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Sanda Vs Muay Thai: What's better?

Sanda Vs Muay Thai: What's better?

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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 Sanda Vs Muay Thai. In this article we'll compare Sanda & 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.

Sanda is a full-contact martial art that is seen by many as the sporting version of Kung Fu. It allows for hand strikes, kicks, elbows, and knees as well as trips, throws, and wrestling takedowns.

Both martial arts offer a lot of similarities and differences and in this article we'll discuss those differences in detail, as well as decide which martial art is more effective for self defence.

What is Sanda?

Sanda, also known as Chinese boxing, is a martial art that is based on Kung Fu but also incorporates elements of kickboxing and wrestling. Sanda first started to make an appearance in the 1920's in China when the military needed a new combat system to improve the fighting abilities of its soldiers.

Sanda, which means "free fighting", is a mix of techniques from various Chinese arts like Kung Fu, Lei Tei, Shuai Jiao. For over four decades Sanda would be used in the Military with further developments such as including Boxing and Judo techniques into its combat system.

In the 1960's the Chinese government decided to turn Sanda into a regulated sport. In modern times, Sanda is among the most popular combat sports in the eastern world and countries like Russia, China and Armenia. Although it is not that popular in the west, we can see the sport rising at a steady pace.

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 Sanda & Muay Thai?

There are a lot of similarities between the martial arts of Sanda and Muay Thai, however the main difference between the two is that Sanda incorporates more grappling elements such as Judo whereas Muay Thai is strictly a stand up martial art.

Another major difference is also that Sanda uses ground fighting too, whereas Muay Thai is strictly a stand-up martial art.

Is Sanda or Muay Thai more effective for self defence?

There are many advantages to both martial arts when thinking about which one is more effective for self defence. We would say that Muay Thai is a more effective form of self defence due to the fact that it's a more widespread sport which far better access to teaching principles.

If your someone that is looking as to whether you should take up Sanda or Muay Thai for your self defence then you'll likely be able to find many more Muay Thai schools which much higher quality teachers. Martial arts become far more effective in a street fight when you are taught them correctly.


The question of what will win between Sanda Vs Muay Thai is something that people will keep asking themselves, but from our experience we believe Muay Thai would win.

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