Muaythai vs Kickboxing

You may have heard the term K1/kickboxing in addition to our Muaythai program. You may also have heard that we’ve been venturing out to Montreal a bit more often this latter part of the year for competition. Safe to say we’re expanding our competition “game” as we slowly head into 2020 and look into WAKO – more on this later! 


But, for those new to the sport or just coming into our school for the first time, you may not know the difference between K1/Kickboxing and Muaythai. Let’s get right into it: 



Without getting into the technical aspects of the two, the biggest difference is culture. Muaythai is the national sport of Thailand and with that, there is deep Buddhist roots and tradition of respect and practices. Fighters will wear a head piece called a mongkon which gives a Nakmuay luck and protects them from evil spirits. In addition, fighters will often perform a ceremonial Wai Kru dance prior to their match in the ring. The Ram Muay or Round Music is something you will hear during a Muaythai match.


Scoring System


Not considering MTO’s scoring system, Muaythai is scored by aspects such as ringmanship, difficulty of technique, power and balance. You will often see the first round being scored as 10-10 as fighters mainly use it to scout and feel their opponent’s rhythm. Kickboxing relies more on points. Speaking of rounds, Muaythai will have five rounds in a match while Kickboxing has three. 




Muaythai allows elbows, clinch and leg trapping. Kickboxing does not allow any of the three. 


As we see it now more here in the provincial level, our scoring system is quite point based, utilizing plenty of kickboxing to score (a “Dutch” style), usually with many punches followed up with kicks. When it comes to defense, you will notice Muaythai defense and timing. People often using the Thai long guard or teep as part of the counter attack. As you watch more fights, you will see big name Thai fighters event transition over to a K1/kickboxing rule set while typical kickboxers will head over to the Thai rules to round off their game. What we may start to see is an evolution and fusion of both styles in kickboxing and Thai so watch out for the things we start implementing in our program. 

Etobicoke Martial Arts

Author Etobicoke Martial Arts

More posts by Etobicoke Martial Arts

Leave a Reply