Muay Thai Vs Kickboxing

Muay Thai Vs. Kickboxing: What Are The Differences?

While Kickboxing and Muay Thai are a bit similar, they are worlds apart in terms of fighting styles and techniques. Muay Thai is mainly a combat sport, and it got its name as it was originated in Thailand. In this sport, various clinching abilities and stand-up striking is used, and it’s also called Thai boxing.

On the other hand, we have Kickboxing. Kickboxing usually involves a variety of techniques related to hand-to-hand combat and kicks.

If you generalize these two sports, then it’s possible to say that Muay Thai serves like a sub-category under Kickboxing. However, knowing the difference between Muay Thai and Kickboxing will help you understand that this is not completely accurate.

So, let’s learn about the differences between these two sports.


Muay Thai Vs. Kickboxing: An Overview

To know the differences between these two sports, it’s essential to have an overview of them first. We’ll discuss that here.

What Is Muay Thai?

What Is Muay Thai

Muay Thai is fundamentally based on powerful blows that involve the hands, legs, elbows, and knees. It’s very aggressive as well. In this form of sport, the players focus on damaging the calve and thigh muscles of the opponents so that it’s harder for them to maneuver.

Along with that, landing heavy blows in close combat, minimizing the damage taken, and using clinching techniques for taking control of the fight is seen in Muay Thai. The aggressive players will be rewarded highly in these sports.


What Is Kickboxing?

What Is Kickboxing

If a person knows Kickboxing, then the chances are high that that person will also know regular boxing techniques and rules. This is because Kickboxing is more like an extended version of regular boxing, as it involves kicks.

While Muay Thai is all out aggressive, Kickboxing is more like regular boxing. You’ll see that every match consists of a good amount of footwork and stalling. It’s far more defensive than Muay Thai.


Difference between Muay Thai and Kickboxing

Now that you have a basic idea about these two forms of sports, we can get into the differences in details. Let’s look at them.

Usage of Clinch and Elbows

Muay Thai is heavily dependent on the usage of elbows and clinch, and leg trapping is often used by professionals to get an edge over their opponents. However, all three of these techniques are forbidden in Kickboxing.


The Use of Rhythm

While Kickboxing is more like standard boxing, Muay Thai is more rhythmic. A special type of music called ‘Ram Muay’, which translates to ‘round music’, is played during a Muay Thai match.



Many sorts of styles can be used in Kickboxing as long as they involve punching and kicking. This is why Taekwondo, Karate, Kung Fu, Boxing, and hybrid martial arts practitioners can take part in Kickboxing.

However, Muay Thai is a very specialized sport. It involves techniques and styles that are mostly unique.


Scoring System

Kickboxing works in a point system, just like regular boxing. Whereas Muay Thai is scored based on different things like the difficulty of a certain technique, how much a strike has affected a player, ringmanship, balance, etc.



Kickboxers wear different types of apparel that range from long pants, tights, Gi pants, MMA shorts, to even Muay Thai shorts. On the other hand, Muay Thai requires the participants to wear Muay Thai shorts only.


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The Comparison Table

Muay Thai


Usage of Rhythm Muay Thai is very rhythmic, and music is played during the match. Kickboxing lacks any sort of rhythm, and it’s more like regular boxing.
Apparel Only Muay Thai shorts are worn. Many sorts of apparel like Gi shorts, tights, leggings, and even Muay Thai pants are worn.
Scoring Based on techniques used, damage dealt, showmanship, etc. Based on a regular point system, like boxing.
Style Uses a very fluid style that depends on heavy blows and perfect timing. Depends on active hand and leg techniques that involve stalling.
Use of Clinch The participants use the clinch for gaining control. Usage of the clinch is forbidden.
Use of Elbows and Knees Elbows and knees are used for dealing heavy blows. The usage of elbows and knees is forbidden.


Final Words

While they may look similar, knowing the difference between Muay Thai and Kickboxing will help you realize that they’re very different from one another. The only aspect in which they’re the same is that both of them are extremely enjoyable.

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