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Muay Thai Vs Taekwondo: A Head-To-Head Comparison

muay thai vs taekwondo comparison
muay thai vs taekwondo

Comparing two martial arts is never easy, as it requires in-depth knowledge of both. Muay Thai and Taekwondo are two pretty much different fighting styles. Stance, blocking, strike trajectories, philosophy… There are very few similarities between these two martial arts.

When people hear Muay Thai vs Taekwondo, the first thing that comes to their mind is perfect kicks versus knees, clinch, and elbows. But that’s a 100% wrong approach because there are hidden areas of Taekwondo that can’t be seen in the competition (fans of Hwoarang and Baek Doo San in Tekken know what I’m talking about).

The ancient Siamese martial art offers more liberal rules, but a kicking phenom can turn the lights out too. Please read on to get to know the major differences between the traditional Korean and the ancient Siamese martial art.

Good Sides Of Muay Thai

Muay Thai fighters can take a beating. They can take part in violent 5-round brawls and remain on their feet, eating shot after shot. A good Thai boxer is trained to march forward and tolerate an enormous amount of pain. Bleeding or excessive injury will not stop them.

Clinching is the trademark of Muay Thai due to violent elbows, knees, and sweeps. If you’re pummeled by a Muay Thai expert, you’ll have a hard time evading the position, plus there’s a huge probability of eating numerous shots before setting yourself free.

muay thai kids

Elbows are also a great way to hurt your opponent. Close-range striking is a lovely side of Muay Thai because Thai warriors might hurt even the best boxers inside the stance. An elbow will more likely cut the opponent open and lead to a potential fight-ending blow.

The syntax “toughest shins in the world” definitively refers to Muay Thai. Thai boxing experts mostly hit blunt objects and bamboo trees to make their shins tougher. If a shin-to-shin collision happens, you’ll probably hurt yourself easily, unless you worked hard on your shin conditioning in the past.

Finally, Thai boxing champions are famous for a level change. Over the years, I’ve heard many negative comments. People believe that Muay Thai fighters are one-dimensional, but it is 100% wrong. Watch a championship fight and tell me how many times you saw punch to the head plus leg kick, combos are very often.

Good Sides Of Taekwondo

Taekwondo is known for its outstanding kicks. I guarantee there’s no better martial art when it comes to kicks and combos. The Taekwondo specialist can try to kick you five or more times in a row, both from long and close-range.

The black belt of ancient Korean martial art can swarm you with kicks for the whole round. Movement and footwork are also a trademark of Taekwondo, which means a fight in the open space (street or parking lot) makes more sense, while the bout in the Muay Thai ring leads to many disadvantages.

taekwondo training

Do you want to know the trademark of Taekwondo? Well, it is hard to say, because every fighter has his own most powerful strike. But I’d vote for spinning heel kick or spinning back kick to the head/body. Spinning counters are a great way to turn the lights out on an aggressive opponent, especially if you’re a southpaw.

You can see a lot of level change in Taekwondo, despite rules prohibit kicking under the belt. It is never easy to score a point with a body kick combo because many opponents keep their hands low. But even the slightest touch to the head activates the electronic sensor.

Another wonderful advantage of Taekwondo is feinting. A world-class competitor will feint 5-7 times before he attempts to kick/punch his opponent. It is an outstanding way to confuse your enemy.

The final lovely side of Taekwondo refers to counters. Many argue that Taekwondo athletes only retreat and land fade away oblique kick, but that’s not true at all. There are many ways to move to your left/right and land knockout blows – the weight is distributed on both legs evenly.

Muay Thai Vs Taekwondo – Getting Straight To The Point

I’m going to break this topic down, aspect by aspect. Please read the in-depth Muay Thai vs Taekwondo analysis ladies and gentlemen! Let me get the show on the road!

  • Punches

The advantage undoubtedly goes to Muay Thai. Thai boxing allows punches to the head and body, which means more options to the fighter. Thai boxers are definitively known for better fists to the head and better circular strikes (hooks and overhands).

Yet, there is one advantage of Taekwondo – a straight punch to the body, called jireugi. This punch is a very good option when you’re trying to counter somebody throwing kicks or easy-to-see haymakers. Every other punch goes in the favor of Muay Thai.

  • Elbows

Some elbow strikes exist in traditional Taekwondo, but you won’t see it in the competition, while Muay Thai bases close-range fighting on the powerful bond between punches and elbows.

  • Knees

Unfortunately, knees are prohibited by Taekwondo rules, while Muay Thai offers 10+ lovely knees. Each of them can lead to a wonderful way of turning the lights out on the opponent. Oh, don’t forget flying knee attempts, so I have no dilemma here – another point for the ancient Siamese martial art.

Sorry, but I will have to analyze more types of kicking. Thanks for your patience!

  • Low Kicks

Muay Thai low kicks are brutal, especially slashing low kick. It cannot be checked with a regular block (only Fedor’s block works against it – putting your elbow and knee together). You can modify Taekwondo low kicks, which leads to a greater chance of scoring a point.

Muay Thai low kick is stronger, while Taekwondo low kick is faster and more accurate. Yet, a Taekwondo strike leads to bigger chances of hurting yourself. So I will have to give a slight advantage to Thai boxing.

  • Kicking Above The Belt

Taekwondo rocks in this aspect of the game. Muay Thai kicks are strong but way slower. The Taekwondo black belt kicks way faster and he’ll connect easier, which means a greater chance of turning the lights out. Especially spinning strikes like a tornado kick or a spinning heel kick.

  • Counter-kicks

This is the weakest area of Muay Thai, as counter-kicks kinda don’t exist. Taekwondo is mostly based on counter kicks, which means discussing this topic is pointless.

  • Movement and Footwork

Good Muay Thai athletes, like Buakaw Banchamek, are known for excellent footwork and evading strikes. But Taekwondo’s step-drag forward and step-drag backward rock. Lateral movements are better too, so one point goes in the favor of Korean martial art.

  • Stance

Taekwondo athletes keep their hands lower and protect mid-section well, while their head protection is so-so. Muay Thai stance leaves your body exposed cause you keep your fists above the level of the forehead.

Muay Thai athletes will have greater chances of protecting the head and catching kicks, while Taekwondo athlete protects the mid-section better. Head strikes lead to KO blow more often, so one point for the ancient Siamese martial art.

  • Level Change

For me, this is the toughest Muay Thai Vs Taekwondo parameter. Level change is equally important in both martial arts, but I will favor Muay Thai here because athletes are mostly trained to finish every head or body strike with a kick to the legs.

  • Strike Power

I know you’ll disagree, but sorry guys, Taekwondo offers more powerful strikes, and this video proves my claims.

  • Street Fight

No doubt on this, I favor Muay Thai. You’ll end up in a bad spot many times in the street because the opponent will probably try to grab you to take you down. Thai boxing teaches you to counter off the clinch and destroy the opponent with powerful elbows and knees, but sweeps will work too.

Taekwondo will help you to protect yourself in the open space, but it is pretty much hard to use it in the bar or a small space. Plus, you might have a hard time kicking the opponent to the head if you wear jeans. So, one point for Muay Thai again.

  • Level of Entertainment

It depends on what you prefer, but I vote for Taekwondo because a good fight and a lot of spinning strikes will leave the crowd breathless. But if you prefer a lot of powerful shots and massive injuries, I think you’ll rather watch Muay Thai.


I hope you understood the difference between Muay Thai and Taekwondo now. The Korean martial art has stricter rules, which means you might have a hard time in the street fight, but leads to more entertaining competitions.

Taekwondo is known for some of the greatest kicks and counterstrikes in the world, while Thai boxing is an offensive martial art that relies on the lethal combination of 8 limbs – punches, elbows, knees, and kicks.

If the two martial artists compete, Thai boxers would have greater chances in the ring. But if it’s an open space, superb kicks and movement might give an advantage to Taekwondo. I’d favor a Thai boxer to win the contest.

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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