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Striking Differences: Exploring the Contrasts between Muay Thai and Kickboxing Rules and Regulation

Muay Thai and kickboxing are two popular combat sports that involve striking your opponent inside a boxing ring. While both sports share some similarities in terms of techniques used, they also have significant differences in their rules and regulations. In this article, we'll explore some of the key differences between Muay Thai rules and kickboxing.


KickBoxing V Muay Thai Hybrid rules, (kickboxing rules but with low kick permitted) from 1988. This was the first time The power of Muay Thai had been seen on the world stage.


Muay Thai Rules and Regulations

Muay Thai, also known as the "Art of Eight Limbs," originated in Thailand and has a rich cultural history. It is a full-contact sport that allows the use of punches, kicks, knees, and elbows. Unlike kickboxing, clinching is also allowed, which is the act of holding your opponent to deliver strikes, knees, and throws.

In Muay Thai, fighters wear gloves and the rules vary depending on the competition level. A typical Muay Thai fight consists of five three-minute rounds with a two-minute rest period in between. A fighter can win by knockout, technical knockout, or decision.

One unique aspect of Muay Thai is the use of the Muay Thai clinch. Fighters can grab their opponent's neck or arms and use their knees or elbows to deliver devastating strikes. Fighters can also use sweeps to knock their opponent off balance and score points. Pushing and catching kicks are also permitted. Muay Thai rules permit targeting the back of the body and the legs.





Kickboxing Rules and Regulations

Kickboxing is a full-contact sport that allows the use of punches and kicks, but does not permit knees or elbows. Unlike Muay Thai, clinching, pushing and catching kicks are not allowed in kickboxing. Fighters wear gloves, shin guards, and mouthguards, and the rules vary depending on the competition level.



A typical kickboxing fight consists of three three-minute rounds with a one-minute rest period in between. A fighter can win by knockout, technical knockout, or decision. Points are awarded for strikes, with more points given for knockdowns.


In kickboxing, fighters focus on using a combination of punches and kicks to score points and knockout their opponent. Since clinching is not allowed, fighters must rely on their footwork and distance management to avoid their opponent's strikes.


Key Differences

The most significant difference between Muay Thai and kickboxing is the use of knees and elbows. In Muay Thai, fighters can use their knees and elbows to strike their opponent, while in kickboxing, only punches and kicks are allowed. This makes Muay Thai a more versatile and dynamic sport, as fighters can use a wider variety of strikes to score points and finish fights.


Another key difference between Muay Thai and kickboxing is the use of clinching. In Muay Thai, fighters can use the clinch to control their opponent and deliver strikes with their knees and elbows. Clinching is not allowed in kickboxing, which means fighters must rely on their striking and footwork to score points and win fights.


The scoring system in Muay Thai also differs from kickboxing. In Muay Thai, fighters are awarded points for over all dominance and the effect of their strikes. In kickboxing, fighters are awarded points for strikes and knockdowns only.

Muay Thai fighters wear gloves and shorts whereas Kickboxers wear gloves, long trousers, foot gloves and shin pads.


Targeting, Kickboxers can only strike the front of the body and head above the waist but Muay Thai fighters can target the whole body and the back of the body. Leg kicks in Muay Thai play a big part of the strategy but are not allowed in kickboxing.


Finally, the round length and rest periods also differ between the two sports. Muay Thai fights consist of five three-minute rounds with a two-minute rest period in between, while kickboxing fights consist of three three-minute rounds with a one-minute rest period in between. This means that Muay Thai fighters must have better cardio and endurance, as they fight for a longer period and have shorter rest periods.


While Muay Thai and kickboxing share some similarities in terms of techniques used, they have significant differences in their rules and regulations. Muay Thai allows the use of knees, elbows, pushing, catching, leg kicks and clinching, while kickboxing only allows punches and kicks. Understanding these differences can help spectators appreciate each sport's unique features and technical skills


.For more of our blogs on Muay Thai rules and Regs go to:

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