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Does Muay Thai Work in a Real Fight?

Last Updated: 16.05.22


Muay Thai is a great sport to help you get in shape, eliminate stress as well as take part in an active hobby. If you are new to this sport, you can take a look at our other article if you want to get the right Muay Thai shin guards and any other gear that you might need.

Even if the current landscape puts more of an emphasis on sportive training, Muay Thai is a very old martial art that has practical applications for self-defense.

We have prepared an informative article to give you a better understanding of this subject and by reading it you can learn more about how effective Muay Thai can be in a real fight together with some tactics and self-defense tips for you to use.


Why is Muay Thai effective in a real fight?

One question that many people ask before beginning to train in a martial art is if that particular sport has real-life application when it comes to self-defense. In the case of Muay Thai, it cannot be denied that this art is one of the most effective, particularly since the main philosophy of Thai boxing is to prepare the practitioner for a real, full power fight.

Thus, the final goal of any coach training you in Muay Thai is to get you ready for the ring, and if you are doing well enough to fight in the ring, you’ll be ready to face someone in the street. There is also the fact that there are many hand-to-hand combat systems, such as Krav Maga, that include Muay Thai fighting techniques.

The one thing that makes Muay Thai stand out from the rest of the martial arts that one can learn is the emphasis on knee and elbow strikes. These two techniques can be very devastating which is why many traditional full contact kickboxing organizations prefer to bar them entirely.

Since knee and elbow strikes are so powerful, if you master them properly, they can be very effective in a real fight. Furthermore, in Thai boxing, the two combatants spend much of the time fighting it out in the clinch, and clinch fighting translates very well to self-defense since most of the real fights you are likely to encounter will occur in close range.



There is also the fact that Muay Thai’s approach to close-quarter fighting is very sophisticated and anyone who develops good clinch skills will find it very easy to use them in self-defense scenarios.

Unlike other martial arts, Thai boxing focuses primarily on strikes that employ foot sweeps and throws. While in the ring these techniques can help you get points and win a round, in a real fight you can use them to take the other person to the ground. Even if you don’t want to fight your attacker, they could still give you enough time to get to safety.

Apart from the useful techniques that only Muay Thai can teach you, you also get the benefits that come with practicing almost any sport. It is a very well-known fact that effective sports training can carry over into self-defense for a couple of reasons.

Training in any sport will make you understand yourself better and have more confidence in your own strength, which is a very important thing to have in a real fight. You’ll also be able to understand better when it is best to de-escalate a conflict so as to avoid fighting altogether.

There is also the fact that Muay Thai is a very intense sport that will get you in good physical health in no time, improve your posture, and make you stronger. If you are a dedicated student, you won’t even have to worry about fights since thugs might no longer feel confident after taking a quick look at you.


Techniques and moves that work in a real fight

The one thing that you should try to avoid in a real fight is ending up on the ground since that makes you a very easy target for the other people that might be around you. You can never know how many people will get involved in a fight and they could begin to attack you at any point.

It’s better to use stand-up strikes in a street fight since stand-up fighting techniques work much better at controlling a situation, not to mention that they should allow you to move around more freely. You can use any stand-up techniques that you want, but you should avoid using head-kicks unless you are really confident in your skills.

Head-kicks can throw you off balance very easily, especially when they are blocked. You should focus on kicks since they are simple but very powerful at the same time since they can be used to throw the attacker to the ground, where he or she will be most vulnerable.

In close-quarter fighting, you can use elbows and knees, but remember to use straightforward techniques, since there’s no need for the complicated strikes you’ve learned in class since in a real fight any mistake can cost you dearly.

Since Muay Thai is a very versatile sport, you will have many techniques and moves that you can use at both short and long range. Push kicks can be used to keep an aggressor away, while knee and elbow strikes can keep the opponent in a tight clinch and help you control the situation better.

Elbow strikes can also help you keep your face protected as well as deliver powerful blows to your opponent’s head. This way, while you’ll be protecting your face with your elbows, the aggressor will most likely end up hurting his or her knuckles trying to punch you since the elbow is more than equipped to handle powerful blows.



Muay Thai self-defense tips

You need to be aware that a real fight will be very unpredictable, so if you want to get out of it unharmed, there are a few tips that you should keep in mind. First, the stance is very important, particularly the hand placement which can help you defend against strikes and win a fight.

While in Muay Thai the arms and hands need to be relaxed to produce smoother and quicker strikes, in a real fight explosive hand strikes can help you end it right there and get away before the attacker has the time to recover.

You will also need to control your space, and since Muay Thai incorporates many clinch positions, you can use them effectively to freeze your opponent long enough to give you the time to land some knee strikes or even a takedown.

Muay Thai leg kicks are devastating, and they can cause a lot of pain since the impact is similar to that of a baseball bat. Don’t shy away from using this technique; there’s no need to be gentle on your assailant.

Finally, while there are many defensive moves in Muay Thai, in order to use them efficiently you will need to learn how to maintain composure under a high-stress attack. If you are relaxed, you will be able to notice striking opportunities much better.



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Joe Monzon

December 17, 2020 at 11:27 am

Great post! Such great tips for Muay Thai self-defense. I really appreciate your research. Hope to read more articles on your blog…!!! Keep it up.

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