It’s hard to figure out which martial art system is the best for self-defense. I used to wonder when I was younger and looking for a training system that was effective in fighting for self-defense.

I heard of Muay Thai in my 20s but did not really know what it was at that time. When I started learning some of the techniques in Jeet Kune Do I was introduced to Muay Thai.

Is Muay Thai good for self-defense? The easy answer is yes. Thai boxing is an excellent fighting system to learn so you can better defend yourself if attacked. Muay Thai will work very well against an attacker.

Let’s go into more detail on what Muay Thai is and why we think you can use it effectively to fight back against an aggressor.

What is Muay Thai?

Muay Thai is a form of combat sport that originated in Thailand. It consists of stand-up punching, kicking, elbow strikes, knee strikes, and clinching.

Therefore, it is known as the art of eight limbs.

Muay Thai has different striking combinations using brutal strikes to knock your opponents out or down.

You are trained to strike at different body parts using multiple punches, kicks, elbows, and knees. The modernization of Muay Thai has recognized it as an official martial art.

In a competition, each Muay Thai match has 5 rounds which last for 3 minutes. There is a two-minute rest between each round.

Muay Thai is now an officially recognized sport by the International Federation of Muay Thai Amateurs. This organization has 130 member countries.

Many top-seeded MMA fighters use Thai techniques when fighting and have trained in Muay Thai.

Muay Thai is more aggressive than other martial arts such as karate or Taekwondo.

A Muay Thai practitioner knows how to fight so if attacked in a street fight instincts will take over. This is why it is ideal for self-defense training.

Does Muay Thai make you stronger?

Muay Thai was originally practiced by Thai boxers for strength and conditioning. Training for this fighting art you need fast reactions when being attacked or on defense.

To improve reaction times, fighters practice many different forms of drills.

The drills will consist of punching, kicking, elbow, and knee strikes.

An example, your training may include 50 punches, 2 minutes of push-ups or squats, and then 50 roundhouse kicks.

Any person will become stronger by completing drills like what is mentioned above.

Muay Thai training allows you to maintain your focus and gives you a chance to improve your technique.

Training with different opponents or training partners of different abilities will also help you get stronger.

Most martial arts will make you psychologically stronger.

Training to fight against another person, your survival instincts become sharper. This will help build your mental skills for self-defense.

Self-defense is not always about physical strength but also about your ability to think fast and react quickly to an attack.

This training can be very tough and hard on you.

Having psychological resilience is required when defending yourself against an attacker.

Is Muay Thai good for street fighting?

A regular practitioner of Muay Thai who competes in the ring can easily take on any street fighter. Muay Thai is a very effective form of martial arts training for self-defense and street fighting.

Since it is a straightforward way of fighting, it seems pretty brutal as compared to other martial arts. Muay Thai trains you to use your legs, fists, elbows, and knees to strike your attacker.

These weapons can devastate opponents when street fighting. It also trains you in using a combination of strikes and kicks when fighting back.

For example, you could use an elbow strike and immediately punch and then knee your opponent in the groin area.

The different combinations will catch the opponents off guard and hopefully give you the upper hand.

The weapons in Muay Thai are your eight limbs. You are trained to use these in a way to disarm the attacker and defend yourself.

Muay Thai trainers will teach you to push the attacker away with a long kick. Then follow up with close-quarter combat where you can use punching, knees, and elbow strikes.

Street fighting can put you in a bad spot and having training in a combination of different martial arts will give you the edge.

Training in Muay Thai and Jiu-Jitsu will have you ready for a fight in the air or on the ground.

Jujitsu combines takedowns, locks, and submission to take out an opponent to the ground so you can submit them.

While Muay Thai is based on stand-up fighting, it prepares you to hit opponents with punching, kicking, elbows, and knees. This comes in handy if there are multiple attackers.


Devastating art that has been battle-tested in the rings in Thailand.

Elbows, knees, punches, and kicks are very powerful in this martial art. You can easily protect yourself with this type of training.


Muay Thai does not teach actual self-defense moves but it teaches you how to fight.

The other downside is Muay Thai does not teach ground fighting. If an opponent took you to the ground you would be at a huge disadvantage.

Which one is better Muay Thai or Kickboxing?

Kickboxing and Muay Thai have similar strikes and kicks.

However, the best way to choose between the two is to know your purpose in learning a martial art.

Many people want to learn a martial art for self-defense, discipline, self-confidence, or for sports.

We can review each one and then you can decide which one best fits your needs.


Kickboxing is a sport where participants kick and punch each other in a ring. You can either win by points or a knockout.

Kickboxing trains you to kick and punch in a ring with rules. This may create an issue when street fighting because there are no rules.

The good thing is if you are trained in kickboxing not too many people are going to be in good enough shape to last more than a minute.

If you get into a fight wait till they exhaust themselves then you can easily stop the threat.

You also need to remember most people do not know how to fight at all.

If you train hard and learn to fight using kickboxing it can be useful in a self-defense situation.

Chuck Norris was a kickboxing legend and he is pretty tough.

Muay Thai

Muay Thai is a very brutal martial art and the strikes can devastate opponents. Muay Thai can also prepare you to fight more than one person at a time.

The brutal nature of Thai boxing also makes it less likely for you to get beat up if you need to defend yourself.

Clinching in Muay Thai allows you to stop the attacker and strike them repeatedly in close range. Using clinches in combination with knee strikes and elbows will dismantle the attacker’s will to fight you.

Muay Thai will combine short to long-range kicks, elbows, knees, and punches. This makes it very effective for overall self-defense training.

If you want to decide between the two martial arts, you should try at least 5 sessions of each one if there is a local school. You can also train with us and sign up for our free fight training program.

Does Muay Thai help to get you into shape?

Muay Thai training consists of strength, stamina, speed, and power training.

You could be weightlifting or doing cardio but this form of martial art allows you to combine aerobic and anaerobic exercise in one session.

This hard-core training helps your heart and improves your stamina.

When training doing kicks, punches, elbows, and knees most training involves a 3 to 5-minute session. The sessions go 5 to 10 rounds with a couple of minutes rest in between.

The fight training on heavy bags or using focus mitts is intense with short breaks in between.

You need strength in your upper and lower body. Weight training really helps in Muay Thai especially if you want to compete in the future.

You need strong muscles for fast and powerful reactions. Your muscle memory improves with repetitive training which defines your muscles even further. You also need the flexibility to improve your range of kicks and clinches.

Stretching exercises may also be a part of your training.

A strong core is necessary for the smooth and effortless movement of the waist in your fighting techniques.

While training you will be spending at least 15 to 20 minutes of the session on strengthening your core.

Planks, sit-ups, and leg raises are an undeniable part of your Muay Thai session. If you are new to training, you will be paired with partners who will help you with your core workouts.

It seems difficult at the beginning but motivating partners make it easier and you become stronger over time. The idea is to not give up after just a few sessions and keep going for at least 6 months.


Muay Thai is a brutal fighting sport in Thailand that can be used to devastate an opponent or attacker.

I have trained in Thai boxing for years and highly recommend this training to anyone.

You have to have a local gym to train but if you do not have a martial arts gym close then use this link to learn more about our free fight training online.

Here is an article that may be helpful: Is Muay Thai Effective in a Street Fight

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