Muay Thai vs Kickboxing: Difference and Comparison

There are different styles of combat sports, and nowadays, these are popular sports that people are taking an interest in. Muay Thai and Kickboxing are two types of combat sports.

However, there is a major difference in the mechanics and body positing between these two sports.

Key Takeaways

  1. Muay Thai emphasizes using elbows and knees in addition to punches and kicks, providing a more diverse range of striking techniques.
  2. Kickboxing focuses primarily on punches and kicks and does not include elbow and knee strikes.
  3. Muay Thai fighters wear traditional attire, whereas kickboxers wear modern sportswear.

Muay Thai vs Kickboxing

Muay Thai is a type of boxing and martial arts where the sportsperson is defensive and uses punches or kicks as the striking moves. Kickboxing is a 4-point boxing sport that involves kicks and punches, but it is focused on defense. Any sport involving punches and kicks falls under the category of kickboxing.

Muay Thai vs
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Muay Thai is a type of sport where the sportsperson takes an aggressive stance to fight the opponent. In this sport, the individual uses his hands to execute his moves, such as kicks and punches.

Since the fighter uses only his or her hands to deliver his strikes, body movements involving the head and other parts of the body are not used to fight back.

On the other hand, Kickboxing is used to bring out the defensive side of the player. This sport does not emphasize using aggressive stances.

However, it allows the fighter to use elbows and knees. Since it involves both hand and leg movements, a lot of footwork is required.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonMuay ThaiKickboxing
DefinitionMuay Thai is a type of boxing that focuses on the defence of the individual.Kickboxing can be either be boxing or any type of sport where the fighter uses kicks and punches.
TechniquesMuay Thai allows the individual to use knees and elbows to execute his or her moves. There is no restriction on using leg movements.This sport mainly uses kicks and punches. It prohibits the individual to use knees or elbows to block the other person.
PointsMuay Thai is a type of martial arts wherein each round 4 points are the highest to be achieved. Muay Thai is a 4-point martial art.Kickboxing is an 8-point martial art.
Country of OriginationIt has mainly originated in Thailand.It does not have any country of origin.
Type of attack

The mode of attack in this sport is aggressive.


On the other hand, this sport focuses on defence.

What is Muay Thai?

In Thailand, Muay Thai was first invented as one of the popular martial arts. In this sport, the fighter uses kicks and punches as his or her striking moves.

Here, the sportsperson becomes defensive. He or she does not aggressively attack his or her opponent.

One of the basic techniques to block the opponent is the move, where one needs to lift the knee up to the elbow to execute the strike. If one is left-handed, he or she needs to put his or her right foot forward.

On the other hand, if someone is right-handed, he or she should put his or her left foot forward.

In this sport, One can get 4 points in a single round. As this sport does not restrict the individual to use only kicks and punches, he or she is free to use various head and leg movements such as circling, weaving, etc.

It can be dangerous at times if the striker becomes determined to use powerful moves. Thus, one needs to choose his or her strikes very carefully.

Patience is the key to success in this sport. The individual needs to wait for the other person to strike first. Then he or she should make powerful moves using both of his or her hands and legs accordingly to fight back. So it can become fatal at times.

muay thai

What is Kickboxing?

Kickboxing can be seen used all over the world as any sport involving kicks and punches can be termed as Kickboxing. It is a 4-point game. In this sport, the individual uses various moves of hands and legs.

But this sport does not side with aggressiveness. It focuses more on defence.

Unlike Muay Thai, Kickboxing requires neither music nor rhythm. It does not have any unique style or feature. As long as it uses kicks and punches, any sport can be designated as Kickboxing.

Since this sport calculates fighters’ scores on point, it can be called a point-based sport.

Though in Kickboxing, as the name suggests, one might get bruises or injuries, it is slightly less dangerous than Muay Thai. Counterattacking is not a crucial part of any style of Kickboxing.

Thus, forward attacks are not used. It focuses on the striker moving backwards and taking a defensive stance.

In Kickboxing, there is no restriction on using various body parts. The individual can use hands, legs, and lower and upper shins to execute his or her strikes.

Footwork also plays an important role in taking any stance. However, Kickboxing hurts less than Muay Thai.

Main Differences Between Muay Thai and Kickboxing

  1. In Muay Thai, the individual becomes aggressive, whereas in Kickboxing, it is exactly the opposite. 
  2. Muay Thai allows the fighter only to use their hands. But Kickboxing involves movements of hands, elbows, and knees. 
  3. Muay Thai is a 4-point game. But in Kickboxing, there are 8 points. 
  4. Muay Thai is more dangerous than Kickboxing. But in Kickboxing, one can also be badly injured. 
  5. In Muay Thai, one needs to strike first to have an upper edge, whereas in Kickboxing, one should wait for the opponent to strike first. 
Difference Between Maui Thai and
References
  1. https://muse.jhu.edu/article/562678/summary
  2. https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/35/5/308.abstract

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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