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What is Muay Thai?

What is Muay Thai?

Muay Thai is a 4,000 year old martial art that originates in Thailand and is sometimes called “the art of 8 limbs” because fighters use 8 weapons against their opponents: 2 fists, 2 elbows, 2 knees and 2 feet.

Muay Thai is an important part of Thai culture, where boys and young men from poor backgrounds can make a living by becoming fighters, and in the past 30 years it has become more and more popular in the west. In fact, much of modern-day MMA fighting incorporates strikes taken directly from Muay Thai, particularly elbow strikes, knee strikes, kicks and sweeping (where you ‘sweep’ your opponent off their feet onto the floor).

Is Muay Thai effective for self-defence?

Absolutely. Unlike many other martial arts, which place emphasis on quite complex movements and are practised in a fairly choreographed way, Muay Thai focuses on the most straightforward ways to inflict damage on your opponents: By hitting them, hard.

We've always attested that the best way to utilize effective martial arts styles in self defense is to incorporate a mix of martial arts styles to your fighting arsenal. Once we incorporate Muay Thai styles to our mma curriculum, in a self defense situation you will be using Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai and other forms at the same time.

Muay Thai Techniques

The “art of eight limbs” works to utilize the entire body as a weapon. A wide variety of punches, elbow strikes, knee strikes, kicks, and foot thrusts are used. (Foot thrusts are quick jabs with the foot used to control distance or knock an opponent off balance.) Clinches and defense moves such as blocking and evasion are also used.

While each fighter develops his or her own style within Muay Thai, it’s common for fighters to lean more heavily on kicking and knee strikes, using fists and elbows less frequently or as part of multi-strike combinations. This may be in part because Muay Thai kicks are executed with a straight leg, using the lower part of the shin as the point of contact. When executed correctly and at full strength, the resulting impact is comparable to being hit with a baseball bat.

The benefits of Muay Thai Training

Practicing Muay Thai provides a full body workout like no other. It also strengthens the mind and builds confidence. There are many who attest to Muay Thai’s ability to beat out all other martial arts and fighting styles. Whether you are training for competition, fitness or self-defense, Muay Thai has something to offer everyone.

Contact American Karate Institute for a Free Trial Class

At the American Karate Institute, we teach a way of life. Our Miami martial arts school and MMA Classes has developed a well thought out curriculum that teaches more than just the art of self-defense. We delve deep into our students’ technique, skill set, intelligence, intuition and overall physical fitness. Contact us today if you’re interested in mixed martial arts and self-defense classes and schedule your free-trial class!


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