Muay Thai Words & Phrases Decoded (Thai to English)

Muay Thai Words Translated from Thai to English


Learning commonly used Muay Thai words and phrases is crucial whether you are new at a Muay Thai gym or  thinking about joining one. Muay Thai basically means Thai Boxing, translated from Thai to English. Muay Thai is an age-old martial arts originating from Thailand. Muay Thai is also known as the “art of eight limbs” due to the distinctive use of punch, elbow, knee, and kick strikes [related: What is Muay Thai?].

In an authentic Muay Thai gym, you might hear some foreign Thai words used from time to time. We’ve translated the most common Muay Thai words and phrases from Thai to English so that you can focus on training rather than language barriers.

Everyday Muay Thai Basics

Commonly used Muay Thai greetings and terms used on an everyday basis.

  • Ajarn: Essentially a Grandmaster of Muay Thai. [Related: Muay Thai How-to Videos by Ajarn Bryan]
  • Kru: Meaning guru or instructor. Kru is a title that is earned and given to “Masters of Muay Thai”. Krus often have coaches under their instruction teaching Muay Thai fundamentals. [Related: About Kru Chris]
  • Nak Muay: Thai Boxer, amateur or professional Muay Thai fighter.
  • Nuk Soo: Warrior
  • Kai Muay: Muay Thai Gym
  • Sawa dee: Hello
  • Chok dee: Good luck in Thai. Commonly used amongst Muay Thai fighters.
  • Muay: Boxing


Muay Thai Traditions

Muay Thai words and phrases that stem from ancient Thai war history.

Muay Thai words translated to english. The “Mongkon” is a circlet worn on the head as a charm to bring prosperity and to protect the wearer from danger.

The “Mongkon” is a circlet worn on the head as a charm to bring prosperity and to protect the wearer from danger.

  • Wai Kru Ram Muay: The Wai Kru (respects to Kru) also known as Ram Muay (boxing dance) is a Muay Thai ritual performed by Muay Thai fighters before every fight. This war dance pays tribute to the fighter’s teacher, parents, and ancestors. Every fighter has their own unique dance, commonalities include entering the ring counter-clockwise, palms together in a praying position at times and traditional Thai music. [Related: Muay Thai History]
  • Prajiad: Pajiads are armbands made of cloth worn by Muay Thai fighters. If you see a fighter with armbands, you know they are a Muay Thai fighter.
  • Mongkon: The Mongkon circlet made of twine worn on the head as a charm to bring prosperity and to protect the wearer from danger.  A Thai soldier did not remove the Mongkon during a battle or contest.  The soldier would flip it around and cover their neck, so their enemies wouldn’t cut their heads off. Nowadays, the Mongkon is given to fighters as a gift from their trainer and only worn during Wai Kru Ram Muay.
  • Sak Yant: Sak Yant Temple Tattoos are created by Buddhist Monks and Brahman Masters. Remember the Thai tattoo that Angelina Jolie got a few years back? It looks like that and is common among Thai Boxers for its spiritual significance.


Muay Thai Fighting Styles

Muay Thai words that define various Thai boxing fighting styles.

  • Krabi-Krabong: is a weapon-based martial art from Thailand that utilizes a curved sword and staff. Unarmed Krabi-Krabong makes use of certain kicks, pressure point strikes, joint locks, holds, and throws. Some Muay Thai fighters receive training in Krabi-Krabong to become more effective.
  • Muay Khao: Khao means knee in Thai language. Muay khao is an offensive fighting style in which the boxer is aggressive, constantly advancing forward to close the distance and make use of knee strikes.
  • Muay Femur: A Muay femur refers to a more technical fighter who likes to use counters, avoids getting hit and will land speedy jabs and tiips while looking for the perfect opportunity for strikes.
  • Muay Buk: The Muay Buk style of Muay Thai fighting refers to a “power fighter” who might have more muscle and can penetrate defenses. Bukaw is a famous example of a Muay Buk style fighter.

Muay Thai Moves

Depending on what gym you belong to, you might hear these Muay Thai words on a regular basis.

  • Fun Sock: Elbow strike, unique to Muay Thai.
  • Chok / Doy: Punch
  • Teep or Tiip: A signature Muay Thai kick that resembles a foot jab or pushing type of kick. Tiips can be used for creating distance but has also been known to knock opponents out.

If you are local to Northern Virginia, we hope that you stop by T.A.G. Muay Thai for a FREE 30-day trial for authentic Muay Thai training. Not local? Check us out on Facebook and YouTube for fight highlights and how-tos.

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Kru Chris

Head Instructor, federal law enforcement officer.