Muay Thai Vs. Taekwondo for Self Defense

(Last Updated On: August 2, 2019)

Muay Thai Vs. Taekwondo for Self Defense

As much as possible, we should avoid violence or crimes.  But no matter how much we may try, or how much we loathe the idea, bad guys exist in this world.  When an unwanted circumstance happens, it pays to be prepared.  A man should equip himself with the knowledge and skills to defend his own self, his family, and loved ones in case of an attack.

But learning self-defense should not only be for men.  Women should also have the ability to protect oneself when no one is around.  Women are susceptible to dangers including sexual assaults, rape, and even homicide.  Learning self-defense can reduce the risk of getting harmed.

Muay Thai V. Taekwondo for Self Defense


Muay Thai and Taekwondo

Muay Thai and Taekwondo (TKD) are two of the most common martial arts used for self-defense.  If you are learning any of the two styles, below are some things you need to know about it.

Muay Thai

Muay Thai came from the Sanskrit term “mayva” and “Tai” which means the “Art of Eight Limbs”.  It is also dubbed as the “Science of Eight Limbs”.  This sport originated in Thailand and is considered as the country’s national sport.

When it comes to techniques, Muay Thai uses distance related ones.  It makes use of stand-up striking involving clinching techniques.  Generally, a Muay Thai fighter, also called a “nak muay” needs to hit using the eight contact points.  A fighter can use several kicks, punches, knee, and elbow strikes.

People who have been faced with an attacker while walking down the street can make use of Muay Thai techniques to defend themselves.  The stand-up striking technique works well in a street fight, which is often chaotic and unpredictable.  Below are some of the strong points and weak points of using Muay Thai as a self-defense.

  • Stamina and Strength.  Muay Thai training is very demanding.  The good thing is that the solid stamina and strength needed and acquired in training gives you an advantage over the bad guys on the street.
  • Powerful techniques.  Muay Thai techniques are simple yet powerful.  A quick leg, or body kick can throw someone on the ground.  For short distance fighting, you can use knees and elbows, or punching techniques.  You can also make use of Thai boxing, which features powerful arsenal of long and short-range weapons.  You can control a situation and keep the attacker in a tight clinch by using an elbow & knee strikes, or keep him away with push kicks.  The elbow strikes enable you to protect your face while delivering powerful blows to the attacker’s head. 


Tips When Using Muay Thai Techniques for Self-Defense

Open Hands.  Confrontations in real life are not scripted and as neat as the boxing matches you watch in the movies.  Muay Thai fighters, unlike boxing, have their hands open and their palms slightly facing forward while the elbows are pointed outwards for hand or elbow strikes.  To successfully defend against any strike, you should pay attention to the placement of your hands.  For a quicker and smoother strike that can help a person get away from an attacker, one needs to have practiced hands and relaxed arms.

Defensive Counters. It is important to learn how to keep composure under an attack.  Muay Thai also trains students to focus and watch for crucial areas to strike after.  To see better striking opportunities, a fighter needs to be calm.  Aside from that, you will know how to avoid or counter any other kind of attacks.

Powerful leg kicks.  A Muay Thai leg kick can deliver a powerful baseball bat-like painful strike to one’s leg.

Generally, Muay Thai teaches someone how to quickly distract or injure an opponent so he or she will have an opportunity to have a speedy getaway.



Taekwondo (TKD) originated in Korea and is dubbed as “The Way of the Hand and the Fist”.

TKD is known for its kicks powerful enough to knock out an opponent.  Its effectivity in full combat fighting has already been proven, specifically in the Mixed Martial arts Arena.  Fighters Conor MacGregor and Dennis Sever used TKD footwork, TKD back kicks, round kicks, and even spin kicks, all of which contributed to their overall success.

Generally, Taekwondo can be an effective technique for self-defense.  Learning this kind of martial art requires focus and mastery, factors that add in one’s ability to defend himself or herself from an attacker.

Taekwondo training trains not only the body but also the mind.  It is the process of remembering and learning stuff by which neurological networks in the mind and body are linked.  TKD training needs a relative amount of time and practice to make sure that neurological wires work properly.

The basics of TKD can be trained with live sparring and pressure.  Generally, the basics are easy to learn and apply.  Many scenario training and self-defense drills can be applied.

TKD has a full range of striking strategies and kicks, blocks, punches, knees, elbows, head butts, and numerous different open-handed strikes.  It is important to be cautious when using TKD as some of the techniques have the ability to kill.  Apart from striking techniques, there are joint locks, vital point, pressure point, and throws and takedown attacks that a person can use to defend oneself.

You may ask which of the two style works better when it comes to self-defense.  Some claim that it is Muay Thai considering the techniques used.  Taekwondo, on the other hand, may have limitations.  For instance, a person wears jeans by the moment he encountered a confrontation in the street.  It will hinder the person’s ability to kick high above the waist.  But in Muay Thai, that would never be an issue.

But generally, there is no single martial art style that could guarantee safety for you.  Everything still depends on how you train and apply what you have learned.  If you work with the factual and actual rather than the untested and theoretical, the chance of succeeding in a scenario of physical conflict may increase.

Moreover, it is also essential to learn not just one technique.  When it comes to self-defense, learning more than one technique is better than knowing only one.  There is no single, fixed way to defend yourself.  It is only through knowing how to spontaneously respond to any situation which may arise that you can survive.  Remember not to become too attached to certain type of defensive maneuvers.  Explore other techniques as different situations may require different types of self-defense strategies.

In a nutshell, learning self-defense tactics should be considered by everyone, specifically those who are often susceptible to attacks, such as individuals who need to pass by dark alleys going home or those who typically go to dangerous places.  Self-defense techniques can help you save your own self and other people who are also faced with confrontations.  Muay Thai and Taekwondo are just two of your options.  If these two does not fit your needs and preferences, you can try other martial art styles such as  jujitsu.

But no matter how skilled you are in using martial arts techniques, it is always better to stay away from conflict.  You will never know whom you will deal with.  Your opponent may know much more than you do.