Difference between Kickboxing and Thai Boxing

Key difference: The two martial art forms, Kickboxing and Thai Boxing are often used interchangeably, but have a variety of differences. Kickboxing is a modern Japanese form of combat sport as well as a martial art style, whereas Thai Boxing is traditional form of Thailand Martial Arts.

Kickboxing is a modern form of combat sport and martial art flourished from Japan to the North American and European countries. It develops the aerobic activity through its martial art form, due to which the form is also known as 'Aeroboxing'. Kickboxing was developed from the previous Karate, Muay Thai and Western boxing.  As a sport, the form is conducted in the rings where the combatants practice the art as a sport depending on their styles. They utilize the kicks, punches, elbow strikes, headbutts, and knee strikes, to throws against one another.

The term kickboxing broadly is used in a narrow and wide sense, that is 

  • The narrow use is restricted to the styles that self-identify as kickboxing, i.e. Japanese kickboxing (with its spin-off styles or rules such as Shoot boxing and K-1), and American kickboxing.
  • In the wider sense, it includes all stand-up combat sports that allow both punching and kicking, including Savate, Muay Thai, Indian boxing,Burmese boxing, Sanda, styles of Karate, etc.

Kickboxing is martial art as well as a combat sport in itself. It was developed during the medieval times in Japan. The sport is solely based upon the continuous kicking and punching actions. Its actions and moves are inherent from Karate and Boxing styles. There are various styles and actions such as the kicking, punching, elbow and knee strikes, throws, locks, and grappling techniques included in a fight.

Thai Boxing is a traditional form of Martial Art incorporated from Thailand, and it is now becoming famous and enhanced in the American countries. It is also known as Muay Thai. The art form is 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 Thai boxing, during a competition, high kicks on the head are used to cause a strong effect on the opponent. The kicks are performed with an intention to attack the opponent. 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 martial art is a combination of several techniques and methods which are incorporated from the other forms of martial arts. In the previous era, it was once considered to be the king of martial arts.

Comparison between Kickboxing and Thai Boxing:



Thai Boxing

Short descriptions

Kickboxing is a form of martial art which combines boxing with elements of karate, in particular kicking with bare feet.

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


It is basically known as "delivery system" with Karate or Taekwondo kicks associated with it.

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




They are

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

It was a combat sport and martial art form habituated from the traditional and early periods.


Semi, Light or Full contact rules.

Full contact rules.

Particular Actions

There are more kicks included here.

Along with the kicks, the elbows and knees actions are also included here.

Moves and actions associated

Kickboxing utilizes back fist and knife hand strike together with the other obvious kicks, along with the front, side, round, axe and so on, including all variations of jumping, spinning back actions and moves .

Along with the kickboxing moves, Thai Boxing also includes elbow and knee strikes, which tend to deliver more devastating blows.


Here, the participants cannot grab and hold their opponent’s limbs or any body part.

Here, the participants can grab and hold their opponent’s leg and any other body part.


The techniques can be implemented only on the opponent’s torso, face and head. The parts like, legs, back or back of the head are restricted for the strikes.

The techniques here can be implemented anywhere throughout the body; except, on the groin area. 

Accessories and things used

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

gloves, mouth and groin guard.

Kicks taught

  • Front Kick
  • Side Kick
  • Axe Kick
  • Hook Kick
  • Round Kick and
  • Spin Kick
  • Round Kick (Thai Kick and Switch Kick)
  • Front Kick (Teep)

Image Courtesy: journalofasianmartialarts.com, blacktomato.com

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