About Muay Thai
Muay Thai is the National Sport of Thailand and is part of its cultural heritage where it has strong Buddhist links.
Originally this warrior art saw the use of weapons as well as empty handed self defense on battlefields The art is known to be as much 3000 years old. In the early days fights were decided on when first blood was drawn and sometimes went on to the death. The fighters wore cotton cloth wrapped around their hands which was dipped in glue and rolled in sand and broken glass.
A big transformation took place in the 1930s when boxing gloves were introduced and the fights began to be fought over rounds with rests between. A system of weight categories was introduced with fists, feet, knees and elbows permitted Thai boxing is now hugely popular in Thailand with daily fights in the main stadiums in Bangkok and on TV.
In the UK it is highly popular with competitions every weekend all over the country. A number of British Fighters are competing all over the world at the highest level including several fighters from Bad Company.
Take a look at our links page for other sites with further information about Muay Thai.
Rules and Scoring
Full Muay Thai Rules allow fighters to punch to the head and body and to kick to the inside and outside of the legs, as well as to the body. Fighters can also use the knee and elbow to the head and body. In the West, most bouts are sanctioned under modified Thai boxing rules, where elbows to the head are not permitted, but Full Thai Rules fights are much more common in the UK nowadays as the level in the country continues to progress. Fighters competing under Thai boxing rules wear-shorts, boxing gloves, gum shield and groin guard.
Professional Muay Thai is over 5 Rounds of 3 Minutes Duration with a 2 Minute Break between rounds. The winner of the round will be given 10, the loser 9. A point will be taken off if a fighter suffers an 8 count.
MuayThai is different to kickboxing and international (western) boxing. It is effect of techniques and not the volume of techniques that are important in determining the winner of a fight. A number of techniques are considered by judges to be more effective than others; unbalancing an opponent and following up with a strong technique, knocking down or throwing an opponent onto the floor, hitting with clean hard kicks or knees to the body. In professional fights, the fights are judged as a whole and it is important that a boxer finishes strongly; the later rounds (3, 4 and 5) are the most important. In amateur fights each round is scored equally but judges are still looking for the dominant and most effective fighter. If you have to judge a fight yourself you need to be very familiar with the rules of MuayThai, have an understanding what good MuayThai techniques look like, look objectively at what happens in the fight and not be influenced by the crowd.
It is possible for one competitor to use one type of technique exclusively and win if the use of that technique results in that competitor delivering more, effective techniques than their opponent. For example one competitor may win by only kneeing their opponent.
There are a number of techniques that judges in Thailand consider to be the best scoring techniques. These are the primary techniques that win fights, they include:
- Knocking an opponent to the floor with a concussive blow (if the referee gives an eight count, two points are initially be deducted from the counted boxer’s score card, if the boxer fights back strongly or has previously dominated the round, a one point difference may be awarded)
- Unbalancing an opponent with kick or throwing action and immediately following with a strong striking technique
- Knocking an opponent off their feet with a strike or
- kick Throwing an opponent to the canvas using a legal throw
An attacking technique or combination that results in an opponent turning their back on the attacking boxer.
Although judges are looking for overall effectiveness and dominance, the successful delivery of any of these techniques, without a similar or equivalent response from an opponent, would result in a fighter winning that round. Maintaining physical and mental composure is the essential for a fighter if they are to win a fight. This is the reason fighters in Thailand place such emphasis on stance, footwork and balance.
Judges are looking to award the fight to the strongest fighter. They are looking for evidence of the effect of techniques, mental strength, physical condition and technical ability. If a fighter is forced by his opponent to show weakness, or any evidence of not wanting to fight, the judges will award the fight to their opponent.