Muay Thai vs Taekwondo: which style is more effective?

Muay Thai vs Taekwondo: in many ways, this article will be similar to Karate vs Muay Thai post. I will highlight some differences between Karate and Taekwondo in the post below.

Karate and TKD fighters utilize comparable kicks and punches and are both facing similar difficulties when fighting a Muay Thai practitioner. TDK and Muaythai represent different philosophies of training and fighting.

Kata versus full contact sparring. Use of 4 limbs vs the art of 8 limbs. Let's dive into it.

Muay Thai vs Taekwondo. Pros and cons of each style

Muay Thai vs Taekwondo: the strong points and the weak points of each style

Let's take a closer look at it. I will try to write about points that I consider crucial to this comparison:

  • Taekwondo has got some powerful kicks in its arsenal. Most of them can hit with a potential knockout power: Tae Kwon Do skipping back kick delivers around 680 kilograms of concentrated force.

    The problem is that this kick tends to leave TDK fighter off-balance when it misses and that leaves him open to a counter-attack. This is a very dangerous place to be when facing an experienced Thai boxer.

    That said, Taekwondo kicks are strong and hard and even a blocked kick is still quite dangerous and may hurt the opponent. Kicks are definitely the most powerful weapons in TDK's arsenal.
  • Taekwondo tournament rules don't allow low kicks. That is why it is rarely trained or used in the gym. Low kicks are allowed for self-defense only. You won't be able to practice it much during standard training.
    To realize how powerful low kicks are, watch a video of this legendary Muay Thai vs Kickboxing fight:

  • Stamina. A typical Taekwondo fight doesn't last long and is focused on a quick KO with kicks in the first round. Taekwondo fighters rarely fight a long, 5 round fight as Muay Thai fighters do. Each additional round works to their disadvantage - they are not physically prepared for this kind of challenge.
    They may run out of gas pretty quickly and that leaves them defenseless against better conditioned Thai fighter.
  • Taekwondo adepts are allowed to punch the opponent in the face but they rarely do so. They rely on heavy kicks instead of punches and they leave hands down during the fight. They don't protect their faces which in turn may lead to a really painful KO caused by punches, elbows, or a head kick.
  • No throws and no clinch game. Those techniques are crucial when you fight at a short distance. Neck wrestling is very useful for controlling your opponent and employing some devastating knee strikes and elbow strikes to the head.

    Taekwondo adepts don't practice a clinch defense either; it is easy to control them once you get them into this position. This point is valid when fighting under Muay Thai rules, MMA rules or street rules; K1 or Kickboxing rules don't allow clinch techniques.

Less strict Muay Thai rules allow for much more comprehensive training, which in turn makes Muaythai practitioners more durable, more versatile, and more complete fighters.

It also makes Muay Thai more effective for self-defense.

And by that, I mean that they are more prepared for different situations that may happen during a fight and they can adjust more easily to a different outcome.

This comes at a price of more injuries and contusions, but it guarantees that the top contenders will be tough, well-rounded, and extremely durable fighters.

Is my opinion biased? Yes, it is, just like everyone else's opinions. But I choose Muay Thai consciously, with a piece of knowledge about the strong points and shortcomings of other stand-up combat sports.

After many years of practicing, I can honestly say that Thai boxing is the most complete traditional striking martial art.

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