Muay Thai fighter Yolanda Schmidt in Kickboxing fight in Melbourne
Muay Thai fighter Yolanda Schmidt (black shorts) in kickboxing fight in Melbourne, Vic / Pic: William Luu

Kickboxing and Muay Thai are not the same thing.

Many have asked whether I would convert to Kickboxing. With the increasing wealth of countries such as China and Japan, female Muay Thai fighters are being drawn to fight there, under rules they might not fully understand. Outside of Thailand traditional Muay Thai rules are being adapted, essentially to Kickboxing rules.

Fortunately, Australia has a large female Muay Thai culture. Although, female Muay Thai fighters regularly head over international waters to fight in the motherland, Thailand. Here seems to be the only place where authentic Thai-style bouts can be found.

However, big international Kickboxing promotions are appealing to more and more female fighters of the world. Tiffany Van Soest, USA’s number one ranked female Muay Thai fighter, is an example. She first converted to kickboxing on Glory, which is solely a Kickboxing promotion, and now to MMA.

To some the two art forms, Muay Thai and Kickboxing may have shared techniques, but there are more differences than similarities.

Muay Thai and Kickboxing are not same-same but different. So, to answer the question, no I have on desire of converting to Kickboxing.

Being highly ranked in Muay Thai does not necessarily mean you are too in Kickboxing.

It is extremely risky converting to a different style. It is believed that Muay Thai fighters are more adaptable to Kickboxing than Kick-boxers are, when converting to Muay Thai. In saying that, I still have no desire to convert.

Kickboxing does not allow the use of elbows, it utilizes the 4-point or 6-point striking system (punches, kicks and knees). So, in Kickboxing you are limited to only four or six of your usual eight weapons. Also clinch, catching and holding legs techniques are not allowed.

For a fighter who favours elbows, I would need a vast amount of convincing for me to convert to Kickboxing.

Nathan “Carnage” Corbett, a former eleven-time world champion in Muay Thai is known for his lethal elbow strikes. Yet, he fought on Glory 11 in 2013 in Chicago.  The “elbow master”, representing the Dutch Kickboxing style in this fight, was limited in his fight game.

I want to venture internationally to fight.

However, unfortunately Muay Thai lacks popularity world-wide. Hence, Thailand has been my only choice for authenticity. I would not feel comfortable fighting Kickboxing. Fighting with no elbows is like fighting with half an arm. I also enjoy the clinch too much, which is not utilized in Kickboxing.

I have previously fought under K-1 rules and to be honest, I was not a fan. The moment my opponent invades my space, it’s an automatic response to engage in the clinch or throw an elbow. This is not allowed in K-1 rules.

When in close proximity to my opponent, I resorted to standing strong, with a tight guard, and sadly did nothing else. It was most definitely not my best display of skills. When you watch this fight, I’m simply not the same fighter. When she [the K-1 opponent] asked for a rematch, we requested it under Muay Thai rules, but she declined.

Although Kickboxing is prominent across Europe and USA, Lion Fight is a Muay Thai fight promotion in Las Vegas, North America. They expose international talent and have the ability to further popularize Muay Thai outside of Thailand. If Lion Fight were to expand, on a more regular basis, to the shores of Australia, they will surely find worthy opponents.

Female fighters from Australia can provide a challenge to their local American fighters. Therefore, providing females with a new international destination in addition to Thailand. In conclusion, Lion Fight, I’m coming for you.

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Yolanda Schmidt
Yolanda Schmidt, from Sydney, NSW is the Australian national champion in Muay Thai. In addition, she is a two-time bronze medalist at IFMA world championships. She is also a teacher at Menai High School in Illawong, NSW. Schmidt is a regular contributor to FIGHTMAG, where she covers women's kickboxing and Muay Thai.

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