Western Muay Thai vs Muay Thai in Thailand
It's easy to love Muay Thai, but if you were raised in the West probably that kind of romance with the sport sparked when you were a teenager or an adult. And that's the first difference between Western Muay Thai vs Muay Thai in Thailand.
For kids in Europe, it is common to play soccer or basketball. In the US there's American football too and group sports are very common. Australia likes ball games and only the kids in South Korea or Japan can find martial arts at school.
But, what about Thai kids? Obviously, there are differences between regions in the country. But every weekend all the important TV stations have Muay Thai fights live. And in every important fair, there's a ring and a fight night. How does Thailand celebrate such important events as Mother's Day? You guess right: Muay Thai.
Boxing is deeply rooted in Thailand and ingrained from childhood, and that makes everything different. Training Muay Thai in Thailand is different – and for some, better – due to how the sport is a part of local culture.
So, Muay Thai in Thailand is different than Muay Thai in the West. In part, because of how it is mixed with the local culture. Here are some important differences:
- In Thailand, there are huge stadiums for Muay Thai fight nights. Every day in Bangkok and in a lot of parts of the country there's important events. No matter the day you want to enjoy fights, there will be a place holding combats close to you.
- Muay Thai is mixed up with tradition. The sarama music during the fights, the dancing before the bell marks the start of the show; this is a ritual and a business as well: there's gambling, entry tickets, ads and much more as you would expect with a huge national sport.
- There are rules, of course. But don't expect the same serious stuff as in the West, especially when we talk about local events. In those cases, the weigh-in could be avoided and even fighters can come up from the crowd if someone wants to make some extra cash.
- There are few rules in the amateur version of the sport. Almost every fight lasts 3 or 5 rounds of three minutes each round. The only protection for fighters is their gloves and the groin protector. No shin guards and naked elbows make the sport more powerful... and dangerous.
- If you are a Muay Thai fighter in the West, the normal way to progress in your career is from the lower classes up to the big events. In Thailand, it is easy to go for the big shots very soon if you perform well.
Even though it is a powerful combat sport, Muay Thai in Thailand is way less violent. Yeah, the kicks are powerful, and the elbows can crush bones, not to mention the deadly knee blows.
Wait, did we really say that Thai Boxing is not as violent as in Europe or America? Mainly, yes. Muay Thai in the West is way more emotional, and that brings a lot of violence.
In the West, people discover Thai boxing quite late, so there's a lot of rush to do perform well and to achieve goals sooner. That makes things speed up.
Plus, defeats are worse in the West than in Thailand. Because if you lost a fight, people will remember that until your next fight. But in Thailand people fight very often. And if you're going to hit the ring in two or three weeks, that defeat is less annoying.
So, why is Muay Thai in Thailand less violent than in the West? Mainly, because people here started to practice boxing very soon in their lives. They feel it is more like a game; an enjoyable experience in some ways.
If the hits of Thai fighters are really hard it is because they started practicing very soon and they are devoted to the sport. But they want to win the fight by their strategy more than relying on brute force. Western fighters, on the contrary, are often more focused on pure power.
Training Differences Between Muay Thai in Thailand and in the West
Before hitting the ring in Thailand, you should know some of the differences between training in Muay Thai in Thailand compared to the West.
- Muay Thai in Thailand is performed open-air. Forget about the indoor air-conditioned places.
- Fighters in the West try to move fast. And sometimes they try to get around the ring quite a lot. They try to be more explosive.
- On the contrary, Thai fighters tend to stay on the ground and measure their moves carefully. They are less explosive in their movements, but they are more powerful when kicking or punching. They step slower than foreigners, but they can be more deadly.
- For Thai professionals, a fight is sometimes like a chess game. They tend to analyze their opponents before striking. Developing a strategy is a must.
- Both fighters have the same arsenal of blows available. But Thais rely more on the middle-kick for some of the important strikes... but if they have an open spot, they will try to perform an elbow hit.
- Clinch is somewhat like a culture in Thailand. If you want to do it the Thai way, you should improve your clinching techniques.
Certainly, Muay Thai in Thailand compared to Muay Thai in the West is a more authentic experience. So, we encourage you to try to train in Muay Thai in Bangkok at least once in a lifetime. You won't regret it.