Muay Thai was originally a practical fighting technique for use in actual warfare, muay then became a sport in which the opponents fought in front of spectators who went to watch for entertainment.
Muay Thai is referred to as the “Art of Eight Limbs”, because it makes use of punches, kicks, elbows and knee strikes, thus using eight “points of contact”, as opposed to “two points” (fists) in boxing and “four points” (hands and feet) used in other more regulated combat sports, such as kickboxing. A practitioner of muay Thai is known as a nak muay.
When Thailand was at peace Muay Thai functioned as a means of physical exercise, self-defense, recreation, and personal advancement.
With the success of muay Thai in the mixed martial arts, it has become the style of choice for many competitive stand-up fighters.
Formal muay Thai techniques are divided into two groups: mae mai or major techniques and luk mai or minor techniques. Almost all techniques in muay Thai use the entire body movement, rotating the hip with each kick, punch, elbow and block.
The punch techniques in muay Thai were originally crosses and a long (or lazy) circular strike made with a straight (but not locked) arm and landing with the heel of the palm. Mixing with Western boxing and western martial arts mean the full range of boxing punches are now used: lead jab, straight/cross, hook, uppercut, shovel and corkscrew punches and overhands as well as hammer fists and back fists.
In keeping with the center line theory, the fighter can use either the Western or Thai stance which allows for either long range or short range attacks to be undertaken effectively without compromising guard.
Elbow (Ti sok)
The elbow can be used in several ways as a striking weapon: horizontal, diagonal-upwards, diagonal-downwards, uppercut, downward, backward-spinning. The diagonal elbows are faster than the other forms, but are less powerful.
There is also a distinct difference between a single elbow and a follow-up elbow. The single elbow is an elbow move independent from any other move, whereas a follow-up elbow is the second strike from the same arm, being a hook or straight punch first with an elbow follow-up. Such elbows, and most other elbow strikes, are used when the distance between fighters becomes too small and there is too little space to throw a hook or jab.
The two most common kicks in muay Thai are known as the thip (literally “foot jab”) and the te chiang (kicking upwards in the shape of a triangle cutting under the arm and ribs) or roundhouse kick. The Thai roundhouse kick uses a rotational movement of the entire body. The roundhouse kick draws its power entirely from the rotational movement of the body; the hips.
Knee (Ti Khao)
(Jumping knee strike) – the boxer jumps up on one leg and strikes with that leg’s knee.
Khao loi (Flying knee strike) – the boxer takes a step(s), jumps forward and off one leg and strikes with that leg’s knee.
The foot-thrust or literally “foot jab” is one of the techniques in muay Thai. It is mainly used as a defensive technique to control distance or block attacks. Foot-thrusts should be thrown quickly but yet with enough force to knock an opponent off balance.
Clinch and neck wrestling (Chap kho)
In Western boxing the two fighters are separated when they clinch; in muay Thai, however, they are not. It is often in the clinch where knee and elbow techniques are used.
Thai boxers rely heavily on kicks utilizing the shin bone. As such, practitioners of Muay Thai will repeatedly hit a dense heavy bag with their shins, conditioning it, hardening the bone through a process called cortical remodeling.
Training that is specific to a Muay Thai fighter includes training with coaches on Thai Pads, focus mitts, heavy bag, and sparring. The daily training includes many rounds (3–5 minute periods broken up by a short rest, often 1–2 minutes) of these various methods of practice. Thai Pad training is a cornerstone of muay Thai conditioning which involves practicing punches, kicks, knees, and elbow strikes with a trainer wearing thick pads which cover the forearms and hands. The trainer will often also wear a belly pad around the abdominal area so that the fighter can attack with straight kicks or knees to the body at anytime during the round.
Focus mitts are specific to training a fighter’s hand speed, punch combinations, timing, punching power, defense, and counter-punching and may also be used to practice elbow strikes.
Heavy bag training is a conditioning and power exercise that reinforces the techniques practiced on the pads.
Sparring is a means to test technique, skills, range, strategy, and timing against a partner.Specific tactics and strategies can be trained with sparring including in close fighting, clinching and kneeing only, cutting off the ring, or using reach and distance to keep an aggressive fighter away.
This program focuses on teaching the basic fundamentals of Muay Thai. This includes stance, footwork, basic punches, kicks, knees and elbows