As we saw in the best kickboxing fight of 2010, kickboxing can be a very exciting and explosive sport. There is also a great deal of different strategies and styles that play into the sport that we see today. While there are several different styles of kickboxing, the two most dominant are typically seen as Muay Thai and Dutch Kickboxing.
What is Muay Thai?
We covered what Muay Thai is in our article explaining the differences between Savate and Muay Thai. To recap, Muay Thai is an ancient form of kickboxing that uses knees, elbows, kicks and punches.
There is a major emphasis on the clinch and crisp technique. Muay Thai matches are scored with a huge emphasis on kicks to the body and head, clean knees, and technical strikes. Also, there are typically five rounds with the last two rounds being weighed much heavier by the judges than the first three.
What is Dutch Kickboxing?
Dutch Kickboxing has a lot of similarities to Boxing and Muay Thai. It’s commonly believed that Dutch Kickboxing is simply a mix between the two. While not entirely wrong, that’s not the real story.
Dutch Kickboxing really came from several Kyokushin Martial Artists. Kyokushin Karate is a devastating full contact martial art that UFC great, Georges St. Pierre earned his blackbelt in. Mas Oyama is the pioneer of this martial art. Before Mas Oyama passed, a good friend of mine, Cameron Quinn, was one of his top students and his main translator. Cameron has a great website, Budo Karate.
Several high level Kyokushin Karatekas fought in Thailand and found that there karate was being devastated by the Thais. They decided to train in Muay Thai and add the speed and agility of Kyokushin to the devastating power and clinch of Muay Thai. Later, they held several Muay Thai tournaments in Holland which began the Dutch Kickboxing we know today.
Comparing Muay Thai to Dutch Kickboxing
Punches – Boxing in Muay Thai is very limited as punches aren’t scored very highly. Most Thai fighters would rather clinch when they get in punching range. Dutch Kickboxers are known to have some of the best hands in kickboxing.
Kicks – Both styles typically use the shin as a point of contact and kick to the leg and head. Thai fighters tend to kick to the body more than the Dutch.
Movement and Stance – Thai fighters have an upright stance with their weight almost entirely on the back leg. They are rewarded by the crowd and judges for marching forward at a slow pace and constant pressure.
Dutch fighters tend to have much more movement in and out of strikes. They also tend to have more of an angled and split boxing stance than the Thai’s.
Clinch – Thai’s emphasize the clinch much more than the Dutch. The Dutch usually aim to fight in K-1 where only one strike at a time is allowed once you clinch.
In Muay Thai, fighters are allowed to strike from the clinch for a much more extended period of time. Clean knee strikes are one of the highest scoring strikes in Muay Thai.
Elbows – Very few Dutch gyms even train elbows. In K-1 and most other organizations, elbows are banned. Thai fighters emphasize elbows greatly. Usually two fighters that respect each other limit the elbows as its shown as a sign bordering disrespect. Elbows end careers temporarily as they tend to leave large gashes. Most Thai fighters fight often to keep food on the table so when someone throws an elbow, it’s on.
Andy Souwer vs. Buakaw Por Pramuk – K-1 World Max 2009
This is a great fight showing Dutch Kickboxing vs Muay Thai in action. Although the rules are in the Dutch’s favor, Buakaw held his own.
Here is a nice, short video on the origins of Dutch Kickboxing from some of the pioneers. There are some very cool, historical videos and pictures throughout. The video also talks a little about the rule changes in K-1.
What are your thoughts on the different forms of kickboxing?