At we bring you news on the sport, offer you a chance to buy your favorite MMA products in our store and provide training tips and programs from the elite athletes competing in the sport today. As a new feature we are producing a set of “101” overview reports on the disciplines that make up mixed martial arts. We hope you enjoy them and find it useful for the beginner piecing together all that goes into these amazing athletes that compete in professional mixed martial arts.

Muay Thai

Image courtesy of Also known as Thai Boxing and The Art of the Eight Limbs, is Thailand’s national sport and involves striking your opponent with hands, shins, elbows and knees. The use of knees and elbows as well as being permitted to strike an opponent’s lower body is what distinguishes Muay Thai from Kickboxing. A Muay Thai clinch is often used to engage an opponent to deliver knees and elbows. Given the many different striking techniques with Muay Thai, a fighter proficient in Muay Thai is often better prepared than his boxing or kickboxing counterpart in the MMA ring. Popular Muay Thai fighters include Anderson Silva and’s Jeff Harrison


Different forms of kickboxing have long been practiced throughout Southeast Asia. The Thai culture is highly influenced by ancient civilizations within Southeast Asia. Muay Thai’s origin in Thailand can be traced back to its ancestor Muay Boran (“ancient boxing”), an unarmed combat used by Siamese soldiers in conjunction with Krabi Krabong, the weapon-based style. Over the years Muay Thai fighting has evolved into a sport that is practiced continuously by professional fighters, but also used by recreational users in gyms all over the world.

Image of a low kick, courtesy of



Muay Thai actually began as an arsenal of nine weapons – the head, fists, elbows, knees and feet – known collectively as na-wa arwud. However in modern Muay Thai, both amateur and professional, headbutting an opponent is no longer allowed.

To strike and hold your opponent for both offensive and defensive purposes, some amounts of stand-up grappling is used, which is called the clinch. You will often hear this referenced as to the Muay Thai clinch. Formal Muay Thai techniques are divided into two groups: Mae Mai (or major techniques) and Luk Mai (or minor techniques.)

Muay Thai is often a fighting art of attrition, where opponents exchange blows with one another over a long period of time. This is certainly the case with traditional stylists in Thailand, but is a less popular form of fighting in the contemporary world of fighting. With the success of Muay Thai in mixed martial arts, it often becomes the martial art of choice for competitive stand-up fighters. As a result, it has evolved and incorporated much more powerful hand striking techniques used in western style boxing and the Thai style of exchanging blow for blow is no longer favorable. Usually when a Muay Thai fighter competes against fighters of other styles, they almost invariably emphasize elbow (sok) and knee (kao) techniques to gain a distinct advantage in fighting. Almost all techniques in Muay Thai use the entire body movement, rotating the hip with each kick, punch, and block. The rotation of the hips in Muay Thai techniques, and intensive focus on “core muscles” (such as abdominal muscles and surrounding muscles) is very distinctive and is what sets Muay Thai apart from other styles of martial arts.

To Learn More

To learn more about Muay Thai training please visit our Gym Directory for the closet Muay Thai gym to your area.