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How Effective Is Muay Thai For Self Defense? 8 Questions Answered

self defense
muay thai for self defense

I have never been an aggressive person but there are situations when you must react. If you stay away from people who tend to cure their frustrations on you, their toxicity will affect you mentally. You’ll turn into a very insecure person, which might lead to dangerous consequences in the later stages of your life.

You can hide behind “I don’t need violence in my life” but mark my words – sometimes you’ll have to protect yourself. I was thinking about the efficacy of Muay Thai for self defense, and I discovered many positive sides of ancient Siamese martial art. Use it wisely and even the most dangerous opponent will have a hard time against you.

I will try to describe this problem step by step, analyzing as many situations as possible. Read carefully and you’ll discover the real power of Thai boxing against bullies.

Muay Thai For Self Defense – The Power Of Clinching

Some bullies are intelligent, while others are full of confidence and “unbeatable”. An unrealistic attacker with a huge level of self-esteem is a piece of cake for any master of martial arts. Why? Because he believes you’ll go down after a slap or repeated threats. Yet, when the bully knows to fight and doesn’t underestimate you, you’ll have to be more technical. That’s when Muay Thai self defense comes to the fore!

I will answer some questions and analyze specific situations. Let’s start with questions but don’t get shocked!

  • Can a Muay Thai fighter defend against an attacker who clinches up? As well as you know, Muay Thai is known for some of the best clinches in the world, alongside Lethwei and Muay Boran. An opponent who holds you is a dream opponent for a Thai boxing expert.
  • What happens if a bully wants to slap you and show supremacy? Well, if you survive his sucker punch attempt, there will be many options for you. Low kick, long-range strikes, striking inside the pocket, and powerful Muay Thai pummel. Sweeps work too. I am sure this is also a dream opponent for you.
  • Bully wants to kick you to the body, good or bad? Good for you, bad for him. Muay Thai fighters are trained to catch kicks and hit the standing leg. Eureka!
  • Takedowns – well, let me be honest with you, this is hard to defend unless you’re a good wrestler or a BJJ specialist. Yet, you have options. My advice – if you want to turn Muay Thai into a good takedown defense martial art, learn to sprawl and train your straight knee.
  • Bully puts in your face – aw, yeah, common baby! The distance is small and headbutts are not allowed in Muay Thai combat, but don’t forget the elbows, the trademark of Muay Thai for self-defense! Superb close-range strike, don’t you think so? The bully is going down, your clinch will piece him apart!
  • An opponent is on your back, with his hand wrapped around your waist – well, you can land elbows, but evading this position could be tricky. Also, if the opponent jumps on your back, pure Muay Thai will not help you to set yourself free.
  • Muay Thai slashing low kick – in kickboxing and other martial arts, checking the kick will eliminate its power. But downward roundhouse (or slashing) low kick is very hard to defend, especially cause it can harm the opponent’s calf too. Its trajectory is tricky, plus it is powerful and hard to defend. A piece of pie for a street battle.
  • Ground fighting – unfortunately, bad spot when it comes to Muay Thai for self defense. Unless you have basic wrestling or BJJ knowledge, you could get reversed easily. You must modify your elbows and punches, which require at least a basic knowledge of ground and pound striking. Elbows can cut the opponent open easily.

Analyzing Real Fight Example

All right guys, let’s get to know the real power of Muay Thai for self defense.

This Muay Thai cop showed the real power of Muay Thai for self defense and taught this bully a lesson. Despite the warning, the violent guy was looking for combat.

The cop countered foe’s right hook with a straight punch and followed up with two strong hooks.

Then the cop transitions to a single-collar clinch and attacks with a right uppercut. Clinch again and great dirty boxing by cop, a lot of uppercuts. Then they separate, and the cop swarms with hooks all over the place. The bully starts to circle, but the transit cop is faster and long-range punches are making a lot of damage.

Despite the officer annihilated this dude, the fight didn’t end via KO. This guy is made of iron, but the cop controlled the fight and showed us the positive sides of Muay Thai for self defense. His opponent should’ve been an MMA fighter, he’d probably get signed by the UFC!


I think you can proudly use Muay Thai for self defense, as long as you are not dragged to the ground. Even when you have an opponent on your back, you can land brutal elbows and affect his grip. But you’ll need a bit of Judo or wrestling to set yourself free.

Ground fighting is a whole different world. Despite powerful elbows that can cut the opponent open, you’ll hardly end up on top every single time. Keep the fight standing, react quickly, and you’ll have huge chances to defend yourself. Muay Thai, alongside Lethwei and Muay Boran, is one of the best stand-up martial arts for self-protection.

Last Updated on May 21, 2022 by Deni

Picture of Deni


Hi, I started training Muay Thai back in 2016 and fell in love with it. So I decided to create this blog in the pursuit of this passion and share my experience with you.

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