Muay Thai vs Jiu Jitsu

Muay Thai vs Jiu Jitsu

You could not find two vastly more different martial arts than Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu. Two martial arts from two different sides of the planet are constantly matched against each other.

Here’s our take on the old Muay Thai vs Jiu Jitsu debate. Matching up these styles up to see how they compare to each other.

Muay Thai vs Jiu Jitsu: The Histories

It should be no surprise that two martial arts with next to nothing in common have wildly different origin stories. Check out the origin stories of Muay Thai vs Jiu Jitsu.

The History of Muay Thai

Muay Thai is both a martial art and a sport, whose origins date back centuries. Before the term Muay Thai was used, ancient Thai soldiers used a style of fighting called Muay Boran – an ancient style used by elite Thai soldiers.

This military fighting system would gradually evolve into a sport during the 1500s. As part of an annual festival put on by the King of Thailand, his best soldiers would compete in sparring exhibitions. This tradition has kept on for the last five hundred years.

Then during the turn of the 20th century, more Westerners and Thais became exposed to one another. Thai soldiers would become introduced to the sport of boxing, which would be influential in the creation of the sport Muay Thai.

Muay Thai would soon become an organized sport that would be held in a boxing ring with boxing gloves. Fighters would be separated by weight classes, rounds, and time limits.

The Thais would embrace the sport of Muay Thai and it would quickly become the country’s national sport and martial art. The entire country watches whenever there’s a big Thai boxing bout.

Today, Muay Thai has become one of the most practiced martial arts in the world. Everywhere from Europe, the US, and all of Asia now produce top Thai boxers.

The History of Muay Thai

The History of Jiu Jitsu

The history of Jiu Jitsu is far younger than the long history of Muay Thai. This grappling art began to be developed during the early 1900s in Brazil.

Judo practitioners like Conde Koma(Mitsuyo Maeda) immigrated to Brazil to teach Judo. Some of their students like Carlos Gracie Sr. would begin creating his own style of grappling.

A style that was more ground-based and designed to help a smaller person fight a bigger and stronger opponent. Using a mix of technique and leverage to get their opponent to the ground and in a dominant position to control them.

BJJ practitioners like the Gracie family would spend the 20th century proving the effectiveness of the martial art. Challenging other martial artists and competing in no-holds-barred Vale Tudo tournaments.

The international public would become aware of Jiu Jitsu, through the creation of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. A young Royce Gracie would easily dispatch bigger, stronger, striking martial artists using Jiu Jitsu to win the first two UFC tournaments.

As time has passed, BJJ has become an internationally practiced martial art, with grappling competitions held worldwide.

Jiu Jitsu

The Differences Between Muay Thai vs Jiu Jitsu

There are numerous differences between Muay Thai vs Jiu Jitsu. Here are some of the major differences between the two martial arts.

Striking vs. Grappling 

The obvious difference between Muay Thai vs Jiu Jitsu is that one style is striking, and the other is grappling. Muay Thai is known as the art of eight limbs. It is designed to hit your opponent with various strikes and control them using variations of the clinch.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a strictly grappling martial art with not formal striking taught within it. Some schools may teach punch defense, but there’s not focus on any striking techniques.

Rule Sets

The rule sets of these two sports are obviously different from one another. Here are the most common rule sets for these two sports.

 Muay Thai Rule Sets:

  • 3 Minute Rounds
  • 5 Rounds(Title Fights)
  • Fighting From Standing
  • All Strikes Allowed(Except Headbutts)
  • Ways to win are KO/TKO and decision

BJJ Rule Sets

  • 10 Minute Round
  • 1 Round
  • No Striking
  • Win by submission, points, and ref decision

One-Dimensional Sport vs. Two-Dimensional Sport 

Aside from being grappling and striking martial arts, the two styles also differ, having different dimensions to their sport. Muay Thai is a one-dimensional sport, and BJJ is a two-dimensional sport.

Meaning that Muay Thai is only fought from the standing position, while BJJ is fought from both standing and the ground.

The Fight Areas

BJJ and Muay Thai contests have generally been held in different types of fight areas. BJJ competitions generally occur on a large mat, while Muay Thai is held in a boxing ring.

Although the promotion ONE Championship promotes both styles of fighting that they hold in a cage.

The Similarities Between Muay Thai vs Jiu Jitsu

Believe it or not, Muay and BJJ do share some similarities. Here are a few of the similarities between Muay Thai vs Jiu Jitsu.

The Clinching & Sweeps

Muay Thai isn’t just a striking art but also a grappling art. Many of the clinching and sweeping techniques in Muay Thai are transferable to Jiu Jitsu. 

The same principles of head, arm, and body positioning translate to the grappling art of BJJ. It’s also why many BJJ guys in MMA develop good clinch games.

Both Are Sports 

Both Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu are sports. Athletic competitions, where it’s a one-on-one battle to see who is the better athlete.

Kids from a young age get into these combat sports and spend years developing their techniques. Hoping to one day get good enough to become a world champion.

The Game Plans For Muay Thai vs Jiu Jitsu

Game planning a classic grappler vs. striker match-up will have very specific game plans. Here are the game plans for Muay Thai vs Jiu Jitsu for each fighting style against the other.

How Muay Thai Wins 

In a battle between Muay Thai vs Jiu Jitsu, the game plan for a Thai boxer against a BJJ fighter is simple. Stuff the takedown attempts and keep it standing. 

A Thai boxer can handle a BJJ in the clinch, but they can’t let them get a hold of their legs. It will be all over once the BJJ fighter gets the fight to the ground. That’s why the Thai boxer must keep the fight standing and outstrike the grappler.

Muay Thai

How Jiu Jitsu Wins

For a BJJ fighter in a battle of Muay vs Jiu Jitsu, the game plan is the reverse. A BJJ fighter must get the fight to the ground at all costs.

The Thai boxer will easily batter them if they can’t get a takedown. Hitting them with various knees, elbows, and punches until they quit or get knocked out. If the BJJ fighter fails to get the fight to the ground, they will lose badly.

Should You Learn Both Fighting Styles?

While many get caught up in the Muay Thai vs Jiu Jitsu debate, both are effective martial arts.

You should know Muay Thai and BJJ if you’re an aspiring MMA fighter or want to develop all-around self-defense. Knowing both styles will make you a more well-rounded fighter and equip you better to defend yourself.

Mighty Mouse vs. Rodtang

If you want to see a classic Muay Thai vs Jiu Jitsu matchup, you must watch Mighty Mouse vs Rodtang. Two of the best of their sports facing each other in a mixed rules sport.

The strengths and weaknesses of Muay Thai vs Jiu Jitsu were on full display in this bout. Rodtang was by far the superior striker and Johnson was the superior grappler.

Both fighters put on a great fight and showcased the beauty of both styles.

Muay Thai vs Jiu Jitsu: Which is Better to Learn?

It isn’t a matter of which is better to learn, but what do you want to learn. Both fighting styles have their strengths, so it would depend on if you want to learn striking or grappling. Either way, you choose, you will be better equipped to defend yourself on the streets.

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