What is your Style?


Known as the “Art of 8 limbs,” Muay Thai is considered to be one of the most explosive and effective fighting styles in the world of Martial Arts. By using our two hands (punching), elbows, knees and legs (kicks), all Muay Thai practitioners refine each tool but eventually develop a personal preference to one of the 5 styles below. Influenced by our instructors and favorite fighters, we all have a unique approach to our choice of weapons or fight strategies.

The instructors here at Northwest Fighting Arts want to give you a quick breakdown of each of the 5 styles:

Muay Mat (Heavy Puncher)

A Muay Mat fighter utilizes an aggressive and explosive fighting style, with non-stop action and pressure on their opponents. Preferring heavy punches, they go for the knockout and try to finish the fight on their terms.

It is a double-edged sword however, since most Muay Mat fighters are also susceptible to taking the same punishment due to their aggression. Known for their toughness, they can take as much as they give so they don’t always win via the scorecard since they want to finish the fight before it goes to the judge’s decision.

Two prime examples are Rodtang Jitmuangnon, who is actively competing, and an all-time great Ramon Dekkers.

Muay Sok (Elbow)

Picture using our elbows as a knife or bladed weapon. A Muay Sok fighter utilizes elbows as their preferred weapon of choice to slash and cut the target. Our elbows are one of the sharpest and hardest bones in the human body. Extremely effective in close quarters, elbows are a sneaky tool used inside punching range and clinching/plumb range. Used both offensively in combinations and defensively for counter-attacking, it can be an effective tool to counter a Muay Mat Fighter when they try to get in close.

Karuhat Sor Supawan and Yodkhunphon Sittraiphum (who is nicknamed “Elbow Hunter of 100 Stitches”) are two notable examples.

Muay Khao (Knee)

Considered to be one of the most dangerous weapons in Muay Thai, the knee is a powerful weapon used in medium/close range. Muay Khao fighters are also masters of the clinch/plumb, manipulating their opponent’s balance for sweeps and displacements and to open up for a knee strike to the body or head. It’s considered to be one of the more dominating fighting styles in Muay Thai. Instructors tend to guide their taller students to work on becoming a Muay Khao fighter, since longer limbs mean more reach and effective knees.

Notable example of a Muay Khao fighter is Dieselnoi Chor Thanasukarn (known as the “Sky Piercing Knee” standing at 6’3”).

Muay Tae (Kick)

One of the more devastating and powerful tools in a Muay Thai, the roundhouse kick generates immense power and speed through full-body torque and precise technique. It is perfected through constant repetition and drilling the same techniques over and over to improve conditioning. Through its force alone, the Thai roundhouse kick can cause broken ribs or arms if not defended correctly. A staple tool in any Muay Thai fighter’s arsenal, but for a Muay Tae it is their go to technique to dominate a fight.

Fighters who are known for their kicks are Superlek Kiatmoo9 and Yodsanklai Fairtex.

Muay Femur (Technical Fighter)

A Muay Femur is a high fight IQ, technical fighter with all the tools at their disposal. They use every single one of the techniques and styles listed above at a high level, adapting to whatever situation they are in. One of the more difficult styles to master, it requires a level of understanding of your own body and technical prowess to quickly adjust to your opponent. Superior movement (footwork, fakes, etc.), defense and timing describe a Muay Femur fighter. They generally outscore their opponents but can also rush in to finish a fight if the opportunity arises.

Regarded as the most beautiful of the styles, Muay Femur fighters take much less damage due to their great defense and thus their careers last longer.

Two examples of Muay Femur fighters are: Saenchai, who is actively competing at age 41 as of this post in 2021. The legendary Samart Payakaroon, who is considered by many as one of the best, if not the best, Muay Thai fighter of all time. Samart had a successful career in both Muay Thai and Boxing (WBC), actively competing in both in the 80’s.


If you’re looking to develop your own style, consider your own natural attributes and work with a qualified instructor. This is the best way to help determine what style is best for you.

If looking for Muay Thai in Portland, Oregon and you want to find out what your Muay Thai style is, contact us today at 503-235-3435 or email us at contact@nwfighting.com. Newcomers are welcome and we can set up a free private lesson and orientation to start your training! All of us here at Northwest Fighting Arts look forward to training with you and having you join our community.