Capoeira vs Muay Thai: which style is more effective in a real fight?


Capoeira vs Muay Thai: which style works better in a real fight?

In general, we can divide martial arts into two major groups: those that performs well in a real fight and those that do not.

Let's check to which category Capoeira belongs to.



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


I had a pleasure to spar with a French Capoeira practitioner once and it was a great experience. Capoeira's moves are smooth and interesting to watch.
It is also full on unconventional and unorthodox moves. Some, like cartwheel kick were even borrowed by Muay Thai.

Capoeira's movement is very distractive and I think that's where the biggest strength of this style lies. Being able to distract and fool your opponent counts as an advantage.

That said, I was focused and able to control the fight most of the time. I could also enforce my own fighting pace on my opponent. He didn't have many tools to defend himself against my constant pressure.



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 strikes. In Capoeira punching techniques are very basic and limited. There's also no clinch game or any clinch defense.

    This is a major disadvantage against Muay Thai fighter who likes to deliver a powerful combination of kicks and punches. And since there's no effective clinch defense, to get into neck wrestling to do even more damage.
  • Capoeira kicks are powerful. 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.
    In Muay Thai kicks are equally strong but also more direct and faster.
  • 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 important 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 "ring ready". It conditions your body to be able to deal - and to absorb - a great amount of damage.
  • And the last point which I'd like to make is how each style performs in MMA. Which style is more dominant in the octagon? Honestly, I don't know any top level fighter utilizing Capoeira style in any major MMA promotion.

    I think Anderson Silva may be the only one. But he is an also an avid Muay Thai practitioner. He has a Capoeira yellow rope but most of the strikes he utilizes in octagon are based on Muay Thai.

    When it comes to Muay Thai, most fighters utilize it as their main stand-up striking style.

Capoeira vs Muay Thai: a summary


Both styles are stand-up striking martial arts but they represent a different philosphy of fighting.
Both are explosive and interesting to watch.

Capoeira will provide you with gymnastic abilities and flexibility but it teach you a very effective fighting skills.
Muay Thai, on the other hand, is complete and "ring ready" fighting system.


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