Muay Thai vs Savate: Differences & Effectiveness Analysis?

Every year the martial arts fan following is keep growing because of many reasons.

Maybe it can be the movies like “Kickboxer”, “IP man”, “Ong Bak”, “Boyka: Undisputed” or it can be the reach of social media and you’ve watched some cool videos about different martial arts.

There are many reasons to become a fan of Martial arts.

Today in all of the Martial arts, we’re going to talk about the infamous Muay Thai and the French boxing Savate.

Muay Thai and Savate are both two great martial arts forms using hands and feet.

Muay Thai vs Savate both have their individual characteristics, benefits in daily life, with some great differences between techniques, rules, cultures, and many more similarities and dissimilarities.

Savate is developed from French street fighting which focuses on full forced punches and kicks and Muay Thai is known for using 8 body points striking system with hard and brutal force.

Now read all the way to the bottom to know the detailed differences between Muay Thai and Savate.

History & Origins

Now let’s take a look at the history of Muay Thai vs Savate to better understand their fundamentals.


Savate is a martial art combat sport that originated in France.

The Savate, also known as french boxing or french kickboxing, developed from French street fighting in the 19th century.

At this time this type of street fighting style was very commonly used around northern France and Paris.

Savate has utilized the hands and their feet as a weapon, where their hands follow strict English boxing style with very quick kicking methods.

This is a very effective martial art form for self-defense but as a competitive sport, it has a lot of rules that limit its techniques.

Savate also has many things in common with Karate, rule vise and also in some technique vise.

Both sports have many similarities like both sports have a ranking system.

wherein Karate your belt color determines your ranking and in Savate, the color of your gloves determines your ranking system.

Both of these sports have a distinct point scoring system to decide the winner of a fight.

The old savate includes many techniques and strikings with grappling and even wrestling, but today’s savate sport only uses empty-handed techniques.

The fighter’s performance is scored based on their striking techniques, defense, and their all-over fight.

They also give more importance to kicks than punches.

Muay Thai

Muay Thai a.k.a. Thai boxing originated from Thailand and can be traced back to the mid-18th century.

This is the national sport of Thailand, and it’s the modern and developed form of the ancient Muay Boran.

Muay Boran the ancient form was developed to fight in the war. And Muay Thai has been developed from Muay Boran under some safe rules as a sport.

In the time of mid-18th century, Thai King Rama V started the revolution and convert Muay Boran a war weapon into a national sport.

Muay Thai is a stand-up fighting style that uses 8 body points/parts, which includes two hands, two legs, two knees, and two elbows, and also they use clinch as a way to stand-up wrestling.

That’s why Muay Thai is also alluded to as “The Art of Eight Limbs” Because the fighters use their whole body as a weapon

Where they control their opponent by their hands and body position and launch devastating knees and elbow strikes.

ALSO READ:  Muay Thai weight Classes (2021)

The Difference between Muay Thai and Savate

muay thai clinch

Both martial art have their advantages and disadvantages, they have their different types of fighting techniques, different stances, and many more.

So, now here we’re going to break down the differences in a much more detailed way.

Difference of Muay Thai vs Savate Techniques


Savate has been inspired by English boxing and French street fighting, where they utilize their hands and feet as weapons, with the help of their custom shoes and gloves.

In professional Savate matches, they are only allowed to use four kinds of kicks and four kinds of punches.

By the way, they mostly focus on their kicking techniques, so they are more likely to practice with their legs.

Their kicks are:-

  • Piston kick from side or front. (with the variety of high, low, and medium)
  • Roundhouse kick connecting with their custom-made shoes. (these are hard rubber-toed custom shoes)
  • Hooking kicks from the sole of the shoe, which also includes high, low, and medium.
  • Low kick or sweep kick to the opponent’s shin.

The Punches are:-

  • Jab
  • Hook
  • Cross
  • Uppercut

The punching style of Savate follows traditional English boxing styles.

Savate was not begun as a sport, instead, it began as a street fighting style in Paris and northern France. Where it uses knees, elbows,

In the Savate development, they also developed street fighting styles like grappling and elbowing, open hand slaps, head butts, eye-gouging, and brutal kicks to the groin area, but these are not legal.

Muay Thai

Formerly used in warfare the Muay Thai has almost about 55 different techniques including punches, kicks, elbows, and different stances.

And also some special techniques mastered over years.

Muay Thai fighters use their whole body as a weapon, which makes it very effective.

In Muay Thai there is a total of 5 major kicks that are used very commonly, like Roundhouse kick (high, middle, and low kick, sometimes switch kicks), Teep kick, Jumping Kick, Diagonal Kick, Straight Foot Jab.

There are also low kicks, Switch Kicks which are very commonly used in a fight because of their simplicity and effectiveness.

Some basic punches like jb, hooks, cross, and uppercuts are also used pretty often in the close range.

There are also different variations of elbows, knees, and clinching.

In Muay Thai clinching plays a huge role, where a fighter holds a clinch to control their opponent with some brutal knees, elbows, and some sweeps and throws.


Now that you know the difference between Muay Thai vs Savate.

You may be wanted to know some, fighters you can check out?

Then here are my suggestions:-

Maybe you know some of the Muay Thai fighters, so, check out for some great Muay Thai fighters:-

And for Savate, there are some great fighters you can check out, like Fedor Emelianenko and Giordani.

And, sorry I don't know many Savate fighters, if you know do mention in the comment section.

Belt Ranking System In Muay Thai vs Savate

Another big difference between Muay Thai and Savate is their belt ranking system.

Savte has its own different ranking system, which defines the expertise of a fighter.

Savate ranks are identified by their glove colors.

Which can be rank from blue gloves (technical rank, first degree), green glove (technical rank, second degree), red glove (technical rank, third-degree), white-glove (technical rank, fourth-degree), yellow glove (technical rank, fifth-degree), silver glove–first degree (technical rank, sixth-degree), silver glove–second degree (technical rank, seventh-degree) and silver glove–third degree (technical rank, eighth degree). Source: Black Belt Mag

A practitioner can only compete until he has reached to red-glove level, with the authorization by their coach.

ALSO READ:  Kickboxing vs Muay Thai: The Real Differences

But, in traditional Muay Thai, they don’t have any belt ranking system, that defines their skills or expertise.

When a Muay Thai fighters coach says that they are ready, then they are ready!

But in World Thai Boxing Association(WTBA) and some Muay Thai customs like Bang Muay Thai uses a belt ranking system which is identified by their armbands colors.

muay thai street fight

Muay Thai vs Savate: Which is better for Street Fights?

When it comes to a street fight it always becomes very unpredictable, because it has no rules & regulations, so anything can happen.

And also it depends on the skill level of a competitor, but we will here assume a good skilled Savate and Muay Thai fighter for comparison.

So, in this case, fighters have to show all their skills, because they won’t be able to understand, from where the next jab or cross is gonna come.

In this case, Savate fighters will be more direct, straightforward, and use quicker kicks, but they have to be very fast and become more accurate to win a street fight.

Because they would not be that good in close-range strikes, because of their frequent use of kicks.

But, in this case, Savate will be quite good, because it was inspired by French street fighting.

And, Muay Thai is very effective in street fightings, because of its use of many body parts is used as a weapon, which gives it a slight edge because it can be good at both short, medium, or long-range.

And top of that, they can also use Clinch to stop or throw, sweep their competitor to avoid a brutal fight.

Which is better for Self Defense

Muay Thai is hands on the best for real-life self-defense scenarios.

Because of its strength, technicalities, and ability to control its aggressive opponents.

Muay Thai fighters are also trained to face different problems and obstacles in daily life.

But Savate fighters are also good in real-life situations, But Muay Thai has some edges over Savate.

Muay Thai vs Savate: Which One Is Easier To Learn?

Savate is hard to learn! you should know that.

You will rarely find Savate schools, where you can learn proper Savate.

And, also it’s not that easy to learn Savate, because of its need for high flexibility and accuracy nowadays, which is also not taught in most schools of the USA.

But in the case of Muay Thai, in several years it has become a globally recognized and favorite sport, because of its interesting fighters and their fights.

You can easily find a good school near you where you can learn Muay Thai, and it’s also very easy to learn from kids to old age people.

So Which One Should You Choose?

With all the similarities and dissimilarities, both of these martial are great for your body, mind, spirit, and your daily life.

They will teach you discipline, respect for others, caring, and many more, which will be with you all your life.

But, choosing any of these martial art forms depends on your personal goal.

What do you want to achieve with a particular martial art form?

If you want to be good in self-defense, street fighting, Muay Thai is the way to go.

And, if you wanted to be a very focused, flexible, and accurate striker, then you should aim for Savate.

Now, it’s up to you, which one you’re going to choose. Make sure to comment below your pick.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.