A Look At An Underdog Story…From a Different Perspective
The giant Philistine warrior, standing at a towering 9 ft tall and his army were prepared to attack the Israelites. From his camp, the king of the Israelites, King Saul looked helplessly among his army for a soldier that would fight the massive Philistine warrior.
Among the Israelites, a young shepherd emerged to face the towering giant. The boy, precise with his sling to turn stones into deadly projectiles, walked forward, far from the giants reach .
With a single whirl, he slung a stone at the giant’s head, killing him instantly. And in that instant, he became a hero of the ages.
We all know this story – The story of David and Goliath. And it is often referred to as a story of how an underdog came to defeat a giant.
What ‘David and Goliath’ can teach us about Muay Thai
Beyond being an memorable underdog story, the battle between David and Goliath can teach us the role of distance in combat. In close quarters, Goliath would have destroyed David…And David knew this.
What allowed David to defeat Goliath was DISTANCE. With distance, it gave David time to strategize, to pick the shot most advantageous to him winning the battle. And with that distance, he controlled the outcome of the battle.
How this relates to Muay Thai is that whoever can better control distance between themself and their opponent, controls how the fight plays out.
And in Muay Thai, the #1 tool for controlling that distance is the TEEP.
The Teep is Arguably the Most Influential Technique in Muay Thai
Without the ability to control distance, Muay Thai fights would end up as complete slug-fest. The techniques of Muay Thai….The Punch…The Elbow…The Knee….The Kick….
All weapons thrown with POWER….and the one technique that mitigates them all is the TEEP.
So, this article is about how the TEEP is used to control distance between you and your opponent and some of the most important nuggets of information I’ve discovered in turning Muay Thai teep into a complete game-changer.
How to Think of Distance When Talking About Muay Thai
When we talk about distance in Muay Thai, what we’re talking about is the distance between you and your opponent. Depending on how much distance there is between you and your opponent, dictates
- What kind of attacks you need to defend against
- What kind of attacks you can use against your opponent
So for example, if you’re within range to deliver an elbow, you’re also in range to get hit by an elbow.
On the other hand, if your opponent lands a heavy kick on you from afar, you wouldn’t be in range to counter back with an elbow.
In general there are 3 ranges in Muay Thai which correspond to the strikes used within those ranges.
1st – Clinching / Elbows / Knees (Closest Range)
2nd – Punch / Kick Range
3rd – Outside of Striking Range
Where the teep is most effective in controlling the rhythm of the fight is when you use it to prevent your opponent from entering the striking range, from Outside of Striking Range to entering the Punch/Kick Range
3 Attributes of the Teep That Make it So Effective at Controlling Distance
1 – The Teep is the LONGEST weapon in the arsenal
Correctly thrown, the teep can be thrown with the longest distance of any weapon.
Against lower body techniques – the teep can keep opponents at bay, purely by the range of the techniques compared to the teep.
Against upper body techniques – specifically the JAB and CROSS to the head – what makes the teep especially effective is not just the teep itself…but the fact that when thrown, you can lean back from the strike at the SAME TIME you’re delivering the teep….serving two very important functions
- Moving the target (your head) outside of the range of the strike, while…
- Striking the opponent with the teep to drive him/her back
2 – The Teep is the FASTEST weapon in the arsenal
When trained correctly, it can be thrown as fast as the jab. These two techniques, the JAB and the TEEP reach their targets faster than any other weapons in the Muay Thai arsenal.
The teep gets it’s speed from being thrown straight down the middle, making it much faster than an angled attack like the kick. Combined with the range, it mitigates all other techniques.
3 – The Teep doesn’t require much effort to execute
Compared to the kicks, punches, elbows, knees, the teep can be thrown with relatively little effort.
The secret to using the teep endlessly without tiring out, is understanding where the power of the teep comes from.
The Secret to Damaging Your Opponent With the Teep w/ Little Effort
The secret to damaging your opponent lies within using your opponents weight against him or her.
When used to keep your opponent outside of striking range, the key is TIMING, not power.
An analogy from football…executing the teep to keep them out of range is more like scoring off of an intercepted football…
On the flip side of that is a running back trying to pummel through, exerting massive amounts of strength and vigor to break through.
Throwing the teep, the priority is hitting the opponent at the right TIME….and the opportune time is when they land that first foot inside of striking range.
So what creates the damage?
The opponents own forward momentum. So the harder they charge in, the harder the teep lands to drive them back, and the more damage inflicted on them.
But beyond damaging your opponent, what effect does it have the fight…what effect does it have on the opponent psychologically…what effect does it have on you psychologically?
The Effect Using The Muay Thai Teep to Control Distance
The Effect On the Opponent’s Confidence
Psychologically discourages the opponent from attacking – A few teeps to the body as the opponent walks in to strike, the opponent will be thrown off and have to reassess his strategy.
In the heat of the battle, with their adrenaline racing, I can tell you from experience, it’s difficult to adjust your mindset and strategy during the bout.
The type of person most thrown off by this is the brawler…the guy or gal that just comes charging forward. By making them respect the teep, it makes them more hesitant to just rush in and play the game they feel most comfortable with….slugging it out.
The Effect On Your Confidence
Achieving this respect from your opponent immediately changes the tone of the fight and puts you in greater control of how the fight is going to play out.
By controlling WHEN you allow your opponent to get close enough to strike you, it lets you decide when you’d like to exchange blows. And you can use this to pick the time that YOU feel ready, not them.
And the confidence to control this aspect will propel you to victory.
The Effect on You Physically
Imagine.. You’re going blow for blow with your opponent. Your opponent just so happens to be running on an unlimited gas tank…he or she just doesn’t want to stop barraging you with strikes.
So you teep him/her the hell away!
The Effect on Your Offensive Strategy
Your opponent tries to knock your head off with several full power blows…and all he get’s is a foot in his gut.
And this means in the future, he’ll be more reactive every time he sees that lead foot even budge.
And by having them thinking about this, we direct their focus to being REACTIVE to the teep…taking away focus from the heavy strikes we have waiting for them.
After establishing RESPECT for the teep, one way we can use the teep offensively is by feinting the teep….then following up with a heavy weapon, albeit a jab, elbow, kick…whatever!
Controlling Distance with the Teep and the BIG Picture
Learning Muay Thai as a skill for self-defense is actually broken up into subsets of skills.
Surviving and Thriving in the Clinch….
Setting up Kicks w/ Punches….
Controlling Distance with the Teep…
Each skill is about controlling one facet of the game….And that’s the underlying attribute of all of these skills….CONTROL …..First, learning to control your own mind, body, and emotions. And secondly, learning to control the mind, body, AND emotions of your opponent.
Put another way, the techniques and individual skills learned through training Muay Thai lead to that one outcome – control.