What is Muay Thai?
Muay Thai, known as the science of eight limbs, uses almost the entire body as a weapon. Trained to use their fists like western boxers, Thai boxers also rely on their bone crushing kicks and techniques that are trademark of Muay Thai. The combination of knee and elbow makes the sport deadly dangerous.
What is MMA?
Mixed martial arts is one of the fastest growing full-contact sport in the world today. MMA fighter is allowed to use striking as well as grappling techniques both on and off the ground.
When it comes to modern Muay Thai and MMA, the main difference is that Muay Thai lacks grappling, submissions and striking on the ground, however you are free to use them from the standing position. In old days when gloves were not used in Muay Thai, fighters used to fight bare-handed. In those days grappling moves on the ground was also allowed.
A modern MMA fighter trains not only on Muay Thai but also in other forms of combat sports like wrestling, boxing and Jui Jitsu. Having trained in different striking arts makes a fighter an all-round fighter who can adapt in different situations and against different styles of fighters.
MMA and Muay stance is completely different. This is because their needs and requirement vary. Unlike MMA, Thai fighter don’t have to worry about a take down and their only concern is stream of kick, elbows, knees, and punches. So for this they have to do adjustments. Stance also depend on the style of an athlete chooses against his opponent. But generally speaking, Muay Thai fighter stands much straighter than MMA fighter.
There is a visible difference between the gloves used by MMA and Muay Thai fighter. In MMA, open-fingered gloves are used, which allows fighters to make grappling and submission moves on their opponents. On the other hand, Muay Thai gloves are similar to boxing gloves with much more padding up front to protect from deadly kicks and punches.
Another major difference in both sports is the Range. Muay fighter would always stand and exchange blows with his opponent. You won’t see a Thai fighter back away rather he will stay and trade punches, elbows, knees and kicks and press forward. Whereas, MMA fighter always jumps in and out depending on the situation. They look to attach and also defend at the same time to avoid damage. They are also looking for a take down/clinch.
There is very little foot movement in Muay Thai as fighters are not looking to defend themselves. They will rather stand on their ground and attack. However, if you are MMA fighter and stand still then you will have a short career. Therefore, you will see a lot of running around and defensive movements during MMA fights.
The Main Weaponry
The kick is the fundamental weapon of a Muay Thai fighter. Like a jab in boxing, kick is considered as the long range weapon in the sport. The kicks power comes from torque generated from rotation of the kick. The longer the legs and quicker the rotation, the faster the kick and unlike MMA, Muay Thai fighters are also taught to hit the hard bone of the shin. The Muay Thai kick generated roughly the same amount of kick as that of a baseball bat.
There is not one single attack which you can call the main weapon in mixed martial arts, as you can take down your opponent in a number of ways. You can knockout with a single punch, use kicks to deadly effect or simply tap out using a number of submission moves available.
Both Muay Thai and MMA have their own significance, but recently MMA has gained much more popularity with money coming in to the sport and some fighters even earning millions from a single fight.