Top 6 Muay Thai Fighting Styles: Their Strength And Weaknesses

Top 6 Muay Thai Fighting Styles: Their Strength And Weaknesses

Muay thai, known as the art of 8 limbs is famous for being one of the most complete fighting sport ever. Therefore, muay thai has a lot of different fighting styles they all have their strength and weaknesses.

We describe here the styles of muay used by the nakmuays during the fights, several boxing styles that will highlight different weapons like knees or legs that define the fighter's strategy. Relatively important in Thai stadiums, what is described here is how Thai people perceive these styles of fighting and what they expect from a fighter who says he is fimeu, mat, pam etc. 

The 6 most famous Muay Thai styles are:

  • Muay Khao, fighter using mainly knee techniques
  • Muay Mat, nakmuay focusing on boxing and hands
  • Muay Tae, fighter focusing on kick and takedowns
  • Muay Sok, elbow techniques
  • Muay Pam, clinch techniques
  • Muay Fimeu, In Thailand a real fimeu masters all the above techniques to perfection

There are also a few ways to box in term of attitude such as:

  • Muay Bouk, characterized by the fact that he is constantly moving forward
  • Retreating, the opposite of a muay bouk
  • Muay Keng, Excellent support, Excellent Bloc,... in details below*
  • Muay fimeu is the fact of mastering all types of movements by moving forward, backward or cutting trajectories. This goes hand in hand with a fimeu style that masters all the techniques. Complete style

In some cases, nakmuays have made themselves a specialty of movement and it is this first quality that will dictate their boxing even before their technical quality of striking (Iquezang at random)

#1 Muay Fimeu

It is a largely overused appellation, a bit like the titles of world champion. In Thailand in the stadiums, a Fimeu is not a nakmuay who masters almost or even several techniques. The term Fimeu is characterized first and foremost by the intelligence shown by the fighter

A fimeu muay thai fighter totally adapts his boxing to that of his opponent and will use the weak points of his opponent's favorite techniques. A real Fimeu is a fighter who must have an equivalent mastery of all knee fists, clinch elbows and legs techniques.

This requires a very balanced training to not leave any technique of dimension and of course, it takes more time to master all the techniques thoroughly rather than one or two, the real fimeu also have technical ease in addition to the image of a Buakaw, Saenchai Sangmanee, Youssef Boughanem, Fabio Pinca etc

#2 Muay Sok

A fighter that uses mainly use techniques that puts the elbows in the spotlight, the guard is very special. It is also known as a pure Thai guard. Very open on the ribs with the fists very forward at forehead height it reminds a little of the praying mantis' attitude.

A muay sok really has a panel of blows, postures and movements turned towards elbow techniques. He is a fighter who necessarily favors short distances and is formidable at the beginning and end of the clinch

It is a nakmuay who must have excellent reflexes and who very often finds himself in danger so much the distance necessary for his techniques must be small

A muay sok is vulnerable with knees at short distance, fists at mid-distance and legs at a normal distance...It is not easy to be a muay sok without taking blows

That is why these types of fighters must control the movements and cut the trajectories as much as possible. The current star of the muay sok is currently Seksan who masters both elbows and associated movements, MuengThai his favorite opponent is a notch below. A few years ago, Sudsakorn was one of the most technical fighters in the world with elbows.

A muay sok is generally a nakmuay that adopts a Kheng attitude. In Thai Kheng means hard. This goes much further than hardening the fight by hitting harder

Attitude kheng

A nakmuay kheng has a certain aura. Not all fighters achieve this, just as some achieve technical or physical ease. Only in the attitude even before the fight the opponent knows that the game will not be easy. We can mention such fighters as Yod, Boughanem, Buakaw, Dekkers, Aekpracha, Seksan

A nakmuay kheng is characterized by very hard blocks and counter blocks. Short but violent sequences and forwards oriented movements

Such nakmuays generally choose destructive techniques such as knees (Buakaw, Boughanem,Pinca) the elbows of course but many the legs that exhaust the opponent

#3 Muay Tae

It is a nakmuay relatively comfortable with legs and who master as a well low, middle, high and front kick. It is more than 150 different muay techniques and it is one of the most physically exhausting styles. An excellent middle even blocking does a lot of damage, in-stadium as in large organizations it is difficult to face indefinitely middles of Yodsanklai or Sam-D

It also scores a lot of points in Thai counts and it is a much less risky move to place than a sok a la seksan in a 30 cm clinch.

Thai people have dozens of different middles, being a Muay Tae is knowing which technique to choose and when. Once again, the intelligence to place a technique is just as important as the ability to perform it correctly

Such a fighter must have excellent support and space around him, as well as elbow techniques, the movements concerning the Muay Tae are very important. The goal is the opposite of the muay sok, if two sok Vs Tae fighters were opposed, the winner will be the one who has succeeded in imposing his fighting distance

A good muay tae must be solid in clinch because this is what will happen to him as soon as his opponent succeeds in breaking his fighting distance.

To be effective a fighter must master an attack technique but must also know how to master the defensive technique in which he finds himself following a block, a dodge, a counter etc. directly related of course to the technique he sent.

Nakmuays like Sittichai, Sangmanee, Yodwicha, Saenchai are just as strong in the clinch as they are in the legs

#4 Muay Pam

It is almost more a part of the fight than a technique or a style in itself so complex is the phases of clinches and represents a fight in the fight.  Zero visibility blows come from bottom to top, from the right and left and each tries to project the other as well

The most difficult phase of the fight to control, the clinch requires an excellent feeling, very good short movements, and fast techniques

The technique used for the capture is also essential, this makes many parameters to master to excel in the clinch

To place it is also not easy since you have to get as close as possible to your opponent by parrying middles, knees, English, and elbows

In Thai stadiums when some nakmuays are in the clinch it can take a whole round from beginning to end. In these cases, the one who is dominated has a bad time...

It is also here that we notice the number of hallucinating techniques that nakmuays use to prolong a clinch of which they have the advantage as long as possible

For the one who defends as best he can, his objective is to break this clinch. In Thai stadiums, a clinch is broken either by turning your back but penalty or by blocking the opponent... and even

As long as the attacker manages to keep on going, it is this ability that must or not of a nakmuay a specialist of the clinch: to succeed in going on by diversifying the techniques as long as possible

#5 Muay Khao

One of the Sectors of the clinch and at mid-distance: the knees. Mandatory domain to be in the best fighters. While not all of them have full control over elbows or middles, all of them are knee specialists: Buakaw, Saenchai, Alamos, Pinca, Yod, Sittichai, Boughanem, Yodwicha, Sangmanee, Kem Petchboonchu, etc.

A good muay khao will use his knees to attack as well as to counter, it requires good lateral movements but it is very effective on attacks in English or attempts at seizure.

You also need to be good at clinching, which often goes hand in hand anyway.

#6 Muay Mat

A muay mat is a nakmuay gifted in boxing, but not only. In Thailand, he must also be very strong with his low kick. On the one hand, because punches are close to zero points on the count and the low kick increases the deal a little, but above all, because a muay mat must be as destructive as possible at the top and bottom

A Mat also knows that the fight is at a distance too close for it to deviate towards the clinch. A good matte muay will also have to adapt to the clinch phases during which it will often come out with its elbows.

Being gifted in a combat compartment implies being just as gifted when the fight turns to your disadvantage because of the technique you have used and which has been countered. The same applies to the choice of movements and attitudes that will determine how the fight is approached.


As muay thai is a very complete sport, each and every fighter has their own styles (such as Saenchai, considered as a Muay Fimeu). If you can attach yourself to one of those styles, you can now know the strength and weaknesses of this particular style.

If you are as passionate about muay thai as we are, you are for sure gonna love our muay thai apparel. You can also become a better fighter and improve your muay thai performances by getting some amazing training tools such as a reflex ball.

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