All of us have some idea about the different kinds of martial arts styles that exist in the world. A lot of us are so attracted by this world of martial arts that we decide to pursue learning one or two of them ourselves. We are usually motivated by the fact that martial arts serve as an effective self-defense in cases where they are needed as well as an interesting hobby for those who like to channel their aggression into something worthwhile.
Whatever the motivation, with the abundance of styles, we have problems choosing one for ourselves. It is imperative that we gather all the information there is and find one that is suitable for us. As time progresses, more and more people are becoming interested in learning the art of Muay Thai. However, not a lot of them have any idea what this exotic-sounding martial art actually entails.
To understand Muay Thai, one needs a brief glance at its history and an understanding of the differences between it and kickboxing. Here, we’ll be giving a brief overview regarding Muay Thai, so you can fully understand this art and pursue it if you wish.
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What Is Muay Thai?
Muay Thai literally means “Thai Boxing” when translated from Thai to English. The art of Muay Thai is centuries old and originated somewhere in Thailand. It is derived from an ancient and obsolete Thai fighting style known as ‘Muay Boran.’ It was a fighting style practiced by the Thai army. Muay Thai comes under the umbrella of kickboxing in today’s world. Muay Thai is usually called the “art of eight limbs” or “kickboxing with elbows and knees.” The number of different moves you can pull with this fighting style is what makes this sport so appealing to so many people.
It utilizes hands, shins, forearms, elbows, legs and knees to combat opponents or defend against their attacks. In Muay Thai, each body part used becomes an equivalent of a weapon in a fight. This art was meant to use the body as a replacement of weaponry. Today, Muay Thai is one of the most widely practiced martial arts and has become a popular sport as well. There are competitions held all over the world where people from different countries participate.
Muay Thai training is very tough. You need to make up your mind before you enroll yourself in a Muay Thai class since there is a lot of pain involved in mastering it. In addition to that, a lot of people concede to the point that Muay Thai teaches you a lot more than combat or self-defense. It also teaches you values like modesty, confidence, and truthfulness. Muay Thai is, therefore, an all-encompassing training – one that trains your mind and body both.
How Muay Thai Differs from Kickboxing
As we previously established, Muay Thai is a sub-art of kickboxing. It goes without saying that it has some points on which it differs from kickboxing. We’ll explore these points in order to gain a better understanding of Muay Thai.
Mainstream kickboxing does not allow many of the moves that are used in Muay Thai. Muay Thai incorporates a lot more moves than kickboxing such as hammer fists, back fists, palm strikes, elbow strikes, knee strikes and clinches. If you use these moves in a traditional kickboxing arena, you are likely to get disqualified.
In Muay Thai, grappling and clinching is allowed. Compared to that, traditional kickboxing does not allow any sort of clinching and where one does grapple with the other, the referee will try to break it up. The fact that you will not be allowed to grapple or clinch your opponent in kickboxing has raised concerns amongst many practicing kickboxers, who believe that disallowing clinching is not an effective self-defense tactic.
Hits Below the Waist
Hits below the waist are not allowed in kickboxing but are in Muay Thai. However, it should be noted that hits near the groin area are not allowed for very obvious reasons.
Kickboxing is a four-point sport, whereas Muay Thai is an eight-point sport. This means that to win a round of Muay Thai, you need to score eight points and to win one of kickboxing, you need four points. The difference in points is majorly because the number of moves allowed in Muay Thai is far greater than the ones allowed in kickboxing. Muay Thai is more focused on constantly attacking the opponent until they give in, while kickboxing is all about precision – you need to land a few quick, clean hits to win the game.
Effectiveness in Self-Defense
There has always been a lot of debate surrounding Muay Thai and kickboxing in regards to their effectiveness in self-defense. Most people are of the opinion that Muay Thai is a far better alternative for self-defense than kickboxing because it allows clinching, grappling, and hits below the waist – all of which are useful moves when you’re in a sticky situation.
However, before we completely disparage kickboxing, it should be kept in mind that kickboxing was originally meant to be a sport. Muay Thai, on the other hand, is a combat style used initially by soldiers. Hence, it is a given that it will be more useful for real-life combat than kickboxing.
To summarize, Muay Thai is an art that comes under kickboxing. Both of these arts differ at some points and to understand Muay Thai, one must understand kickboxing as well. One thing that the two have in common with each other as well as other martial arts is that to learn them fully, you need to put in many hours of training.
We hope you’re feeling motivated enough to get yourself enrolled in a Muay Thai class too. You don’t need to be discouraged by the amount of effort needed in mastering the art – all you need to do at this point is get a feel of what Muay Thai is really like.