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Should I learn Muay Thai or Kickboxing as a Beginner?



Muay Thai North Sydney

Muay Thai and Kickboxing are two of the most popular forms of martial arts. They are practised in global arenas as competitive sports and taught in martial art schools across the world. Fighters learn Muay Thai and Kickboxing for different reasons; self-defence, physical fitness, mental strength, self-discipline, social development, personal growth, and self-confidence.

The popularity of the two styles has grown over the last decade as participants extend beyond gymnasiums to children’s schools. Unfortunately, no matter how committed you are, it’s recommended to learn only one of the two styles as a beginner. This ensures perfect techniques and avoids turning what you learn into mixed martial arts.

Unfortunately, selecting between the two techniques is difficult. Each style has unique techniques, and the strengths and weaknesses vary. However, a closer look at the differences and similarities between Muay Thai and Kickboxing might guide your selection or reveal which style appeals more to your personality.


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Points System

The two martial art components have different striking systems. Muay Thai is an eight-point system, whereas Kickboxing is a four-point one. Muay Thai incorporates striking with kicks, punches, elbows, and knees, while Kickboxing only uses kicks and punches. Arguably, it is fair to say that the striking capabilities are more in Muay Thai. However, where Kickboxing falls short in striking points, it compensates in the fighting techniques.

Type of Style


Kickboxing capitalises on fast, covert strikes in addition to the typical general hits. The strikes taught under Kickboxing may be slightly more challenging to pull off, but they are lethal. Unfortunately, since the techniques are difficult, most fighters lose balance as they execute the movements. On the other hand, exotic strikes are not common in Muay Thai. The style focuses on powerful and straightforward strikes; therefore, fighters are more grounded and often assume a stable stance.


The basics of the two martial arts are attack and defensive strategies. Kickboxers have more flexibility and easily switch between defensive and offensive movements. Moreover, Kickboxers rely less on counter-attacks and aggressive forward motions since they use more footwork and angles to execute their maneuvres. In Muay Thai, fighters wait for opponents to let down their guard before executing aggressive strikes. As a result, counter-attacks and forward motion are the typical movements of Muay Thai.

How Kicks are Used


The way kicks are thrown in Kickboxing, and Muay Thai is different. The latter style encourages fighters to kick the middle part of their shin instead of the lower shin. In Kickboxing, the lower shin or the peak of the front foot is the primary arsenal in kicks.


Muay Thai has numerous striking points meaning more parts serve as weapons and targets. As a result, the style is dangerous if not well managed. Nonetheless, the blows are evenly distributed. Moreover, the primary target of Muay Thai is on the opponents’ legs, which is a safer striking point. On the other hand, Kickboxing concentrates on strikes to the head. Consequently, brain-related injuries are more common.



Physical fitness is always the focus of any physical sport. Generally, martial arts offer physical fitness through training and conditioning. The workouts involved in Kickboxing and Muay Thai are intense, and the cardiovascular benefits are unmatched. However, Muay Thai has more intense sessions due to the focus on aggression. Nonetheless, Kickboxing gradually increases in intensity as movements increase in complexity.


Protecting oneself from harm is one of the main reasons people get into martial arts. The skills learned in Kickboxing, and Muay Thai are great for self-defence. However, Muay Thai offers a more straightforward approach to fighting, which may be favourable for a beginner. However, at an advanced level, Kickboxing allows fighters to quickly switch from defence to offence which is an added advantage when going up against multiple assailants.

In conclusion, Muay Thai and Kickboxing have unique benefits for a beginner. However, deciding between the two boils down to personal preference and long-term objectives. You can do your research or give each style a trial run before making your final choice. Ultimately, there is no wrong option.

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