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April 1, 2024

Easton Muay Thai Ranking System

Easton Admin

Easton Muay Thai Ranking System

The ancient and battle-tested Art of Muay Thai traces back to the 16th century in the Kingdom of Siam. Before the modern sport of Muay Thai came about, the art was practiced as a form of hand-to-hand combat for the military. By the 20th century, the Art evolved into a sport with rules and scoring, with the help of King Rama VII.

In the motherland of Thailand, the sport of Muay Thai is very much a business: a business of developing fighters, running the gym, and creating champions. Unlike other martial arts (Jiu Jitsu, Karate, Taekwondo, Judo) there’s no formal ranking system in Muay Thai.

In Thailand, the only “rank” that can be earned is through winning fights and championships. The only accolades held are championship belts and trophies. Unlike Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and many other martial arts, the sport of Muay Thai has no internationally recognized ranking system. Because of this, we developed the Easton Training Center Muay Thai ranking system to help track students’ progress.

Images: Collin Perryman.

Why the Ranking System at Easton?  

So, if there’s no ranking system in Muay Thai, why does Easton Training Center’s Muay Thai program have a ranking system? How is that possible? Does it even mean anything? Do the Easton Muay Thai ranked shirts matter anywhere else? These are common questions not only from new students but also visitors who stop in to train with us. So let’s dive into why we have a Muay Thai ranking system at Easton and the benefits it brings to our program! 

Muay Thai in Thailand vs. Muay Thai in America 

The sport of Muay Thai in Thailand is very much a business: a business of making fighters. Muay Thai has also become a business in the US, but one with a different objective. The majority of students who join any Muay Thai school in the United States don’t necessarily want to compete.

Muay Thai, at its core, can be a brutal sport. If you decide to pursue a fighting career, you’re likely to accumulate a long list of injuries along the way. It makes sense that most students are looking to learn something new, learn self-defense and exercise, without risking serious injury by fighting. So, Muay Thai in America focuses more on teaching the Art of Muay Thai without living the life of a grizzled Nak Muay (Thai Boxer).

Photo by Joe Stump

In Thailand, parents often send young children to Muay Thai camps to fight and earn money for their families. It’s a job in Thailand, and an unforgiving one at that. In the United States, Muay Thai is a hobby for most people. It’s excellent exercise and it’s a healthy escape from the day-to-day grind. 

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Easton Training Center’s Muay Thai Ranking System

a framed display with the Easton Muay Thai ranking system of shirts in order. White is at the bottom, Yellow above that, followed by orange, green, blue, purple, brown, and black.With that in mind, we created the Easton Muay Thai ranking system, unique to Easton Training Center. Within the Easton Muay Thai program, there are eight shirt ranks, which are used to indicate a student’s level of proficiency and time spent training.

However, since it’s unique to Easton, this means that if you visit a non-Easton academy or travel to Thailand to train, people won’t know what your shirt rank means. That’s totally okay! Because there’s no formal ranking system in Muay Thai, we have the opportunity to develop a useful one at Easton that aid our students’ progress and sets them up for success anywhere they go.

Easton Muay Thai’s eight-shirt ranking system ranges from White Shirt to Black Shirt. The requirements to earn each shirt increase in difficulty and time required as the student progresses through the system.

We designed each rank for a different level of the Easton Muay Thai program. Let’s take a look at three huge benefits of having a ranking system in our Muay Thai program! 


Having a ranking system ensures a measure of safety in our program — one of the most important things students look for in a martial arts academy.

Image: Collin Perryman.

We’ve all heard the horror stories: someone drops into a gym to train, only to be paired with the guy going as hard as he can from the first bell. Or the partner who has no control on the pads. These experiences can make training Muay Thai very unpleasant and often drive people away from the sport.

Having a ranking system greatly reduces the chances of these less-than-ideal experiences at Easton. Knowing your partner’s rank will give you a good idea of the amount of time they’ve been training, and their general skill level. Instructors usually try to pair students with partners close to their own rank so that the pairs can work at around the same speed.

At academies without a ranking system, it can be difficult to gauge experience at a glance. How can you tell which students have more experience and who’s newer to the journey? What if you misjudge and someone gets hurt?

The ranking system at Easton takes out the guesswork. Students can relax and focus more on improving their Muay Thai instead of worrying about getting injured. 

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The ranking system provides students with goals. The ranking system gives students clear goals and benchmarks to strive for even without competing in Muay Thai for metals and trophies.

Each shirt in the Easton Muay Thai Ranking System requires a certain comprehension of technique, time, a minimum number of classes attended, and consistency in training. These ranks cannot be purchased. They must be earned, and the only way to earn them is by consistently training and studying the Art of Muay Thai!

It takes approximately 10 years to earn the rank of Black Shirt in the Easton Muay Thai program. Imagine the number of hours spent training, studying Muay Thai fights, sparring, conditioning, hitting the heavy bag, and more that you can accumulate over 10 years! That’s no easy feat to achieve for anyone.

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The rank also recognizes progress. One of the most important factors in the Easton Ranking System is that

Image: Collin Perryman.

the shirts represent time: time devoted to studying the Art and sport of Muay Thai; time spent with the Easton family; time spent making oneself a better human being.

Sometimes people look at students of higher rank (Purple, Brown, Black) and assume they have to be the best at Muay Thai to earn that shirt. While most of them are highly skilled, that’s not the main requirement.

There are some people who have simply devoted the time to earn the right to wear that rank, to stand at the front of the line when we start and end class. They have endured rigorous training sessions, injuries, setbacks, doubt, and exhaustion and still haven’t given up. They’ve made their bodies and spirits stronger by sticking with Muay Thai, so that shirt is a representation of the journey.

The shirt doesn’t always necessarily represent absolute skill, but it represents how far someone has come from when they started. It’s a daily reminder to the student wearing it that they’ve come this far, and still have so much further to go. It’s a source of inspiration every time they step on the mats. 

White Shirt

Your first promotion in the Muay Thai Ranking System will be your White Shirt! To earn your White Shirt, you must attend the minimum number of classes, and be familiar with the basic Muay Thai stance, as well as basic offense and defense. A student who attends kickboxing classes consistently will earn their white shirt it about one month. The White Shirt is the first step in a long and rewarding journey! 

Yellow Shirt

Image: Collin Perryman.

The second promotion is your Yellow Shirt. Earning your Yellow Shirt is an important promotion because it unlocks the Muay Thai program!

To earn a Yellow Shirt, you must meet the minimum class requirements and be familiar with the basic Muay Thai offense and defense, as outlined in the Kickboxing Curriculum.

A student with consistent attendance and good control will become eligble for promotion to Yellow Shirt after about two months as a White Shirt. As a Yellow Shirt, you can now attend the Muay Thai Fundamentals classes. Here, you’ll learn to hold and hit pads, as well as perform basic offense and defense drills with partners. 

Orange Shirt

To earn your Orange Shirt (intermediate level), you must meet the minimum number of Muay Thai classes over the course of about three months, and demonstrate proficiency in pad holding and hitting. You must also demonstrate awareness of targets while drilling with partners, and understand basic defense.

Earning your Orange Shirt unlocks the Intermediate Level classes, where you will begin to apply your knowledge of offense and defense in live partner drilling sessions. This is where you’ll begin to apply skills from theory to practice! 

Green Shirt

To earn your Green Shirt (Advanced Student), you must meet the minimum number of Muay Thai classes requirements and demonstrate control when drilling with partners of all sizes. Earning a Green Shirt is one of the most important promotions because it shows you’ve learned enough offense and defense to begin to spar (train live) with other students!

Image: Collin Perryman.

It’s not enough to learn the techniques; you must also learn to train safely and compose yourself under pressure. This is a major part of earning your Green Shirt. Once you’ve earned your Green Shirt, you’re eligible to take the advanced and competition classes, which focus on live sparring, clinching, and understanding the sport and scoring aspects of Muay Thai.

While it is not everyone’s goal to compete in Muay Thai, it’s important to understand the sport and how to score.  Earning a Green Shirt also makes you eligible to begin instructor training, learning how to teach classes and start giving back to the Easton Muay Thai community.

This is an integral part of the journey, not only for the students you teach, but yourself, as teaching others helps you learn techniques and concepts better yourself. At Easton, we value learning, stewardship and giving back, so we love having students becoming teachers, and passing down the knowledge of the sport of Muay Thai. 

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Blue Shirt

Earning your Blue Shirt is another major milestone! To receive your Blue Shirt, you must meet the minimum number of Muay Thai classes, as well as the minimum time (about four months) as a Green Shirt. You must also be sparring to be eligible for a Blue Shirt promotion. It’s important to make sure we continue to test our skills and build our individual game, and sparring ensures that. 

At Blue Shirt, students should be starting to build their own “style” within Muay Thai and starting to learn the concepts of scoring in the sport.  Once a Blue Shirt, students who have started instructor training are now eligible to begin teaching Kickboxing classes! This is the first major step in a student’s instructor journey. Senior Blue Shirts will also be eligible to assist in teaching Muay Thai Fundamentals classes as well. 

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Image: Forrest Bishop.

Purple Shirt

To earn a Purple Shirt, you must take the minimum number of Muay Thai classes and spend a minimum of 2 years training at Blue Shirt. This is the first serious step up in time and class number for promotions.

Purple Shirt is where we move to less technical requirements and more conceptual requirements. A Purple Shirt should be well-versed in understanding the sport of Muay Thai. Along with offensive and defensive concepts, a Purple Shirt should have a unique style developed and tested in sparring. They will understand the scoring and the sport-side of Muay Thai.  Once a Purple Shirt, students who are also instructors are eligible to teach at the Muay Thai Intermediate Level. 

Image: Collin Perryman.

Brown Shirt

To achieve the rank of Brown Shirt, you must meet the class and time minimum as a Purple Shirt. You must have developed your own style as a Muay Thai athlete, along with a solid understanding of other styles as well. Conceptually, you should be well-versed on the sport of Muay Thai, as well as the cultural aspects associated with the Art.

A Brown Shirt should be able to teach any level of class offered at Easton, including Competition Team Training, while understanding the differences between class levels and their requirements. A Brown Shirt is highly regarded in the community, so students who earn this rank must be a strong ambassador for Easton and the sport of Muay Thai. 

Images: Colling Perryman.

Black Shirt

Earning an Easton Muay Thai Black Shirt will be a culmination of years of hard work, dedication to the sport, and commitment to the Easton community. Earning a Black Shirt will take approximately 10 years of consistent training from the start of your journey, with a vast knowledge of the sport and Art of Muay Thai, including the cultural and traditional aspects.

An Easton Black shirt will be well-versed in teaching all levels of Muay Thai classes, but most importantly, an Easton Muay Thai Black Shirt must embody what it means to be a “good person.” A Black Shirt must clearly exemplify Easton’s Core Values, as well as the humility, dedication, and wisdom that comes with training in the Art for a decade or more. 

Image: Forrest Bishop.

The Easton Muay Thai ranking system, while unique only to Easton, provides so many great benefits along with structure to the martial arts journey.

Muay Thai in America is different from Muay Thai in Thailand. At Easton, we do our best to respect and honor the traditions, culture, and history of the Art and sport of Muay Thai, while incorporating features that benefit our students in the Front Range of Colorado.

Be proud of the rank you wear right now, and when the time comes, you’ll earn a new one. Remember, even when you achieve your Easton Black Shirt, there is so much more to learn about Muay Thai. The journey is only just beginning!

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