4 Traditional Muay Thai styles of fighting

Traditional Muay Thai styles have preserved ancient fighting techniques of Muay Boran which influenced the modern sport of Muay Thai.

Muay Thai is not a monolith as some of you may think so. It consists of 4 distinctive regional styles that were born and developed in different provinces of Thailand.

Let's take a closer look at them.

Muay Thai styles of fighting

Muay Chaiya

You've probably heard about this Muay Thi style since it was made famous by the 2007 Thai action film Muay Thai Chaiya. The name of this style refers to a province in southern Thailand where it was founded 200 years ago.

The main characteristics of the Muay Thai Chaiya style are:

  • The defense is part of your attack. Let your opponent hurt himself trying to hurt you
  • Chaiya puts a lot of pressure on footwork and movement.
  • The movements pattern is different than that in a sports Muay Thai
  • It allows throws and some limited grappling techniques which changes the overall flow of the fight

The defensive techniques of Muay Chaiya are not very widely taught in gyms. Modern ring Muay Thai is based on offensive fighting techniques. Muay Chaiya is considered one of the "softer" Muay Thai styles.

The defensive skills of Muay Chaiya make it a great style for personal self-defense.

Muay Korat

Muay Korat hails from Korat province which lies in the North-East part of Thailand. This style relies heavily on hard kicks and punches to get an edge over the opponent.

The main characteristics of this style are:

  • Powerful kicks and punches
  • Circling around the opponent and throwing strikes from various angles
  • Imposing dominance in the ring

This style is suitable for a dominant fighter who likes to enforce the tempo of the fight.

One of the notable Muay Thai fighters who utilize Muay Korat techniques is Buakaw who was born in Surin in North-East Thailand. Muay Korat is considered one of the "harder" Muay Thai styles.

Muay Lopburi

Muay Lopburi traces its origins to Lopburi province in Central Thailand. This style is more aggressive than Chaiya and is less suitable for self-defense.

The main features of this style are:

  • Quick and evasive footwork

This style is great for damaging your opponent with quick punches from a short distance and in a clinch fight. Thai fighters fighting with this style tend to be very technical.

Muay Tha Sao

Is is a Muay Thai style that originates from North Thailand. This style values speed and agility the most.

The main characteristics of Muay Tha Sao are:

  • Fast kicks
  • Fast and versatile movement
  • High adaptability to changing conditions in the fight
  • Muay Thao Sao fighters are keeping their arms high during a fight

The adepts of this style are trained to be able to switch stances easily during a fight.
This allows them to adapt to different fighting conditions and makes them uncomfortable fighting with their opponents. This way they can also protect their legs from getting too much damage from low kicks.

Click on this link to learn about other interesting Muay Thai traditions.

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