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Why Is Muay Thai Good For Self-Defense? 7 Main Reasons

self defense

Have you ever been attacked on the street or bullied in school? Did you defend yourself successfully or not? Did you end up with a lot of bruises all over your head and body? Could it go another way around against a bigger guy who played God if you trained ancient Siamese martial art?

muay thai good for self-defense

Yeah, too many unanswered questions for the first paragraph. But I am trying to reply to the question “is Muay Thai good for self-defense”. So my questions 100% make sense.

I will elaborate step by step on what makes Muay Thai good for self-defense. You can use Thai boxing in a street fight so easily, even when you’re a newbie. But please, make sure to follow our guidelines, otherwise, you’ll get battered, especially when an experienced bully tries to cure his frustrations on you.

Is Muay Thai Good For Self-Defense? Advantages/Shortcomings

Thai boxing is a great choice for self-defense, even when you square off against a big heavy cocky dude. Underestimating the master of the Siamese martial art is one of the worst mistakes an attacker can make. I will elaborate good and bad sides step by step. Then I will pinpoint 7 main reasons that make Muay Thai good for self-defense.

Here is the list of the greatest Muay Thai self-defense advantages:

  • Stance – hitting Muay Thai expert to the head is very hard because of the stance, hands are in the level of the forehead, while bodies and legs are rock-solid;
  • You can eat many shots – Thai boxing experts can take a beating and win the fight;
  • Pummeling and sweeps – every single time a bully tries to get in your face or intimidate you, he’ll get his ass whooped;
  • Combos – you’ll rarely see a Muay Thai fighter looking for a one-punch knockout, they rather change levels, which confuses bullies.
  • Marching forward – the majority of Thai fighters aggressively trade barbs with the opponent;
  • Calmness – the attacker wants to scare you and take over the control, but Muay Thai teaches you to stay calm under pressure.
  • Catching kicks – oh, this is a huge surprise for a bully, because they kick weaker people to the body when they want to show total domination. Yet, I’d stay away from an oblique kick against a Muay Thai expert for an obvious reason – counters.

Unfortunately, Muay Thai has some weak spots too:

  • Takedown defense – you can push your stomach backward when you evade body kick, but there is no sprawling. The easiest way to defend is a straight knee, but you have less than one second to react.
  • Fighting off your back – there are many world-class elbow strikes in Muay Thai, but you don’t learn transitions and submissions, which means trouble if you end up on your back;
  • Bully on your back – if he tries to sink the arm under your neck, you’re in a trouble, cause Muay Thai dojos don’t learn you how to defend this move;
  • Ground strikes – Muay Thai offers some super-powerful ground elbows, but you must train MMA to learn it. Better get back on your feet as soon as possible.

Now I will try to elaborate on seven reasons that make Muay Thai good for self-defense. Please read on carefully, you might learn something new!

1. Stance

In Muay Thai, your hands are leveled with your forehead. This leaves your stomach vulnerable to the opponent’s attacks, but that’s a positive side. Why?


Well, the bully will mostly try to humiliate you via powerful slaps or head strikes because he subconsciously wants to dominate you. Oh, the attacker believes he’s stronger too.

Good head protection leaves limited options to the bully. After you block or counter few punches, your foe will be forced to grab you and try to take the fight to the ground.

I believe that the stance makes Muay Thai good for self-defense due to three reasons – head protection, controlling the distance, and the ability to counter (for example, you can eat a slap to deliver a brutal right hook and turn the lights out on your enemy).

2. Eating Shots

I know it sounds odd, but Muay Thai fighters are incredibly tough. In Thailand, kids start training at the age of 5-7. They are getting battered from time to time, which means their bodies will tolerate harder hits and more damage as time goes by.

eating shots

The bully believes his one-punch street strike will intimidate you and put you to sleep. But if the attacker sees that you tolerate pain and laugh at his face, he’ll think two times before he attacks you again.

For example, when you try to land a straight punch, a Muay Thai warrior will sometimes intentionally move his head to eat a punch to the forehead, but the strike won’t rock him. Unless the bully starts swarming, he’ll end up on the floor in the split of a second!

3. Pummeling And Sweeps

I believe this is the number one reason that makes Muay Thai good for self-defense. Let me analyze bully’s behavior and most often attacks.

The attacker’s high self-esteem might be a big problem for him. He’ll march towards you and put in your face, grab your jacket, or try to slap or hit you. But that’s one of the worst things one can do to a Muay Thai fighter!

Whenever you come close to the Muay Thai fighter, his first reaction is grabbing your neck and setting up a double-collar tie (pummel) or single-collar tie position. Even if the bully comes from a wrestling background, 90% of Thai boxers will start landing powerful knees to the head and body. It leads to a huge problem for the violent cocky attacker.

But even if he grabs you, you can teach him a lesson. Yet, sweeps are learned after a few months of training, so this could be tricky for a rookie, but not for the intermediate or advanced practitioners. By the way, unless the attacker sleeps you with a first shot, he’ll be surprised by your level of toughness!

4. Combos

Combos also make Muay Thai good for self-defense, because the majority of non-fighters will hit the attacker once or twice. In extreme cases, they might try to wrestle (fear usually paralyzes the victim and she does nothing to defend).


Yet, a Thai boxer will mostly choose to land shot after shot as a countermeasure. Most of the dojos are known for brawling and violent exchanges. You’ll rarely see amateur Muay Thai fighter circling and landing technical shots.

The bully will be shocked and surprised for sure, which means he might take a beating! Let me give you an example. When the attacker hits a Muay Thai fighter, the master of the ancient Siamese martial art will start changing levels, for example – punch to the body, elbow to the head, low kick. I bet the powerful bully will eat at least two out of three strikes!

5. Marching Forward

This is another positive aspect of Muay Thai for self-defense. The attacker believes you’ll think he’s gonna beat the sh*t out of you. He thinks you will beg him not to hurt you because he dominates and decides what is going to happen next.

But the Muay Thai warrior is trained to fight until the last dying breath under pressure. It means the majority of Thai fighters will start swarming the opponent with nasty bombs. They are trained to brawl and fire back, retreat is not an option. The “fearless” attacker might even run away when he sees that you’re going forward and swinging.

6. Calmness

Do you know why bully attacks weaker people? Well, let me tell you. He knows the victim is afraid of him, so he wants a reaction. But a Muay Thai fighter is trained to stay calm under pressure.


Calmness also makes Muay Thai good for self-defense, because it leads to better thinking and wiser decisions. For example, if the fear paralyzes you, you might forget to block the right hook. It could lead to a serious injury. But a calm fighter will block or duck under and land a counterstrike – better thinking!

7. Catching Kicks

I’ll be honest, a bully will rarely go for a kick to the body unless he wants to humiliate you. But he breaks the golden rule – never attack a Muay Thai fighter with a slow body kick. When you move to the side and catch a kick, you can finish him via soccer kicks, foot stomps, or ground punches/elbows.

Muay Thai’s rules allow grabbing the opponent’s legs and hitting the standing leg. You can easily do it in a street fight.


So what do you think, is Muay Thai good for self-defense? I think it is one of the best striking martial arts to defend. As long as you keep the fight standing and don’t let the opponent take you down, you’re in control. Believe in yourself and don’t waste a second, react fast as lightning when you’re attacked!

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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