Overturning decisions & a primer on Muay Thai scoring (video)

Discussion in 'Standup Technique' started by FokaiMuayThai, Feb 22, 2016.

  1. FokaiMuayThai

    FokaiMuayThai MOO TAI LEGENDARY

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    In lieu of the recent unprecedented (in America) and controversial overturning (switching the winners) of the Bolanos vs. Krongpet match in Lion fight 27, I want to go back to the topic of how Muay Thai fights are traditionally scored in Thailand and everyone's opinion on how they think it should be scored worldwide.

    We are the only combat sport (to my knowledge) that has overturned a decision that has already been rendered like this, and in my opinion, regardless of the winner (assuming the judges have a record of being competent) it shouldn't happen as it cheapens and de-legitimizes the sport, an instant rematch would've been a better option. Anyway...

    For those that haven't seen it here's the match I'm referring to:


    And here is a decent video I found that outlines the basics about what traditionally scores in Muay Thai matches.


    My notes:
    Muay Thai is as much a poker-face, balancing contest as it is a fight where clean strikes are scored. The scoring is more damage based and less volume based (i.e. K-1, international or full-contact kickboxing, boxing)

    Some points:
    -Showing that you're hurt or otherwise affected by a strike (whether jokingly or not) is almost always counted against you. This is just conjecture, but I'm willing to bet that's a lot of why Thais have a habit of smiling when they get hurt instead of wincing or getting overly angry.

    -It seems like bodily damage like blood/cuts/bruises weigh heavily in Thai culture more than it does in western, at least based on Thais in stadiums I've talked to who put a lot of emphasis on whether blood was drawn or if there is visible bodily damage. IMO very disadvantageous for very light skinned folks, or people who easily bruise.

    -Effectiveness (damage), beauty and mechanics of techniques are also taken into account. Losing balance when receiving or even giving a strike can lose you points, if you by chance do a spinning/jumping kick or elbow but fall on your ass it is seen as being in a vulnerable position and less dominant. (Don't quote me on this, but I think that having your back turned to your opponent even for a split second is also seen as being in a disadvantageous position)

    -Strikes that land on your opponent's gloves (no matter how powerful or how many thrown) won't score. Unless you can move/rock/knock people out through their gloves (definitely possible), then it probably wont score.

    Just like any other sport Muay Thai has rules and there is a hierarchy of what scores the most, what scores the least, and what doesn't score:

    -Kicks and knees tend to be the high scorers due to the perceived power and destructiveness (also physical size and weight) of leg techniques in comparison to elbow/hand techniques. The Thais also view the hands as being wrapped gloved, fragile etc. therefore less hard of a technique.

    Kicks In order of value:
    1. Kick lands on head (high value, but obviously difficult to score at will)
    2. Kick lands clean on ribs and moves/affects opponent
    3. Kick lands clean on ribs
    4. Kick lands on arm/shoulder and moves opponent
    5. Kick lands on arm
    6. Kick lands on leg and hurts/moves/trips opponent
    7. Kick lands on leg with no visible effect (no score)
    8. Kick lands on shin check or misses/is avoided (no score)
    **If your kick is caught and immediately returned with an equal or higher scoring kick or knee then your score is cancelled and your opponent scores, unless you can answer back and "get the last word in" so to speak, another important part of the striking exchanges.

    Knees:
    1. Knee lands on head (See above)
    2. Straight piercing knee to body
    4. Round slapping knee to body
    5. Knees to legs (no score, as far as I know, could be wrong)

    Punches and elbows (**Teeps):
    1. Punch/elbow to the head or body that dazes/moves opponent or snaps head back or causes a cut.
    2. Clean punches/ elbows to head
    3. Clean punches/ elbows to body
    3. Punches/elbows that land on the guard/arms (no score)
    ** This can also be applied to foot jabs (teeps) though it is unlikely you'll cut someone teeping them. A well timed teep that causes your opponent to fall is also a good score.

    Trips/Throws:
    *Technically* throws and trips alone don't score unless accompanied with a strike (e.g. kicking opponent's support leg, executing a throw/trip while kicking/kneeing opponent before they hit the ground) because by definition Muay Thai is still seen as a striking contest....but! depending on the context, effective and legal trips/throws will show dominance and control of the fight, not to mention exhausting and demoralizing your opponent.

    Examples of using throws for dominance based on context:
    -A fighter who is getting out struck and/or out clinched and is losing via above criteria relies on leg catching/throws/trips/dumps to avoid engagement or buy time to recover- Does not show dominance and control.
    -A fighter is out striking and/or out clinching opponent and in addition utilizes effective throws/trips/dumps to further capitalize on opponent- Showing dominance and control.

    Having effective trips/throws gives you an "edge" especially if the fight is close and it comes down to every little detail. Think of these kind of like advantage points in grappling matches.

    *Trips/Throws
    Illegal:
    Judo hip/wrapping around the leg throws, lifting/grabbing for opponents legs, clinching the lower back (some stadiums)

    Legal:
    Catching the leg and striking out the support leg (NOT wrapping one leg inside i.e. Judo), Off-balancing techniques (holding/lifting opponent's the leg and driving forward, no more than 3 steps), rotating/pushing to make your opponent trip over your foot/knee.

    Now, love it or hate it this is the scoring from what I've seen and experienced.

    Reader questions:

    What do you guys think of Muay Thai scoring? Do you find it unusual or impractical? Is there a better way to score than this?

    Compared to K-1/Kickboxing scoring, how well do you think Muay Thai scoring assesses true winners in fights? (winner being your own subjective view of a person who wins fights)

    In your country/state/province how are Muay Thai fights scored? Do you agree or disagree and why?

    Who do you think won the Bolanos/Kronphet fight and why?

    What do you think about the overturning of the decision?
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2016
  2. FokaiMuayThai

    FokaiMuayThai MOO TAI LEGENDARY

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    I'd also like to add that Thais are mostly naturally smaller people who fight 70kg/154lbs at the absolute highest (barring any freaks/exceptions), with the most competitive weight classes with the biggest talent pool being 122lb, 126, & 130lbs. So this in addition to gambling also contributes to why the rules are the way they are. They often can't hurt each other with punches, though there is always at least one or two "wild card" knockout artists with abnormal punching power in each division that gamblers will sometimes take a chance on to either win by KO or lose by points.

    So my other question is, is this type of scoring practical for middle/cruiser/heavyweights who have far more "damage value" in their punches/elbows? Or does it make sense for bigger guys too?
     
  3. DaGenius

    DaGenius Silver Belt

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    Dude I saw that fight at the time and then was totally out of the loop and saw they revered the decision!?! Holy cow that was crazy. I like Bolanos and all but it wasn't a robbery in the least.
     
  4. TheyAllFloat

    TheyAllFloat Orange Belt

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    Watched the whole first fight. I scored it 48 - 47 for Phetrachapet. He dominated the first three rounds- although bolanos got a couple of nice dumps in rd 3- the first dump was very very nice. The reason I gave him those first three is because his techniques were cleaner than bolanos, his strikes were far more damaging (you could see the difference in power with his kicks was huge), and his defense was very high level. Look how he just blatantly sits in the corner, not moving, showing no respect to Balanos's power and just countering beautifully.

    I think that turning off the sound so you can't here the commentators makes a difference.
     
  5. FokaiMuayThai

    FokaiMuayThai MOO TAI LEGENDARY

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    Yeah the way kronpet just sat in the corner playing defense/countering/pot shotting without trying to escape had my anxiety going like "why you no move, stupid???!!!", but now that you mention it looking back maybe he was truly that confident. Still a bad idea in my opinion though, I'd never do that lol, maybe against the ropes, but not in the corner.
     
  6. MuayThaiDude

    MuayThaiDude Yellow Belt

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    That was a really nice technical fight. I wish I had some of Bolanos' skill and mojo and Phetrachapat's skill and calm in the ring. What was the basis for the turnover? Solano's side was the worst I have seen damage wise from kicks. ouch.
     
    FokaiMuayThai likes this.
  7. FokaiMuayThai

    FokaiMuayThai MOO TAI LEGENDARY

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    I believe it was Bolanos' coach that made a big issue about having the decision overturned, not sure if Bolanos pushed for it or not.

    Can a mod maybe move this thread from the Standup technique to the Muay Thai forum? I started out with the intention of writing a technique thread, but I think it ended being more about the actual sport.
     
  8. barnowl

    barnowl Green Belt

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    FokaiMuayThai, the breakdown on scoring pretty much matches how I was taught it was scored.
     

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