What is Muay Thai?

by | Aug 3, 2020

Muay Thai Wollongong

Commonly called Thai boxing, Muay Thai is a combat-sport and martial art that originated in Siam (Thailand) but has now gained worldwide popularity. Also known as the “Art of Eight Limbs”, it’s arguably the dominant stand-up discipline in the United Fighting Championship (UFC).

The Art of Eight Limbs

Muay Thai is a stand-up combat system that really delivers on so many levels — It’s long, mid and short range striking, clinch grappling, sweeps and throws. Often referred to as the art of eight limbs (or eight points of contact), Muay Thai fighters utilises:

  • fists
  • elbows
  • shins
  • and knees to strike

This “eight points” is different to “two points” (fists) in Western boxing and “four points” (hands and feet) used in kick boxing. Disadvantaged from a numerical perspective, a traditional boxer for example, only has two fists to defend and attack whereas a Muay Thai proponent has that x 4.

Correct Technique

Importantly, Thai Boxing does not involve random or wild strikes. The ancient art has a correct technique that a newbie should patiently take the time to learn properly.

Although there are other martial arts that put a lot of emphasis on striking, Muay Thai is rather different. This difference is the renowned movements of elbow and knee. To be respected, the fast and damaging elbows and knees are feared around the world by other stylists.


Muay Thai is a rigorous and demanding FULL BODY SPORT. Yes, it’s a martial art but from a functional prospective it can be a super-intensive sport and that means you’re going to get into excellent shape if you train Thai boxing consistently and with heart.

Turning the Hip

Many of the techniques emphasise movement of the whole body — that means turning or thrusting the hips each time a fighter executes a kick, elbow, punch or knee. Consequently, the techniques can be a little slower than other forms of martial arts such as Taekwondo or karate but if executed correctly and accurately the strike can bring the fight to an early end. That’s the power of Muay Thai.

Hit with a Sledgehammer

The training and conditioning training can be brutal. Especially if the goal is to harden the elbow, knee, hands or legs to maximise hurt and pain to opponent. For example, a trained-and-hardened shin against an opponent’s thigh via a low roundhouse kick can severely bruise and render the muscle unable to function — think getting hit with a sledgehammer. Once again, that’s the damaging power of Muay Thai.

Nak Muay

A practitioner of “ëight limbs” is known as a nak muay. The martial art can be a hobby, workout or sport. Happy training!

Yours in Muay Thai,