Muay Thai Boxing Techniques

/Muay Thai Boxing Techniques
Muay Thai Boxing Techniques2017-03-27T23:25:35+00:00

The Art of Eight Limbs

Muaythai uses eight contact points which mimic other weapons of war.

1. The hands – These represent daggers and swords

2. Shins and forearms – Muaythai boxers are trained to harden the shins and forearms and they represent the Armour with which to ward off blows.

3. Elbows – Elbows are used to knock down opponents as with a mace or hammer.

4. Legs and knees – These are the axe and staff of Muaythai fighters.

Fighters are trained to use the body and mind as one unit defending and attacking in one synchronized, fluid and courageous fighting style

Punching (Chok)

Muay Thai Boxing Techniques - Punching

Muay Thai makes use of the full range of punches associated with Western Boxing. However body punches are less useful as they can leave the attacker’s head open to counter-strikes by the knees and elbows.

Punches are very often combined with blows with the elbows.

Traditionally boxers would practice hitting a swinging coconut to improve their reaction to a moving object.

  • Jab – Mat na or Mat yaep
  • Cross – Mat trong
  • Hook – Mat wiang san
  • Swing – Mat wiang yao
  • Spinning backfist – Mat wiang klap
  • Uppercut – Mat soeil or Mat soi dao
  • Cobra Punch – Kradot chok

Elbow (Sok)

Muay Thai Boxing Techniques - Elbows

The elbow is considered the most dangerous weapon in Muaythai . They are used to slash the eyebrows to cause debilitating bleeding. They can be used in all directions at great speed and are often combined with other body movements with devastating effect.

They are used as a single blow or as a follow up movement from the same arm for example after a hook to the face the elbow will follow in afterwards.

  • Elbow slash – Sok ti
  • Horizontal elbow – Sok tat
  • Uppercut elbow – Sok ngat
  • Forward Elbow Thrust – Sok phung
  • Reverse Horizontal Elbow – Sok wiang klap
  • Spinning Elbow – Sok klap
  • Double Elbow Chop – Sok klap khu
  • Mid-air Elbow Strike – Kradot sok

Kicking (Te)

Muay Thai Boxing Techniques - Kicking

Thai boxers are taught to avoid contact with the foot because it contains so many bones and joints that you might sustain an injury during the attack. Instead the shins are toughened up by training and are used to block as well as land blows.

Kicks mainly consist of jabbing movements (thip) and kicking upwards to the ribs (Te chiang).

  • Straight Kick – Te trong
  • Roundhouse Kick – Te tat
  • Diagonal Kick – Te chiang
  • Half-shin, Half-knee Kick – Te khrueng khaeng khrueng khao
  • Reverse Roundhose kick – Te klap lang
  • Down Roundhouse Kick – Te khao
  • Axe Heel Kick – Te kot
  • Jump Kick – Kradot te
  • Step-up Kick – Khayoep te

Kneeing (Ti Khao)

Muay Thai Boxing Techniques - Knees

The knee strikes are often combined with neck clinches whereby the head is forced down to meet an up thrusting knee.

Otherwise they usually involve jumping and leaping forwards to deliver the blow.

The knees are constantly probing and looking for an avenue for an attack.

  • Straight Knee Strike – Khao trong
  • Diagonal Knee Strike – Khao chiang
  • Curving Knee Strike – Khao Khong
  • Horizontal Knee Strike – Khao tat
  • Knee Slap – Khao top
  • Knee Bomb – Khao yao
  • Flying Knee – Khao loi
  • Step-up Knee Strike – Khao yiap

Foot Thrust (Theep)

Muay Thai Boxing Techniques - Foot Thrust

The feet are not to be used to land blows generally as they are vulnerable to injury.

Instead they are used in fast jabbing thrusts to unbalance and push an opponent.

You will see Muay Thai boxers using the foot thrust to ward off an attack and it is often followed up with a counter strike.

The foot thrust is also executed with the body turned away from the attacker and pushing backwards.

  • Straight Foot Thrust – Thip tong
  • Sideways Foot Thrust – Thip khang
  • Reverse Foot Thrust – Thip klap lang
  • Slapping Foot Thrust – thip top
  • Jumping Foot Thrust – Kradot thip

Clinching and Neck Wrestling (Chap kho)

Muay Thai Boxing Techniques - neck wrestling

Unlike Western Boxing the fighters are not always separated when they clinch. Clinches are often combined with knee and elbow strikes. In actual fact the fighters usually try and apply pressure to the head rather than the neck in order to get more downward leverage.

  • Arm Clinch – Used to get inside the arms of the opponent to gain an advantage with a knee strike or throw
  • Side Clinch – This is a technique aimed at getting your shoulder into the armpit of your opponent sending him off balance or holding him in order to apply blows to the back with the knees
  • Low Clinch – Often used by a shorter combatant this technique involves positioning your arms directly under those of your opponent to provide upward energy to unbalance him.
  • Swan Neck – This involves grasping the back of the head or neck with one hand before delivering a kick or other strike.


These techniques are usually combined with aggressive attacking moves but are categorized in six groups:

1. Blocking – Toughened forearms and shins are used to directly block a strike
2. Redirection – This uses softer movements to redirect a strike so that it misses its target
3. Avoidance – Fighters will move parts of the body out of the way of the opponent’s strikes whilst staying in range for a counter strike.
4. Evasion – This is a more marked movement away from an attacker making them advance towards you while you prepare a counter-attack.
5. Disruption – These japs and thrusts and kicks are fast movements designed to interfere with an opponent’s advances. These are usually to the inside or outside of the leg just above the knee.
6. Anticipation – Recognizing that your opponent is preparing a certain attack fighters will use that attack to their advantage such as grasping the leg of an opponent that is performing a roundhouse kick to the side of the body.