Muay Thai vs Kickboxing
The most apparent difference between Muay Thai and Kickboxing is the number of contact points allowed in each sport. We know about boxing, and we also know about martial arts like karate. There are some combat sports developed on the basis of boxing and martial arts that include features of both and make heavy use of punching and kicking. Kickboxing is one such popular combat sport that originated in Japan in the 60s, and became extremely popular in the western world a decade later. There is another combat sport similar to kickboxing known as Muay Thai that has originated from Thailand. It is, in fact, the national sport of Thailand. Despite similarities, there are many differences between Muay Thai and kickboxing that will be highlighted in this article.
What is Muay Thai?
Muay Thai is also referred to as both science and art of eight limbs as it makes extensive use of punches, kicks, elbows, and knee strikes to provide eight striking points to a player. If you recall, there are just two points of contact in boxing (hands) and four points of contact in other martial arts (hands and legs). Every country in Asia has its own style of boxing and Muay Thai is nothing but the national style of boxing in Thailand. It is not an organized sport, but rather a deadly form of combat that allows punching and kicking.
When it comes to the rules, there are some interesting features. As in wrestling where players grapple with each other, in Muay Thai too grappling is allowed as knees and elbows are also used in the art. There is the famous Thai clinch in Muay Thai, which is absent in kickboxing. This is a move that brings the opponent within the reach of knees of a player.
What is Kickboxing?
Kickboxing originated in Japan but was popularized in the western world by Bruce Lee. In comparison to Muay Thai, which is an ancient combat sport, kickboxing is only about half a century old combat sport. Kickboxing is very popular in US, and many competitions are held across the country while people have only watched videos of Muay Thai on YouTube. Though they look similar, it is wrong to think that kickboxing is a watered down version of Muay Thai.
We can also say that Japanese kickboxing is a hybrid contact sport that has developed as late as 1960. If we look in a narrow sense, kickboxing is a separate combat sport that is more or less same as American kickboxing. However, in a wider sense, it includes all other combat sports that allow the use of both hands and legs such as Muay Thai, Indian Boxing, and many other such sports. However, unlike in Muay Thai, in kickboxing, there is no grappling.
Kickboxing also has a different set of rules and movements that set Muay Thai and Kickboxing apart. Even techniques used for striking the opponent are quite different in the two combat sports. In kickboxing, using knees and elbows are not allowed. The use of these points of contacts are considered illegal. Spinning back fists that are made use of heavily in Muay Thai are banned in kickboxing.
What is the difference between Muay Thai and Kickboxing?
• Muay Thai is an ancient combat sport and is the national sport of Thailand.
• Kickboxing is a relatively new sport that originated in Japan in 60s and reached west a decade later where it was popularized by Bruce Lee.
• Number of Contact Points:
• Muay Thai is called the art of eight limbs as eight points of contact are allowed.
• In kickboxing, only four points of contact are allowed.
• Muay Thai is more attacking than kickboxing.
• Self-Defense or Sport:
• Muay Thai is a better self-defense technique.
• Kickboxing is more taught as a sport.
• Using elbows and knees:
• This is allowed in Muay Thai.
• This is banned in Kickboxing.
• Grappling is allowed in Muay Thai.
• Grappling is not allowed in Kickboxing.
• Below Waist Kicks:
• Below waist kicks such as shin kicks are allowed in Muay Thai.
• Below waist kicks are not allowed in Kickboxing.
• Groin attacks are off-limits in both arts.
• Muay Thai is not as famous as kickboxing.
• Kickboxing has become an international combat sport.