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Judo Vs Muay Thai: What's better?

Updated: Aug 6, 2022

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One thing we are always being asked is to compare the effectiveness between two different martial arts, and today we're going to be comparing Judo Vs Muay Thai. In this article we'll compare Judo & 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.

Judo is a martial art which is considered by many as one of the most effective forms of grappling on the planet. Judo is an Olympic sport which has helped many people transition into successful fighting careers such as Ronda Rousey and Vitor Belfort.

Both martial arts offer vast differences and are created to work in different areas with very different techniques, one being a striking martial art and the other being a grappling martial art.

What is Judo?

Judo is a grappling martial art which was created by Japanese martial artist master Jugoro Kano. He created the art in 1880, transforming the skills and knowledge of traditional jiu-jitsu into what became Judo. The overall philosophy of the martial art is to create maximum efficiency with minimum effort.

The main technical focus of Judo is to throw your opponent to the ground and then immobilize them. Judo is centered around manipulating your opponents center of gravity and breaking their balance in order to be able to easily get them to the ground.

Judo also uses submissions, primarily from the ground position, such as the arm bar.

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 Judo & Muay Thai?

There are some very obvious differences between Judo and Muay Thai, the main being the fact that Judo is a grappling martial art and Muay Thai is a striking martial art. Although both do incorporate one of the other, their primary focuses are opposite to each other.

In Judo you need to be able to close the gap between yourself and your opponent quickly as it's a grappling only sport whereas in Muay Thai you can fight your opponent at range using your boxing and kicks.

Muay Thai does incorporate elements of grappling in the clinch however unlike Judo it doesn't allow for ground grappling or submission moves. Both martial arts were created with an emphasis on efficiency, with techniques to deal the most amount of damage possible with minimum effort through proper technique.

We would class Muay Thai as the harder martial art to learn over Judo. This is due to the fact that Muay Thai has many different aspects to learn including kicks, punches, elbows and clinching. Both combat sports are extremely physically demanding and require high levels of physical fitness and dedication to be able to reach a high level.

Is Judo or Muay Thai more effective for self defence?

The age old question of which martial art is the most effective is something that we'll probably never be able to settle, however we're going to try and answer this for Judo Vs Muay Thai.

We would say that Muay Thai is the more effective self defence due to the fact that it does allow you to work from range. If used correctly, you should be able to use Muay Thai's devastating strikes to beat a Judo opponent before they have the opportunity to grab a hold of you.

If your in a street fight situation the fight always starts standing up, which means that you can quickly disable your opponent with strikes using Muay Thai techniques. Street fights are often over quickly which means that you want to be able to deal punishment as quickly and efficiently as possible to ensure your safety.

However, both martial arts are extremely effective and as with any fight, anything can happen when a Judo Vs Muay Thai fight happens.


The question of what will win between Judo Vs Muay Thai is something that people will keep asking themselves, as after all, who doesn't want to know who'd win between the best striking and best grappling martial arts.

The reality is, in each and ever scenario in a fight anything can happen, and between Judo and Muay Thai it completely defends on if the fighter enters close quarters or on the ground.

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