Muay Thai Techniques For Beginners
A guide to Muay Thai techniques for beginners is challenging to write simply because there are so many possible techniques to include -- even for beginners! Don't feel overwhelmed, though. Take the moves one at a time, and don't expect yourself to master them all immediately. As your muscle memory develops, you will be able to use more moves more effectively, without having to think about it. The few moves listed below will give you a good beginning arsenal for your Muay Thai game. Instructions are for an orthodox fighter (left hand and foot forward); reverse them if you are a southpaw (right hand and foot forward) fighter.
- Jab. The building block of most boxing combinations is equally critical to Muay Thai. Unlike in boxing, though, the jab is not used to set up punch combinations alone, but also your kicks, knees and elbows. To throw a jab correctly, keep your elbow in tightly to your body, push off your left foot and turn your left hip and shoulder forward slightly, snapping your left fist straight forward. Your left shoulder should be protecting your chin when the jab is fully extended. Immediately after throwing the jab, bring it straight back to your chin (don't drop your hand as it retracts).
- Front Kick. Also known as the teep, the Muay Thai front kick is a very simple technique used to create distance and set up other attacks, much like a jab. Throw it as if you are opening a door when your arms are full of grocery bags; bring your lead knee up to the front of your chest, then push your foot straight forward, striking your opponent with the ball of your foot.
- Round Kick. The Muay Thai round kick is one of the art's trademark moves. It differs from the round kicks thrown in many other styles of martial arts in two main ways. First, you strike your opponent with your shin bone just above your ankle, rather than with your foot. Second, you land the kick with your knee bent, rather than by snapping your leg straight. Throw the kick with your rear leg by driving your thigh and knee all the way through your target, letting your shin crash into it like a baseball bat.
- Clinch Knee. Another move for which Muay Thai is famous, the clinch knee is thrown from very close range. Grab your opponent behind the head and neck with both hands, squeezing your forearms together around his neck. Pulling him tightly into your chest, you can drive a sharp knee forward and up into his head, chest or stomach, with your clinch preventing him from escaping.