Capoeira vs Muay Thai: which one is more effective and why?

Capoeira vs Muay Thai: which combat system is better for self-defense?

When it comes to martial arts I have always divided them into two major categories: the effective ones and the less effective ones. And by effective I mean useful in a real fight when you have to defend yourself and others around you from the attacker.

That said, there are some styles which are just a pleasure to watch. Capoeira is one of them.

Capoeira vs Muay Thai: which one is more effective in a street fight?

I had a sparring with a French Capoeira fighter once and it was a great experience. Capoeira's moves are smooth and interesting to watch. Another thing that I like about it is that it's full on unconventional and unorthodox attacks. Some of the moves are very distractive and I think that's where the biggest strength of Capoeira lies. That said, I was able to control the fight most of the time and to enforce my own pace and a gameplay on my opponent. I think Capoeira lacks a few basic moves to be more effective. I would like to take a closer look at some of them:

  • very limited short distance attacks. Punches are very limited and there is no clinch game or any clinch defense. It is a major disadvantage, especially fighting someone with Muay Thai background who likes to deliver a powerful combination of kicks and punches. And then, since there's no effective clinch defense, to get into neck wrestling to do even more damage.
  • Capoeira strikes - kicks mostly - are powerful but Muay Thai attacks are equally strong, more direct and quicker. Some of the Capoeira kicks are very dynamic and got a lot of power, and furthermore, the strike angles are unorthodox so they got a potential to surprise the opponent. Thai Boxing kicks are more straight forward and accurate.
  • The main defensive move in Capoeira is evasion. Once caught in the corner or forced to fight in a short distance Capoerista is almost defenseless. Muay Thai defense is based on blocks, deflections and explosive counter-attacks. It is easy for Thai Boxer to defend himself even with his back against the ropes.
  • another thing is body conditioning. Capoeira will keep you fit and flexible but there are just a few martial arts that are as demanding as Thai boxing is. Proper Muay Thai training prepares you to be able to compete at the highest levels - semi-pro and pro - included. If you want to condition your body to be able to deal and to absorb a great amount of damage, go with Muay Thai.
  • and now one of the best testers: Mixed Martial Arts. Which style is more dominant in the cage or octagon? Honestly, I don't know any top level fighter utilizing Capoeira style in any major MMA promotion. Anderson Silva may be the only one, but he is an avid Muay Thai practitioner also. He has a Capoeira yellow rope but most of the strikes he uses in UFC are Muay Thai based attacks, like powerful knee strikes and kicks.

Both styles are explosive and it is interesting to watch them in action. Capoeira will give you gymnastic abilities and flexibility. It will provide you with a good base on which you can build upon. Muay Thai, on the other hand, is complete and ready to use fighting system.

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