The Differences Between Muay Thai and Boxing

Raleigh Boxing GymsMuay Thai and Western boxing do share some similarities. However, the two sports are also worlds apart and very different.

Muay Thai will include a few elements of boxing, but you cannot fight like a boxer in a Muay Thai competition. If you do, bad things will probably happen and you might lose the match. Some professional boxers fall victim to this as they try to transition into Muay Thai. They compete in a boxer’s stance which leaves them exposed to vicious leg kicks.

That being said, Muay Thai practitioners that train and learn Western boxing benefit greatly. Have a boxing background can help some students better understand how to more effectively use their hands during Muay Thai sparring and competitions.

In this series we are going to break down all the differences that we feel are important between the two sports.

Differences Between Muay Thai and Boxing

So what are the main differences between the two sports? Obviously, Muay Thai includes kicks, knees, elbows, and clinching, but when you break down both sports you’ll find there are more differences than these. These include your foot stance, hips, and hand positions to name a few. Let’s start with how the foot stances are different.

Boxing vs Muay Thai Stance

The Muay Thai Stance – Traditionally, this stance is very forward and square. Hands will be straight with the tops at either above or just below the forehead. Forearms should be pointing out towards your opponent. Elbows should be pointed out just slightly with your hips facing forward. This will allow you to throw lead and rear kicks, knees and elbows, as well as check kicks.

Weight shifts back and forth to both feet due to the kicks, knees, elbows, punches, and clinching. Here is a short overview of the Muay Thai stance:

  • Feet will be about shoulder width apart
  • Front foot slightly curved in at a 10 degree angle
  • Rear foot slightly curved out at a 45 degree angle
  • Hip angle about 30-45 degrees
  • Weight slightly on the back foot and lighter on front foot in starting position
  • Heel of rear foot slightly lifted

The Basic Boxing Stance – Typically, a boxer’s stance is more narrow than that of Muay Thai. The boxer’s head and back should be leaning slightly forward. The hips are also much more pointed back at a 50-80 degree angle. The major difference between the two stances are the hips for the boxer’s stance.

For Muay Thai stances, the hips are more forward and square to allow kick checking and the ability to quickly kick from the back leg. The boxing stance aims to give as small of a target to the opponent as possible while maintaining stability. This is accomplished by turning the hips outward and counterclockwise. This stance offers up the body as less of a target, but can open up the front leg to kicks.

Here is an overview of the boxer’s stance:

  • Feet are a little wider than shoulder width
  • Lead foot curved in at a 10-15 degree angle and planted flat on the ground
  • Heel of rear foot lifted off ground slightly
  • Rear foot curved out at least 45 degrees and sometimes even 90 degrees, depending on the type of stance you maintain
  • Weight should be evenly distributed between front and back legs
  • Spine/back slightly bent; it should not be completely straight

Don’t miss part two where we continue discussing the differences between Muay Thai and Western Boxing!

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Gracie Raleigh is not your traditional Raleigh boxing gym! Our Muay Thai program teaches the most effective ways to utilize punches, kicks, knees and elbows. Be prepared to get a great workout! Most classes will focus on bag work, pad work and partner drills. We even offer free classes so you can try before you buy.

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