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Has there been any evolution in Muay Thai technique and style from the 1980s, 90s to present day? In basketball in the 90s, for example, they had strong centers, with half court games. Now it is more 3 point shooting, run up/down the court. Curious if any changes occurred in Muay Thai style.

Note: a) Sometimes competition rule changes initiate differences in style, b) other reason people figure what works better over time, and incorporate new strategies

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Definitely! The 80s to 90s in Thailand was considered the golden age of Muay Thai. At that time fighters were very traditional and fights were scored predominantly on kicks, knees, elbows, and clinching. Punches were the least valuable of the strikes and seen as more of a set up to land higher scoring strikes or to enter into a clinch. The techniques taught in basic/intro Muay Thai classes now is what was seen a lot back then with things like the high guard kept with the gloves very close to the forehead, big emphasis on checking kicks, weight on the back foot, etc.

Over the years though, largely with the introduction of western fighters into Thailand led by guys like John Wayne Parr, they brought along Dutch kickboxing with them. This also would lead to the big Muay Thai/kickboxing scene that they have in Europe but that is unrelated. These European fighters though came to Thailand and introduced a Dutch style of kickboxing that was very punch heavy and used punches as a more effective weapon and then followed up their punching combos with kicks. That in addition to more influence from western boxing started changing up the style in Thailand.

Fast forward to today, we have all sorts of different ways that people fight in Muay Thai/kickboxing. The main schools though are that the Netherlands still have Dutch kickboxing which is pretty popular in American and British gyms now too. Thais usually still have their five fighting styles Muay Femur, Buok, Tae, Mat, and Khao which is still taught outside of Thailand around the world too. As well with the increased popularity in MMA, American gyms will often teach a modified version of traditional kickboxing that is more in line with the Dutch style but also tweaked to make it more compatible with MMA.

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