Rules of Muay Thai | How it is Played?

Muay Thai is a popular Martial arts sport which is also known as Thai boxing. It is a combat sport of Thailand in which fighters use stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques.

The history of the game can be traced to the middle of the 18 century, this kind of fighting style is believed to be invented during battles between Burmese of the Konbaung Dynasty and the Ayutthaya Kingdom Burmese–Siamese War (1765–1767).

Rules of Muay Thai

By no means this is a less brutal fighting sport, Muay Thai fights can prove to be bloody and painful. At first, Muay Thai was a mere source of entertainment in Thailand where people would go to watch these fights to entertain themselves. They were part of local festivals and celebrations, especially the ones held at Thai temples.

It is also referred to as the art of eight limbs because use of punches, kicks, elbows and knee strikes is used in it. Thus, both the players use these 4 points to fight against each other. For the sake of their personal safety and their opponent’s well-being, players are strictly instructed to fight as per the rules of the game and banned moves are not tolerated at any cost.

Object of Playing Muay Thai

The object of the game is to knock out your opponent or render him in such a state that he may be declared unfit to continue fighting by the referee. Players can use kicks, elbows, knees and strikes to make their opponent accept the defeat, however, if the fight still continues, the judges decide the winner in the end.

In simple words, you either have to knock out your opponent or if the match goes to distance, the player with the most number of points is declared the winner.

How to Play?

In Muay Thai 2 players use kicks, knees and elbows to strike their opponent. For every kick, knee, elbow and other legal moves points are awarded to the striker. Muay Thai matches take place on a similar ring used in boxing.

Before you start playing Muay Thai, you need to learn some rules about which areas of the body of your opponent you are allowed to strike and what are the punishments of small and severe infringements. Find out everything in the rules of Muay Thai.

General Rules of Muay Thai

  • No fighter under 15 can compete in a professional Muay Thai match.
  • Players only fight those who belong to the same weight category as they, this makes the fight fair.
  • Before the start of the fight, both wrestlers perform a religious Thai dance.
  • You can use your kicks, feet, elbows and knees to hit and defeat your opponent.
  • During any time of the bout, if a fighter has been knocked out, the other fighter will be declared winner.
  • If the fighter sustains a serious injury as a result of a heavy blow, and the doctors and referee think the injured fighter shouldn’t fight more, the referee can deem his opponent the winner, it is also called a technical knockout.
  • In case of continuous infringement, the referee can warn the fighter. Every warning accredits one point to his opponent’s account.
  • If the match continues till the end, the player with most points chosen as the winner by judges.
  • If the points are also equal, then the match is declared a draw.

Fouls In Muay Thai

Like every sport, there are fouls in Muay Thai. These fouls are called when:

  • A fighter bites, pokes in the eye or spits on his opponent.
  • A fighter locks his arm or uses any banned move on his opponent.
  • A fighter disobeys the referee’s command.
  • One or both of the fighters fall down the ring and one of them delays to get back in the ring.
  • One of the fighters grabs ropes to gain advantage.
  • A fighter uses provocative manners during the contest.

Time Duration of Fight

Muay Thai is fought in 5 bouts of 3 minutes each, players also get 2-minute rest at the end of each bout.

Playing Field

Muay Thai fights take place in a ring which measures 24 ft by 24 ft.

Playing Equipment

During the fight, players can wear gloves, use gum shields and pads for protection of sensitive parts of the body. Because of the frequent use of legs, no footwear is allowed for the safety of both fighters.

Referee’ Role

A referee stands in the middle of the ring and continuously passes commands if he sees any infringement. Moreover, a referee is responsible for evaluating the condition of a fight during a fight, and if he feels the fighter is unfit to continue fit, he can declare his opponent the winner. A referee can also disqualify a fighter if he doesn’t obey his commands.


Judges sit around the ring and give points to both the fighters, based on the cleanliness of the move and control. In the end, if no player is knocked, their given points altogether decide the winner.

Famous Muay Thai Events

Muay Thai fights are highly anticipated, private companies organise competitive fights between wrestlers of the same categories. Moreover, Muay Thai Championships are also held in different countries, but there is no fixed schedule for Muay Thai events.

Governing Body

The International Federation of Muaythai Associations, or IFMA, also called the International Federation of Muaythai Amateur is the sole governing body of the game at international level with 130 member countries worldwide.