If you’ve ever wanted to properly watch a Muay Thai match, but don’t really know where to go to read about the different rules and intricacies, well you’re in luck.
In this short article, we’ll attempt to explain the different Muay Thai Rules, as well as the intricacies involved in each match, to help you be able to watch each fighter.
- A single Muay Thai match consists of 5 3-minute rounds with a 2-minute rest in between each round.
- Each round is scored with a total of 10 points, totaling to 50 points for all five rounds.
- When locked in a clinch, the fighter who executed more knees will score higher. If one of the fighters executes a sweep and both fighters fall, the fighter who lands on top is given the advantage.
- Unless they’re countered, clean hits will always result into a point. This is the reason why Muay Thai fighters are often trained to kick instinctively, so they can counter with kicks almost immediately after they’re hit.
- Power shots are referred to as “luk kangrang” and fighters who manage to land one are given a higher score. A kick or punch is only considered a power shot and scored only if the receiver shows any visible reaction from the attack.
- The role of ‘dominance’ is very prominent in Muay Thai, arguably much more so than in any other combat sport. While watching a fight, you may have noticed fighters bouncing back up almost like a spring and continue fighting as soon as they’re knocked down. There’s actually a reason for this. In Muay Thai, whenever a fighter takes their time to answering the 8-count, they’re giving up points to the opponent. The same goes when fighters show any signs of weakness at any point during the fight, even if they’ve been dominating up until that point of weakness. Basically, looking down and worn-out inside the ring is discouraged in Muay Thai. Fighters are encouraged to stay strong at all times and not show any sign of weakness.
The 1st and 5th round
In Muay Thai, action usually only takes place during the 2nd to 4th round. Why is that? For starters, the 1st round is widely considered as the time fighters start to feel each other out. Although some believe that the 1st round is slowed down so gamblers, especially those who bet big, can see the styles of the fighters and place their bets on the one who’s more likely to win. It’s worth noting that gambling in Muay Thai works differently, as it works by rounds with the odds constantly changing.
If a fight isn’t over by the 5th round, the fighters will often only dance around each other and slow down. The reason being is that the match has already been pretty much decided at that point, so there really isn’t any sense in risking injury and pain already
By the way, as controversial as this may sound, there’s this theory that gamblers play a prominent role in the Muay Thai world. It seems that they’re able to affect the results and scoring of fights, even going as far as being able to bend certain Muay Thai rules.
In any case, here’s to hoping that our attempt at explaining the different Muay Thai rules have helped you better understand the sanctioned fights between practitioners of the art of eight limbs.