Next time you watch a Muay Thai fight, don’t worry so much about who your favourite fighter might be, who you want to win or even who might be winning round by round, focus a little more on watching and recognising the fighters specific styles. It’s fun to do and will also greatly help you in understanding the sport, the scoring system and may even help you find your own personal fighting style!
Watch very closely, look for repetitive patterns, the fighters choice of weapons etc. And then suddenly it appears obvious: One fighter may be punching a lot, the other kicking. Or both are almost permanently locked up in the clinch or extensively throwing knees.
Whilst there is only one sport of Muay Thai, there are of course many styles of fighting, many different types of fighters and the importance of styles has become a major factor when matching up world-class bouts, especially between Thais on the pro circuit.
Welcome to the real art of Muay Thai, not just the art of 8 weapons but also the art of many styles!
In this blog we would like to share our experience from years of training different fighters at our gym on Koh Samui, also from matchmaking many exciting bouts and from generally promoting Muay Thai. We would also like to give you a little deeper insight into the 7 major styles of Muay Thai fighting.
So here we go…
Muay Femur - the tricky stylist.
Muay Femur could also be best described as stylish, tricky, intelligent, technically brilliant and beautiful to watch. It is possibly best displayed by the world famous and very popular Thai fighter Saenchai, who favors using his technical superiority, precision, balance and good movement over power and slugging in competition. His understanding of the fight as it develops and his opponents style is possibly his greatest strength in the ring. In the world of Muay Thai, this quality is better known as “fight IQ”. Muay Femur fighters pride themselves on their high level of fight IQ and their superior technical expertise.
Another good example of this style is the fighter Sam A, who, like Saenchai, is one of the worlds outstanding Muay Femur fighters. Rarely involved in brutal exchanges, Sam A fights very smart, picks his shots precisely and carefully, he avoids unnecessary damage and is widely recognised for displaying very high fight IQ throughout his long and successful career.
Muay Khao - the knee machine.
Muay Khao fighters focus strongly on using their knees to score and damage alike. They tend to march forward unrelentlessly and strike both left and right knees with great power. Once in range, the knees fly! Whether in the clinch or not, inside or outside, straight, cross or flying, their knees repeatedly score and often lead to devastating knockouts. Historically, the most famous and renowned Muay Khao fighter was undoubtedly the legendary Diesel Noi, who mastered this tough style and was undefeated for many years.
Muay Mud - the puncher.
A highly successful style for many strong, young fighters but one that also takes its toll on a fighters strength and conditioning – the punching style.
Muay Mud fighters are well known for possessing great knockout power in their fists and for their very aggressive attitude, especially in the early rounds of a fight. They come out from the first bell with all guns firing and generally look for an early KO. Spectacular if they get it, a true battle if the fight goes the distance!
Over the years many young Muay Mud have made a name for themselves with this style, more recently Rodtang Jitmuangnon has become internationally popular for his aggressive Muay Mud style.
Muay Tae - the kicker.
A Muay Tae is a fighter who heavily favors the use of kicks. The Muaythai roundhouse kick is a favourite and one of the most powerful of the 8 Muay Thai weapons. Muay Tae fighters fire kicks constantly and from all angles and levels, predominantly from their strongest side and consistently with full power.
Their kicking technique is classic and has been perfected through years of gruelling training on the pads and on the heavy bag. A Muay Tae fighter also cleverly uses the kick to control distance and to set up other weapons, often leading to spectacular knockouts.
Strong Muay Thai roundhouse kicks are feared worldwide and are said to be amongst the hardest kicks in martial arts. Famous Muay Tae fighters included Singdam and Yodsanklai Fairtex, who both used their relentless kicking styles to wear down their opponents and ultimately break their defence before going for the knockout.
Muay Sok - the elbow warrior.
Muay Sok is possibly the most devastating and certainly the bloodiest of the seven styles highlighted here. Muay Sok fighters love to get in elbow range and viciously let loose on their opponents, causing major cuts, spectacular stoppages and often huge knockouts. Often counter fighters, Muay Sok fighters wait for opportunities to come knocking, then attack with extreme precision and devastating power. A well placed elbow or two can end a close fight in seconds, and often has! This style is not found too often but if your opponent happens to be Muay Sok, then watch out!
Muay Plam - the clincher.
These fighters love to clinch. Clinch, clinch and more clinch! Knees, throws and sweeps tend to follow, often in combination with elbow control and elbow exchanges. Not for the weak, but definitely an essential part of the game. Weeks and weeks of clinch training alone go into the Muay Plams fight preparation and training, hours upon hours of strength training too. And when the fight happens, they go in for the clinch – again.
Muay Farang - foreigner style.
Over the years, another style of Muay Thai fighting has appeared, we like to call it Muay Falang, or “foreigner style” if you will.
Best described as a mix of original Thai style Muay Thai and influences added from the west. These influences may include good boxing or kickboxing skills, a stable guard without Thai style switches in footwork, physical attributes, (like strength & conditioning, nutrition etc.) or other martial arts experiences added to the fighters Muay Thai arsenal over time.
With the international growth of Muay Thai, many foreigners also come from other martial arts backgrounds and have adapted their style of Muay Thai fighting to include such elements – the best of both worlds so to speak!
Find your own path, find the right style.
We are all different, and everyone who learns the beautiful art of Muay Thai can ultimately follow their own dreams. With so many styles to choose from, enjoy your journey and choose your weapons accordingly.
We at Punch it Gym Koh Samui are always here to help and guide you!