Muay Thai for self-defense

How effective is Muay Thai for self-defense?

I've been asked this question many times by people who were interested in martial arts training. And my answer was always the same: Thai boxing is one of the most effective martial arts when it comes to street fighting.

Is Muay Thai effective for a real-world street fight? Yes, it is. The main philosophy of Thai kickboxing is to prepare a fighter for a real, full-power fight. The final goal is to make fighter 'ring ready'.

If you're tough enough to fight in the ring then you are also ready to face a common thug on the street.

And let's not forget that military hand-to-hand combat systems like Krav Maga include many of Muay Thai fighting techniques.

Self-defense techniques in Muay Thai

What moves and tactics works in street fights?

Let's start with what doesn't work: most forms of wrestling, grappling, and any other fighting techniques that get you stuck with just one person at a time.

Fighting one guy on the ground makes you an easy target for the others around you.
And the street fight is chaotic and you never know how many guys will get involved and at what point they may attack you.

So what does work in a street fight? Stand-up striking works in a street fight. Stand-up fighting techniques are better at controlling the situation and allow you to move around freely.

There is one stand-up technique that you should not use thought. You should not utilize head-kicks unless you're an absolute expert cause this technique, especially when blocked, may throw you off balance.

And the worst place you can imagine to be during a street fight is to be on the ground. It's much better to throw low kicks targeting the sides of your opponent's knees.

Muay Thai for self-defense: skills and techniques

  • Muay Thai workouts: strength and stamina training. Muay Thai is very demanding when it comes to physical performance. This will give you a great advantage no matter how good and technical you are.

    Solid strength and stamina training and even the most basic technical training give you the edge over most of the regular guys on the street.
  • Straight-forward fighting techniques: kicks are simple yet powerful. It just comes naturally to use a quick body kick or a leg kick to throw the attacker on the ground.

    Punching techniques are based on Western Boxing. Elbows and knees are used in short-distance fighting.

    It is much easier to use straightforward techniques in a real fight than trying to utilize more fancy and complicated strikes.
  • Great pressure is put on sparring: you will practice with a real opponent right from the start of your training. The same goes for technical classes: you will practice new techniques and combinations with a sparring partner, not on your own, most of the time.
    That's the best way to emulate a real fight and learn useful fighting skills.
  • Muay Thai provides you with an arsenal of short and long-range weapons. Which makes it possible to effectively attack and defend yourself at any distance.

    You can keep an aggressor away with push kicks or you can keep him in a tight clinch and control the situation with elbow and knee strikes.
  • Elbow strikes allow you to protect your face and deliver powerful blows to your opponent's head at the same time.

    Furthermore, when you will be protecting your face with your elbows, your opponent may hurt his knuckles trying to punch you. The tip of the elbow is one of the hardest points of the human body.
  • And last but not least: training in Muay Thai gives you self-confidence. It makes you stronger, shapes your body, and improves your posture.

    This may disarm any potential attacker before even a fight starts. Most of the guys standing on the street or drinking in the bar and looking for trouble are, more or less, cowards.
    They attack only when they are confident that they are going to win the fight.

I have personally used Muay Thai for self-defense on a few occasions. However, the truth is that the more you train, the less you'll get involved in street fights. Sounds strange but it is true.

Most potential aggressors would rather not attack someone who looks muscular and is self-confident. But once it happens you will be prepared to defend yourself and knock out your opponent.

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