly practise this sport as a form of practical fighting technique.

In this article, we will discuss the differences between Muay Thai vs 4 other martial arts: Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), Kickboxing and Boxing.

differences between muay thai and other martial arts

Muay Thai vs MMA (Mixed Martial Arts)

In comparison with Muay Thai vs MMA, Muay Thai is a highly specialised kind of martial arts and it is distinguished by attacking opponents with fists, elbows and shins. On the other hand, MMA lacks specialisation and a unified trait as it is a combat sport (combines many fighting methods).

MMA also focuses on grounding and grappling techniques together with striking, unlike Muay Thai which only focuses on striking. This leads to MMA fighters using open-fingered gloves for better grappling while the Muay Thai fighters use boxing gloves for better strikes in their matches.

Muay Thai vs Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)

When comparing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu vs Muay Thai, there are several different aspects such as the rules and techniques.


Muay Thai consists of five rounds of three minutes each and a two-minute rest break in between, unlike BJJ. The usage of kicks, punches, elbows and knees are permitted in Muay Thai fights but BJJ prohibits all types of striking. Unlike Muay Thai, BJJ is divided into two categories which are known as gi and no-gi.

The BJJ fighters’ ultimate aim is to submit the opponent or win the match on points by using techniques such as takedowns, submission and controlling positions.


Muay Thai is primarily a striking sport, whereas BJJ is mostly a grappling sport. BJJ focuses on ground combat and employs a wide range of techniques to achieve dominance in the arena. Techniques such as sweeps, takedowns and chokes are mostly used towards opponents.

Muay Thai, on the other hand, is a striking sport that makes use of all of the human body's limbs. Striking techniques can be visibly seen in Muay Thai such as punches and roundhouse kicks.

muay thai vs bjj

Muay Thai vs Kickboxing

The major differences between Muay Thai and Kickboxing can be broken down into several angles such as the striking system, technique and stance.

The striking system

Muay Thai has an eight-point striking system whereas kickboxing has a four-point striking system. Muay Thai employs striking systems such as kicks, elbows, punches, clinching and knees. Conversely, Kickboxing fighters only use punches and kicks.


Kickboxers use angles, head movement and volume punches more than Muay Thai fighters. Muay Thai fighters are more patient and they prefer to land a single powerful blow. Knockout is the ultimate goal of each strike in Muay Thai.

Kickboxers, on the contrary, are strikers who are quite skilled at combining boxing combinations with low and high kicks. Kickboxers also use angles and footwork to build up attacks but Muay Thai uses more forward motion and counter-attacks.


Kickboxers have a distinct stance and you can see them standing with their hips turned to the side to decrease the hitting area. Kickboxers apply the bulk of their weight on the rear foot which is at the same angle as the front foot.

However, Muay Thai boxers stand shoulder width apart and their hips will be somewhat square to their opponent because they extend their hands to protect themselves from kicks.

Muay Thai vs Boxing

The main difference between Muay Thai vs Boxing would be the techniques applied by the fighters in a match. Boxing only allows punches whereas Muay Thai is the art of eight limbs which allows kicks, elbows, punches, clinching and knees.

When compared to Muay Thai fighters, boxers spend more time perfecting head movements, getting in and out of striking range and moving around the ring.

The defence in Muay Thai works as the fighters extend their hands further out to protect themselves from kicks. Conversely, boxers defend their heads with their fists and their bodies with their elbows. The clinching technique is applied in both Boxing and Muay Thai but the technique is used for different purposes in both sports.

Clinching in Muay Thai works as an aggressive manoeuvre to strike more and throw the opponent to the ground. Boxing, on the hand, uses the clinching technique as a defensive manoeuvre to keep the opponent from striking.

tiger muay thai training in singapore


Muay Thai is certainly a distinct and unique sport compared to all the other sports. It is the perfect sport for you to learn self-defence and discipline in life. If you wish to learn Muay Thai from one of the best Muay Thai gyms in Singapore, check out Muay Thai classes and pricing now!

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