Difference between Kickboxing and Muay Thai Boxing

Key difference: Kickboxing is a modern Japanese martial arts and stand-up combat sports, which is totally based on kicking and punching; whereas, Muay Thai Boxing is a combat sport based on the Muay traditional martial arts of Thailand, it solely comprise of striking and clinching techniques.

Generally, the two martial art forms, Kickboxing and Muay Thai Boxing are considered to be the same, but actually they are not, they differ mainly in the type and techniques; the article will reflect their differences.

 Kickboxing is broadly classified into two regional forms, the Japanese kickboxing and the American kickboxing. The earlier form of Kickboxing was originated first in Japan during the 1960s, which was then followed by American kickboxing in 1970s. The art form has its root developed from Karate, Muay Thai and Western boxing.

Previously, Kickbxing was a hybrid form of Martial Art, formed from the combinations of various traditional styles and techniques. Afterwards, the approach towards its practice increased and people started appreciating it in their life style. It develops the aerobic activity, in the martial art form, due to which it is also called as ‘Aeroboxing’. It is generally practiced for self-defense, general fitness, or as a contact sport. There are several striking and kicking techniques associated in Kickboxing. The sport is conducted between two opponents, in the form Rounds and in the rings, the opponents are allowed to hit each other with punches and kicks, striking above the waist. The sport consists of various other forms and styles according to which the rules are designed and formulated in their respective rulebook. Mainly, it is practiced in Japan, America, and Thailand along with the other parts of the world. It involves the techniques like, kicking, punching, elbow and knee strikes, throws, locks, and grappling techniques during a fight. It also involves standard kicking and punching techniques.

Muay Thai Boxing is a cultural martial art form and a combat sport from Muay martial arts of Thailand. Its origin was founded several years back, nearly around hundred of years ago. It was developed as a form of close-combat sport, which used the entire body as a type of weapon. The art form and it is now becoming famous and enhanced in the American countries.

Muay Thai Boxing basically described as "the art of eight limbs", because in this, both of the hands, elbows, knees, and legs are allowed to use while attacking the opponent. It is a form of national culture, which is nourished and flourished in Thailand. In the previous era, it was once considered to be the king of martial arts. A person, who takes part in the competition, does the long ceremony and the act established by custom before the fight. They exist for religious reasons; one such is to serve as stretching the muscles in the form of exercises. The kicks are performed with an intention to attack the opponent. The martial art is a combination of several techniques and methods which are incorporated from the other forms of martial arts. All the parts of the body are involved in the combat sport; it is also considered to be the defensive and wild type of sport and martial art forms.

Comparison between Kickboxing and Muay Thai Boxing



Muay Thai Boxing

Short descriptions

Kickboxing is a group of martial arts and stand-up combat sports based on kicking and punching.

Muay Thai (Thai boxing) is a combat sport from the muay martial arts of Thailand that uses stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques.

Developed from

Developed from Karate, Muay Thai and Western boxing.

It is the traditional form of Thai Boxing practiced from the earlier times.




Period reflected

1960s and 1970s

a thousand years old


It is basically known as "delivery system"

It is basically described as "the art of eight limbs".


Kickboxing is a “four-point” system.

Muay Thai is an “eight-point” fighting system.


The American kickboxing is incorporated from Muay Thai Boxing.

Muay Thai Boxing is a readitinal and cultural form of martial art which was developed in Thailand for self defense purpose.

It is

It is a modern form of combat sport and martial art form.

It is a combat sport and martial art form habituated from the traditional and previous periods.

Parts involved

For striking, they use only fists and feet.

For striking, they use fists, feet, knees and elbows.


In Kickboxing, elbow strikes are not allowed.

In Muay Thai, all strikes from the eight limbs are allowed.

Practitioners are called as

Kick boxer

Nak Muay

Accessories and Equipment.

full protection kit made of gloves, mouth guard, groin guard, shin and foot pad.

gloves, mouth and groin guard


Kickboxing allows no attacks below the waist.

Muay Thai allows as a sport, shin kicks and other kicks below the waist.

Common as

It is more often taken as a sport, not a method of protecting.

It is more often taken a form of self-defense

Main Techniques

  • Front Kick
  • Side Kick
  • Axe Kick
  • Hook Kick
  • Round Kick and
  • Spin Kick
  • Elbow (Tee Sok)
  • Kicking (Teh)
  • Foot-thrust (Teep)


Grappling is not allowed at all.

Grappling is allowed.

Association and Federations

  • World Association of Kickboxing Organizations
  • World Kickboxing Association
  • International Kickboxing Federation

World MuayThai Federation

Image Courtesy: newshopper.sulekha.com, woodenizer.de

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