Rules and Scoring in Muay Thai

Discussion in 'Thai Boxing' started by fire cobra, Apr 29, 2008.

  1. fire cobra

    fire cobra Valued Member

    Hi everybody,

    I posted this under the "low kick" thread but feel it is interesting enough for its own thread,a very well written piece by Kru Sean Bowland on the Rules and Scoring in Muay Thai.

    1. The boxer who strikes with more clear MuayThai weapons on target wins the round

    slightly over simple translation but still a useful rule of thumb: The boxer who lands more clean kicks and knees on their opponent’s body wins the round. If you move your opponent with your kick or can unbalance your opponent first and follow with a technique, that is better still. It is important to note these can be delivered while moving forwards, backwards or sideward. Balance after delivery is important (Punches, elbows and leg kicks do score but you have to really show effect with these weapons).

    2. The boxer who scores more heavy powerful attacks wins the round

    slightly over simple translation but still a useful rule of thumb: If boxers don’t land cleanly with kicks but hit the arms and show effect, they score equally to kicks landing on target but not showing an effect. Punches and leg kicks can score well if they show real effect on the opponent.

    3. The boxer who does more damage to his opponent wins the round

    slightly over simple translation but still a useful rule of thumb: If everything else is close judges look for real differences in the damage caused by blows. For example, if the same number of kicks and knees to the body landed by both boxers, judges may award a fight to a boxer who made his opponent very tired through being hit with strong weapons or cut their opponent with an elbow or some similar damage.

    4. The boxer who shows more attacking techniques wins the round

    Slightly over simple translation but still a useful rule of thumb: if two boxers are equal in all of the above respects; perhaps because they are very equally matched or are not skilful enough to score with appropriate techniques, judges should award the fight to the boxer who attacks more or who tries to make a fight of it.

    5. Better offensive, defensive, evasion or counterattacking skills wins the round

    6. The boxer who fouls less wins the round

     What is not written, but is part of scoring, if boxers keep getting dominated in the clinch and thrown around they also lose.

     Some basic but general misconceptions on fouls in MuayThai: I have heard the following incorrectly referred to as fouls:

    Kicking or kneeing the back: you can knee, kick and elbow the back or the back of the head, although you would be advised not to allow your opponent to do this as they will score well as well as hurt you.

    Kicking the knees: you can kick the knees

    Holding and hitting: you can hold an opponent’s leg and continually keep kicking, kneeing, punching and elbowing your opponent as long as you deliver a technique after every two steps forward that you take.

    Kicking or kneeing a falling opponent: you can kick or knee a falling opponent (very good point) even if they make contact with the canvas; as long as it is a continuous movement and the intention wasn’t to hit them on the floor but only while they were falling.

    Kicking the groin accidentally: if the kick hits the groin but is intended to land somewhere else it is not a foul, in fact if you were hit accidentally and wanted to take a rest or went down you would get counted.

    …and these are sometimes allowed when they are actually fouls;

    • Tripping with the side of the foot
    • Hyper extending the spine while grabbing the lower back
    • Hip throws

    Although spectators don’t really need an understanding of the technicalities of how judges record scores, it is useful for them to understand that early rounds, for a number of reasons, may not be as important in determining the outcome of a fight as the later rounds. Generally the first round in Muay Thai is a slow assessing round where each fighter looks for their opponent’s strengths and weakness. So by default this can be a hard round to score. So as a rule of thumb the round is normally scored 10-10. Unless one fighter is given an eight count in which it is scored 10-8. If one fighter is stronger and dominates the round then the round is scored 10-10*. The ‘*’denotes advantage to that particular fighter and can be used to assess if the fight is even in the other rounds. So already from round one you can see how complex the scoring might seem to the uneducated eye.
    From the scoring above you can also see that kicks and knees are high scoring if delivered correctly. A lot of westerners like to attack the legs with low kicks and, although effective if delivered correctly, and moves or causes an opponent to show pain, unless it does this it won’t score as high as a fighter kicking their opponent’s arm and physically moving them with the kick. Again some may wrongly see the low kick as more effective and not the power of the arm kick. One of the other problems that we have in the West is the use of 3 rounds for ‘C’ class fights. Clearly at this level both fighters are going to go hell for leather, especially as these are only 2 minute rounds. So the above scoring would not be practical, indeed the Thais never intended their scoring for 3 rounds they always fight 5 rounds full rules.:)
  2. Yatezy

    Yatezy One bad mamba jamba

    Cheers FC, that was a cracking read and all though i had an understanding of the rules there were some in there that i didnt know of.

    This caught me out during sparring, i had gotten my instructor in the clinch but he was half turned (he had his arm through aswel so it was like a standing arm triangle) and i hesitated in kneeing his back as i wasnt sure if it was allowed. It resulted in me taking an elbow to the ear :cry:
  3. tideliar

    tideliar Valued Member

    One lass in my class was sparring and ended in a clinch. Her opponent was totally dominated and ended up kind of hugging her waist. Cos it was sparring and supposed to be (moderately) light contact and friendly, she didn't knee him in the face. She elbowed him in the spine! LMAO. He was adamant it was illegal, she was adamnt she didn't do it. Thankfully we'd videod their fight :) Freaking hilarious watching her reaction :D
  4. Moi

    Moi Warriors live forever x

    Great to see how it should be scored. Thanx FC
  5. fire cobra

    fire cobra Valued Member

    Glad people have enjoyed Kru Seans article,it is certainly helps when everyone in the gym is batting from the same Rule sheet so to speak:)

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