Muay Thai’s Trademark Strikes
Muay Thai’s long and interesting history is deeply rooted in Thailand, and it is practiced both in military combat and as a competitive sport. For many centuries, Thai natives trained in Muay Thai, regardless of their social status and economic background. It was even an integral part of the nation’s school curriculum up until the 1900s. But due to the high injury rate, it was removed as a mandatory class subject. This has not stopped the young from learning the sport though, and its popularity never waned. It has even penetrated the Western world when mixed martial arts (MMA) entered the scene.
To learn the art of Muay Thai, beginners must first master several basic techniques. You can always see these moves when watching a fight, executed in different combinations and utilized in a variety of ways to strike down an opponent.
The round kick is commonly practiced in many variations of martial arts, including taekwondo and karate. It is executed by straightening the leg in a swift movement, snapping the foot towards the target. A slight bend on the knee is required, with the shin striking the target. The body should pivot, so the shoulder and hip are facing the target when the kick lands.
A jab is a technique frequently used to set up a follow up move that packs more power. It is a simple punch to put the fighter into a nice rhythm with his blows. Pivoting is less required compared to other variations of punches such as the hook. It is important for fighters to avoid lifting their elbows before throwing a jab, for this will allow the opponent to read the intended move.
A knee strike often on a clinch is one of the more common moves in Muay Thai fighting. Clinch knee strikes can be considered as a knockout move—dangerous and challenging to learn, making it an invaluable part of your Muay Thai arsenal that can help you win fights. A fighter must pull the head of their opponent aggressively towards the center of their chest, and try to knock them off-balance by shifting the head in quick, sharp movements. Once a fighter sees an opening, he drives his knee up to strike the torso or head.
The elbow strike is done by using the hard, boney part of a fighter’s elbow to strike an opponent. Typically executed at close range, the elbow can be thrown an upward, downward, diagonal and sideways motion. Many Muay Thai fighters favor this move, since the elbow isn’t padded, making it a critical striking move that can knock down an opponent, although it is recommended that a fighter learns all the basic strikes. This technique is best mastered on the Muay Thai heavy punching bag.
These moves are only the basic techniques that fighters must learn when training for Muay Thai. Once they go over these techniques, they will soon find out that there are a lot more different moves that they should master before entering a competition. A fighter must be committed and disciplined at a certain degree to master all the techniques of Muay Thai fighting.