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What Are The Muay Thai Weaknesses and How To Dominate Them?

tired muay thai fighter
muay thai weaknesses

Muay Thai is one of the greatest and most well-rounded striking martial arts in the world. Yet, it is vulnerable to specific fighting styles and game plans.

I will get to know you with Muay Thai weaknesses, but you must be aware that every chain has the weakest link. Work hard, upgrade your skills and you’ll be able to parry everybody.

What Are The Greatest Muay Thai Weaknesses?

Muay Thai fighters are learned to pressure, brawl, and fish for the knockout by any means necessary. It means retreat is not an option. It makes sense at the lower levels competitions.

But when you meet a tactical expert, you can’t throw random strikes because he’ll understand your mechanics and anticipate your moves.

The list of Muay Thai weaknesses includes:

  • Lateral movement and angles;
  • Counters;
  • Spinning back kicks;
  • Hooks and overhands;
  • Feinting;
  • Ground game;
  • Calf kicks;
  • Grabbing limbs;
  • Lack of tactical aspect of the game.

Let me analyze it step-by-step. I will try to focus on every single aspect of the game. When you know the weak sides, you might easily dominate a Muay Thai specialist.

Why Muay Thai Lacks In Lateral Movement?

It is easy – Thai fighters mostly march forward and attack the opponent on the central line. The old-school MMA was known for it, but winds are changing. Stationary targets can fire back, but fighting toe-to-toe leads to wasting too much energy and early stoppages. You’ll rarely see someone taking part in a close combat fight for five rounds unless he’s on EPO.

One of the greatest Muay Thai weaknesses comes as a consequence of poor pivoting and sidestepping. Lateral moves open new angles and let you hit the opponent from different distances.

High-level Muay Thai warriors move like cats inside the clinch, but they usually fire back on the central line when the foe starts weathering the storm.

I am not calling it a mistake, but you’ll take too much unnecessary damage, which will shorten the length of your career. A good example for this claim is a great aggressive Thai striker Rodtang.

What Makes Thai Fighters Vulnerable To Counters?

You must open at least one area of your body when you attack your opponent. I will give you a basic example. Right straight punch will open the area on the left of your stomach and the right part of your head unless you keep your left hand in the level of your chin to block the potential right-hand counter.

Muay Thai is based on attacks, taking “necessary” damage to finish the fight. You’ll rarely see Thai fighters turning their backs or moving sideways. Check hook, or every punch counter could work from mid-range. The same rule works for kicks and knees. But it is very hard to counter a Thai boxer in the clinch.

Why Fighters With Taekwondo Background Call Spinning Kicks “A Death Penalty” For Muay Thai Fighters?

Taekwondo focuses on kicks, and it’s pretty useless in the clinch. Yet, attacking a Taekwondo specialist with a body kick or a low kick might be a death sentence, especially when you’re doing it too slow.

The master of Korean martial art could counter you with a spinning heel kick, a spinning back kick to the body or a roundhouse kick to the head.

Also, Muay Thai fighters usually leave the mid-section open due to high guard, which means they are open for offensive spinning back kicks to the body all day long. It is very hard to block this strike with a shin. And you can forget about catching a leg too!

What Makes Hooks And Overhands So Dangerous?

Muay Thai guard is narrow. Hands are very close to each other, especially when the fighter covers up. The experienced fighters are aware of that. They tend to change levels and finish the combination with a hook or overhand.

Here’s the problem – offensive hooks and overhands are some of the greatest Muay Thai weaknesses as they find their way around the guard and hit the temple or the area behind the ear. It might lead to a massive knockout blow.

Why Feinting Works?

punch block

Thai warriors rarely feint, they rather throw five or six strikes in a row, trying to finish their opponents. Yet, feinting is a very important part of the game, as it confuses the enemy and forces him to block fake attacks. It creates an opening in specific areas of the body.

Why Ground Game Works?

You don’t learn the control from the top, sweeps, or submission attempts/defense in a Muay Thai class. Yes, it is definitively one of the greatest Muay Thai weaknesses because someone who has never trained in grappling martial art will have zero ground skills.

It is not particularly hard to take a Thai warrior down, especially when you come from Judo or wrestling. But again, there are many options to counter a takedown attempt. Yet, as soon as the Thai fighter is on the canvas, the majority of his most powerful weapons are neutralized.

When a Muay Thai fighter chooses to join the MMA dojo, you’ll see a positive transfer on his ground and pound skills and striking from the top. Elbows and hammer-fists are easy to apply, even from the bottom.

Is Calf Kick One Of Muay Thai Weaknesses?

Yes, it is. Thai warriors tend to block the incoming attacks by checking kicks, but it is very hard to block a strike to the calf by raising your leg from the floor.

Calf kick mostly goes around the block and hits the lateral area of your calves. You’ll have to rotate your body towards the enemy’s limb to parry the attack. This move is not allowed in a Thai boxing bout, but it could be dangerous everywhere else.

You can easily defend a calf kick with a step-drag backward but Muay Thai fighters rarely do that because of their warrior spirit. They’ll rather stand and bang.

How About Grabbing Limbs?

Well, a skillful opponent will not wait when you get a hold of his limb. There are so many options, especially in an MMA bout. Yes, Thai boxer gets the advantage but it is undoubtedly one of Muay Thai’s weaknesses.

Joaquin Buckley put Impa Kasanganay to sleep with a jumping spinning back kick to the head, many options are open before a Muay Thai fighter hits your standing leg!

Can Muay Thai Fighter Come Up With A Great Tactical Game Plan?

Yes, but only if he’s an advanced fighter with years of experience. Poor tactics are one of the greatest Muay Thai weaknesses because coaches don’t pay much attention to this aspect of the game. They usually tell their fighters to brawl, fire back, and try to knock their enemies out in the lower-level competitions.

Professional fighters can circle or clinch up and disrupt or counter the foe’s strikes. Yet, it demands a lot of experience and a very dedicated coach.

An example of a great game plan was seen in the bout between Buakaw Banchamek and Masato. Banchamek didn’t fight toe-to-toe with a Japanese kickboxer all the time. He rather chose to land two or three strikes, waiting for the opponent’s mistakes and clinching (which gave him an edge at the end, Pramuk won via decision).

How To Dominate A Muay Thai Fighter?

Don’t try to beat him in his backyard, forget about clinching. If you get close, shoot in or try chain wrestling out. Change levels and move like a cat, wait for the perfect opportunity to counter. They can eat a lot of shots.

Muay Thai fighters tolerate an enormous amount of pain thanks to shin and thigh conditioning. You’ll hardly chop them down, but aim to the calves or try to drag the fight to the ground. Pivoting and side steps disrupt their game, head movement irritates them. You can tire them out if you let them miss.

Stay away from the toe-to-toe exchange, anticipate their movements, and fire back whenever you can. Feint before attempting a low kick, your shins are weaker, you might get hurt. Swarm only when you rock them. If it’s an MMA fight, feint a lot and mask your takedown attempt with strikes because you might get countered and put to sleep.


Thai boxing is one of the most perfect striking martial arts, but every style has its good and weak sides. I told you that beginners stay on the central line, while the majority of advanced fighters make fewer and fewer mistakes. Yet, in general, the greatest problem in Muay Thai is the fact that the majority of warriors fight with their hearts.

You might have the greatest heart in the world, but a good game plan and strategy can be vital, especially when you’re dealing with a very skillful opponent. What are your thoughts on Muay Thai weaknesses? Would you add something to this article?

Last Updated on May 21, 2022 by 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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