What moves are illegal in Muay Thai?

Specific rules have been set down which govern the techniques that can be used during a Muay Thai fight.  The primary reason for this is to ensure the safety of the fighters.

Here’s a list of illegal moves in Muay Thai:

  • Headbutting or biting
  • Eye Gouging
  • Spitting
  • Any form of arm lock
  • Hip throws.  This is a type of judo throw where you turn your back to your opponent,  step across  in front of their leg and pull them over your hip.
  • Deliberately falling on your opponent when they’re on the ground.
  • Any form of strike to the groin area.  A boxer who’s been hit in the groin may request a five minute break before resuming the fight.
  • Attacking your opponent after the referee has halted the match
  • Holding onto the ropes
  • Use of abusive language such as swearing
  • Any form of wrestling or ground fighting
  • Deliberate strikes to the knee or elbow joints
  • Grabbing an opponent from behind to lift them up in order to throw them
  • No rugby style tackle take downs


Some of the techniques can result in the referee issuing a warning, deducting points and even disqualifying the offending fighter.

Related Reading:

23 Muay Thai techniques -beginner and advanced [with GIFS!]

Can you use elbows in Muay Thai?

What moves are illegal in Muay Thai?

Can Muay Thai be used in a street fight?

Muay Thai Weight Classes

Muay Lao vs Muay Thai: is there a difference?

Bang Muay Thai: a new martial art style!