The art of self-defense where the elbows, feet, fists, and knees are used to pummel the opponent. The fists and feet are used for long-range combat while the elbows and knees are used for short-range combat.
Muay Thai is sometimes called "Thai Boxing" or "Thai Kickboxing" because the techniques of this style are not practiced in sets commonly referred to as "forms - Kata's or Koso's"
which can be found in Japanese, Chinese and Korean martial arts. They are, however, practiced in much the same manner as in regular western boxing (hence the addition of the term "Boxing" ), which allows the practitioner to develop power, speed, and a spontaneous reaction to attacks. The practice of "forms" do not properly develop the qualities which are the most essential elements in becoming a good Thai combatant. The simplicity of the footwork and techniques are some of the main reasons why Muay Thai has been considered to be one of the most effective styles of Asian martial arts.
Also, techniques that were believed to contain less destructive power such as finger strikes and "snap" kicks were completely removed making it a more efficient fighting art. There are many types of grabbling which can involve the arms, body, leg, neck, and shoulders of the opponent. Clinches can aid the Thai fighter in maintaining balance while striking with the knees, in maximizing the force of a blow by pulling the target area closer to the striking weapon, and in preventing one's adversary from getting away while offensive
techniques are being executed.
A Thai fighter usually delivers an elbow, knee, punch, or kick while grabbing the opponent rather than a "push kick straight or thrust kick, which is mainly used for defense and for creating distance between his opponent. No other fighting art has adapted this form of
close range combat and in the specific use of the elbows and knees more than Muay Thai. The length of time needed for a fighter to acquire the self-defense attributes found within Muay Thai is much less than in most other martial arts.