Muay Thai is considered to be one of the most effective stand-up striking arts in the world. It is also an exciting combat sport that has built a global fanbase. On the surface, Muay Thai appears to be just a brutal clash of fists and kicks. If you dive deeper, you will uncover many layers of technicalities represented by the Muay Thai styles.
There are several different fighting styles in Muay Thai. Each style is defined by the choice of weapon(s) or strategy. Some styles are known to be more aggressive while some are defensive and calculated.
Muay Thai is also known as the “Art of 8 limbs” which refers to the two fists (punches), two elbows, two knees and two legs (kicks). All Muay Thai fighters train in all striking techniques but certain styles of Muay Thai focus on particular weapons such as punches or kicks.
We dissect 5 of the most common styles of Muay Thai below:
A Muay Femur is a technical fighter who possesses a high fight IQ. They are well-versed in all the techniques and weapons of Muay Thai.
Muay Femurs rely on a multitude of techniques and can even alternate between different styles depending on the opponent. They typically excel in movement, defense and win fights by outscoring the opponent. When the opportunity arises, they are just as quick swooping in to finish the fight.
The best Muay Femur fighters are known to possess a beautiful fighting style that is highly regarded by fans and connoisseurs of the sport.
Notable Muay Femur fighters include Samart Payakaroon, Saenchai and Superlek Kiatmoo9.
A Muay Khao is a fighter who relies on knee strikes. Muay Khaos excel in knee techniques which can be delivered in different ranges. Knees can cause considerable damage to the torsos and even end fights.
Many Muay Khaos complement their knee-fighting style with superior clinching as it allows them to throw close-range knees to the torso. This style of fighting is very technical and also requires a lot of strength and cardio conditioning. One strategy is to wear down their opponents in extensive clinching and scoring with knees to the body.
Today, Muay Khao is a dominating style that has helped create many stadium champions in Thailand.
Notable Muay Khao include Dieselnoi Chor Thanasukarn, and Nuenglanlek Jitmuangnon.
The Muay Mat is an aggressive and explosive style known for heavy punches and plenty of knockouts.
This is a relentless forward-moving style with hard punches and low kicks to boot. They can trade blow for blow as many Muay Mat come with a strong chin to back them up. The strategy is simple: go for the knockout. They don’t always win via judges’ decision but they will do whatever it takes to finish the fight.
Many Muay Mats do equally well in boxing or kickboxing. Notable Muay Mats include Sagat Petchyindee and Rodtang Jitmuangnon.
A Muay Tae is a fighter who favors kicks. The roundhouse kick is one of the most devastating weapons in the Muay Thai arsenal and many fighters have built their fighting style around it.
Muay Tae kickers are all about building years of strong foundation through nothing but consistent hard training. They are able to generate immense kicking power through solid form, great balance and steel-like shins.
The Muay Thai roundhouse kicks are known to be among the hardest in martial arts, breaking ribs and arms is not uncommon.
Notable Muay Tae fighters include Samkor Kiatmontep and Singdam.
A Muay Bouk is all about aggression and non-stop action. They rarely retreat, always pushing forward and escalating the action to its peak. Fights featuring Muay Bouk are always exciting and entertaining. Their high-octane energy and style makes them favorites with the fans and crowds.
Muay Bouks employ all weapons, whatever it takes to bring down their opponents. In the process, they put themselves under direct fire taking hits but they never back down.
Muay Bouks are known to be among the most durable fighters with heart. When they step into the ring, it is always a war.
Notable Muay Bouk fighters include Ramon Dekkers, and Liam Harrison.