What is the Difference Between Muay Thai and Kickboxing?

Muay Thai Kick boxing at Bayside.JPG

When it comes to the martial arts sports Kickboxing and Muay Thai, many people can be confused about what makes them different. While there are some similarities, they have a few distinct differences. 

Muay Thai

Muay Thai is a very calculated sport. It generally has five rounds and focuses on well-placed, aggressive blows made with a combination of punches and kicks. The sport is close-contact, and the goal is to do damage to the opponent’s thighs and/or calves making it difficult for them to navigate and thereby disabling them. It places a strong emphasis on timing and also allows fighters to use elbows, clinch (upper body grappling), and leg trapping.

Muay Thai also has a strong ritualistic approach to it, with its roots founded in Thailand, (which is known for its Buddhism), and tradition is often seen in the sport. 


Kickboxing is any sport that combines kicks with the use of hands a full-contact setting. Many of the techniques that are used in kickboxing are the same fundamentals that are applied in boxing. It is typically done in three rounds and requires a combination of footwork, strikes and head movement. The sport involves a lot of action in general. Kickboxing is often used in reference to any full-contact sport.

How They are the Same

The similarities of kickboxing and Muay Thai are that both are highly skilled rigorous sports that train fighters to use footwork and other techniques to evade blows from opponents while attempting to land them themselves. The way that this is carried out varies according to which sport it is, while the goals of each are relatively the same since both are fine striking martial arts sports.