Anyone who has been to Thailand may recognize the use of the phrase, “Same same… but different!” But, this phrase does not entirely apply to Muay Thai and Kickboxing, because there are many differences and the sports should never be considered the same.
We have touched on this topic once before, but as it is still a confusing subject, we thought we would treat our readers to another round of information!
What’s The Difference Between Muay Thai And Kickboxing?
A lot of the people who have heard of Muay Thai in Brisbane mistakenly believe that just because kickboxing has been around longer, Muay Thai is the same thing only with a fancier title. Sure, both sports have some similarities when it comes to fighting skills and techniques, but they are far from the same. This post aims to acknowledge what makes each of them incredibly useful in their own way, rather than merely describing Muay Thai as “Kickboxing using knees and elbows.” Whether you are training in Muay Thai in Logan or you are interested in learning about kickboxing, you should take it upon yourself to understand what makes each sport unique.
When you are practising muay thai, you can use elbows, leg trapping, and upper body grappling (clinching), which is no allowed for kickboxing.
Kickboxing refers to full-contact fighting using kicking and punching. It is not a specific martial arts style, and kickboxers come from various backgrounds, such as boxing, taekwondo, karate, etc. In a kickboxing match, there are often two different martial arts skill-sets competing against each other. Sometimes that will include a Thai boxer (Muay Thai fighter) competing against another martial artist under the limitations of kickboxing rules.
If you have ever been a spectator of Muay Thai in Logan or Brisbane, you may have noticed the “Round Music” or “Sarama” music which is played during a fight. This is usually just played using an audio file in Australian Muay Thai bouts, but in Thailand, it is most often played by live musicians who can influence the tempo of the fight by playing with more intensity.
There are five rounds in a traditional Muay Thai bout, whereas in K1 rules (today’s most popular form of kickboxing) the fight is usually finished in three rounds. Since kickboxing has fewer rounds to complete, fighters are very active and energized right from the start, whereas in Muay Thai, they ease into it and use the first and second rounds to feel out their opponent, and sometimes to establish betting odds… but that’s a whole other story!
Kickboxing is has a strong boxing influence where you actively use your hands and kicks in combinations, incorporating different angles and movements. Muay Thai, on the other hand, relies on the precise timing of hits, before going in for the kill with rapid and powerful attacks.
There is also a lot of spirituality involved when it comes to Muay Thai. It is the national sport of Thailand with deep Buddhist roots. Muay Thai incorporates many practices and traditions of the country’s culture. For example, you might have seen fighters wear a headpiece. This is called a “Mongkon,” which is supposed to bring luck and protection to the person wearing it. Some fighters also start with a ceremonial dance, or a “Ram Muay” to pay homage to their trainers, teachers and family. Both Muay Thai fighters and kickboxers wear “Muay Thai Shorts,” but kickboxers sometimes wear long pants, Karate Gi pants, and MMA shorts.
Muay Thai was inspired by Muay Boran, which is traditionally an unarmed form of combat used in war by the Siamese soldiers of Thailand. This was then developed around the 1930s as a ring sport with the introduction of modern fighting equipment (a boxing ring), and a change of rules to enhance safety for all athletes.
Kickboxing is a Japanese hybrid martial art that allows the use of kicking and punching, and also some knees. It is adapted from other fighting techniques, such as Muay Thai, Karate, and Western Boxing. The sport originated in Japan during the late 1950s.
The Kickboxing rule set encourages 2 fighters to stand in front of each other and continuously throw punches and kicks, as some promoters believed that was a more entertaining style. Since Muay Thai incorporates the use of the Thai clinch, there are often long periods of time where two Thai boxers are too close to each other to punch or kick. This is where Muay Thai fighters make use of knees and elbows and sweeps.
Muay thai and kickboxing classes in Brisbane are now appealing for people looking to learn self-defense and physical fitness. For people looking to burn a lot of calories to stay fit, both kickboxing and muay thai are ideal because they require a lot of movement and explosive strikes.
It is easy to believe that Muay Thai and kickboxing are the same, mainly because they do look the same to an average onlooker since the latter was inspired by the former. The general style of kickboxing has elements of both boxing and karate, but in Australia, the sport introduced more powerful Muay Thai kicks. Therefore, many people believe that there is no difference between the two martial arts.
In Brisbane, kickboxing is also commonly referred to as “Mod-Thai,” which is short for “Modified Thai Rules.” This means that kickboxing is essentially a Muay Thai fight with different rules so that elbows, and sometimes knees to the head, are no longer allowed to be thrown. This makes it similar to the American version of kickboxing but allowing the use of the clinch.
Regarding rules, there is no clear definition for kickboxing, but for a full Thai rule (Muay Thai as it was meant to be practised) you can almost guarantee the rules will be the same no matter which promoter or show is hosting them, especially in Thailand. Neither sport is “better” or “worse” than the other, it is completely a matter of preference.