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 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!