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ITF Taekwondo Vs Muay Thai: What's Better?

One thing we often get asked is to compare the effectiveness between different martial arts. In this article, we are going to compare ITF Taekwondo & Muay Thai, and decide which one is more effective. The answer to this question isn't going to be easy to find, but we'll delve into all areas of the different sports to find the answer!


Muay Thai is a martial art which has always been looked at as one of the deadliest striking art forms on the planet. It's a martial art which allows the use of all limbs and focuses on powerful strikes and perfected techniques with an element of grappling, that is called clinching.


Both martial arts offer various different advantages and allow fighters to work in different ranges with different techniques.


What is ITF Taekwondo?


ITF Taekwondo is a Korean martial arts which is focused around self defence. The modern form of Taekwondo was established in 1955, however the martial art stretches back over 2,000 years.


Taekwondo focuses on hand and foot techniques centered around kicking, punching or striking, and blocking.


What is Muay Thai?


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.


What are the differences between ITF Taekwondo & Muay Thai?


There are several differences between ITF Taekwondo and Muay Thai, these include the way the fighters stand, the range of strikes available and the fact that Muay Thai offers the ability for fighters to clinch, which is a form of grappling.


In Taekwondo, the focus is to use a wide range of kciking techniques and fast combos that are hard to predict. In Muay Thai fighters have a more diverse striking arsenal that includes kicks, punches, knees & elbows. In Muay Thai fighters focus on more basic strikes with the intentions of landing powerful, quality strikes whereas in Taekwondo fighters will look to land flashier strikes in quantity.


Punching is used very little in Taekwondo whereas in Muay Thai, many fighters have found huge success using strong boxing to compliment their kicks. In Taekwondo fighters will solely focus on kicking techniques. Leg kicks are also not allowed in Taekwondo whereas in Muay Thai they are one of the main weapons.


Muay Thai also has the clinch and the use of sweeps and trips, which are not allowed in Taekwondo.


Is ITF Taekwondo or Muay Thai more effective for self defence?


If your looking to learn a martial art for self defence then we recommend learning Muay Thai over ITF Taekwondo. Muay Thai teaches simple but massively effective strikes which is extremely useful in a situation where you have to defend yourself.


Muay Thai also teaches a wider range of strikes and maneuvers which is useful in a self defence situation.


Frequently asked questions


Are Muay Thai fighters fit?


Muay Thai fighters are extremely fit. Muay Thai is a high intensity sport which will boost your cardiovascular system. Muay Thai fighters will also run often to help ensure that they are boosting their fitness to improve their performance when they fight.


Will Muay Thai make me bulky?


Muay Thai is a very competitive sport, its training makes it one of the most intense and engaging workouts there is. Muay Thai combines strength and conditioning as well as cardiovascular endurance in their training, which makes it a great workout to remove excess fat and gain leaner muscle mass.


A person would typically burn 1000 calories in a training session, which would typically last for an hour or two. This means that Muay Thai should not make you bulky, but should help to loose weight and gain lean muscle.


Can you learn Muay Thai in 6 months?


The speed that you'll be able to progress your Muay Thai skills does depend on the commitment that you show to the sport. If you are consistently missing classes, not listening to your trainers and only being half committed to your training then you'll likely progress slowly and never really get good at Muay Thai.


Within 6-months of training you should have built a good foundation of skills however you will still be extremely early in your Muay Thai journey.


Is flexibility important for Muay Thai?


Flexibility is a major part of Muay Thai, improved flexibility will help you to kick quicker and more powerful. It'll also benefit you when your throwing head kicks.


Why not try Yoga to help increase your flexibility?


How much weight should I cut during fight week?


During your fight week weight cut, you shouldn't look to cut anymore than 10% of your body weight. To ensure your safety when cutting weight, we recommend not cutting anymore than 8% during fight week.


Ensure that you train hard and watch your diet during your fight camp to ensure that you don't leave too much weight to cut during fight week.


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