THE DOC IS IN : What's Your Muay Thai I.Q.? | Inside Kung Fu Magazine / Sept. 2006

Although many things have changed in the twenty years that I’ve been refereeing, one thing has remained constant; the fans (and sometimes the corners) lack of knowledge about the rules.

Time again I hear fans yelling for elbow and knee strikes to the head in a kickboxing contest when both techniques are illegal. I can’t begin to count the number of times while refereeing MMA that I’ve heard fans call for a stomp or head kick to a downed fighter, both of which being illegal.

It’s no wonder that fans disagree so often with the actions of a referee or the decisions of the judges. It’s almost impossible to make the correct decision when you don’t know what you don’t know. Hopefully the following test will help lead you to the promised land of Muay Thai rules enlightenment.

All of the following questions are based on the official WBC Muay Thai rules. I suggest that you take a paper and pencil and write down all of your answers. The correct answers will appear in my next column.



1. The referee may give a caution without stopping the action?

2. After a serious foul, the referee may disqualify a fighter without giving a caution?

3. According to the “three knockdown rule”, if a fighter is sustains a knockdown in round one, then again in round two, if he sustains another knockdown in any of the remaining rounds the referee must stop the contest and the fighter loses by TKO?

4. If a fighter cannot continue the bout immediately following the one-minute rest interval, he will lose by TKO?

5. After cautioning a fighter, the referee may award a point to his opponent?

6. After being knocked down, a fighter stands and is ready to fight by the count of five, at which time the referee may stop his count and signals for the fight to resume?

7. Leg tripping is a foul because it is not considered a M.T. technique?

8. 100 pounds is the minimum weight for a professional M.T. fighter?

9. If a fighter is knocked out of the ring, he must return to the ring before the referee finishes counting to 20?

10. After being fouled, a fighter is given a maximum of ten minutes to recover?

11. After catching his opponent’s leg, a fighter has a maximum of two steps to execute a legal technique?

12. A fighter can be given a warning if he deliberately falls to the canvas after his opponent has caught his leg?

13. Holding the ropes while executing any technique is a rules violation?

14. The minimum age for a professional M.T. fighter is 15 years old?

15. Neck wrestling is only legal for the purpose of delivering knee strikes?

16. When a fighter kicks his opponent on target, but his leg is caught and he thrown down, he still scores a point?

17. Championship fights are five three-minute rounds with two-minute rest periods; non-championships are five three-minute rounds with a one-minute rest period?

18. Any throw using the calf portion of the leg is illegal?

19. Ankle sweeps with the underside of the foot are legal?

20. Leg sweeps utilizing the shin are considered legal techniques?

21. Using the “ten point must” scoring, the totals for both fighters at the end of a round must total?

22. If the winner of a round has a point deducted, his opponent wins the round 10-9?

23. Each fighter is knocked down twice in the same round; final score is 10-10?

24. If fighter “A” is knocked down once in the round, and his opponent twice in the same round, the score for that round most likely is 10-8 for fighter “A”?

25. The referee’s primary responsibility in the ring is to enforce the rules?

If you’re lucky enough to attend the fights in Thailand and as an added bonus to your Muay Thai I.Q., here are some Thai words you will hear during the fights. Chok (box), Yud (stop), Yak (break), Pad (8), and Sip (10).