Muay Thai Vs Kyokushin Karate: Which is Better?

Karate is one of the most well-known martial arts in the whole world.

Any people who don’t know anything about martial art will compare any martial art with Karate.

But there’s a special style of karate that is compared to Muay Thai because of many reasons along with toughness, and it’s called Kyokushin Karate.

In this article, we’re gonna dive into detail in the difference between Muay Thai and Kyokushin, the connections, similarities, and many more.

And let’s see which one is better, and toughest.

What Is Muay Thai?

Muay Thai can be explained as a very fast, aggressive, brutal combat sport that originated from Thailand.

It’s a stand-up striking mixed with clinching and sweeps.

This is also known as the art of eight limbs, because the fighters use eight contact points, like two legs, to knees, two fists, and two fists.

Muay Thai involves the whole body in a fight, which makes it very dangerous, they tend to deploy hard and brutal strikes to the upper part(head) of their opponent to end the fight quickly.

What Is Kyokushin Karate?

Kyokushin Karate is believed to be one of the hardest styles of karate.

Kyokushin Karate translates as “the ultimate truth”, it was based on the founder’s philosophy that one’s true nature should be discovered while put to the test.

This style of karate has a base of self-improvement philosophy, hard training, dedication, and discipline.

This is very much similar to other karate styles, but the main differences are they have a full-contact fighting style rather than the contact point or light contact fighting.

They also tend to fight bare hands, without using any hand wraps or gloves.

Like other karate styles they also have punches and elbows banned in the head, but the kicks and knees are legal at the head.

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History & Origins

Now first of all let’s discuss their history and origins for better understanding their differences.

Muay Thai

For those of you who don’t know Muay Thai is originated from Thailand. It’s also a national sport of Thailand and a cultural martial art form.

And it’s a modern fighting form of an ancient martial art form developed for Thai soldiers to fight in wars.

Kyokushin Karate

Kyokushin Karate
Source: Pinterest

Kyokushin Karate is one of the youngest styles of Karate, although it has well over 12 million practitioners all around the world.

The Kyokushin Karate was first discovered in 1953, but officially it was founded in 1964.

This style was created by a Korean Japanese named Masutatsu Oyama, also known as Mas Oyama.

At a very young age, Oyama goes to live with his sister in Manchuria, where he started learning Chinese martial arts.

Then he moved to Japan to join the Imperial Air Force and started learning both Shotokan and Goju-Ryu Karate. And then he found his own karate style and, opens his Dojo. (named Oyama Dojo)

Then he picked some of his instructors to travel around different countries and promote their style of Karate.

They were demonstrating, competing against other groups of martial artists, and showing off their Karate skills in different countries.

Oyama travels around the whole of Japan and actually fight bulls and knocking them out.

Soon the words spread out as their Dojo branch, count around more than 1,000 in the 1990s.

The Differences & Similarities Between Muay Thai vs Kyokushin Karate

Both Muay Thai and Kyokushin karate have very similarities and differences.

Both styles share the same type of stance, like forward-moving, high guards, and square feet.

They also share all 8 limb contact points(body parts) as weapons.

Kyokushin also has all the fancy kicking styles of karate.

So, here we can say the main difference is Kyokushin can throw elbows and punches only to the body not on the head, but the kicks and knees are allowed to the head.

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Kyokushin has banned the use of clinch, where too much grabbing, holding can result in a point deduction.

Also, as early mentioned Kyokushin fighters don’t use gloves or hand wraps like Muay Thai or Kickboxing.

They tend to fight bare knuckles.

Muay Thai vs Kyokushin Karate: Which Is More Effective?

This varies upon many things, upon the practitioner, his skills, time, and many more things.

There are many points to note while comparing these two martial art styles.

In a short answer, Muay Thai is more effective than Kyokushin Karate because it has many flaws that can’t be excused.

The main flaws are, they do not tend to punch or elbow in the head, which ultimately affects their training where they’re not trained to defend against punches and elbows at the head.

In real-life situations, opponents gonna come for the head strike, but they don’t know how to defend them.

Also, they don’t allow clinch, which can be a big no. Because it’s a vital point for self-defense.

And, the Muay Thai fighters like Buakaw Benchamek, Sanchai, Samart Payakaroon have also got much success against the other kickboxing style fighters from Chinese, Japanese, and Dutch.

Which Should You Learn?

It’s totally up to you, both fighting styles have their own advantages and disadvantages.

But if you wish to learn a full-fledged stand-up striking Muay Thai is the way to go, also Kyokushin Karate is also a very effective and hard sport.

But for overall self-defense and effectiveness, Muay Thai got an edge over Kyokushin.

Because it has more superior options which are very beneficial in a real-life situation.

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