Muay Thai originated thousands of years ago in what is now known as Thailand. The art form was developed by warriors in need of a fighting style to combat opponents at any range and brutalize the enemy quickly. Like most martial art forms, Muay Thai has a few off-shoots in the kickboxing world – Dutch Muay Thai a.k.a Dutch Kickboxing is what we will cover today.
Thai Boxing or traditional Muay Thai has been in existence since 2nd or 3rd B.C. and became a regulated sport in the 1930’s. Dutch Muay Thai became a recognized sport by the 1970’s with origins in the Netherlands. [Related: History of Muay Thai]
Nak Muays or traditional Thai Boxers have a wider stance than Dutch Kickboxers. Nak Muays generally display a hopping or marching motion, pivoting weight from the back foot or just hopping on the back foot. The Nak Muay’s stance is designed to allow the fighter to quickly move in for a knee strike, low kick, elbow, or clinch. Dutch Kickboxers use more angles and footwork in stance to mimic that of a boxer. [Related: Video on Muay Thai Stance]
The difference in stance is key. Thai Boxers are known for their excellent use of eight limbs – elbows, hands, knees, and shins. A Thai Boxer is always waiting for an opportunity to land a face-busting elbow strike or rib-cracking knee. Nak Muays always want to move in close with a clinch or strike to disable the opponent. Dutch Kickboxers display a closer and more lengthwise stance that makes more sense for a boxer or karate student. Dutch Kickboxers typically use mid-range punching combinations and then will finish off an opponent with a low kick and sometimes a head kick for a solid KO. Elbows are pretty much not used in Dutch Kickboxing, possibly due to the extreme damage they may cause in competitive events.
Though some traditional Thai Boxers choose to fight in Kickboxing competitions, traditional Muay Thai fights and Dutch Kickboxing fights are scored differently. If a Thai Boxer goes balls to the wall with strikes, lands them, but the strikes do not adhere to traditional technique, points can be deducted in a traditional Muay Thai fight. In Dutch Kickboxing events, elbows are not allowed but tradition is not a scoring factor at all. Fighting organizations for Thai Boxers would include Lion Fights and Lumpinee while Dutch Kickboxers aim for K1. In K1, it is important to note that when fighters enter a clinch, only one strike is allowed. In traditional Muay Thai, once a clinch is entered, this is the perfect time for several knee and/or elbow strikes. [Related: Become an amateur fighter]
Overall, Dutch Kickboxers are known to be great boxers with some solid kicks. Nak Muays are respected for their focus on technique in strikes from all eight limbs.