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MT - Striking Areas (1)

Make a Fist

  • Start with your hand open
  • First curl your fingers down tightly into your palm
  • Now fold your thumb over the outside of your fingers.
  • Always keep your fist closed whilst punching in the air & pads
  • Focus on striking with your forefinger & middle knuckles

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.


Area of Elbow

  • The very tip of the elbow is used to strike
  • The striking area is approximately 1cm2
  • Always face your palm toward your opponent when striking with your elbow
  • Always protect your head with your other arm

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.


Area of Knee

  • Only strike with the bony areas of the knee
  • Always ensure the knee travels in a straight line towards the target, never throw a straight knee upwards.
  • Use your hips to increase the knee's striking power
  • Always use your thigh to knee a partner in class when grappling to reduce the chance of injury.

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.


Area of Shin

  • Never Round Kick or Block with the Foot
  • Roundhouse Kicks use the bottom part up to the middle part of the shin to kick with.
  • Leg Checks block with the middle to upper part of the shin.
  • Always wear shin pads when sparring with kicks
  • Condition your shins with heavy bags and Thai Pads only

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.


Ball of Foot

  • Flex the toes upward
  • Extend the ankle forward
  • Shin and foot angle should be straight 180o
  • Striking area is just beneath the toes
  • Practice finding the area to strike with on flat surfaces

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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