There are several key differences between Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) and Muay Thai. Muay Thai is a striking art, while BJJ is a grappling art. Muay Thai practitioners try to keep the fight standing, using punches, kicks, and knees to attack their opponents. On the other hand, BJJ practitioners will often take the fight to the ground, using takedowns and submissions to defeat their opponents.
Another key difference is the scoring system used in the respective sports. In Muay Thai, fighters can win by knockout, TKO, or decision. Matches consist of 3 2-minute rounds with a 1-minute break. Champion fights can be as long as 5-minute rounds.
In BJJ, a fighter can win by submission or by scoring more points in a match. BJJ match times can range from 5 minutes to 10 minutes, and some tournaments even allow fighters to only win by submitting their opponent.
The equipment used in both styles will also vary. Muay Thai fighters wear gloves, shin pads, headgear, and Thai shorts.
BJJ practitioners typically wear a “No Gi” uniform, a rashguard and fight shorts, or a Gi, the kimono-style uniform. Muay Thai fighters will train for speed and power on a heavy bag or with a partner holding pads. BJJ fighters can train their bodies through mobility exercises, learn new technique patterns, and sparring their training partners.
The cultures of the two arts are quite different. Muay Thai is deeply rooted in Thai culture. A key trait in a Muay Thai fighter is their balance of discipline and respect with the explosiveness of the combat sport.
BJJ is a predecessor of Judo which comes from Japan. The Gracie family in Brazil popularized the ground game of Judo after being showcased in the first rounds of UFC fights. BJJ has been adopted by martial artists worldwide. As a result, there is no one “BJJ culture.”
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