Did you know that Muay Thai originated in the 1200s as part of training for the Thai army? This hand-to-hand combat style is one of the oldest in the world. 

However, most combat sports get lumped into the same category, much to the irritation of the practitioners. Boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, and karate are often viewed as the same thing despite their unique cultural histories and stylistic differences.

In America, boxing and Muay Thai are the two most popular combat sports (we’ll set aside MMA, as it mixes all the disciplines). Do you know the differences between Muay Thai vs boxing?

It’s important to understand the distinction between the two before signing up for your first class, so we’ve listed the differences below so you can pick boxing or Muay Thai! Read on to learn more!

1. Use Your Whole Body

What is Muay Thai? Well, Muay Thai is also referred to as “the art of eight limbs.” This is because you use your legs, your knees, your elbows, and your fists for a total of eight different limbs.

On the other hand, boxing is the sport of two limbs, your fists! Although there are only two limbs, there are many strikes between jabs, crosses, and hooks. You use your legs for footwork and movement, but the strikes are restricted to the upper body.

2. Different Handwork

Muay Thai uses all eight limbs, including the fists. However, the fists are less focused on knockout power and more about setting up longer combinations. This is one of the main differences between Muay Thai and boxing. 

The punches in Muay Thai are the same as those in boxing, but they are used to set up the kicks. The roundhouse kicks are the main strike for scoring, so punches are used to distract the opponent’s focus to set up for the kicks. Punches are therefore lighter and slower, as most fighters don’t focus on boxing-specific training.

3. More Intense Workout

What is boxing good for? Many people know boxing is a great way to lose weight. Rounds of high-intensity exercise are great for weight loss and getting in shape while having a lot of fun.

However, Muay Thai classes can burn a lot more calories. The roundhouse uses your whole body from your toes to your shoulders and is one of the biggest calorie burners in martial arts. 

4. Cultural History

Muay Thai gyms are often deeply rooted in the cultural history of the sport. Muay Thai originated in Thailand and is a way of life for many poor communities in the country.

Muay Thai is built on respect, spiritual fulfillment, and tradition. You can see this in the Wai Kru, a dance performed by every fighter before a fight. It honors the legacy of their training, their coaches, and their hometown. 

Muay Thai is a fusion of culture and athleticism to create an art form. On the other hand, boxing is less about tradition and more about sport at its purest. 

Now You Know All About Muay Thai vs Boxing 

Now that you know all about Muay Thai and boxing and what all the differences are, you can pick your first class! You can’t go wrong with either sport, so if you’re still on the fence, try a few classes of both and pick the one you like best. Either way, a combat sport will change your life for the better.

If you enjoyed learning about Muay Thai vs boxing, you’ll love our other lifestyle and fitness content. Check out our blog for more! 

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