Skip to content

Is Muay Thai The Deadliest Martial Art My Honest Take

Fighters training in deadly martial arts.

Table of Contents


The martial art of Muay Thai is amongst the most very popular around the globe. Known throughout the world as one of the most effective and deadly martial arts, the question often arises is Muay Thai the deadliest martial art of all?

Being someone who has trained and competed in Muay Thai. I would have to say that it is amongst the deadliest martial arts in the world. But more recently I have come to believe that in fact, Lethwei is perhaps the deadliest in the world.

Having trained in Muay Thai for many many years and competing. For many years I did believe that it was indeed the deadliest martial art on the planet. Now there are many reasons that it can be considered the deadliest art on the planet and they are all very valid reasons indeed.

The stand-up striking in Muay Thai is among the most effective you will find in any martial art. It is also one of the most widely trained martial arts on the planet. And no matter where you are, what town you’re in, if there’s a martial arts gym. There’s a very good chance that it will be a Muay Thai club.

For many of its practitioners, it is the number one martial art on the planet. Popularized by several movies throughout the 80s into the 90s. It has garnered accolades from some of the most well-respected and iconic martial artists on the planet.

With a long and illustrious history, originally formed for use in a military combat environment. It has since evolved into one of the most widely trained martial arts on the planet. Using a combination of kicks punches, elbows and clinches, Muay Thai is regarded as one of the most practical and effective martial arts in which you can train.

The History Of Muay Thai

Tested in competition and in warfare, Muay Thai real-world applications are widely known and highly regarded. With tens of thousands of students around the world as well as thousands of fighters in its home country of Thailand.

A Muay Thai fighter prepares for their fight.
A Muay Thai fighter before his fight.

Muay Thai is very much the sport of choice when it comes to learning the very best stand-up martial art on the planet. Many in the combat sports world ranked it as the World’s number 1 martial art.

Dating back to the mid-18th century, the origins of the sport are linked to a great warrior by the name of Nai Khanomtom. Captured by the Burmese army in the late 1700s, Khanomtom was known for his fighting prowess. And was offered the opportunity to fight for his freedom.

Using what at the time was known as Siamese-style boxing, the legend of Khanomtom ensured the popularity of the fighting style would endure. Which would later evolve into what we know today as the martial art of Muay Thai.

Muay Thai As Your First Martial Art

Now if you are considering what would be your first martial art to learn, then I would absolutely recommend Muay Thai. Its Effectiveness and relative simplicity make it one of the easier martial arts to learn. But at the same time, you should be well aware that it is not for the faint-hearted.

Of course, you also have the more safe version of Thai boxing which is without elbows. But full-on Muay Thai is one of the toughest sports in the world to train in.

Once you get into the swing of things and start your first couple of sessions it won’t be long before you will be putting together combinations including low kicks and punches.

Along with these defensive and offensive tools, you will also learn some of the clinch techniques which are very specific to the sport. And it is these clinches that help to separate the discipline from so many others.

Muay Thai Training And Sparring

One Muay Thai fighter stands over another after a knock down.
A knockdown during Muay Thai fight.

Training in Muay Thai will no doubt test you and your limits. As it is a very physical martial art with lots of kicking and punching involved. It will demand a certain level of fitness and conditioning. But this will give you the fitness levels you need in which to compete at your own desired level.

On top of the fitness aspect of training, you will also learn the mental and physical aspects of how tough it is to train in this deadly sport. Muay Thai’s application in both warfare and now sports competitions ensures that it is not a martial art for the faint-hearted.

And if you are not willing to commit yourself to the grinding training which is an essential aspect of the growth curve. You should perhaps consider your other options.

But once you have gotten over the initial shock, both physically and mentally of the training regime. Before long you will settle into the routine and look forward to your sessions on the mats and on the heavy bags. Muay Thai not only toughens you both inside and out, but it also helps grow your confidence and promotes a sense of discipline in your life.

Muay Thai In Mixed Martial Arts

Something else you need to think of when deciding whether Muay Thai is the stand-up martial art for you. Is that it is one of the key martial arts when it comes to training in mixed martial arts. You will find that some of the very best in the sport of MMA have at least some of their base in Muay Thai.

If you are searching for greatness if you are searching for fitness if you are searching for a new you. Then the martial art of Muay Thai may be exactly what you have been looking for. No doubt one of the deadliest martial arts that exist today, it is for good reason but no matter where you go in the world you will find its students.

Two MMA fighters competing inside the cage during their sparring session.
Two MMA fighters competing inside the cage.

So if you begin to train and build a good base for yourself in the art. Then there is no reason why you will not go on to perhaps develop your skills in another martial art.

While it may not be the deadliest martial art on the planet, I see Lethwei being very much the same sport, but with the addition of headbutts and using unpadded fists in fights. I do have to say that for me might it is amongst the most very effective.

So when you begin to train make sure to look around at the choices you have. Pick the right gym, pick the right coach, and ensure that you are happy in the place where you will be training for some time to come. Enjoy the battle 🙂

In Conclusion

So there are so many reasons why Muay Thai has grown to be one of the most widely trained martial arts on the planet. While I do think that it is an amazingly effective and relatively fast discipline to learn. I do have to say it is not as deadly as its next-door neighbour Lethwei.

Lethwei is a relative newcomer to the vast majority of combat sports fans in the western world. The lesser-known and perhaps less well-marketed Burmese martial art is both incredibly brutal and hugely effective. And so for me, I do feel that it trumps Muay Thai as the more deadly of the martial arts.