Muay Thai Vs MMA
Mixed Martial Arts and Muay Thai are both full-contact combat sports that’s gained traction over the past few years. Because most people tend to mix them up with each other, we’ve taken the time to take a look at the similarities and differences between both forms of sports / arts.
What Is MMA?
MMA or Mixed Martial Arts is a term that refers to a martial art that borrows from a mixture of several different martial art disciplines. Usually, the goal in MMA is to create a hybrid art that’s more well-rounded and effective than a singular form of art.
Most people credit Bruce Less as the father of modern Mixed Martial Arts. He, after all, was famous for drawing inspiration from various martial arts, including Kung Fu, Boxing, Wrestling, Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai and Judo to create his very own style, Jeet Kune Do. But, while he’s credited to have made MMA famous, Bruce Lee was far from the first to cross train in several disciplines to become a more well-rounded fighter.
MMA As A Combat Sport
In November of 1993, the Ultimate Fighting Championship or UFC helped popularize MMA. Although it wasn’t exactly the first, nor was Pride, WEC, and so on. In fact, MMA competitions have been going on all over the world for hundreds, if not thousands of years already. It’s just that modern MMA enjoyed media attention and the prize money, as well as sponsorship dollars, turned professional MMA fighting as a viable means of living.
Greek Pancration, Brazilian Vale Tudo and Japanese Shooto are just among the few examples of combat sports that allowed striking and submission that existed well before the UFC.
Similarities and Differences
Muay Thai is a very old combat sport, one that predates the UFC by, at least, a thousand years. Much like MMA, Muay Thai initially had a few rules set. However, the use of boxing gloves instead of just hands bound with rope, along with a few additional rules (mostly for the safety of the fighters) were introduced starting in 1929.
If you do your research, you’ll see Ancient Muay Thai illustrations showing the use of grappling moves well before boxing gloves were used.
Nowadays, Muay Thai has evolved to include striking with punches, elbows, knees and kicks, as well as grappling and throws. The lack of grappling, striking and submissions on the ground is mainly what separates modern Muay Thai between MMA.
Because of its heavy emphasis on striking, many consider Muay Thai as the best striking art for those interested in MMA. Along with boxing, wrestling and Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai is one of the most common disciplines MMA fighters today train in.
Another key difference between Muay Thai and MMA is that MMA utilizes open-fingered gloves for better grappling and submission fighting.
Many fighters today sport a background in Muay Thai, mainly because of the versatility of the sport’s strikes, as well as how they translate in the Octagon.
Tldr; Muay Thai is more of a martial art, while MMA is a sport in which Muay Thai can be applied to, if that at all makes sense.