What is Muay Thai?
It is a form of hard martial arts which is practised in areas like Thailand. It is the art of fighting without using any weapons. Muay Thai is thought to be a form of science as it develops discipline, knowledge and respect.
It is referred to as the Art of the Eight Limbs, as it uses: hands, shins, elbows and knees. Practitioners need to be able to use these limbs to execute strikes correctly instead of only using two areas which are usually fists and feet.
You have to practise Muay Thai with proper training because it can be dangerous if you do not know how to protect yourself properly. This martial art keeps you in good shape and improves blood circulation. If you practise Muay Thai regularly, your flexibility improves which then means that the bones, muscles and the use of the tendons in bending and moving all improve.
Muay Thai requires bravery as practitioners need to accept there is danger and pain which is involved in this sport. Muay Thai isn’t only used to gain physical appearance or skill, but improves the quality of life. This is due to: moral values and disciplines in life being taught to the practitioner, as well as to be modest, confident, and truthful and to avoid sins.
There are no major variations of Muay Thai, so virtually every style is the same – just minor techniques may differ.
This diagram shows some of the different techniques that Muay Thai incorporates.
What is Karate?
‘Karate is an unarmed combat that uses the hands and feet to give out techniques, and block them.’
An Asian system of unarmed combat using the hands and feet to deliver and block blows, widely practiced as a sport.
Karate was developed in Asia, as well as in India, China and Japan. Over the years, there have been many variations of Karate, so there are now hardly any people who practise ‘traditional’ Karate. They are many different associations and styles of karate from Shotokan to Wado Ryu to Shitoryu.
Karate is seen to be a way of life instead of a way to fight people. There are 3 areas of karate- Kumite, Kata and Kihon. Every practitioner needs to know every area and be able to effectively put them into practise.
It is one of the most dynamic martial arts, and a practitioner can use their mind and body together thus allowing the power and strength of both to work in perfect harmony. Karate isn’t about physical strength, it is about how mentally strong you are and how with the whole body working, the strength will come through.
The word Karate is the Japanese word for Open Hand. This symbolises that the main weapon is your body, instead of weapons you use, punches, kicks and blocks. Practitioners are aware of the world, and so they can react to any situation.
This diagram shows the different stances that are used in Karate.
Differences in the way Muay Thai and Karate are taught
Muay Thai teachers believe in passion and can sometimes lead their students to a fall due to their hard teaching ways. However, most Karate teachers treat their students with respect and try to help them to develop because Karate isn’t about how hard you can hit or hurt someone.
Muay Thai spends a lot of time on warming up and conditioning. This is because the martial art is mainly about fighting which can lead to injuries if your body is not prepared for the work or pain that can be caused. Karate however does spend time on warming up as obviously, no-one wants any injuries, but, the majority of lesson time will be spent on practising techniques to develop skill.
Muay Thai training is hard and high intensity all of the time. This is because they are preparing themselves for the fighting and the unexpected hits that could come at any time. On the other hand, Karate training can vary from being high or low intensity as you can work your body or your mind at different levels.
Muay Thai doesn’t have many variations unlike Karate. In Karate, there are many different styles and associations, so the differences between each one will be bigger than the differences between the Muay Thai variations.
In my opinion, from what I have researched, Muay Thai appears to be an aggressive martial art due to the focus being on fighting. On the other hand, it does teach you respect yourself, others and the world around you, but in a different way from Karate.
Karate appears to be more about defending yourself, and not starting fights. The focus is spread out between different areas which help practitioners to respect themselves and others. It also doesn’t appear to require brute force or strength to combat an opponent, but skill and mental awareness.