Muay Thai vs Krav Maga

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People learn different fighting styles and techniques for a  variety of goals: self-defense, fitness, and a variety of other topics are among them. Muay Thai and Krav Maga have been increasingly popular in recent years. 

It might be difficult to compare a sport (Muay Thai) to a martial art discipline (Krav Maga). In comparison: Muay Thai, which was created as a defensive method, was subsequently adopted by the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) and is now a competitive sport.

Krav Maga techniques are primarily employed for self-defense. To acquire the greatest results, one must grasp the major distinctions between Muay Thai and Krav Maga. 

You’ve come to the perfect site if you want to learn about these types of martial arts. Here’s all you need to know about Krav Maga versus Muay Thai. Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the Muay Thai versus Krav Maga discussion, let’s take a look at the roots of each to see how they compare.

The development of Krav Maga

The title “Krav Maga” means “close fighting” or “contact battle” in Hebrew, so you can’t give the Israelis any marks for creativity in the name, but the tale of how the sport evolved is both horrifying and inspiring. 

Imre Lichtenfeld was born in Hungary and grew up in Bratislava, and he invented Krav Maga. He spent most of his adolescents participating in combat sports, and he even won a local wrestling championship. When the anti-Semitic uproar erupted in Bratislava in the 1930s, he became a member of a street-fighting gang formed to defend their friends from rioters. 

Despite his success, Lichtenfeld quickly realized that street fighting was fundamentally different from competitive fighting, prompting him to develop a technique that would be more effective in street battles than in competition bouts. While working on his ideas, Lichtenfeld managed to flee Europe in 1940, eventually settling in Mandatory Palestine, the forerunner of today’s Israel. 

He joined a paramilitary organization there and began training troops and combatants in his self-defense tactics. When the State of Israel was established in 1948, Lichtenfeld was appointed as the official instructor of the newly formed Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). During the 20 years that Lichtenfeld was in charge of training Israeli soldiers, he continued to enhance and upgrade his procedures, despite the fact that he had already devised a fundamental framework. 

He created the Krav Maga self-defense and hand-to-hand fighting system for the military. Krav Maga is aimed to incapacitate or kill the opponent as rapidly as possible. However, keep in mind that this is a method of self-defense rather than a sport. This is due to the fact that there are no regulations in place and no contests. 

Aikido, Boxing, Jiujitsu, Wrestling, Judo, and Kyokushin Karate all have an influence onin Krav Maga. Judo, wrestling, boxing, and a variety of other skills are included in this combat style. Aside from that, it teaches how to utilize contemporary weaponry. 

This fighting art form’s main principle is to put effectiveness and aggressiveness first. Krav Maga has become synonymous with Israeli special forces and is widely regarded as one of the most efficient techniques of self-defense available to everyone.

The development of Muay Thai

Muay Thai, meaning “Thai boxing,” is an Oriental martial art and combat sport that dates back centuries in Thailand. It evolved from Muay Boron and perhaps, even earlier, the Cambodian martial art Bokator. It’s a full-contact sport because it relies heavily on all limbs. Muay Thai began as a combat method for use in conflicts, but it quickly evolved into a fighting sport that was employed outside of its intended context. 

The martial art became immensely famous in the West throughout the 20th and 21st centuries after over a century of growth in the Far East, when Western practitioners from Thailand began to use the discipline in dutch kickboxing and later MMA competitions, introducing and popularizing Muay Thai in the West. 

Muay Thai is Thailand’s national sport and is often regarded as one of the most effective striking sports and martial arts. Muay Thai focuses mostly on hitting, but it also incorporates trips, throws, clinches, and dumps. Fighters compete in Muay Thai events, which are held all over the world. From afar, it seems to be a boxing match, only more ruthless. 

It is, nevertheless, one of the most severe sports you can engage in. Many individuals believe that Muay Thai isn’t useful for self-defense because of its athletic association. That, however, is not the case. 

You wouldn’t want to tangle with someone who has been training in Muay Thai for a few years. Let’s see how the two stack up in several key categories. Muay Thai is now a global combat sport that is supervised by the International Federation of Martial Arts (IFMA).

Muay Thai vs. Krav Maga: The basics 

As we indicated at the start, comparing Muay Thai with Krav Maga is difficult, if not impossible. Why? 

Modern Muay Thai is a martial art, a highly complicated combat style that incorporates both offense and defense. It’s a ring-based fighting technique whose primary purpose is to train the fighter for one-on-one combat. Students are trained to defend against a wide range of attacks and to counter them in the quickest and most effective manner possible. 

In Muay Thai, the defense is built on the block, while withdrawing is frowned upon and regarded against the spirit of the art.

Krav Maga isn’t like that. Krav Maga is a self-defense technique that isn’t even close to becoming a martial art or combat sport. It’s made up of a series of activities designed to educate you on how to protect yourself in real-life scenarios. Krav Maga does include some attacking maneuvers, but its primary concentration is on self-defense. 

So, how do you make a comparison between two things that are fundamentally different? We opted not to compare them exactly since we had a difficult task ahead of us, but rather to offer both disciplines to you independently so that you can understand how they work, what they each do, and everything else you need to know. 

This next section compares the main difference between Muay Thai and Krav Maga basics. 


You must first decide which side is your dominant side for stances in both types of fighting. Put your left foot forward and your right foot back if you’re right-handed. This is referred to as the orthodox position. 

If you’re left-handed, the southpaw posture is the polar opposite of right-handedness. Your fast assaults are the foot and arm in front of you. Your power hit is your backhand and leg, which must be your strongest side. 

Muay Thai

The Muay Thai stance is very similar to the classic fighting stance employed by Thai boxers. To allow for simple movement and a firm basis to attack and defend from, keep your feet shoulder-width apart. To enable straighter blows and to guard against body hits, your elbows are tucked in. 

Your hands should be a bit higher in the classic Thai fighting posture, with your palms facing outwards. Your fists are usually pressed up on your chin. Hands in the air and chin tucked in. 

Assume you have a $50 dollar beneath your chin that you will lose if you drop it. Have a powerful hand or foot in the rear. You’ll be able to swivel your hip to your more strong, natural side as a result of this.

Krav Maga

There are just postures in Krav Maga: neutral or passive, and fighting. Standing in front of someone with a neutral stance is the most natural approach. With your two feet aligned, you face your opponent. 

When you’re in danger, you instinctively raise your hands in front of you. In contrast to the fighting posture, which plainly shows that you are prepared to fight, this stance is non-aggressive. 

Krav Maga uses a fighting posture similar to that of other current martial arts such as MMA. A few aspects have been changed to reflect the street reality rather than the boxing arena. Your feet must be pointing in the direction of your opponent. They have to be on a small incline. 

You elevate your back heel a few millimeters above the ground. You want to be able to move quickly in all directions. One hand is slightly in advance of the other as you lift your hands to chin level. 

Your arms should be bent at around a 90-degree angle. Your body’s weight must be evenly distributed between your two legs. Those should not be stretched to their utmost potential. Maintain a little bend in your knees; you must be able to crouch at any time to avoid being hit.


Let’s look at some striking terminology you can expect to hear in Muay Thai and Krav Maga.

Muay Thai

One of the first things everybody learns is how to jab. It’s a straight blow to the face from your front hand. It’s frequently utilized to establish space and set up additional strikes. 

Using your backhand, a ‘cross’ a straight punch. For beginners, it’s frequently used as a follow-up to the jab. The jab is sometimes referred to as the “bullet,” whereas the cross is referred to as the “rocket,” since the cross creates far greater force. 

The cross can be pointed at the face or the middle of the body. A hook is a punch with a horizontal projection that goes to the sides of the head or the torso. A well-placed hook may knock someone unconscious because of the torque caused by rotating your hips into the hook. 

Left hooks to the body, sometimes known as a “liver shot,” can also knock someone out. A low kick (“leg kick”) is a kick that targets the hips or lower thighs. A low kick’s projectile is slanted down towards the target, much like an ax hacking down a tree. This is especially employed in Dutch kickboxing which evolved from Muay Thai. 

The roundhouse, often known as the “middle kick,” is a kick to the torso, commonly to the ribs. A kick to the head, neck, or jaw is known as a high kick. High kicks need a lot of hip flexibility as well as precise timing. 

A punch that is thrown as an upward projectile is known as an uppercut. Uppercuts are simple to sneak past a guard compared to the other forms of punches. The chin is the target of uppercuts. 

The Thai term “teep” means “push kick.” Lifting the thigh and stretching the bottom portion of the leg pointed directly at the target, which might be the torso, thighs, hips, or even the face. The hips are typically squared when it’s thrown, although many fighters prefer to utilize a “side teep” or “foot jab” since it creates more force. 

The teep is a versatile weapon that may be used defensively as well as offensively. When you off-balance your opponent and cause them to fall, this is known as a sweep or trip. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, including grabbing the leg or employing body locks.

Krav Maga

Krav Maga can include all of the techniques used in Muay Thai, but they are not the main focus in most training, especially for beginners, as Krav Maga focuses on more self-defense moves. These strikes could come across as quite barbaric because, unlike the sport of Muay Thai, there are fewer rules in street fighting. 

A straight punch is generally directed at your opponent’s face. When delivering the straight punch, you must drive off the ground with your knees and twist your hip and shoulder forward. The punch is thrown and generated by the rotation of the body. 

Another component of the Krav Maga Worldwide self-defense method is the hammer fist. It’s a flexible strike that may be employed for a variety of reasons, including need, convenience, and response. The hammer fist is useful because it allows the striker to do harm while keeping their hand reasonably safe from attack. 

The portion of the hand right below the pinky finger will be the hitting surface for the hammer fist. Throwing a hammer fist uses the same body mechanics as a straight punch. Hammer fists are used in a variety of ways and angles in Krav Maga Worldwide self-defense. 

The groin, in whatever way conceivable, is another location usually attacked by Krav Maga strikes. When a person gets hit in the groin, the natural reflex is to bend forward, exposing the back of the head. This opens up the possibility of striking the back of the skull with a downward hammer fist. 

The palm heel strike is similar to a straight punch with the palm’s heel. The palm heel strike uses the same body mechanics as the straight punch and hammer fist. Palm heel strikes are set up in Krav Maga striking by simply drawing the striking hand’s fingers back and jutting the striking hand’s palm forward. 

As previously stated, Krav Maga’s hitting tactics are not governed by any rules. The goal is to inflict harm on someone who is attempting to hurt you. Krav Maga Worldwide encourages pupils to hit an assailant in the eyes in this circumstance. 

In Krav Maga, the eye strike (or gouge) is prepared by the defender by extending their fingers out slightly and making them somewhat stiff. Consider putting your hand in a position where you have four spears protruding from your knuckles, with some space between them. Striking methods with the hands in Krav Maga can include aiming for an attacker’s throat. 

Unlike the eye strike, the neck strike is done by bringing the fingers of the hand together tightly. Throw the arm and hand forward and force the hand into the attacker’s throat, just below the chin, when delivering the throat strike. Striking opponents with elbows in a sideways or downward action, commonly targeted at the groin, torso, or head, is also a part of Krav Maga.


Finally, let’s get into the grappling differences between Muay Thai and Krav Maga. 

Muay Thai

Muay Thai does not use grappling to the same level as other combat sports; it’s nevertheless an important part of the sport. In Muay Thai, the clinch is the most prevalent grappling technique, and it leads to trips and sweeps on occasion.

Clinching (also known as “grappling” in some circles) is where two competitors compete for dominating arm position. Knees and clinching go hand in hand, and no clinch fighter goes without them – but there are some fighters that fight without clinching much.

Muay Thai also includes a number of different trips and throws. In the clinch position, though, a fighter would usually try to trip or throw their opponent. Judo and wrestling takedowns or ground grappling (like in jiujitsu) are not used in Muay Thai.

The goal of trips and throws is not to knock your opponent to the ground. The clinch is used by a fighter to destabilize his opponent. In the clinch position, the dominating fighter can also attack the opponent’s supporting leg.

Krav Maga

Ground fighting is another name for combat grappling in Krav Maga. Krav Maga features a strong and thorough ground game that focuses on escape, reversal, and restraint rather than point-scoring – or doing a significant amount of damage, allowing the fighter to flee. It also includes any form of strike that is required to complete the task.


Krav Maga, as a combat technique, is used by a variety of law enforcement agencies across the world. The majority of Krav Maga’s methods make perfect logical sense and are effective in self-defense. It combines a combination of counter-attack, pre-emptive assault, and defense strategies.

The primary issue with Krav Maga is that it’s difficult to train it with a sparring partner in a complete way. It’s not easy to safely practice eye-gouging or kicking in the groin. Sure, you can practice some techniques on a mannequin, but the primary issue is that it doesn’t move and doesn’t respond.

We’re aware that you may also practice in a self-defense suit with a sparring partner. The difficulty is that the suit will render your opponent immobile. This would still seem like training with a mannequin that moves slowly.

The same can be said for putting those techniques to use in the ring. Muay Thai is a superior choice if you want to learn a martial art that is both excellent for self-defense and acceptable for competition. Muay Thai is a ring-ready martial art that can be fully mastered with the help of a sparring partner.

You don’t always have to hold back in full-power Muay Thai sparring. Muay Thai also gives you the top degree of fitness and a set of easy methods that you may employ to protect yourself. Have a look at some of the other articles on our site for more info on MMA disciplines and self-defense. Our content is regularly updated.

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