The difference between Muay Thai and Muay Boran, and the effectiveness of leg kicks

Muay Boran is the original art form of Thai Boxing/Martial Art, but they were not allowed to use many of the techniques in competitive sports fighting due to the deadly nature, so the way Thailand put Muay Boran into the arena was by removing various elbow strikes, knee strikes, and some kicks, thus, Muay Thai was born.

The difference between Muay Thai and Muay Boran, and the effectiveness of leg kicks.

Muay Boran is an art like no other, being that it is extremely different. It is difficult to explain so here are a few example videos of what Muay Boran looks like.

Bear in mind, not all techniques shown in this video are illegal on the mat, but most of them are Muay Boran, and they will most likely not be taught at any Muay Thai dojo you attend in the U.S. This includes climbing up your opponent to deliver a crushing blow, or a leg catch followed by an elbow strike to the knee.

For a more entertaining view of Muay Boyan, movie actor and Muay Boran / Muay Thai professional, amongst other martial arts, Tony Jaa presents his skills in these films: Ong Bak, The Protector.

So as you can see there were many flying elbows, knees, and spinning/flipping kicks, which you would not commonly see in Muay Thai today. These techniques are advanced and difficult to perform, they require great flexibility and control.

Muay Thai is similar to Boxing. They both have the 4 basic punches:

- Jab

- Cross

- Hook

- Uppercut

Muay Thai goes further by applying:

- Elbows

- Knees

- Kicks

- The Clinch

Clinching an opponent is not allowed in a boxing match, so when you see two boxers go into a clinch, the referee breaks them up and restarts the fight. As for a Muay Thai fight, you get in a clinch, that opens up many opportunities to drive your knee into your opponents sternum, rib cage, or abdomen. As for everything else, in a boxing match, elbows, knees, and kicks are illegal.

Since Muay Boran is mainly taught in Thailand, many Muay Thai practitioners won't learn unique elbow, knee, and kicking techniques that Muay Boran has to offer, but that does not mean Muay Thai is any less effective. In fact, Muay Thai is a very practical and effective martial art to learn in terms of self-defense, competition, and unfortunate street fights.

One of the most popular things people talk about when it comes to Muay Thai are the leg kicks. So many times, in competition fights and UFC, one fighter has defeated the other because they punished their opponents legs throughout the entire match to the point they could no longer stand on it. Through my own experience, it honestly does not take much for your leg to shut down if your opponent knows how to aim and kick swiftly with great force. If you know what you are doing, you will perform a leg check (Image)...

... did you know that bone on bone really hurts? If you are capable to check your opponents kicks, they will become drastically discouraged to kick you again because bone on bone hurts like a mother!

This is what normally happens when a fighter does not check leg kicks, they are getting kicked multiple times on the same leg, inside and outside, they are still fighting, standing on their leg, pumped with adrenaline, the bell rings, they go to their corner to sit down, when the bell rings again they stand up, adrenaline worn off, they can feel the the heat from their leg, as they put weight on it their leg begins to shake, and they freeze up. This person has just lose the fight, without that adrenaline, one more leg kick and they are going to fall straight on their side. If your opponent is brutalizing your legs, it is imperative that you check their kicks.

Two videos are Muay Thai competiton fights and show what leg kicks can do to your opponent and how it causes them to lose the fight. Remember, you don't have to get KO'd to lose, if the referee can clearly see that you are not able to stand properly, he will call the fight.

If you pay close attention in this next video you can see the fighter with blue gloves limping on his left leg in the middle of the match. He made efforts to bring his leg up to check but that was all he was focused on towards the end.

So if you ever find yourself in a situation where someone is kicking at your legs, don't let them have it. Your body can only take so much before it shuts down. If you can't check then move back or to the side.

There is a lot going on in a competition fight, your mind is constantly thinking where your opponent is going to strike, if they are going to feint to pull off a combination blow. You have to keep your guard up at all times, even at your sides. If you let one roundhouse kick make full contact with your ribcage, you can be sure your ribs will break.

That is all for this take. There is a lot of information I left out. If you're interested in learning Muay Thai, it isn't a bad idea at all. Its a good set of skills that can save your life, or someone else's life, as well as keeping you fit.

Elbows up, peace.


Most Helpful Girl

  • that was long and informative.. and i have seen the movie quite a few times.. its really good... and the the leg thing would be really painful.. that blue glove guy was hurting bad.. he couldn't keep his leg straight..
    how do you do the elbows up peace? :P post a video of that too.. hehe..

    • you're damn right it was long and informative 😂

      hahaa leg kicks fucking hurt so much. adrenaline and a swift knock out will be the only thing to save you from losing.

      yeah blue gloves really couldn't focus, the other guy was just all over him. I'd say the experience level was unfair between both fighters.

      you wanna see elbows up? lol

    • Show All
    • @cinderelli don't cover your shit tech knowledge 😂 you still a bongi and create your own mojo. I already called you dumb so it just probably makes the two of us but you being the dummest 😂

    • @kartoos alright you boogerhead.. one more thing. we you comment under my opinion.. you don't need to tag me.. :P now i am out..

Most Helpful Guy

  • Interesting, I never knew muay boran was a thing. However they go on assumptions that your opponent will just leave himself there for you. I mean what it basically sums up to is placement of your hits on "vulnerable" areas. It's great if you're fighting a novice but someone with more experience won't put themselves in that position. I still hold to my own beliefs that the best fighter is one that has proper technique of as many kicks, punches, take downs, ground game etc... But doesn't fight in patterns. To me learning a sequence in any class is bullshit because it locks the body into thinking in that sequence and it's not very likely you'll be given the chance to use that exact ssequence. So it's more likely to get you into trouble than do any good.


Join the discussion

What Girls Said 4

  • I randomly happened upon this way late, but this was a fun read. Very interesting.

  • This makes me want to kickbox more haha! We're told though that in real situations, it's best to stick to the arms and use your elbows and knees otherwise you risk your leg being caught by them and put in a vulnerable position.

    • oh my gosh yeah! I can tell you from experience if you're not a fast kicker than your leg will be caught every time. when im getting tired and decide to throw a kick to the ribs the guy catches it and lifts me up off my balance and i fall down lol. i stick to lower leg kicks at that point. and i love kickboxing! i do it for cardio, damn good workout. a lot of people don't realize it but it really winds you.

    • Kickboxing always comes with some kind of injury ahha

    • Also, in a real situation, the use of some sort of grappling is a must. No question about it.

  • What's your favorite out of those? Lol

  • You forgot to mention Taylor Swift... lol 😂


What Guys Said 6

  • Checking in..
    Those ropes or pieces of cloth that were wrapped around the fighters wrists were dipped in salt water to harden the material. It would leave vicious gash wounds and cuts because of it.
    Look up if you get the chance Panantukan brilliant martial art, probably couldn't stand to the freight train that is muay thai.
    Well written my_take

  • Love leg kicked to the thighs! I'm still too much of a pussy to kick the calves though. When I practiced Muay thai for a year I kicked and got kicked on the shin with protection and that shit HURT! Also, not worth the risk of breaking my shin...

    Leg kicks to the average persons thighs though... WIN!

    • Ohh also realistically I'd rather just kick and knee someone in the balls. Fuck fighting "fair"

    • Show All
    • yeah it fucking sucks. I leg checked my partner one time but I didn't brace myself and that bone on bone hurt like a bitch. I got swollen lol. it hurts so bad even getting kicked moderately on the thighs hahaa.

    • hahaha yeah bro! It's cause average people like us aren't used to impact on the legs at all.

  • Cool Take. You really know your stuff. I have always wanted to learn a little Muay Thai.

    • thank you! there is much for me to learn but I think I have covered the general basics lol. If you are curious, most places offer a few free private lessons so you can get a feel if its something you really want to commit your time and money too. Overall, its not a bad thing learning how to fight and/or defend yourself. Knowing the basic footwork and how to throw punches puts you in heaps advantages over any inexperienced person.

  • Since I heard of Muay Boran, I preferably studied that. I like to learn deadly techniques, and hope to not use them.
    I trained my legs to be hard like how it is in MT/MB. That was fun. lol.

    • that's awesome man. Muay Boran is tight, a very interesting art. I hated breaking my legs in when I first started training lol. so many bruises.

  • Man, very informative. I was looking into doing one of these (I do boxing for training and friendly sparring only and am getting bored) was thinking of doing one of these. Great take.

    • thanks man, there is a ton more info i left out but i didn't want to make such a long take. if you have any questions hit me up. boxing is really good but when you open up your game to kicks, knees, and elbows, its a whole different world! stay safe.

  • Sup? This is a very good take.
    I guess you forgot to add "overhand" to the types of punches. So it's 5 types.
    You into Muay Thai? I've been learning MMA for 4 years and Muay Thai is just awesome. No other word to describe it.