Muay Thai Fighting Styles - Understanding the 5 Fighting Styles
In the sport of Boxing, there are different types to describe a Boxer's fighting style. Words like Aggressive, Unorthodox, Evasive, Counter and Punchers are just a few of the many adjectives used to describe Boxers. In Muay Thai, we have our own words to describe different fighting styles that you encounter in the ring.
This article is going to break down the 5 most distinct fighting styles out there, but keep in mind there are many more. Three of these fighting styles are widely used, while two of them are more specialist styles.
Muay Femeu - The Skill Fighter
By far the most popular fighting style in Muay Thai is the Muay Femeu style. This is style that utilizes skill and technique to outsmart an opponent in the ring. Muay Femeu fighters might not be the most athletic or powerful fighters, but they tend to be the smartest fighters.
It is important to keep in mind that highly skilled fighters can attempt different fighting styles. For example, a heavy hitter might have to adopt to become a skill fighter later in his career when he/she loses their athleticism in the ring.
Most of the best fighters of all time use the femeu style to outsmart their opponents and win. Fighters like Saenchai, Samart, and Somrak were all extremely skilled fighters who possessed and extremely high fight IQ. The biggest weakness of a Femeu fighter is typically their own cardio. These fighters tend to get beat towards the end of their careers because they start losing their cardio with age.
Muay Mat - The Aggressive fighter
If you like watching an aggresive fighting style, you will like Muay Mat fighters. These fighters are known for their heart and their never die attitude. Muay Mat fighting style is by far the most entertaining for the casual fan. These fighters display raw power and force as they try to impose their will on their opponent.
The Muay Mat fighting style is very effective against skilled fighters who do not like getting punched. They are also very good at beating fighters who lack a strong chin and are not able to handle constant pressure throughout the fight.
Fighters like Pornsanae Sitmonchai, Rodtang, and Yodlekphet are all good examples of fighters who are known for their aggressive style of fighting. These fighters tend to have shorter careers because they take a lot of head damage in fights.
Muay Khao - The Knee Fighter
The Muay Khao style represents fighters who push forward with knees into the clinch. Muay Khao fighters are similar to Muay Mat fighters with their aggression, but instead of hunting for knockouts, they barrage their opponent with steady knees throughout the fight.
Muay Khao fighters are often the most difficult to face because they are constantly coming forward and applying pressure with relentless kneeing and clinching. To beat a Muay Khao fighter requires you to have good footwork and be able to neutralize them in the clinch.
While Muay Khao fighters may not be the most glamorous fighting style, it is often the most effective. Fighters like Petchboonchu have very good winning records because they are able to constantly grind out victories against their opponents in the clinch.
Muay Sok - The Elbow Fighter
One of the more specialized fighting style is the Muay Sok fighters. Muay Sok fighters specialize in elbows and are very good at cutting their opponents. Most fighters don't like facing a Muay Sok fighter because it usually means you will end up with stitches after the fight.
Muay Sok fighters have mastered the art of timing and distance with their elbow strikes. They are able to move in and out of elbow range, by the use of footwork and anticipation of where their opponent is moving.
These fighters are natural counters to Muay Mat fighters because they can get inside of their opponent with their elbow attacks. Besides the use of elbows, these fighters are typically aggressive and can utilize other techniques to corner their oppnent.
Muay Tae - The Kickers
While all Muay Thai fighters know how to kick, some fighters specialize in landing precise, accurate, and powerful kicks. These fighters possess kicks that are extremely fast and are difficult to block.
A fighter like Diesellek was extremely good with his kicks. His ability to throw powerful kicks that landed made him very difficult to beat. Muay Tae fighters tend to be skilled fighters who have well rounded games.
If you face a Muay Tae fighter you had better to ready to take a lot of kicks throughout the fight. These fighters have perfect timing and make it difficult to land any techniques on.
When it comes to Muay Thai styles, it is important to understand that no style is unbeatable. While styles do make fights, what is more important than a style is the fighter themself. Just because a fighter has a particular style, doesn't mean he or she will win against another style.
While some styles are more natural counters to other fighting styles, with the right strategy every style can be neutralized. For example, a skilled Muay Femeu fighter will have a harder time facing an aggressive opponent who is constantly pushing forward and grinding the fight into the clinch.
Fighters develop specific styles from their coaching, their physical attributes, and their natural abilities. If you are a tall fighter, you might gravitate towards the Clinching/Kneeing style.