MMA vs Muay Thai

Is MMA Better than Muay Thai for Self-Defense (Explained)

MMA and Muay Thai are not so different overall, but which one is better for self-defense?

When it comes to comparing MMA and Muay Thai for self-defense, the winner is MMA. This is because MMA also focuses on ground fighting. Muay Thai is only for stand-up fighting. Since most street fights end up on the ground, MMA is a better option since it covers all aspects of fighting.

Let’s take a closer look at the differences between these two fighting styles.

Is MMA or Muay Thai better for self-defense?

As mentioned before, when it comes to comparing MMA and Muay Thai for self-defense purposes, the winner here is MMA. That is because MMA covers all aspects of fighting with modern and changing techniques, whereas Muay Thai focuses only on stand-up fighting.

Situations change, and most of street fight situations where you have to defend yourself end up on the ground. MMA prepares you more for realistic situations, which include stand-up fighting, but also covering takedowns and ground fighting.

Muay Thai only covers stand-up fighting with punches and kicks. It is somewhat similar to kickboxing, which also falls behind when it comes to self-defense.

Muay Thai has some additional rituals and their own fighting technique, that might not be the best option for street fights.

MMA however changes and evolves over time. When people notice new fighting styles pop up, if they work, they are usually added to MMA martial arts pool.

Since MMA is a mixture of different kinds of martial arts, you could use Muay Thai as part of it. Learn Muay Thai or kickboxing for stand-up fighting and pair that up with BJJ or wrestling to cover the grappling aspect as well.

This is like comparing a car with 3 wheels to one with 4 wheels. The reason MMA is better for self-defense is simply the fact that it covers more aspects of fighting.

Here is a list of my top 5 martial arts for self-defense.

What makes MMA good for self-defense

There are a few things that make MMA so good option for self-defense.

First of all, MMA covers all aspects of fighting, including stand-up fighting and grappling. Second, MMA adapts to changing world and includes new techniques that work better. Lastly, MMA gyms are a really common sight, so finding one should not be difficult.

Even though MMA does focus on all aspects of unarmed self-defense, there is no guarantee your opponents will play it fair. They might be armed, which makes it really difficult to apply some of the techniques of MMA.

There are martial arts that are also designed for self-defense against armed opponents, but even learning those, there is no guarantee that you will walk away unharmed. The best way is always trying to avoid physical conflict at all costs.

Here is a comprehensive post about what MMA is.

What makes Muay Thai good for self-defense

Even though Muay Thai does not cover ground fighting, it is still a highly effective martial art for stand-up fighting.

Since Muay Thai focuses only on stand-up fighting, by practicing it, you will get a better grasp of that aspect of fighting. You don’t have to divide your focus into grappling as well. Focusing all your energy to learn Muay Thai properly will definitely help you when it comes to self-defense.

That being said, combining Muay Thai with some martial art that focuses on grappling could be a good way to go.

Of course, you should start with only one martial art before expanding to other ways, but that is also an option if you want to further increase your skillset when it comes to self-defense.

Should you learn MMA or Muay Thai?

Whether you should start MMA or Muay Thai, there are a few things to compare.

If you want an all-in-one martial art, go for MMA. That gives you the opportunity to attend to MMA competitions and prepares you better for self-defense situations.

On the other hand, Muay Thai also has competitions. It can also be used for self-defense, even though it is lacking the grappling aspect. It is also a more traditional martial art if that is what you are looking for.

One thing that might also make a difference, is where you can find MMA or Muay Thai gyms. The distance between your home and the gym can make a big difference if you wish to continue training for years to come.

The quality of the gym also matters a lot. Here is a post that walks you through things to look out for when choosing an MMA gym.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, MMA does prepare you for more situations than Muay Thai. However, no matter which one you choose, you will be better off when it comes to defending yourself.

In the end, it is really a personal preference which one you like better, and which one has gyms available.

Situations where you really have to use the techniques to defend yourself are really rare, of course depending on what kinds of situations you put yourself into.

Some of the situations can also be avoided by talking or walking away from the situation. That is most of the time the best option to do, in order to avoid any physical damage to yourself or your opponent.

Hopefully this was helpful, have a wonderful day.

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