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Basic Muay Thai Techniques

Vulnerable targets
Every boxer should be aware of the vulnerable points on the human body and must find ways to protect them.

Guard and movement
Proper knowledge of boxing guard is essential. There is enormous potential physical harm to a body not properly guarded. Regardless of what movement or direction a boxer takes the boxing guard must be strongly maintained. If you are not properly protected you will feel insecure and lose confidence in your abilities as a boxer. The body should be angled towards opponent, the rear arm protecting the flank and abdomen. Your less dexterous foot (the left if you are right-handed) is placed forward with the toes pointing to your opponent. The rear foot should have the toes pointing to the side. (The feet should not be placed exactly side by side as you will lose balance.) The heels should be raised so that you can shift the weight between the balls of your feet to remain in a constant state of readiness. Legs should not be held straight. Tuck your chin in. The forearms should be raised for protection. Elbows should remain close to your body. Fists should be loosely clenched. Your less dexterous hand (left if right-handed) should be held to eyebrows, extended slightly to the front in the same direction as the front foot. Do not strain the body to maintain the pose - relax.

Yaang Sam Kun - The three-step walk
The famous Thai Boxers walk is one of the most important Muay Thai techniques to master. It is the basis of all footwork in Muay Thai boxing and is of such crucial importance that without mastering it completely you will never move on to an advanced level. During the Ram Muay ritual dance the walk is stylistic and graceful. Different styles of the Yaang Sam Kun developed differently, in different areas, under different masters.

Punching
Forming the fist correctly and using the combined forces of the shoulder, hip and foot to put additional power behind the punch are basic Muay Thai techniques. It is the rear fist that has the greatest power and punching with you knuckles is most effective. When in the boxing stance don't clench your fists tightly. Obviously when you actually deliver the punch your fists should be tightly clenched. The punch is usually aimed to hit the body or the face. You should pull the fist back immediately after punching.

The Straight Punch: the power punch extended directly forwards towards the target, the fist palm down, aimed at the chin or solar plexus.

The Jab: delivered with the lead hand as a defensive punch, for finding your range and keeping an opponent at bay.

The Hook: a punch delivered from the side aimed at the temple, chin or ears

The Upper Cut: a punch used in close or when moving in. The fist is punched vertically upwards aimed at the chin or solar plexus

Elbows
The elbows provide a dangerous form of attack, which is used to cut and occasionally to knock out. It is delivered in either a hooking, uppercut or overhand motion. Practice the elbow against a punch bag. When first practicing the elbow, the elbow should swing straight up in the narrowest possible angle. Posture is important. Do not hit the target bluntly but scrape the target lightly with your elbow to cause injury. Good technique uses the combination of delicacy and force. Unless you are aiming for the nose or chin in which case you should hit squarely with full force. Don't clench your fists too tightly when using the elbows.

Knees
The proper way to throw the knee is to thrust it straight upwards, powerful and sharp. The tip of the foot must be pointing up so as to be ready for a thrust kick. First practice the straight knee. Practice against a bag or during sparring. In Muay Thai punches are rarely thrown to the stomach area, as the knee is a much more effective weapon. Good knee technique in the clinch is vital.

Kicks
Muay Thai has many different kicking techniques. Kicking must be practised meticulously and is not simply a matter of kicking the bags.

The Roundhouse: This basic Muay Thai kick uses the shin not the foot as the weapon. The leg is swung against the target, while the hips and trunk are simultaneously twisted in the same direction as the swing. The roundhouse kick has three areas of target: the low kick, which aims for the side of the thigh, calf or behind the knee, the mid kick which aims for the floating ribs and the high kick which aims for the chin, temple or neck.

The Teep, a push kick that can be used for both defense and attack. It is similar to the jab for keeping an opponent at bay and is good for knocking their balance. In general a foot thrust is quickly followed by some other form of attack.

Clinchin/throwdowns
This involves grappling while standing up and trying to knee the sides or stomach and to pull the head down while bringing the knee up. Throw downs must be clean: trips, sweeps or hip throws are not allowed. The clean throw down is a very high scoring technique.


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