Timothy Wheaton is a combat sports writer who covers MMA, Kickboxing, and Muay Thai. Tim is the authority on kickboxing and combat sports journalist who has covered K-1, PRIDE FC, UFC, GLORY Kickboxing, Bellator, ONE Championship, and plenty more.
Let’s answer the question What Are The 8 Limbs Of Muay Thai? Muay Thai is a sport that ignites the curiosity of new fans eager to explore its thrilling techniques. As they embark on their journey into the realms of MMA or Muay Thai, one question echoes in their minds: “What Are The 8 Limbs Of Muay Thai?” We shall unravel the secrets of the powerful 8 limbs and even venture into the perilous realm of the legendary 9 limbs.
Long ago, in the ancient lands of Siam (Thailand), Muay Thai emerged as a formidable creation, born from the crucible of hand-to-hand combat on the treacherous battlefield. Its roots run deep in history, a testament to its enduring legacy. Today, this art has evolved into a regulated sport, with its own set of stringent rules, prestigious rankings, weight divisions, and coveted world titles. It stands proudly as one of the most potent forms of combat sports known to humanity.
In the realm of MMA, a fighter’s success demands a solid foundation in Muay Thai. Its relevance and impact on combat cannot be overstated. Just take a moment to marvel at the highest echelons of the MMA world, where legendary fighters like Anderson Silva, Valentina Shevchenko, and Jose Aldo have skillfully wielded the art of Muay Thai to conquer the UFC and seize the gold that adorned their waists. What Are The 8 Limbs Of Muay Thai? These UFC World Champions mastered each one.
What Are The 8 Limbs Of Muay Thai? – 8 Limbs Unveiled
The 8 limbs of Muay Thai are the limbs that a fighter can strike with; the fists, feet, knees, and elbows. Four limbs, each person has two, therefore, Muay Thai earned the name ‘The Art of 8 Limbs.’ Each region of striking, being fists, kicks, knees, and elbows, has proficient Nak Muay strikers who have mastered that area to become world champions. What Are The 8 Limbs Of Muay Thai? Take a look at the table below:
|Muay Mat||A fighter who is focused on punch attacks.|
|Muay Tae||A fighter who is focused on kick attacks.|
|Muay Khao||A fighter who is focused on knee attacks.|
|Muay Sok||A fighter who is focused on elbow attacks.|
Muay Thai a fighter can strike with fists, elbows, knees, and kicks, in addition to trips and sweeps in the clinch. This sets it apart from other striking sports such as kickboxing which does not allow clinching or elbows. However, such as in MMA, Muay Thai does not allow grappling on the ground even though you can toss an opponent to the mat.
Limb 1: Punches – Muay Mat
What Are The 8 Limbs Of Muay Thai? Let’s start with the fists. Muay Mat is a type of fighter who primarily uses punches. Punching is a vital part of the art of 8 limbs. Muay Mat fighters will focus on powerful flurries to overwhelm their opponents and aim for knockout wins. A fighter who defies convention and unleashes a relentless storm of explosive punches.
This fearless Nak Muay casts aside traditional techniques, opting instead for an aggressive, forward-moving style that seeks to overwhelm opponents with a flurry of strikes, leaving them sprawled on the canvas. Throughout the years, many Nak Muay have embraced this electrifying fighting style.
Classic fighters who use a Muay Mat style include Anuwat “Iron Hands of Siam” Kaewsamrit who etched his name in the annals of greatness by conquering the hallowed stadiums of Rajadamnern and Lumpinee. As the winds of change blew in, Western Muay Thai fighters like John Wayne Parr and the venerable Ramon Dekkers introduced the Muay Mat style to new audiences, while Thai fighters adapted their craft to Muay Thai.
Today, the spirit of the Muay Mat lives on, epitomized by the relentless force of Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon, the current ONE Championship Flyweight World Champion. With a bone-chilling blend of unyielding pressure and devastating hand combinations, Rodtang has emerged as the embodiment of the Muay Mat’s terrifying power, toppling opponents and etching his name in the pantheon of modern-day legends.
Limb 2: Kicks – Muay Tae
Kicking is a key part of mastering Muay Thai. What Are The 8 Limbs Of Muay Thai? Number two is a fighter’s feet or kicks. This renowned style, named Muay Tae, celebrated by legendary warriors such as Buakaw Banchamek and Yodsankalai Fairtex, has left an indelible mark on the realm of Nak Muay, or Thai Boxers.
The roundhouse kick stands tall as the most potent weapon in a Nak Muay’s arsenal, capable of unleashing bone-shattering leg strikes, incapacitating body shots, and the awe-inspiring spectacle of head kick knockouts that reverberate through time. The Muay Tae devote their entire careers to honing their kicking skills, tirelessly training on pads, heavy bags, and in countless sparring sessions, relentlessly perfecting the timing, precision, and execution of their signature technique.
Yet, do not be mistaken—these exceptional fighters are more than mere leg machines. They artfully employ a myriad of techniques to set up their devastating kicks, employing lightning-fast punch combinations to lull their opponents into dropping their guard, or craftily baiting kicks to swiftly check and counter with ruthless efficiency.
Kick attacks are vital in MMA and kickboxing as well. What Are The 8 Limbs Of Muay Thai, kicking can never be left off the table when asking this question.
Limb 3: Knees – Muay Khao
There are legendary Muay Thai fighters who have based their entire game around powerful knees. It is a vital element of one’s striking arsenal. Strikers who primarily focus on knee attacks are known as Muay Khao. What Are The 8 Limbs Of Muay Thai? Number three is the knees.
These relentless fighters, with their unwavering pressure and knee strikes that score like thunder, command the respect of judges and the adoration of spectators. Legends like Singdam and the iconic Dieselnoi Chor Thanasukarn have etched their names in the annals of Thai fighting history, dazzling audiences with their mesmerizing displays.
While often seen as a straightforward style, the Muay Khao possesses a myriad of striking patterns and subtle nuances, much like a Western boxer with an array of punches at their disposal. These fighters thrive in close quarters, applying unyielding pressure, and favoring an offensive approach. Through meticulous conditioning, they chip away at their opponents’ defenses, relentlessly targeting the torso before closing in for the clinch, where they unleash their knockout blows. Ask What Are The 8 Limbs Of Muay Thai and know that it is not complete without knees.
Limb 4: Elbows – Muay Sok
To round out a Muay Thai fighter, they will need dangerous elbows. What Are The 8 Limbs Of Muay Thai? The fourth are the elbows. Elbow strikes are not permitted in kickboxing. Among the distinctive hallmarks that separate this ancient combat sport from its Western counterpart is the masterful use of elbow strikes. A fighter who utilizes elbow strikes as their focus is known as a Muay Sok. The very essence of Muay Sok is captured in its name, with “Muay Sok” translating to “elbow fighter” in the Thai language.
At the heart of this fighting style stands a legendary figure—the golden age champion Yodkhunpon Sittraiphum, renowned as the “elbow hunter of 100 stitches.” With multiple titles secured in the hallowed arenas of Lumpinee and Rajadamnern, Yodkhunpon Sittraiphum epitomized the Muay Sok ideology, leaving a trail of bloodied opponents in his wake, regardless of the fight’s outcome.
These athletes thrive in the shortest of ranges, swiftly closing the distance by skillfully checking kicks and stepping forward with calculated aggression, always seeking to launch a rapid succession of devastating elbow strikes. Their fighting style is relentless and aggressive, utilizing footwork and relentless pressure to cut off the ring, forcing the fight to unfold within the domain where the Muay Sok shines brightest.
With an arsenal of elbow techniques at their disposal, these warriors unleash calculated fury from various ranges and positions. For example, while engaged in the clinch, they deftly employ the Sok Ngat, slipping through the center of the guard, and striking the chin while maintaining a defensive posture and arm positioning. What Are The 8 Limbs Of Muay Thai, this question matters and covered much of the sport but leaves out clinching, another unique fold of the martial art.
Putting all the 8 limbs together: Muay Femur
We have answered ‘What Are The 8 Limbs Of Muay Thai?’ being fists, elbows, knees, and kicks. There are fighters who focus on each limb to create a unique style and have earned a nickname. But what about the Muay Thai athletes who put it all together rather than focusing on one limb? These are called Muay Femur, the technical striker.
Muay Femur fighters who personify these qualities. Legends such as Saenchai, Namsaknoi Yudthagarngamtorn, and modern-day warriors like Nong-O Gaiyanghadao and Sam-A epitomize the grace and skill of this fighting style. Muay Femur fighters embrace a well-rounded approach to combat. They possess a vast arsenal of techniques and adapt their strategy as the fight unfolds, patiently searching for the perfect opportunity to strike. What Are The 8 Limbs Of Muay Thai, while separate, these fighters have mastered each area.
What sets the Muay Femur fighters apart and captivates fans across the globe is not just their breathtaking techniques and flawless timing. Instead of relentlessly attacking their opponent’s guard with power punches or bombarding their arms with kicks, they opt for a strategic and varied approach. By changing levels, and forcing shifts in balance and timing, they create openings to exploit, showcasing the pinnacle of Muay Thai finesse.
What about 9 limbs?
We’ve covered ‘What Are The 8 Limbs Of Muay Thai?’ but what about 9 limbs? If someone makes a comment on ‘The Art of 9 Limbs’ there are two things they could be referring to; Muay Boran or, more likely, Lethwei.
Muay Boran is the ancient term for Muay Thai that refers to the era before it had strict rules. Muay Boran, in some Thai regions, allowed headbutting in addition to the 8 limbs described. Therefore, sometimes it can be referred to the as the art of 9 limbs.
Lethwei is the combat sport of Myanmar, nicknamed Burmese boxing. It is still active today. While it allows the use of all 8 limbs, it also permits headbutting. Thus, it has earned the name ‘The Art of 9 Limbs.’
What Are The 8 Limbs Of Muay Thai? In the realm of combat sports, Muay Thai’s eight limbs have transcended time, captivating and inspiring fans around the world. From the raw power of Muay Mat to the devastating kicks of Muay Tae, the relentless knees of Muay Khao, and the precise elbows of Muay Sok, each limb tells a story of skill and strategy.
However, it is the Muay Femur fighters who personify the pinnacle of Muay Thai finesse, seamlessly integrating all eight limbs and adapting their approach to exploit opportunities. Legends like Saenchai and Nong-O Gaiyanghadao showcase the art’s grace and adaptability, leaving an indelible mark on the sport’s history. Muay Thai’s enduring legacy and the mastery of its techniques continue to captivate and inspire fans worldwide. What Are The 8 Limbs Of Muay Thai? Simply, punches, kicks, knees, and elbows.