The Difference between Muay Thai and Kickboxing

Lots of kickboxers take part in Muay Thai contests and vice versa, and for anyone who wishes to improve his or her strikes for martial arts contests, these are extremely useful forms to practice. Muay Thai and Kickboxing appear similar to many people, but there are various differences between these two forms of martial arts. Read on to know about a few of these key points of differences.


Differences in Number of Contact Points

Kickboxing is a 4-point combat form while Muay Thai is an 8-point system of combat. This means that kickboxing involves the use of just two fists and two feet while Muay Thai permits the use of two fists, two elbows, two knees and two feet for striking on opponents. Any attempt to use elbows or knees in striking an opponent can lead to a disqualification for a contestant.


Use of Grappling

Grappling/clinching, or trying to throw down an opponent, is allowed in Muay Thai but not in kickboxing. The approach to grappling and clinch fighting differs in the two sports. Grappling is an integral part of Muay Thai and elbow and knee strikes often play a vital role in this art. However, grappling is not allowed in kickboxing. This rule is the same as that of traditional boxing in Western boxing, where any attempt at clinching is broken up quickly by a referee.


Catching Kicks

Muay Thai allows you to catch an opponents kick and then dump them or land a strike to score as a as a counter attack. In kickboxing this is considered an illegal move and you will be punished via either a warning first or a loss of point. 


No below-the-waist strikes (PKA Rules)

In Muay Thai kicks to the shin and other parts below the waist are allowed. However, no such strikes are permitted in North American kickboxing (PKA- Professional Karate Association rules). Due to this difference, Muay Thai is regarded as more practical as a self-defense form, although it should be remembered that kickboxing is primarily a sport and not billed as a self-defense technique.


Style and Techniques

There is also variation in the style and techniques used in the two forms. In kickboxing, fighters tend to move about a lot in an attempt to get clean shots on opponents. They generally use more advanced boxing style boxing foot work, head movement, and string together longer combinations. In Muay Thai, however, fighters try to floor opponents with repeatedly heavy strikes to the legs and other parts of the body. Even the nature of the kicks vary a lot, with Muay Thai practitioners mainly using their hard shin in order to make strikes instead of simply the foot.

For a great example of the the 2 styles going head to head, view the below video. For more information on classes please feel free to contact us.

At the ETC Gym Geelong we offer everything from general fitness, ladies onlyHIIT boxing classes to martial arts such as BJJMMA and Muay Thai. We have a large timetable to suit any busy schedule and a team of Personal Trainers for your 1:1 needs. In addition to our timetabled classes, we offer gym only memberships where members have 22 hour access and access to all recovery facilities. Come along for a free trail and check out the classes or inquire about memberships today! Interested in coming along for a free trial at our Geelong Gym?