Toady I’m gonna go over how to set up Muay Thai kicks without getting countered.
Successful Execution in Muay Thai and Life is About Strategy
Playing Street Ball (basketball at the playground), was a huge part of my life growing up. Always the shorter guy, I had a hard time keeping up with my brother and the other guys in the neighborhood. Never a great shooter, I relied on my speed more and trying to drive to the hoop.
It came hard for me. I was always getting blocked whenever I stepped up and drove down the lane.
I Learned this Getting My Shots Swatted in street ball as a kid
It wasn’t until I signed up for basketball camp one summer where my coach taught me how to drive the lane without getting swatted…cutting the corner at the last second and laying up the shot from the opposite side of the basket….juking my defender before cutting to the hoop…
Going back to street ball after camp, I was a new player…and made my defenders respect me when I drove to the hoop.
Like the Basketball Lay-Up, The Muay Thai Kick needs a Set Up
Setting up the Muay Thai Kick is kind of like making your layup in Basketball…You shouldn’t just go straight for the hoop all the time. In this blog, I’ll be going over how to safely set up Muay Thai kicks without getting swatted!
Set Up Muay Thai Kicks Without Getting Countered
Step 1 – The setup for the Kick
Step 2 – Throwing the Kicks
Step 3 – The mitigation from your opponent’s counter
Step 1. The setup for the Kick — Using Punches
Three Reasons Why We Set Up Muay Thai Kicks With Punches
The most basic way to set up Muay Thai kicks is behind a punch or series of punches, particularly the straight punches – jab and cross. There are 3 reasons for this is.
Reason #1 – Punches and Kicks are thrown from the same range – So, for example, you typically wouldn’t follow up with a kick after throwing an elbow because the elbow is short and the kick is long.
Reason #2 – The punches distract the opponent, to land the kick
By punching before the kick, it makes the opponent have to react to the punches, making it more tricky to defend…rather than just trying to throw them first. And because the kick comes from below, it makes it trickier to defend after attacking from up top with the punches.
Reason #3 – After delivering the punches, the position of the arms can be used to defend/mitigate a possible counter – We’re most concerned about being countered in the face by our opponents straight punch when delivering a kick.
After punching, the arms can be used to shield our face from getting countered.
Step 2. Throwing The Kicks
Before we’re going to the last part of how to set up Muay Thai kicks, let me talk about the Kick a little bit. If you already know about this clearly, just skip to Step 3.
The 2 Basic Categories of Muay Thai Kicks
Muay Thai Kicks fall into two basic categories – The Body Kick and the Cut Kick.
Attributes of the Muay Thai Body Kick
- The torso ‘un-shrimp‘ during the Kick (lower back flexes forward)
- The Body Kicks are longer in Range than Cut Kicks
- The ‘un-shrimping’ allows us to lean our head back from the opponent to evade punches
Attributes of the Muay Thai Cut Kick
- Shoulders drive down to CUT DOWN on the target (Shrimp Down)
- Shorter in Range, and allows us to shift our head left or right off the center-line
- All Kicks to the Legs are Cut Kicks because we’re CUTTING DOWN on the target
The ‘Shrimp Down’ on the Cut kick Vs. Un-shrimp on the Body Kick
This mechanical difference in the kicks is important.
Because whether we shrimp into the kick or un-shrimp into the kick, will determine the punches we use beforehand to set up the kick.
For example, if we want to throw the cut Kick, we want a punch combination that ends in the ‘un-shrimped’ position, so we can shrimp down hard into the kick. An example of such a combination would be the Lead Hook, Skip Kick.**
**Note how shrimping the body (curling the shoulder back) on the hook, creates distance for us to deliver the kick
If we want to throw the body kick, we use a punch combination that would keep us shrimped, so that we can un-shrimp harder for the kick. An example of such a combination would be the Cross, Switch Kick
Now, onto the #1 thing ALL Muay Thai kickers face when trying to throw their kick.
Step 3. The Mitigation From your Opponent’s Counter
The Most Common Counters to the Kick is The Jab or Cross to the Head
The jab or cross to the head is the most effective counter against the kick.
Before throwing the Kick, we need to understand what we’re up against…the risk and reward…should we throw?
Well…Just like before, since the punches are relatively the same range, we’re more susceptible to be countered by the punch than the elbow or knee.
Since the straight punches, (the jab and cross) have the longest range of all the punches, getting countered by these two straight punches are what most kickers are concerned about.
There are 2 Main Reasons For This
- When throwing the body kick, we swing our arm back, leaving an open space between the opponents fist and our face
- Because straight punch is more likely to get to the target before an angled attack, the punch will be the kick to the target
A Strategy for not getting countered with the Jab or Cross when Kicking
Here are two ways we can avoid the straight punch when delivering the Kick
- Move Our Head Away from the Straight punch the same time we deliver the Kick
- Flood the Center line with our arms to make it difficult to target our head
I’m thinking about writing another blog to go over the combinations that allows us to do these two things while delivering the kick..what do you think?
Anyway, let me know if you guys have any questions about how to set up Muay Thai kicks without getting countered.
Happy training guys!