Muay Thai is a technical sport and it has quite a number of different techniques. If you are just starting out with your Muay Thai training you should pay very close attention to mastering a good technique from the get go as it’s so much harder to unlearn a bad technique later. And for those who have been around for a while – you know there’s always room for improvement in your technique.
Below you’ll find a list of the most common Muay Thai techniques and my explanation next to each.
Correct Muay Thai stance is the foundation of all
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart from each other. Now take half a step forward with your left foot. Your left foot should be directed straight at your opponent. Your right/rear foot should be at a 45-60 degree angle facing outward.
Slightly bend from your knees and bring your hands in front of your face, elbows right next to your body, fists facing outward – left arm forward, ready to through punches and guard your face and body.
Make sure you have a good balance. Don’t lean too much forward nor too much back. Ask your training partner or teacher to push you – if you have a good stance, you should not have trouble keeping your balance.
Punches are very close to classic boxing so I will not dwell on this too long. You should take a notice though that because the Muay Thai stance is different than classic boxing, you have a bigger distance from your opponent.
Classic punches are: jab, right punch (cross), left and right hook, hooks to the body, upper cut, punches to the body and overhand punches.
Clinch is a short term for standup wrestling. For the audience it can look like two fighters hugging each other or just being lazy and trying to rest but actually clinch is an important Muay Thai technique that is physically very tiresome. Clinching is unique to muay thai, you don’t see it in kickboxing or K1 fights.
The idea of a clinch is to knock the opponent out of balance, tire your opponent and to deliver some close distance shots. Clinch is good for delivering knees to the body and thighs and elbows to the head. If you’re opponent uses clinch, make sure you throw your hips forward to guard from the knee to your face.
Muay thai Kicks
If carried out correctly, muay thai kicks are very powerful. Low kicks, middle kicks and high kicks all use a very similar technique. Good kick has your whole body behind it. It’s more like „throwing“ your leg than kicking. You need to throw the kick from your hips while rotating your body. Think as if you wanted to kick your shin through your opponent.
Low kick – it is very hard to keep standing on your feet when you have been low-kicked to the thighs several times. But low kicks can hurt you if you don’t deliver them with a correct technique or if your opponent blocks the kick. Make sure you direct your low kicks downwards and try to hit your opponent with your shin not ankle. If you kick upwards, it’s really easy to break a toe against your opponents feet, if you hit your opponent with an ankle – your will have a swollen ankle. Practice your low kicks slowly and with not much power.
Middle kick is meant to be delivered to the body or your opponents arm. It will definitely hurt if you can deliver one in the body but thai fighters also use it to make your arms go numb. They throw kicks at the same place one after another and although you are able to block the kicks, after a while you feel your arm getting numb so you lose some of your guard and punching power.
High kicks are aimed to the head. Usually it’s easy to see high kicks coming because they are slower than other kicks but if you manage to get one through the guard, it often results in a knockout. Use them sparingly and don’t start your fight with high kicks – you’ll just wear yourself out. Wait for the moment when your opponent is tired and off guard, then knock him out with a surprise. Also, if you have thrown several middle kicks before, your opponent might think there’s another middle kick coming and move his hands off his face to block your kick.
Front kicks are good for keeping distance but can also cause some pain and damage to the body and head.
You can throw knees to the body, thighs and head.
Knee to the body – most commonly used in combos. It’s hard to get close enough to your opponent with a single knee kick so you need to start with hand combination and follow up with the knee to the body. Try to grab your opponents head and pull him towards you while kneeing.
Knees while clinching – try to knee your opponent in the thighs and body while clinching.
Knee to the head – same as knee to the body but aim higher and you definitely need to pull your opponent towards you by clinching your hands around his neck.
Elbows are good for close distance and they can cause some seriously nasty cuts on your opponents face or head. If you are able to pull one off then usually it marks the end of the match by a technical KO.
You can throw elbow shots downwards, upwards and from the side. Turn your palm outside (towards opponent) and your fist inside (towards you) and make sure you move with hips and your whole body.
Jab – Cross – Left hook. Very fast combination that you should be able to throw in your sleep. Practice it in front of the mirror and with your training partner.
Jab – Cross – low kick. Probably the first Muay Thai combo you’ll learn in any Muay Thai class. This is classic. Throw a jab + cross and immediately follow it up with a right low kick to your opponents front thigh.
Jab – Cross – left knee. This is a very fast muay thai combination that you can carry out very naturally while moving towards your opponent. When you have delivered the cross, reach out with your left hand and grab your opponents neck, then throw a knee towards him and pull him closer to you at the same time.
Jab – Cross – right elbow. Throw your elbow from outside in. Hold your hand so that your palm is facing the opponent.