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 13

Muay Thai techniques center around eight points of contact… in fact, Muay Thai is referred to the as the “Art of Eight Limbs” or the “Science of Eight Limbs.” These eight points of contact are:

·         Punching (Chok)

·         Elbow (Tee sok)

·         Kicking (Tae)

·         Knee (Tae kao)

This is a significant difference from western style boxing that focuses on two points of contact (each fist) and other traditional martial arts that utilize four (fists and feet). Most fighters will focus on the Muay Thai techniques centered around the elbows and knees when competing against an opponent of another style in order to gain an advantage.  Additionally, there is an emphasis on strong core movements starting with the hips that generate tremendous power.

Punching (Chok)

Traditional Muay Thai techniques focused on two primary strikes- crosses and long strikes (which were long circular strikes made with the palm of the hand). The melting pot of mixed martial arts has made a significant impact on Muay Thai punching techniques which now employ the full arsenal of traditional western boxing strikes, which includes:

·         Jabs (Mud Trong)

·         Crosses

·         Hooks (Mud Wiang San)

·         Uppercuts (Mud Seuy)

·         Hammer Fists

·         Overhands

In order to avoid exposing the head for counter attacks, Muay Thai techniques often avoid strikes to the body.

Another big difference in striking style is the stance employed in Muay Thai. Unlike the traditional boxing style that keeps the hands close to the head covering the face, an alternative Muay Thai technique is to keep the arms raised an in front of the fighter. This is often utilized to create and maintain distance when one fighter has a height advantage or prefers longer range strikes.

Elbow (Tee sok)

The elbow is an integral part of Muay Thai and can be used in several ways by a fighter. Here are some of the primary elbow strikes (these will be discussed in greater detail in future posts):

·         Elbow Slash (Sok Tee)

·         Horizontal Elbow (Sok Tud)

·         Uppercut Elbow (Sok Ngud)

·         Forward elbow thrust (Sok Poong)

·         Reverse Horizontal Elbow (Sok WIang Glub)

·         Spinning Elbow (Sok Glub)

·         Elbow Chop (Sok Sub)

·         Double Elbow Chop Mid-Air Elbow Strike (Sok Glub Koo)

As a general rule, diagonal elbows tend to be the fastest elbow strikes, but are less powerful. When used correctly, they can be incredibly effective at cutting an opponent’s face. Uppercut elbows and elbow chops tend to be the most powerful and inflict the most damage; however they are also easier to guard against and avoid.

Kicking (Tae)

When it comes to kicking the two most common Muay Thai techniques are the teep kick (foot jab) and teh chiang (angle kick).

The teep kick is akin to the jab. Offensively, it is used to gain distance, distract, and to set up for other attacks. Defensively, it can be used to prevent attacks and to maintain distance.

The teh chiang is a powerful kick that starts with the rotation of the hips to maximize the momentum and speed of the kick for maximum impact. On the surface, it appears similar to the roundhouse kick used in Karate, however the leg stays relatively straight and does not employ a rotation of the lower leg.

Additonally, there are several other Muay Thai techniques for kicking, which include:

·         Straight Kick (Tae Trong)

·         Roundhouse Kick (Tae Tud)

·         Diagonal Kick (Tae Chiang)

·         Spinning Heel Kick (Tae Glub Lang)

·         Axe Heel Kick (Tae Khao)

·         Jump Kick (Gra-dode Tae)

Knee (Tae kao)

The knee is perhaps the most integral part of Muay Thai techniques. The knees and the elbows are the most lethal assets a Muay Thai fighter can employ. Proper knees are thrown so that contact is made on the front portion of the leg either just below, directly on, or just above the knee cap. The foot should remain pointed during a knee in case a kick needs to be thrown. There are several different knee strikes, which include:

·         Straight Knee Strike (Kao Trong)

·         Diagonal Knee Strike (Kao Chiang)

·         Curving Knee Strike (Kao Kong)

·         Horizontal Knee Strike (Kao Tud)

·         Knee Slap (Kao Tob)

·         Knee Bomb (Kao Youwn)

·         Jumping Knee (Kao Loi)

·         Step-Up Knee Strike (Kao Yiep)

These eight points of contact form the foundation of a Muay Thai fighter and help make them a dynamic and dangerous opponent in any hand to hand combat situation. The mastery of these techniques is only the first step in becoming a great fighter. Once proficient at these foundation techniques, a fighter can move into the fifteen mae mai (major or mother techniques) followed by the luk mai (minor or more advanced techniques).

*Photo Credit to adaptorplug on Flickr

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