I'm just wondering whether Muay Thai teaching includes defensive tactics / techniques to use against grappling and take-downs. If they do, please share them.

For instance, if someone tries to grapple and take down a Muay Thai fighter, what will he do? Will he try to knock the grappler out somehow before being taken down or does he already know the ground game to use against the grappler?

  • 1
    Do you know about clinch techniques? Not that I am not an expert in Muay Thai so the link might not be the best one around or it could be. I just don't know enough to tell. Mar 9, 2015 at 11:14
  • Well. I know about clinching a bit, but what if he is taken to the ground? What if he has to struggle with a jiu jitsu guy or any other fighter who has practiced a grappling martial art like Judo or wrestling? I just want to know whether Muay thai teaches the ground game as well. (Not as advanced as Jiu Jitsu or Judo, but up to some extent?) Mar 9, 2015 at 12:00
  • 3
    That's easy: I've never heard of any muay Thai training groundwork in any substantial fashion. Mar 9, 2015 at 12:07

4 Answers 4


Since Muay Thai is a sport that doesn't allow takedowns or grappling it doesn't contain countermeasures for theses kind of attacks. Neither does for example boxing. If a muay thai fighter tries a take down (repeatedly) they will be disqualified.

That said Muay Boran and Krabi Krabong are martial arts that do seem to contain certain aspects of fighting on the ground. Here is a Video showing some ground techniques and even a match with some of that utilized. I'm not sure what the rules are for this fight.

  • Your usage of the bold on sport seems to suggest a derision for the word. Am I right? Mar 10, 2015 at 7:49
  • 2
    @Sardathrion (Had to look it up: "contemptuous ridicule or mockery") Haha, no not at all. Just wanted to point out that a sport doesn't have to include answers to techniques that are not allowed. The bold was to contrast it to a martial art that should prepare the practitioner for all kinds of situations.
    – kioopi
    Mar 10, 2015 at 8:48
  • I thought Muay Thai was invented centuries ago by the Thai army and then adapted INTO a sport in modern times. Mar 21, 2015 at 17:08
  • @KingsAdviser Yes, Muay Boran and Krabi Krabong are the traditional arts. Muay Thai is the sport.
    – kioopi
    Mar 23, 2015 at 11:23
  • Muay Thai has a surprisingly rich system of fighting in the clinch -including take downs which are allowed in the sport within certain parameters. It certainly has something to offer against an opponent grappling from the waist up, though nothing specific against a shoot for a double/single leg take down and no ground fighting. Apr 3, 2018 at 15:25

Most martial arts are not balanced... like how BJJ lacks the striking power, yet so strong in ground games, and the other way around for Muay Thai.

Since there are no take downs in Muay Thai match rules, they don't teach it much. You can either learn techniques to counter takedowns, learn ground arts from BJJ, Judo, etc. after being contented in Muay Thai, or do both.

I think Muay Thai's defensive techniques are good enough in avoiding take downs. But you cannot execute them all the time. there will always be good grapplers.

  • True. And according to the provided answers, if muay thai starts teaching grappling and ground game, then it'll turn out to be a MMA. Mar 12, 2015 at 7:57
  • In theory, clinching and knees can prevent a grappler release his standing grappling arsenal. Good middle and low kicks can keep them busy and prevent them from attempting tackles. Knees however are the best weapon to counter an approaching tackle. But theories need execution, and grappling has its own theories against them, so it just becomes a battle of who can executes their theories better. Apr 22, 2020 at 7:35

Define "grapple and take down".

Some Muay Thai practitioners do a lot of clinch work, but generally takedowns are highly circumscribed. Techniques like hip throws, shots, suplexes and so on are are forbidden and defenses to such techniques are not generally practiced.

  • Well... Let's say if a Jiu Jitsu guy tries to grapple, take him down and submit him, then are there any defensive methods the muay thai fighter knows to defend himself from getting submitted? Mar 9, 2015 at 11:55
  • 1
    @SahanDeSilva "Grapple" could mean any one of at least a twenty very different attacks. Is the jiujitsiero going for a low single leg, or a jumping guard pull after establishing a collar-and-elbow clinch, or an Imanari roll into a heel hook, or an over-under clinch followed by uchimata? None of those are remotely similar, and the defenses vary greatly no matter what art you train. You need to be more specific than "grapple". Mar 9, 2015 at 12:06
  • Forget about grappling then. How about ground game? Imagine both muay thai fighter and jiu jitsu fighter end up on the ground. From there onward, who has the upper hand? Is muay thai fighter at a greater risky disadvantage? Mar 10, 2015 at 2:43
  • @SahanDeSilva I mean, BJJ generally spends 75 to 90% of training time on ground grappling, and muay Thai spends approximately 0 to 5%. So... Mar 10, 2015 at 7:10
  • Well then!! I can conclude that Muay thai doesn't teach much about ground game, right? Ok. Thanks for the info: :) Mar 10, 2015 at 10:20

Muay Thai has a lot of clinch techniques, both offensive and defensive.

K1 Muay Thai reduces and sometime forbids them, but there are hip, supplex and other throws while clinching to get free from opponents techniques.

Buakaw Benchamek vs Enrico Kehl match has a lot of examples.

Definitely no ground game, the refree will always stop the match and let both opponents stand up.

This is one example of clinch defense on opponents knees,it's a simple hip rotation but generally works.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.