For some people most Muay thai fights might look similar, two people that are kicking and punching each other until the round bell rings or one of them goes down. But a sport that has been around since ancient times and is practiced during a fighters full lifetime have been enriched by its practitioner to be more than just simple kicking and punching. As with all other sports there are different tactics, strategies and plans on how to win a fight. Muay thai is today so refined as a martial art that it comes to a point when it is no longer a question of what fighter has the better physic or who has trained the hardest. When two dedicated fighters meet, they will both be physically prepared to endure 5 rounds with no problem, what determines the outcome will be other aspects of the game. Aspects such as who is best on what they are doing, and there are many ways of doing Muay thai on. Meechai explains some of the general “fighting styles” that can be talked about in Muay thai.
The Muay khao style of fighting
Khao means knee in thai language and a boxer that fights Muay khao is fighting aggressively, moving forward and puts pressure on his opponent through the fight. A Muay khao likes to close the distance to his opponent and fight with his knees as main weapon. As an example of a fighter that masters the Muay khao style Meechai shows me Samransak, one of the strongest Muay khao fighter ever been, according to Meechai.
In this video Samransak (blue) is fighting Chamukpet (red) Samransak vs Chamukpet
The Muay mat style of fighting
A Muay mat is an aggressive fighter with an allround use of techniques but that favors punches and knees while moving forward. Less clinch-seeking than the Muay khao but still as aggressive. Meechai shows me Lakhin (in blue) a real powerful striker that in this video takes on Samson, which is a legendary Muay khao fighter. A good example of a Muay mat (Lakhin) vs a Muay khao fighter (Samson). Make sure to wathc part 2 as well, thats when the real war takes on.
—-> Lakhin vs Samson
The Femeu style of fighting
A Muay femeu is a technical and more defensive than aggressive boxer, one that is light on the feet, avoids getting hit, and throws quick counterattacks. A femeu prefers to fight on a longer distance enabling him to use kicks, tieps and the jab as main weapons. The first fighter that comes to Meechai’s mind is the legendary Samart Payakaroon, famous for his technical and smart fighting style, exemplifying the femeu style.
In this fight Samart (in red) takes on Samransak, a good example of a Femeu vs Muay khao/Muay mat, —> Samart vs Samransak
The Muay tiep style of fighting
Even though the tiep is one of the favorite weapons for a Femeu the technique has given name to its own style, “Muay tiep”, which is a femeu fighter that really likes to throws the tiep a lot. Meechai shows me this video of Silapathai (in blue), which style reminds me of Samart, in this fight he faces Lakhin and you can see Lakhins frustration over the constant tieping, another good example of a Femeu vs a Muay khao/mat fighter. I lost count after fifty tieps, have a look yourself..
Other styles that you might have heard about is Muay sok (sok = elbow) a technical fighter that likes to throw the elbow a lot. Muay bouk, a constant forward moving fighter and Muay Pbhlam, a fighter that’s strong in the clinch. The more you learn about Muay thai the more you realize that it is far from just simply, kicking and punching the most or the hardest, to win the fight. While the genetics of a fighter much determines his capability for what style of fighting he will master the best, it is important to take all style’s into consideration and realize that there is more than one way to beat an opponent, and that without adaption you will not get far.
Share, comment, and spread Muay thai!