Discover the Ultimate Showdown: Muay Thai vs Kickboxing

 Sports have been seen to increase human work outputs and in today’s world, sports have become an important part of our lives. Nowadays, human lives have become dependent on either the act of playing sports or the act of watching others play.

The latter can be done by many ways that include watching a live match in a stadium or watching a match or a part of the recorded match on a television screen or on electronic gadgets. Many sports have prominent places in the hearts of individuals. However, there are some sports which are unique by its own nature

Mentions can be made of kickboxing and Muay Thai which also occupy a separate place in the world of sports. These sports have a lot in common although both of these sports stay unique in their own ways.

Similarities Between Muay Thai And Kickboxing

Muay Thai and Kickboxing are both very strategic, teaching footwork, setups, and other techniques that are needed to evade the blows from the opponent and land blows by oneself. Many of the techniques that are taught in the fight of Muay Thai are similar to the techniques that are involved in kickboxing, especially the fundamental rules that are applied.

Both these sports are examples of fine-striking martial arts. These sports have also been proven effective at the highest levels of competition several times.

Muay Thai Vs Kickboxing

muay thai vs kickboxing

Striking system

The most common difference that exists between the two sports of Muay Thai and Kickboxing is that while kickboxing involves a 4-point striking system involving the use of kicks and punches, Muay Thai has an 8-point striking system that involves the use of not only kicks and punches but also makes sure of the use of elbows and knees, and the ‘full’ clinch that is upper body grappling. 

Techniques and moves

Secondly, there also exists a difference between the two sports based on the techniques like moves and attacks that are adopted by the individual fighters. In Muay Thai schools, the fighters are generally taught to be patient until an opportunity to strike appears, then the sportspersons can aggressively advance.

In most instances, such openings will come following an opponent’s strike, therefore, counterattacks are a significant part of Muay Thai. 

Body movements 

There is very little head movement that can be seen in the form of circling and weaving as seen in the case of kickboxing. On the other hand, kickboxing is mostly boxing that is based on the active use of hands, angles, and movements altogether with the use of volume combos whereas Muay Thai is a timed sport with the application of a heavy reliance based on quick and powerful counter-attacks. 

Kickboxers generally utilize a good amount of this combination whereas Muay Thai fighters prefer a well-timed single weapon. Therefore, the kickboxers’ movements tend to be a little bit more defensive type and more fluid as compared to the movements adopted by the Muay Thai fighters. 

In other words, kickboxing fighters use angles and footwork a little more to set up attacks as compared to Muay Thai fighters who generally rely on well-coordinated and aggressive forward motion and counter-attacks as present in the Muay Thai technique.

This is not to mention that Muay Thai does not make any use of fluid footwork completely, but one can perhaps say that it is a little more prominent in the case of kickboxing. 

Techniques used

The techniques that are used in Muay Thai are usually executed differently from kickboxing. For example, a Muay Thai kick is executed by turning the hip and connecting it with the shinbone or the tibia, whereas, various types of kickboxing styles usually involve snapping the knee to throw a kick and this is often connected to the footwork. However, in delivering these kicks, it is more important to note that there is also a difference between the two sports in terms of where one is allowed to hit their opponent. 

Areas of Strikes

In Muay Thai, shin kicks and strikes below the level of the waist are allowed but the groin area is out of the limits because of true sportsmanship. It is very rare for a fighter to kick with their foot or lower shin in the sport of Muay Thai whereas, in Kickboxing, the fighters generally apply a range of kicks that includes the use of their feet, middle shin, and lower shin alike. 

Rules Of Muay Thai

muay thai vs kickboxing

  • Muay Thai matches generally take place in a ring that has a dimension between 6.1m x 6.1m and 7.3m x 7.3m. 
  • The competitors who are competing in a professional match should be over the age of 15 and their weight should be in the same weight category and not more than 5 pounds difference in the weight category. 
  • Before every Muay Thai Boxing match, each boxer is required to pay homage to the heritage of Muay Thai. This involves a ritual dance that is accompanied by music that is played by a Javanese tom-tom drum, which is a Javanese oboe and a small pair of cymbals. 
  • Once the homage has been completed and paid, the bout is ready to begin and both the fighters must shake their hands before the bout begins to agree that they will compete according to the rules and in a style that is sportsmanlike in manner. 
  • Muay Thai bouts have a total of 5 rounds with every match being 3 minutes, along with a two-minute rest period between each match. 
  • Once the bout begins, both the fighters attempt to win the match by first utilizing their fists, feet, elbows, knees, and shins in an attempt that would mean to defeat their opponent. 
  • Once the fight is won with one fighter knocking out their opponents, the referee stops the fight because they deem one fighter to be unfit to carry on the field or the fight goes to the full distance and one fighter is declared as the winner in terms of points. 
  • If the total points achieved in the match are equal, then the match is declared as a draw.

Rules Of Kickboxing 

muay thai vs kickboxing

  • All kickboxing matches need to take place in a boxing ring. 
  • Any competitor who is in full contact with kickboxing must compete against a fighter who is in the same weight category as themselves to ensure that the fight is fairly taken place. 
  • After listening to the referee’s instructions, both the fighters touch the gloves and after this, the fight begins. 
  • The rounds usually last for 3 minutes and the total number of rounds depends upon the experience of the fighters who are involved. 
  • The championship fights are usually over after 12 x 3-minute rounds. 
  • Each fighter needs to attempt to defeat their opponent by using the means of punches and kicks to the body and head which would be in an attempt to knock their opponent out of the field. 
  • If both fighters fail to knock their opponent out or try to force the referee to stop the fight, then the points are used to judge the fight. 
  • The fighter with the greater number of points is generally declared to be the winner. If both the fighters have the same amount of points, the match is usually considered to be a draw and no one is declared to be the winner.


Muay Thai and Kickboxing are individual sports that stand in their own place, however, there are some things that are similar to both these sports. Both these sports require proper training and practice that helps the fighters to get prepared for their turn of performance. It should be kept in mind about the rules that these sports carry that would help in bringing more discipline in their respective fields.


Q1. Which is better: Muay Thai or Kickboxing?
Ans. It depends on what one means by the word “better”. As a general rule, Muay Thai is better for combat. Similarly to Kickboxing, Muay Thai also has an effective punching and kicking technique that enables one to punch and kick well as well as counter those attacks as well. 

Q2. What is the difference between kickboxing and Muay Thai kickboxing?
Ans. The most common difference that exists between the two sports of Muay Thai and Kickboxing is that while kickboxing involves a 4-point striking system involving the use of kicks and punches, Muay Thai has an 8-point striking system that involves the use of not only kicks and punches but also makes sure of the use of elbows and knees, and the ‘full’ clinch that is upper body grappling.

Q3. Can a Muay Thai fighter fight in Kickboxing?
Ans. Fighters involved in Muay Thai are ill-fit for Kickboxing. Muay Thai is often seen as a more complete martial art since it incorporates the clinch, elbow strikes, and knee strikes while kickboxing does not. However, a person can still stand in a great position to gain by being trained in both these martial arts. 

Read Also:

Leave a Comment