Techniques Used by Elite Thai and UK Muay Thai Fighters: An Analysis and Simulation


Background: Muay Thai is a combat sport growing in international popularity. Previous research has highlighted marked jurisdictional differences in the judging systems employed, but no studies have compared techniques used by fighters across geographic regions or have been on how these might be a function of the different judging systems employed. This paper aimed to address this issue by examining differences in technique selection and application between Thai and UK Muay Thai fighters using notational analysis. Method: The winners of thirty-two fights involving 16 Thai and 16 UK fighters were analysed. Three multilevel Poisson regression models were used to estimate differences in technique frequency and key performance indicators between Thai and UK fighters. Results: Thai fighters used more attacking and defensive techniques than UK fighters, particularly knees (p < 0.001), roundkicks to the body (p < 0.001), and push kicks (p < 0.001). Thai fighters also tended to catch an opponent’s leg significantly more often than UK fighters (p < 0.001), but UK fighters were significantly more likely to use other defensive techniques. There were also statistically significant interactions between nationality and a range of quality indicators, including delivering techniques at an appropriate distance (p < 0.001), the effectiveness of techniques used (p < 0.001), and returning to a balanced stance (p < 0.001). Conclusions: The results suggested that Thai fighters using better distancing, were more effective and more balanced. The practical implications of findings and their implications for the sport and future research are discussed.

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Myers, T. , Balmer, N. , Nevill, A. & Al-Nakeeb, Y. (2013). Techniques Used by Elite Thai and UK Muay Thai Fighters: An Analysis and Simulation. Advances in Physical Education, 3, 175-186. doi: 10.4236/ape.2013.34029.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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