Muay Thai vs Jeet Kune Do - Which One is Better in 2021?

Muay Thai vs Jeet Kune Do - Bruce Lee Murial

Muay Thai or Thai Boxing has maintained a strong stance in the Martial Arts world for a very long time. Students of the art are taught to use the entire body as a weapon and train very hard to make that weapon efficient and strong. The honor and respect it has gained over the years have made it even more powerful in terms of longevity and continuity within the Martial Arts community. In short, it’s not going anywhere any time soon. 

Jeet Kune Do, the way of the intercepting fist, is a personalized Martial Arts style created from the practice and philosophies of Bruce Lee. His precision and power are second to his Martial Art and lifestyle philosophies that go hand in hand complementing one another like yin and yang. A young form of Martial Art in its age, but old and wise in its philosophy. 

If you have ever been a student of a style of Martial Arts you have probably been told at one time or another that what you are being taught, the “style”, is the best. Its moves all have meaning, the counter moves are the most efficient, and the stance, techniques, and execution are the best. Then you have your first competition, your first fight, your first match, and it doesn’t go as planned. What went wrong? Did your instructor let you down or did you let them down? It comes down to how did you train? What did you train for?

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Differences between Muay Thai and Jeet Kune Do

Muay Thai trains the entire body from top to bottom using any means necessary to forge the body into a weapon capable of executing damage from any angle. Training to punch, kick, knee, elbow, block, parry, and counter with efficiency and accuracy while impacting at full force requires a dedicated student who understands what Muay Thai is all about. 

Jeet Kune Do trains the student to be open to combat in any form. Its simplicity lies in the understanding of how to read the opponent and react accordingly. Not having a “formal” system of training you can learn a multitude of individually efficient techniques, and when used together they can become a force to be reckoned with. Is it a flawed system? To some maybe it is. The focus is a gung fu format, only in recognition though, as I stated before, there is no “formal” system. Jeet Kune Do is only as good as the practitioner that understands the philosophy behind it. 

Muay Thai techniques are trained in a multitude of ways. Close combat in a clinch and distance training to close the “gap” from an out-of-reach opponent. If you have ever fought a Muay Thai fighter then you know they are trained to block with the shin on incoming kicks. They are also trained to absorb impact and counter hard and fast. It is definitely a strong Martial Art to compete against. 

The equipment involved in training ranges from mats and pads to tires and trees. Impact, resistance, conditioning, and stamina are trained and honed to individual limits of perfection. Balance training as well as focus training is practiced in a variety of ways. Street clubs balance on soapboxes and other things while hitting pads strapped to walls and hitting tires either solid or hanging. More wealthy clubs have indoor training with more modern equipment but the outcome is similar. A solid fighting machine.

The equipment involved in Jeet Kune Do training ranges from impact pads and snap pads to punching bags and more. The training is different in the fact you can train for the economy of motion and flow. Using the straightest path with the least resistance in the fastest manner possible. Training to not telegraph the techniques to the opponent requires a disciplined mind and a focused demeanor. Speed sacrifices power but can make the technique reach the target faster and accurately. Flow like water is the motto. Mobility and agility are trained with partners and reflex training and dummy work alike. 

Jeet Kune Do in its efficiency is only as strong as the individual that trains in it, as stated before. It uses speed and firmness, an explosion on impact, to create trauma at its contact point. Trained to evade and maneuver moreover than checking techniques and absorbing to counter, if you get hit you are more susceptible to the ramifications of not training in the same vein as the Muay Thai.

Bruce Lee in Jeet Kune Do

Muay Thai vs Jeet Kune Do – Which Is Better In A Street Fight? 

Both Martial Arts, like all others have their storing points. One trains to use a hardened strong body as a weapon and the other trains the mind to train the individual in a method that is suitable for the individual. The only true consistency between the two is both are for defending oneself. Which is better in a street fight? 

Historically Muay Thai has had more success in its history than Jeet Kune Do. Jeet Kune Do can be a very strong tool in a street fight. Being fast, reading the opponent, and reacting accordingly to keep the opponent away while countering at opportune times can lead to a strong successful fight. Muay Thai, in a street fight, will make short work of the fight as it makes you strong, efficient, and formidable. The ability to use every part of your body because you have trained to do so will definitely give you the upper hand against any opponent.

muay thai sparring head kick

Which One Should You Learn? 

For learning Muay Thai, there is always a good variety of clubs around that all have generally the same training methods for the same outcomes. 

Learning Jeet Kune Do is a little more limited as there aren’t as many clubs around and the consistency won’t always be there. Individually the clubs have differences throughout. The philosophies are similar in the outcome of living a Martial lifestyle and making you a very smart individual in the choices you make both in Martial Arts and life. The “style” of fighting has minor similarities from club to club which can be both good and bad. Enter into Jeet Kune Do with an open mind and you will do amazing. Commit to the understanding of its philosophies and have a willingness to learn speed, agility, and finesse. 

Muay Thai takes a committed student that is ready to be tested physically and mentally until the mind and body become one entity of strength, power, and confidence. Using a forging method of training makes you a strong person able to commit to every technique you throw. 

Remember the first time you hit a punching bag or a set of pads? How did your hands feel? Where your knuckles sore, possible split knuckles, or torn between the fingers? Did you maintain training day after day? Did you take a little time away to focus on another part of your training?  Will you keep on hitting the bag or pads? Repetition is the key to aiming for perfection. Learn to train your body to hit properly. Learn to train your body to move efficiently. Learn to train your body and mind to react and counterattack with strength and confidence that can only be found in forging your body and mind to become a formidable weapon.

muay thai gym old

Muay Thai Vs Jeet Kune Do – Which is one better? 

What do you want from Martial Arts? Do you want health? Do you want to learn Self Defense? Do you want to learn it for the love of competition? Muay Thai has specialized Muay Thai tournaments and also is part of the fast-growing MMA aspect of sport fighting. 

Jeet Kune Do has the ability to fit into mixed tournaments and MMA as well. If you want to get a good grasp of the tournament side of things, there’s plenty of great videos on Youtube. The Muay Thai fights seem to have a more professional approach and etiquette is adhered to better than most others out there. The respect of the tradition and understanding of what it means for the community keeps it a properly run and respected discipline. From the old days to modern the Muay Thai students are always a great force to reckon with.

Both Martial Arts are beneficial for training for health. Movement of any form is never a bad thing. You will gain improved cardio, improved muscle tone, a better lifestyle through health factors, and a better overall understanding of your body. The community within any Martial Art is great. Encouraging each other to always be a little better than before and to know when to lift each other up in the low times as there are always highs and lows when learning something as demanding as Martial Arts. Your mind, body, and spirit will be tested many times and you will have your fellow students to help you through everything.

muay thai front kick

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Timmy

Timmy

Sawasdee krap!
I'm Timmy and I'm the chief-editor and co-founder of Muay Thai Street. When do you don't see me kicking pads of heavy bags, you can also find me training BJJ and functional fitness. I created Muay Thai Street as a passion project and also to help grow the community and share this sport with the world.

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