PART I — The Muay Thai Arsenal
The Muay Thai Arsenal – Basic Weapons of Your Toolkit
….a broad brush for peppering in clouds….palette knives to carve out the smooth edges of a mountain…and a small brush to fill in the details….watching him do his magic on the canvas put me into a trance.
Like oil painting, Muay Thai is an art. And here, I’ll be outlining the most basic tools in your Muay Thai arsenal. Think of them as the tools of an artist painting a landscape…..only deadlier.
…And just like ordinary tools…we need to keep them sharp!….and that’s where the training comes in.
The 5 Basic Tools in the Muay Thai Arsenal
In this article, I’ll be demonstrating the 3 ‘tools’ in your arsenal that strike with the lower body….the teep, knee, and kick.
1. The TEEP – A Straight ‘Punch‘ with the Feet
Here’s an example of Samart Payakaroon (the Muhammad Ali of Muay Thai) using the LEAD teep to stop his opponents forward attack.
Note that this is a championship fight…his opponent was no slouch! But through timing and precision he used this basic Muay Thai ‘tool’ to control the fight and ultimately knockout his opponent.
The fight ended in less than 5 minutes. It was a beautiful display of how effective the teep can be at controlling the opponent. I’ve linked the fight here because it’s a quick and awesome display of the teep.
It’s a FAST and LONG RANGE ‘tool’, thrown straight at the opponent….This combination of speed and range makes it an effective tool for keeping your opponent away.
The Teep is not really considered a very powerful strike, but because it’s one of the easier strikes to pull off, it can be used to set up combinations and heavier weapons.
Here’s an example of Saenchai (hands down the best pound-for-pound Muay Thai fighter today) using the REAR Teep to deliver a punch to the body then sweep his opponent of his feet.
Final Notes: The Teep is a fast, long range weapon that can be used for offense and defense. The fact that it’s thrown straight down the centerline at the opponent is what makes it fast. It hits using the full length of the leg to reach the opponent….making it the longest range weapon in your toolkit.
2. The KNEE – Stabbing The Opponent
Of all of the weapons in your toolkit, the Muay Thai is probably the most powerful. It powered by the rotation of the hips forward into your opponent……stabbing him/her with the bony part of the knee.
The knee is used to decimate a heavy puncher or boxer. It’s thrown ONLY when the opponents arms are tied up.
Another example of the use of the knee is in the clinch (when the opponents are tied up together in close range). Notice how the Muay Thai fighter below throws his knees AFTER the opponent is in a position where he can’t really throw a powerful punch.
Final Notes: One of the most powerful weapons in Muay Thai is the knee. It’s thrown most safely when the opponent is in a position where he or she can’t deliver a damaging punch. It’s used to diffuse heavy punching and boxing. The power of it comes from driving the hip into the opponent in a ‘stabbing’ motion.
In Thai…another word for the knee strike is ‘Tang’ which literally translates into ‘Stab’.
3. The KICK – Chopping Down the Opponent with an ‘Ax’
The Muay Thai Kick is the signature ‘Tool’ in your arsenal.
The edge of the shin is thick and can be conditioned to deliver heavy strikes that cut into the opponent….like the blade of an Ax.
Below is an example of a Thai fighter literally chopping his opponent down with the raw power of the kick.
Kicking to the legs is also a very effective tactic for taking out the opponent. It only takes a couple good kicks to the legs to end a fight.
The kick can even be thrown to the head, driving the hips upward to propel the shin to the head.
Final Notes: The kick is a powerful weapon in the Muay Thai Arsenal. The power of the strike comes from the rotation of the entire body, not from the actual kicking leg. Just like chopping down a tree w/ an ax, you have to get your entire bodyweight behind it to make an effective ‘cut’.
Your Going to Teach Me to Do THAT?!?!
That’s right! These are 3 of the 5 basic tools in your Muay Thai Arsenal. And I’m going to teach you how they work so that you can learn them and sharpen them into weapons of your own. No magic here, just a simple pattern that runs through all Muay Thai techniques which is easy to understand.
Now take the time to imagine yourself walking about your day, knowing you had an ax blade attached to your leg, a bony blade that stabs, and a leg that could punch someone with range that they’d never see coming….pretty bad ass right?
Read on to Part II and we’ll start building your Muay Thai toolkit!