Connect with us


A Quick Guide to Muay Thai and Kick Boxing



Okay, with Lion Fight 13 almost here I thought I would put together a little guide to explain the basic differences between Muay Thai and Kick Boxing. While the two sports are very close there are differences between them. Many people, even in the combat sports world, want to use them interchangeably when describing them and it just adds to the confusion. I am here to provide a little clarity.

This is by no means a definitive guide to the histories of the two sports but just how the average fan can understand the main scoring and fighting differences. Right now in the United States the two premier organizations for each sport on TV are Lion Fight for Muay Thai and Glory WS for Kick Boxing. You can find Lion Fight on AXS TV and their first card of the year is February 7th this Friday night. Glory WS is on Spike TV and their first card goes down Saturday March 8th. This is the basics for them.

Both sports allow punching, kicking, and knees. In Kick Boxing and Glory WS that is about it. You are allowed to clinch but you can only land knees and you essentially must start doing it immediately. Otherwise you will be separated by the referee. You are not allowed to dump opponents to the ground and will be warned and can have points deducted if you continue to do it.

In Muay Thai you can also use elbows and they are actually encouraged. The same for the clinch and again elbows are used quite a bit in the clinch. You can also dump your opponent to the ground, scoring points and causing damage the way the best practitioners do it. In North America you cannot use a 12-6 elbow strike.

In traditional Muay Thai the scoring is slightly different. Elbows, knees and kicks are scored higher than punches, and in that order.  Now trust me, not all fights here have been scored that way. Still, many fighters will throw more elbows, knees and kicks even if the judges do not score them higher, because they do more damage when they land.

A quick note on elbows in Muay Thai. There is an unfortunate myth in combat sports that has been perpetuated by the MMA world. There is a belief that elbows do not do damage but only cause cuts. That was due to the fact that not many people in the MMA world could throw elbows like a Muay Thai fighter. That is changing as strikers in MMA are getting better but they are not on the level of the best Muay Thai fighters. The best example of how effective an elbow can be is Jason Andrada’s KO of Mohammed Lemjerdine at Lion Fight 12.


Tune into Lion Fight 13 on Friday night on AXS TV where you find some of the best Muay Thai action in the world today right on your TV screen live and in HD.

cover image via Muay Thai Authority

An avid lifetime fight fan who loves to write about it. So kick back, get comfortable and let's have some fun! "Wants me to tell him something pretty." Al Sweargen "Going wrong is not the end of fucking things, Johnny. Fuck no! I have comeback from plenty of shit that looked like it was going wrong." Dan Dority "Deserve's got nothin' to do with it." Bill Munny