Making a hard strong fist to strike with is absolutely essential in avoiding injuries to your hand and fingers. Ensuring that you strike with the correct two knuckles will make all the difference in the power of your punch. It is also important that you make a tight fist whenever you throw a punch, not just on pads and sparring but also when punching in the air. Remember "Practice makes Permanent" if you practice punching incorrectly, then you will not do it correctly when you need to.
Elbow Strikes are what sets Muay Thai apart from nearly every other fighting style. No other fighting art has come close to the level of development of elbows strikes that Muay Thai has. There are many different kinds of elbows, including cutting elbows, driving elbows and cracking elbows, learn them all, but make sure you learn to defend them all as well. But always remember if you can elbow your opponent they too can elbow you.
Knee strikes can be used both in the clinch while grappling as well as at range to add to punching combinations. It is the bony part of the knee that you use to strike with, the specific area may change as the angle of the knee strike changes, for example a Knee Slap, Straight Knee, Dropping Knee and Round Knee all strike with different parts of the knee.
Most other styles of martial arts kick with either the top or ball of the foot when throwing Roundhouse kicks, Muay Thai however popularised the devastating use of kicking with the shin. Because of the sensitivity of most people's shins many urban myths surround the ways of toughening and conditioning the shin. Rest assured, kicking hard things and rolling things up and down your shin does not help, however kicking heavy bags and thai pads will make a world of difference.
There are many different ways to throw a front kick. You can actually use different parts of your foot to throw front kicks as well, for example, kicking with the pad of the ball of the foot, the entire surface of the bottom of the foot or even the heel of the foot. We however are concerned at this point of your Muay Thai career that you know how to kick with the ball of the foot which gives you the most reach and penetrating force. If you kick the ground behind you with the ball of the foot this is the correct part of the foot you want to be able to strike forwards with when you throw a front kick. Another way to practice is to stand on your tippy toes like you are doing a calf raise, this will show you the correct ankle angle.
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