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Is Muay Thai a martial art?

Is Muay Thai a martial art?

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Muay Thai, also known as the “Art of Eight Limbs”, is a traditional Martial Art that originated in Thailand all the way back in the 18th century. A lot of people generally refer to it as Thai Boxing.

Muay Thai is referred to as the “Art of Eight Limbs” or the “Science of Eight Limbs”, because it makes use of punches, kicks, elbows and knee strikes, thus using eight “points of contact”. This is of course opposed to “two points” (fists) in boxing and “four points” (hands and feet) used in other more regulated combat sports, such as kickboxing. A practitioner of Muay Thai is known as a nak muay.

Now, Muay Thai is a stand-up striking sport where two competitors throw punches, elbows, kicks and knees at each other. A key difference between Muay Thai and many other stand-up combat sports is its emphasis on traditional elements such as the pre-fight dance ritual known as Wai Kru Ram Muay, the head dress (Mongkon) and the Sarama music that accompanies each fight.

What is a martial art?

A martial art is any form of fighting sport or skill-set, such as Judo, Boxing, Karate and many more. There are more than 170 martial arts that have been originated from all over the world.

Martial arts are split into several different types, the primary being armed and unarmed but also grappling and striking. Some martial arts use all elements whereas others stick to one aspect. Muay Thai for example is an unarmed striking only martial art.

Martial arts were generally originally created for military application however over the years they have played a larger role in everyday people's lives, as a means to learn self defence or to just improve health and fitness. Martial arts have also become some of the most popular sports on the planet.

Is Muay Thai a complete martial art?

A complete martial art is a martial art that encompasses all of the combat systems, including armed, unarmed, striking and grappling. A complete system would blend striking with jointlocks, takedowns and throws so well that for an outsider observing it, you never switch from one to another.

Muay Thai is not a complete martial art. This is due to the fact that it is an unarmed martial art, and does not include any form of weapons. It is primary a striking martial art and it does include some forms of grappling, although does not include takedowns or submissions.


Muay Thai is a martial art, it is in-fact one of the most deadliest martial arts and one that continues to grow in popularity.

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