Muay Thai and Brazilian JiuJitsu are both fantastic martial arts for self-defense and keeping you physically fit, but do they work together?
I decided to find out.
Muay and BJJ go perfect with each other, as one is a striking art and the other is a grappling art. Knowing both is perfect for self-defense as you will be comfortable fighting stand up as well as going on the ground. One of the best UFC fighters ever Anderson Silva is a BJJ and Muay Thai fighter.
You cannot go wrong with learning either martial art, and I highly recommend you train both if it fits in your schedule, as I train both and love them equally.
I will explain just why both arts are so effective and the differences between them.
4 Reasons Why Muay Thai And BJJ Is An Excellent Combination
1.BJJ And Muay Thai Don’t Interfere With Each Other
BJJ will teach you how to wrestle someone to the ground and submit them, and Muay Thai will teach you to stay standing up and strike, in this way they are not confusing to learn at the same time.
I wrote in this post here how I wouldn’t advise training Boxing and Muay Thai concurrently as they are different styles of striking, and have different stances.
In BJJ you will never accidentally knee someone, and in Muay Thai you will never accidently go for submission since the two arts are so different. It is easy to keep them separate from one another and learn them individually.
This isn’t the same with other martial arts, especially striking arts.
If you’re learning Taekwondo and Muay Thai they both are very different striking arts and learning Muay Thai will hurt your Taekwondo and vice versa.
BJJ and Muay Thai allows you to switch your focus on either martial art and train them accordingly.
2.BJJ And Muay Thai Is Amazing For MMA
I don’t think two martial arts together are more effective than Muay Thai and BJJ as they are effectively the kings of both stand-up and ground fighting.
Muay Thai will give you superb striking and make you dangerous with all 8 limbs of your body along with, exceptional standing wrestling, the Thai clinch and the ability to accurately judge and keep opponents at a distance. See the 12 reasons why Muay Thai is so good for self-defense here.
However, Muay Thai is not the perfect martial art because if someone takes you to the ground, even the best roundhouse kick in the world will not save you, this is where BJJ comes in!
BJJ makes you capable of fighting off your back with the ability to still be dangerous on the ground. So even IF someone takes you down and you can’t use your Muay Thai, if you have strong BJJ skills this doesn’t even matter!
The styles complement each other very well, as learning both makes you capable of fighting on the ground as well as standing up. Your opponent will have to think where they want the fight as you will be comfortable wherever the fight ends up.
In MMA the first academy that successfully merged both styles is the Chute Boxe Academy in Brazil where several prominent MMA fighter champions came from, such as the notable Anderson Silva and Maurício Rua (Shogun).
MMA is the sport of mixed martial arts, and having Muay Thai and BJJ will make you a dangerous well-rounded fighter.
The only missing link is wrestling which is superb for takedown defense and takedown ability. You combine Muay Thai and BJJ with wrestling and you will be the perfect fighter.
3. Muay Thai And BJJ Will Make You A Rounded Fighter
The issue with picking one or the other is although they are both the best martial art for grappling and striking respectfully, to truly excel at MMA you need to be capable of both.
For example, if you’re fighting a Muay Thai champion, their striking will be next level and you won’t be able to beat them. The solution? Take them to the ground and bring them to your world.
Although Thai fighters have some takedown defense this only involves the clinch, they are not trained to sprawl when someone goes for a single/double leg, So taking down even a professional Thai fighter shouldn’t be too hard.
I do believe BJJ is the best one on one martial art and defeats all other styles, but you still should have the ability to strike. In a street fight, all bets are off so as a BJJ practitioner if you’re not used to getting hit you will freeze in a free fight. Learning some striking will help you.
Let’s say if know BJJ but can’t take the person down, and the other person is a good striker what then?
Learning both Muay Thai and BJJ makes you capable every place the fight can go, also it makes getting takedowns and using your BJJ easier as you can set up the takedown with punches.
To truly be an effective fighter you need to have both striking and grappling.
4.BJJ And Muay Thai Are Fantastic For Self Defense
Muay Thai is the best martial art for fighting against multiple attacks in a street situation, and BJJ is by far the best one on one martial art even if there is a weight disadvantage. Let me explain.
Muay Thai is an ancient battle art turned martial art and originated in the 16th century when Thailand was constantly at war, such as in the Burmese-Siamese wars (wiki link) fought between the 16th and 19th centuries.
Read my post here on more information about Muay Thai’s history.
As Muay Thai developed on the battlefield, every Muay Thai move leaves you still standing. Even the numerous sweeps and throws from Muay Thai leave your opponent on the ground, not you.
Imagine a worse position to be in on the battlefield than on the ground with your opponent?
Similar to a self-defense situation you never want to be on the ground, as yes you might have someone in your guard in BJJ and about to submit him/her, but then their friend soccer kicks you in the head or another person jumps in and overwhelms you.
With Muay Thai you can defend yourself and remain standing, but what if you fight someone in just a 1 on 1 situation and they are bigger and stronger than you?
BJJ is perfect for this situation as it’s the only martial art where someone significantly smaller and less powerful can submit the opponent and win the fight using the pure technique.
Having both allows you to stay on your feet in a possible one vs multiple attackers scenario, and also makes you super effective in a 1 on 1 situation with someone significantly bigger than you.
Seems like a win-win right?
Should You Learn Striking Or Grappling First?
A study by Bakari Akil (PHD) at Middle Georgia College published a study where 42% of fights end up with both fighters on the ground. So having a base in grappling before striking makes you more prepared for the reality of a street fight as most fights will end up on the ground.
However, the real answer is a bit more complicated look here at the quote by Carlos Gracie Sr one of pioneers of BJJ.
“Punch a black belt in the face, he becomes a brown belt. Punch him again, purple…”Carlos Gracie Sr
What he means is as I mentioned earlier if you’re not used to getting hit in a street situation, you WILL flinch and possibly even panic which could cost you your life.
You Must Learn Striking To Defend Against It
Learning striking teaches you how to defend against it, ‘the best offense is a good defense’ rings true, knowing how to defend or check kicks is key for self-defense as one strike could take you out.
I still recommend learning grappling first as most fights end on the ground, but if your gym is an MMA gym and has both classes you should still learn some basic striking so you will gain an understanding of the three striking distances.
- Close Range. Right next to your opponent, in Muay Thai this is elbow and clinch range, as a grappler this is where you start your takedowns
- Kicking Range. This is the range where your opponent can JUST kick or punch you, in Muay Thai is where the teep (front kick) is used to keep distance. The worst place for a grappler to be in
- Outside. This is where you’re both outside of each other’s reach and no strike can hit you, as a grappler training striking teaches you where you are safe and not safe. In this range is where you close the distance and go to close range as a grappler after your opponent kicks.
Interested in Muay Thai? Check Out My Recommendations
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