Muay Thai has gained a lot of popularity in recent years, and it has grown to be one of the most popular martial arts in the world.
However, Muay Thai has also garnered a reputation as one of the toughest martial arts out there.
If you’re interested in starting out at Muay Thai, this can make it pretty intimidating to approach.
Don’t worry – we’re here to help. In this handy guide, we’ll take you through the basic techniques in Muay Thai so you can be prepared when you start out! So let’s jump right in, shall we?
Basic Muay Thai Techniques
The techniques in Muay Thai all involve the use of the practitioner’s limbs for various strikes. Muay Thai is often referred to as “The Art Of Eight Weapons”, which are represented by the fists, shins, elbows, and knees.
Each limb, or ‘weapon’, is used to invoke the weapon that it represents (swords, shields, axes, and hammers, respectively).
As a result, the basic techniques of Muay Thai involve various punches and kicks along with strikes from the knees and elbows.
Another key aspect of Muay Thai is grappling. Clinches are used to trap an opponent and attack at close range, while leg sweeps and throws can be used to take down your opponent.
In this section, we’ll break down the many techniques that are used in Muay Thai.
Punches and other closed-fist strikes are some of the most common techniques in Muay Thai. These strikes are fast, powerful, and incredibly effective at both mid- and close-range.
Muay Thai includes an assortment of different strikes with the hands; jabs and crosses are the two most basic punches, along with more varied strikes such as hooks and uppercuts.
Like the swords that they represent, the fists are intended for strong but precise strikes. Straight punches are like stabbing strikes to the head and body, while hooks and uppercuts are powerful swings.
Body shots are another effective technique that can be used to break your opponent’s guard and drain their energy, which is a great advantage over the five grueling 3-minute rounds of a Muay Thai match.
Kicks are another core technique in most martial arts.
Muay Thai differs slightly from some other martial arts with its kicks; while many martial arts typically use the foot to strike, Muay Thai places a unique emphasis on striking with the shins.
The shins, which are counted as limbs in Muay Thai, can be used to deliver far stronger, harder kicks.
Part of Muay Thai training involves conditioning the shins for years until they are tough and powerful weapons.
The most common kick in Muay Thai is the roundhouse kick; this is similar to punches in how the shin is used as a sword being swung at the opponent.
Other common Muay Thai kicks include the axe kick (named for how its action mimics the swing of an axe), and the switch kick – a fake-out kick that uses your leg’s momentum like the swing of a hammer.
Leg sweeps are also used as part of throws, with the lower shin and instep being used to hook the opponent’s leg and sweep them off their feet.
Elbows And Knees
Elbows and knees serve similar but distinct purposes in Muay Thai. Both of these techniques are used in close quarters when there isn’t enough space to throw a full punch or kick.
Elbow strikes and knee strikes are incredibly powerful and can deal a lot of damage without much effort; this is because you can put a lot more weight and force behind these strikes, striking hard and fast.
This isn’t their only advantage, however. Because of the increased padding and wider surface area of your elbows and knees you are at a much lower risk of injuring yourself than, say, with a punch.
Elbows are the more versatile strike, and can be used to deal strong blows to the opponent’s head and upper body, and can even be used to break their guard or unbalance them.
Typically, elbows are thrown to the left or right side of the head; this is the fastest way to strike and lets you put the most power behind your strike.
They can also be used as a form of uppercut, aiming upward for a powerful strike in close quarters.
Finally, the elbows can be used to strike forward at the opponent like stabbing knives, which is an effective alternative to punches that doesn’t risk damaging your fists.
Knees, on the other hand, are a lot more limited in their functionality.
Knee strikes are generally reserved for striking a clinched opponent, and they aren’t very effective outside of very close range.
However, they more than make up for this with their power.
Knee strikes use the driving force of your hips as well as the powerful muscles in your thighs to deal massive blows – in fact, an opponent can be floored by a single well-aimed knee strike if you do it correctly.
Knowing how to strike an opponent is all well and good, but it won’t help you very much if you don’t know how to defend yourself.
There are a variety of blocks in Muay Thai, and like offensive techniques, they focus around the use of your limbs.
The shins aren’t only used for offensive strikes, and they are the main way to block attacks to the lower body. As a result, the legs and shins are often compared to shields.
Attacks to the upper body, on the other hand, are blocked with the arms and hands. This includes techniques like push blocks, covers, and parries.
Grapples And Throws
As mentioned earlier, grapples and throws are just as important in Muay Thai as standard punches and kicks.
Clinches (close-quarters grapples) are used to execute close-range strikes like uppercuts, elbows, and knee strikes at their full potential.
By holding the opponent, you gain more control and more opportunities for powerful strikes.
They can also be used to execute throws and sweeps, which can be used to ground an opponent.
Muay Thai can be an intimidating martial art to approach, but as long as you know some basic techniques you’ll be able to get started straight away (Check out How To Get Started With Muay Thai).
So now that you know a little more about the techniques in Muay Thai, all you need to do is start practicing! Good luck!