In this blog we answer the burning question of "Muay Thai VS Boxing". This blog runs through the age-old question of "Muay Thai vs Kickboxing". I've been training in various fighting sports such as boxing, MMA, and martial arts, and with this knowledge I wanted to help you understand the difference between both combat sports.
Firstly, I wanted to address one of the biggest questions I get asked regularly, which is "are kickboxing and Muay Thai the same thing?"
The short answer is no, and while they do share some similarities, there are some key identifying differences between the two combat sports that I wanted to highlight.
So, let's start off with Muay Thai. Muay Thai is a martial art practice that was originated in Thailand and is also referred to as "the art of eight limbs". It's given this name because it incorporates not just kicks and punches, but also includes elbow and knee striking. Fighters of Muay Thai also regularly use clinch techniques, which involves grappling and controlling their opponent whilst they are standing. Grappling gloves are a great incorporation to training sessions to build on your strength and agility when grappling.
Kickboxing, on the other hand, is a combat sport that was originated in Japan and includes elements of karate, boxing, and other martial arts. It primarily involves punching and kicking, but does not allow for knee or elbow strikes, as well as clinching.
Now that we have a basic overview of both combat sports I'll take you through that each sport offers, by diving deeper into the major differences between Muay Thai and kickboxing.
One obvious difference is the use of elbows and knees in Muay Thai. The offering of these strikes can be really powerful and cause you to be thrown off, so they require a different skill set than just using punches and kicks. Muay Thai Pads are an effect way to build on offering more powerful punches to any opponent, and should be used throughout training to improve your delivery of these punches. Muay Thai fighters also often use the clinch to control their opponents and also set up their strikes.
In kickboxing, since elbow and knee strikes aren't allowed, usually fighters will focus more on their footwork and body movements to avoid their opponent's strikes,, whilst setting up their own. They will also typically give more kicks than Muay Thai fighters, since they cannot rely on knee strikes as a close-range weapon. Kick boxing shin guards can be used as an effect way to give strikes and also deflect them too.
Lastly, a key difference is also the scoring system used. In Muay Thai, strikes are scored based on their power and effectiveness, as well as what the degree of damage was inflicted on the opponent. In kickboxing, it's focused more on your technique and precision, with points awarded for clean, technical strikes. Muay thai pads are a great way to build up your training techniques in preparation for fighting an opponent.
So, which one is better? The answer really depends on what you're looking for in a combat sport. Muay Thai offers a more well-rounded approach to striking, with the added use of elbows and knees, as well as the clinch. Kickboxing is a great option for those who want to focus specifically on the punching and kicking techniques, and who may not be as interested in the more grappling-heavy aspects of Muay Thai.
Finally, while Muay Thai and kickboxing share some similarities, they are two very distinct combat sports with their own unique rules and practices. Whether you choose to follow-through and pursue Muay Thai or kickboxing... or maybe both, each sports offer a challenging and rewarding experience that can help you develop your physical and mental strength.