Mar 26

The vast array of Muay Thai equipment and Muay Thai gear that is available can be intimidating to those who are just starting the sport. Which ones do you choose? What gear do you choose for what function? It can be hard enough to walk into a new gym filled with excitement and nervousness- worrying whether or not you have the right equipment doesn’t help! Neither does worrying about whether or not you’ll know what you’re looking for when someone tells you to grab some training mitts or to pick up a kicking pad.

No worries! I’ll try to break down the most commonly used Muay Thai equipment and Muay Thai gear- explaining the function and use for each. I’ll break these into five groups: training wraps, gloves, mouth guards, and  protection.

Training Wraps

Hand wraps are extremely important! They are used to protect your hands and wrists from injuries caused by heavy bag training and sparring. There a many different ways to wrap your hands depending on situation and experience- you will need to experiment and find what works for you.

Training wraps are lengths of 2.5” wide cloth that can be washed and reused. They are typically secured by a small tie or Velcro. Mexican style hand wraps are fairly common as they contain a small amount of elasticity to provide some give and movement making them more comfortable.

Hand wraps come in many different lengths and will largely depend upon your personal preference, the size of your hands, and the style of glove being worn. Shorter wraps are better suited for a grappling glove while longer wraps work better with traditional boxing gloves.

Gloves

There are three basic kinds of gloves you will be looking at: Boxing Gloves, Training Bag Gloves, and Grappling Gloves.

Boxing Gloves

Most beginners should be looking for a basic boxing glove. Boxing gloves typically come in different weights running from 6oz up to 20oz (in increments of 2oz). Heavier gloves are more suitable for training as the additional weight will help you develop speed, endurance, and strength. For training, it is common to recommend picking a 12, 14, 0r 16oz weight. Many beginners are tempted to pick a lighter weight glove as it makes the workouts easier- don’t short change yourself! Using a heavier weight glove is only going to help you and the additional weight will provide extra padding when using a heavy bag or when training with a sparring partner.

The 6, 8, and 10oz gloves are typically used in earlier Muay Thai bouts and International bouts. Since these are lighter, most fighters will notice that they feel faster and don’t tire as quickly (although an actual fight provides an entirely different dynamic!). The disadvantage to a lighter glove is that they do not provide as much protection for your hands (so make sure your technique is up to par) and with less weight, your strikes will be less powerful.

Basic boxing gloves come in three different closure styles: elastic, Velcro, and lace up. I have always preferred a Velcro closure for basic training gloves. The Velcro makes it easier to get in and out of the gloves while still allowing me to make them tight enough to feel secure. The elastic closures are a little less common from what I have seen, but I imagine some swear by them. The lace-ups are infrequently used in training by amateurs since they are a pain to get on and off and require two people to secure. Lace-ups are the way to go for a real match though as they will be better tightened and more secured.

Training Bag Gloves

Training bag gloves are gloves that are specifically designed and used for heavy bag training. These have more padding to protect against the more powerful strikes that are used during bag training. They come in full and half thumb style. The half thumb style helps with ventilation and will keep your hands cooler.

 For a beginner, I think it is completely acceptable to buy a 12, 14, or 16 oz gloves and use them for sparring and bag training. It will take some time to develop your technique, thus increasing power, and there are many other expenses when first getting started.

As a fighter progresses though and begins to take their training more seriously, training bag gloves become a necessity in my opinion. The additional cost can be seen as a cheap insurance policy to help protect your hands from injuries on the heavy bag. Outside of the US, it is relatively uncommon to see boxing gloves being used for heavy bag training.

Grappling Gloves

Grappling gloves are popular in Mixed Martial Arts training as they allow some dexterity for use in take downs, grappling, and submissions. Grappling gloves with thick pads are used for training and in some amateur bouts. Gloves with thinner padding are used for sanctioned bouts. The UFC style glove is a thinly padded open palm and thumb style glove. The main use for these gloves is to provide just enough cushion to protect the fighters hands from injury. Fighting bare-fisted often leads to broken hand bones.

Mouth Guards

Mouth guards are another extremely important piece of equipment that should always be used when sparring or fighting. If you are serious about fighting and competing, it would be wise to train with a mouth guard in at all times. A mouth guard inhibits your ability to breathe through your mouth- much like a snorkel. Most people breathe through their mouth when they are most winded or exhausted- by training with a mouth guard you will have a better idea of what to expect during an actual bout and you will learn how to function at your peak while using one.

There are three basic types of mouth guards: stock/ready-made, boil and bite, and custom made.

Stock/Ready-made ($1-10)

Stock mouth guards are the least ideal solution as there is no real ability to adjust the fit of the guard to your mouth. You can use a knife or scissors to do some minor trimming, but the overall fit will not be the best. They are inexpensive; however the level of protection they provide is very minimal. These are only better than no mouth guard at all.

Your performance will likely suffer using a stock mouth guard since it is common to bite down and hold it in place due to the poor fit. This will restrict breathing and make it difficult to speak.

Boil and bite($15-40)

A boil and bite mouth guard is the most commonly used mouth guard. It is made out of a material that can be boiled so it softens then bitten into to give you a more ideal fit. They come in different sizes, so make sure you choose a size that will cover all of your teeth- from front to back.

There are two main criticisms of boil and bite mouth guards.  First, when the material is fitted it to the teeth, it has tendency to become thin in between the teeth due to the biting pressure that is used to form it. This can reduce the protection that the mouth guard offers. Second, they tend to be on the bulky side which will make it even more difficult to breathe.

Custom($100-300)

Custom mouth guards are obtained through a dentist or a specialized company that provides dental lab services. These are the most ideal mouth guards to use as they are made to fit your mouth perfectly and can even be perfected for use in Muay Thai and MMA. If you are serious about training and competing, this is the only way to go.

A custom made mouth guard will have an excellent fit and be much more comfortable than a stock or boil and bite. Due to the superior fit, you can expect to find speaking and breathing much easier as well. These are significantly more expensive than the boil and bite, but it should be considered cheap insurance when compared to the cost of dental work.

Protection

The genre of protection covers the Muay Thai equipment and Muay Thai gear that is primarily used in training and sparring, although some of these items can be used in sanctioned bouts (such as headgear). There are six primary sections that I will cover consisting of the following: head protection, belly/abdomen and body/groin protection, shin protection, punching/focus mitts, kicking pads, and heavy bags.

Head Protection

Head protection is used to (surprise!) protect the head. Headgear is just a big padded cage that covers the most vulnerable areas of the head which include the ears, cheeks and forehead. There are many different style of head gear that cover more or less area and even some that have built in steel cages to provide the most protection possible.

Training headgear is typically more robust and more heavily padded than competition head gear. While the training gear will help prevent damage to the face, the headgear will not entirely eliminate it. You can still get bloody lips, black eyes, and concussions/knockouts. With competition headgear, all of the above should be expected. 

As with the boxing gloves, there are three basic types of head gear closures: elastic, Velcro, and lace up. Elastic and Velcro closures are fine for training and will be a matter of personal preference and fit. Competition will always be a lace up style.

Belly/Abdomen and Body/Groin Protection

Belly/Abdomen protectors are used by a sparring partner. They look like giant oversized belts that wrap around the waist and contain a think padding that covers the stomach and groin area. They can be buckle closure or Velcro closure.

A jockstrap and cup are also a wise investment if you will be sparring and an absolute must if you plan on competing- you do not want to feel what a misplaced inside leg kick or knee feels like without a cup!

Shin Protection

Shin guards are used to protect the shins during training (you may also see them used in competition) from swelling and bruising. When you are new to the sport, you’re shins are going to go through hell getting conditioned to take the abuse you will throw at them. You should focus on building your tolerance and resilience; however it is better to continue training than take time off because your shins are too sore.

There are a few things to look for when choosing a shin guard. Ideally, you want the perfect combination of enough padding to provide comfort and protection, lightweight enough so they don’t impact your performance, and flexible enough to allow you to move naturally. For Muay Thai techniques you should look for a shin guard that doesn’t interfere with your ability to knee. The instep should also be flexible enough to allow for a large range of motion as well. Many shin guards are one piece in construction… I have found guards that have the instep as a separate piece tend to perform better.

Several different brands offer anti-microbial linings that will help prevent staff infections (MRSA)- and trust that you want to do everything you can to avoid them!

Punching/ Focus mitts

Punching mitts (also called focus mitts) are used to protect your hands when calling combinations with a sparring partner. You want to use a mitt that is comfortable to wear and offers plenty of protection. I have seen mitts that are both flat and curved… most people will prefer the curved gloves as it is more natural for your hand and gives a better target for the striker.

Most gloves come with a bulls eye or target in the center of the glove- this is the point that the boxer should focus on hitting. If you end up with a pair that is missing this, it is easy enough to draw a small circle near the center of the mitt with a Sharpie.

As with the shin guards, there are some manufacturers who add an anti-microbial lining to the mitts. If there is no anti-microbial lining and you plan on sharing the mitts, I would consider making it a requirement to wear hand wraps to cut down on the amount of sweat that stays inside… make no mistake, your hands will get VERY sweaty wearing mitts.

Kicking pads

There are two basic types of kicking pads- sets of two that strap to your forearms and individual square pads that you hold onto. I prefer (and I think most others do as well) the kicking pad style that straps to your forearms.  They offer the ability to move more and set up for more positions than a single kicking pad and they work better when practicing knees. I also feel more secure using them.

Punching bags

This one is pretty self explanatory. If you see something hanging in the gym that looks like a big, heavy bag that people are giving a supreme beat down to… you’ve just found the punching bag. There are a few different styles that accomplish different purposes. The different styles are: speed bags, swerve balls, focus bags, maize bags, heavy bags, tower bags, and  upper cut bags.

Speed bags

These are small, tear-drop shaped bags that are usually filled with air and anchored to a round platform that allows them to rebound when hit. The general idea with speed bags is to improve hand-eye coordination, teach fighters to keep their hands raised for defense, and to practice shifting weight from foot to foot when striking.

Swerve/Focus balls

Swerve balls are similar to speed balls although they are shaped more like a ball and may be filled with a material rather than air. Swerve balls are mounted on a tight cable/bungee system that allows them to react to any motion put on the ball. They help develop coordination by swerving, punching, and dodging the rebounds. The harder the ball is hit the harder and faster the rebound and the more diverse the angles.

Slip/Maize bags

Maize bags are used to help develop head and body movement as well as timing. They are not hit terribly hard. The name comes from the fact that they are traditionally filled with Maize.

Heavy bags

You will most likely be working on a heavy bag the most often. These are large cylindrical bags that are hung from a ceiling or trellis. They are used to practice powerful punching, elbowing, kneeing, and kicking techniques. Tall floor to ceiling bags are used when practicing Muay Thai techniques, whereas the shorter bags are used for standard boxing.

Tower bags

Tower bags are heavy bags that have been mounted on a weighted pedestal rather than being hung. They can also be suspended horizontally to practice uppercuts.

Upper cut bags

Upper cut bags are most similar to heavy bags except they resemble the shape of an upside down bell. This allows you to practice making solid contact on upper cut punches… something difficult to do on a standard heavy bag.

I hope this has helped make some sense of the different types of Muay Thai equipment and Muay Thai gear you will run into while training in Muay Thai Techniques. For those of you who already train- what are some of the tips and tricks that you have learned so far? For anyone who is just getting into the sport- is there anything you’ve run into that hasn’t been covered here that you’re still wondering about?


Mar 23

Elbows are short and quick Muay Thai techniques that are great tools for every fighter to have in the clinch and at punching range. The elbow strikes in Muay Thai utilize the sharp point to cut the face of the opponent. There are several techniques that employ the elbow:

1) Sok Tud or horizontal elbow is an elbow thrust that comes across the body. It can be performed by either the front lead hand or rear hand in guard. Sok Tud is a short elbow that is commonly used to strike the face of the opponent. A couple of keys for the Sok Tud is to maintain a horizontal elbow upon contact. To generate more rotation, curve the wrist of the Sok Tud arm into the body. A common use of the Sok Tud as a counter attack is to parry a jab with the lead hand and deliver a Sok Tud with the rear hand in guard.

2) Sok Poong or forward elbow thrust is used to attack the face similar to Sok Tud. Sok Poong is performed by swinging the elbow diagonally downward, normally in a 45 degree angle at the point of contact. This is different than Sok Tud in that the contact is made 45 degrees to the point of contact instead of horizontal.

3) Sok Wiang Glub or reverse horizontal elbow is a technique that comes out and then into the opponents face. The Sok Wiang Glub comes out like a Sok Poong or Sok Tud but finishes with the elbow making contact on the opponents face on the reverse retraction of the elbow back to guard.

4) Sok Glub or spinning elbow is a technique that different from the other elbow techniques. The power is generated from the spin of the body and followed with the elbow strike. The spinning elbow is a match maker in Muay Thai and can end the fight instantly. The key to the Sok Glub is to twist the body.

5) Sok Glub Koo or double elbow chop mid-air elbow strike is a technique that employs the use of both elbows. The Sok Ku is more of a defensive move against a thai fighter that is aggressive and likes to charge. To enhance this technique, swing a heavy bag away from you. As the bag moves forward step in with both feet and raise both elbows to create contact on the bag.

Remember, it is important to use the tip of the elbow when making contact with an elbow strike. The tip of the elbow is very sharp and can be one of the strongest weapons Muay Thai techniques. However, during training it is important to note that even though elbows are utilized in Muay Thai, it must be agreed upon between you and your partner whether or not to use the technique.

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Mar 22

Muay Thai is a martial art that originates from Thailand with the origins of it centered around a fight between two princes. Also known as the science of 8 limbs, Muay Thai techniques employ the use of both hands, feet, knees, and elbows.

The knee is a technique that is taught in a majority of martial arts around the world. Must tournaments In martial arts restrict the use of knees which are most common in Muay Thai competition. Knees are commonly used in Muay Thai techniques. Some of these include:

1) Kow Dhrong or straight knee strike is a technique that in Muay Thai that goes straight into the opponent’s body. The Khao Dhrong can be seen as the equivalent of a front kick or teep in the knee strike category. The delivery of the Khao Dhrong is the same from a technical point of view. The key point for a strong Khao Dhrong is to use the hips and drive it into the body. This is done by extending the knee through the hip and bending the upper body away from the opponent. This technique can be done with the lead leg or rear leg. For hand placement some Muay Thai schools will teach that the lead hand should extend out to the opponent as a distraction. The other school of thought is that the lead hand cross the face as the rear hand swings down to generate more power.

2) Kao Tud or horizontal knee strike is technique that is delivered in a outward swinging action. The Kao Tud is similar to the roundhouse kick or mawashi geri in other martial arts. The technical aspect of a good Kao Tud is that the knee upon impact must be parallel to the ground. A key point for Kao Tud is to raise the leg and pivot the hips on the pivot leg. The whip action is similar to the roundhouse kick. The difference is that the knee will make contact instead of the shin. The Kao Tud is excellent for fighting in clinch distance.

3) Kao Loi or jumping knee is a variation of the Kao Tron. The Kao Loi is performed in a similar fashion to the Khao Dhrong but the power is generated with the velocity of the jump. The same technical aspect of the hips driving the power is the same with the Kao Loi. The technique is excellent in situations where the opponent has been backed against the ropes. The Kao Loi can catch the fighter off guard and end the fight quickly.

4) Khao Yieb or step-up knee strike is a complicated, yet extremely powerful, knee strike. The Kaho Yieb involves stepping onto the opponents thigh and driving a devastating knee in the upper chest, neck, or head. One of the rarer Muay Thai techniques, it is exciting to see and can easily end a fight.

Knees are an important staple in Muay Thai. Knees can be used to wear down your opponent in the clinch or end a fight when perfectly timed and executed. It is important to note the mechanics of each strike. Remember to stay on the balls of your feet upon contact.

 

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Mar 21

In wrestling in the western countries, two opponents will be separated by the referee if they get into a clinch that seems like a stalemate. However, in Muay Thai, this is not the case. When two fighters are in the clinch in Muay Thai, they use knee and elbow techniques to compensate for their other appendages being locked in the clinch. In order to do the most damage in a strike and bind fashion against an opponent for both offensive and defensive reasons, small moves of stand-up grappling will be used while they are in the clinch. The Mauy Thai techniques used for the clinch are the arm clinch, the side clinch, the low clinch, and the swan neck.


The clinch must also be performed in a certain way to maximize the amount of damage done to the opponent when trying to attach in the clinch. The front clinch should only be performed with the palm of one of the fighter’s hands on the back of the other hand. However, the fingers should never be intertwined. This is because in the ring, most fighters wear boxing gloves and are unable to intertwine the fingers; also, the Thai front clinch primarily involves the pressing of the opponent’s head downwards which is much easier if the hands are on top of one another. The arms should be able to put the most pressure possible on the neck, which is easier to do if the fingers are not intertwined. Finally, a fighter can incur injuries to one or more of their fingers if they are linked while in a clinch as it becomes more difficult to release the grip and elbow the head of the opponent before he or she can defend.


A proper clinch will also involve the forearms of the fighter pressing up against the collar bone of the opponent while the fighter’s hands are up around the head of the opponent rather than his or her neck. The Muay Thai techniques used to get out of one of these clinches is to push up against the opponents head so that they are jolted backwards or elbow them so that they have to break the clinch, giving the fighter the upper hand. These can always be accomplished because, in the clinch, the opponents must be very close to one another.


The fighter that is losing the clinch may get their arm underneath and inside the formation of their opponent’s clinch which can establish them as the dominant clincher.


These specific variants of clinching may be used to better increase the effect of winning a clinch. The arm clinch is when one or both hands that control the inside of the clinch defenders arm and the second hand is free before the clinch position. This particular clinch is only used to control the opponent for a moment before delivering a knee strike or a throw.


The Side Clinch is a type of clinch where one of the offender’s arms pass around the defender’s front with the offender’s arm pit. This can allow the attacker to apply various knee strikes to the back of the defender or throw the defender from the clinch, thus winning the clinch.

The low clinch is executed by passing both of the offender’s arms under the defender’s arms and hugging the body. This is often used by the shorter of two opponents. It can be used to keep the opponent from throwing effective strikes as it closes the gap between the fighters.

The swan-neck clinch is often used as a transition from a neck clinch. This clinch involves using one hand around the rear of the opponent’s neck when striking. This technique is often referred to as “dirty boxing.” Its effectiveness comes from its ability to maximize the force of a strike.

The clinch is integral to Muay Thai techniques and will help a fighter gain control and position during a fight. Knowing how and when to use the four different types of clinches will improve anyone’s game and effectiveness as a fighter.

Mar 19

The straight knee kick (Kow Dhrong) or front knee is one of the more popular Muay Thai techniques that is utilized by practitioners. It is often used when in a clinch or as a counter when an opponent leaves himself vulnerable after an attack.


To properly execute a straight knee, do the following:


  1. From a Muay Thai fighting stance, raise the knee you will be striking with and direct it towards your opponent’s mid-section… the heel of your opposite foot should be lifted.
  2. With your knee just above hip height, using your hips, drive the knee forward into your opponent. Allow your foot to pivot with the motion for maximum power.
  3. As you are driving your knee forward, your hips will rotate 45 degrees. Your front shoulder should roll up to protect the jaw while the fropnt arm should drop down to protect the ribs. Your rear hand should come across to the front shoulder and your chin should tuck in behind the elbow to protect the chin.
  4. To exit the maneuver reverse the movements back to your fighting stance.

The straight knee can also be employed from a clinch or when grasping an opponents shoulders. Obviously, arm placement will differ from these positions, however the general technique will remain the same.

Directing the knee towards the solar plexus is a devastating blow that can quickly disable an opponent, if not knock them out, as can be seen on the video below:


This is an incredibly effective and useful strike. Practice it constantly and perfect your form… there is no doubt you will be using this quite often in a match!

Mar 18


 

In the practice of the art of muay thai defensive skills are a very important asset for those desiring to be successful in self-defense situations, as well as during sport competition. A high level of proficiency in defensive tactics will make a practitioner less likely to receive an accumulation of blows from his opponent, which have the potential to injure him if not effectively checked. The practice of defensive skills is just as important as the practice of offensive skills in the development of a well-rounded practitioner. A practitioner with devastating offensive skills, and who is lacking in defensive capabilities will suffer many defeats due to the fact that he is not a well-rounded fighter. The development of adequate defensive techniques are crucial components for the development of a highly skilled muay thai practitioner.

The art of blocking is a crucial skill that must be developed in order to mount an adequate defense against an attack. The limbs of the body are excellent tools that are used in the blocking techniques of muay thai. During competition, the gloved hands can be used to cover the head and protect the competitor from the opponent’s blows. The forearms are used to block blows to the body, which protects the competitor from kicks, punches, knees, and elbows aimed at his body. The shins can also be lifted and utilized as a method of blocking kicks to the body and to the outer thigh.

During competition and self-defense situations, the arms and hands can be used to redirect incoming strikes, by striking the opponents striking limb at an angle in order to deflect the blow away from his body. The legs can be used to deflect the opponents kicks, by using his leg to strike the opponents kicking leg in a sweeping motion away, from his body.

The ability to avoid an opponent’s blows is a very important skill for a practitioner to master. Head movement is an effective way to avoid blows aimed at the head. A practitioner should rapidly move his head to the outside of an incoming blow in order to avoid being struck. Using footwork, a practitioner can move his entire body to the outside of an incoming attack, by simply making a rapid sidestep as an opponent attacks.

The practice of evading an opponent’s attacks require skilled footwork and bodily movement. One of the best methods of evading an opponent’s attacks is to stay out of the range of his strike. One of the simplest methods in which to evade an opponent’s attacks, is to simply move backwards every time the opponent moves forward.

Disruption is a very important and useful tactic for highly skilled practitioners. A simple methods of disrupting and opponents attacks is to check his attacks before they can manifest. As the opponent prepares to punch, simply step forward and block the punching arm with your gloves before the start of the punch. Anticipate an opponents next move by watching the changes in his body position.

Mar 17

Written by professional Muay Thai fighters and trainers, Muay Thai Unleashed shows you how to master this feared and dangerous martial art. Author and trainer Erich Krauss, along with Muay Thai pros Glen Cordoza and Tana (Chun) Yingwitayakhun, teach you the same body-punishing techniques that are used at the highest levels of Muay Thai competition. Whether you use these skills in the ring or on the street in self-defense, your opponents will regret the day you read this book. II trained in Muay Thai for about a year and everything I learned from my instructor is in this book. The book doesnt get too advanced but it is a good resource. It starts with a little history and a day in the life of a Thai boy. Then it goes into basic stance and punches and kicks. Next it covers elbows and knees very nicely. I was suprised at how well the clinch was covered with different techniques, and movements. Last it covers about a dozen easy combinations and a nice workout schedule. Buy this book if you want to know what this martial art is about. I love it!!!

Unleash your potential with:
* Kicks * Punches * Elbow strikes * Knee strikes * Clinching techniques * Defense and counters * An arsenal of combinations

Mar 16

 

The step-up knee kick (Khao Yieb) is one of the most powerful of the Muay Thai techniques that are available in a fighter’s arsenal… it is, however, very rare to see in a competitive match due to the difficulty in timing and execution. When it is used effectively though, the results can be devastating. In order to utilize the step-up knee kick, follow these steps:

1.  This knee kick requires using the opponent’s thigh to step onto and thrust the knee up.

2.  Step onto the opponents thigh with the opposite foot (if his left leg is leading, step with your right and vice versa)

3.  As you plant your foot into your opponent’s thigh, use it as a step to raise your body upwards. Your hips should open and turn towards the leg that will be kneeing (if you are kneeing with your right, your hips should turn and face to the right).

4.  Use your upward momentum to maximize the effectiveness of your knee. As you are stepping up, all of your weight should transfer to the foot that is on the opponent’s thigh… at the same time you will begin rotating your hips while bringing your knee up and into your opponents face and chin. The arm on the same side of your knee should be placed against the back of your opponents head to maximize impact and improve accuracy.

5.  To exit this technique, simply bring the attacking knee back down and step off your opponent’s thigh and immediately return to your fighting stance to either defend or set up another attack.

Although the step-up knee kick is rare to see and the opportunity to use it is not often presented out of all the Muay Thai techniques, a good fighter will know this technique and how to properly execute it. When the opportunity does present itself to be used, the step-up knee kick can be a devastating attack that can easily end a fight!

Mar 15


Muay Thai is a devastating form of self-defense that is also widely practiced as a sport. This art requires that the practitioner has the strength, stamina, coordination, and skills needed to be able to utilize his entire body as a weapon. Due to the extreme physical nature of muay thai, a high level of fitness is required of its practitioners in order to be able to skillfully employ Muay Thai techniques in a manner that will bring about the best chance of victory, whether in a self-defense situation or during the practice of muay thai in its sport form. Before one can begin the practice of this art, one must have a base of adequate fitness in order to be able to effectively practice the techniques.

Strength training is a very important component in the conditioning of a muay thai practitioner. Weight training is used to develop and strengthen the muscles of the body of a muay thai practitioner. The bench press is one such training exercise that is used to develop the power of the chest and triceps, which are crucial in the development of powerful blows. Push-ups are also used as a method of developing the muscles needed in the execution of punches and elbow strikes. A wide variety of sit-ups are used to develop and strengthen the muscles of the core, which help to protect the practitioner from the impact of opponents’ blows to the midsection, as well as to increase the power generated in kicks. Muay Thai practitioners strike heavy punching bags in order to increase the power and speed of punches, elbow strikes, kicks, and knee strikes.

Muay Thai practitioners develop their reflexes and timing by rapidly striking speed bags. Practitioners also train with double-end bags, which simulate the movement of a fast moving opponent.

Practitioners develop their stamina and endurance by running up and down hills at a rapid pace. Practitioners also job for long distances of up to 10 miles as a method of increasing their lung capacity, as well as the stamina and endurance of their legs. Jumping rope is a common method of stamina and endurance development, which also has the benefit of developing timing and hand eye coordination. In addition to traditional training methods for improving stamina and endurance, many practitioners have added swimming to their conditioning regimens.

Body hardening and conditioning are methods that muay thai practitioners use to toughen their bodies for the rigors of this sport. Practitioners kick banana trees in order to strengthen and harden their shins. Practitioners are struck repeatedly with bamboo rods throughout their entire bodies in order to harden themselves for the high impact sport of muay thai. Some practitioners strike banana trees with their fists and elbows in order to toughen them. Body hardening and conditioning are extreme Muay Thai techniques that set muay thai apart from most mainstream sporting activities.

Mar 14



Mixed martial arts has become a sport of huge popularity with its exposure on pay per view and its access to all corners of the world. Organizations such as the Ultimate Fighting Championships and K-1 have brought MMA a world wide following and not only that have inspired young athletes to venture into the sport. These days it is not uncommon to see MMA leagues and clubs at schools all over the world.

Mixed martial arts is so named because it is a fighting discipline that uses all sorts of martial arts and fighting styles. One of those fighting styles that is popular among mixed martial artists is Muay Thai. Muay thai is a fighting style that comes from Thailand and is one that involves using the whole body as a weapon. Bascially what Muay Thai means is ‘the fighting style of eight limbs’. The eight weapons that are incorporated in muay thai are the two hands, two elbows, two knees, and two feet. Muay Thai is an acient fighting style that was used by the acient Thai armies.

Watching a Muay Thai fighter in action is something of awe as far as MMA goes. The fighting style can be broken into four Muay Thai techniques: punching, elbowing, kneeing, and kicking. Some of the punching moves that are used are the same in boxing except that Muay Thai punching uses a spinning backhand. Some of the elbow moves are the slash, the thrust, and the chop. There is also jumping movements with the elbow. The fighter will jump in the air and come down with the elbow. Alot of the same kicking moves that are utilized with other martial arts are used in Muay Thai. The knees are used effectively as well.

The only disadvantage of using Muay Thai techniques in MMA is that while it focuses on attacking, countermoves are not really stressed. Other styles such as jiu-jitsu teach countermoves as well as attacking manuvers. Muay thai also focuses on quick strike and quick ending to fights. One error in judgement can lead a fighter to be exposed and thus be attacked himself. While muay thai does teach defensive manuevers, it is not as effective as some other disciplines.

The most popular Muay Thai fighter in the world would arugably be Cung Li. Li was a former K-1 World Champion who has also fought and won in the Ultimate Fighting Championships. Some of the other top Muay Thai style fighters in MMA are Ramon Dekker, Wanderlei Silva, Anderson Silva, and Orlando Weit.

Muay Thai techniques though are used by nearly all fighters in MMA and there are successful Muay Thai fighters in all weight divisions and in all MMA fighting associations all over the world.

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