Muay Thai Defense Techniques Every Competitive Fighter Should Know About

(Last Updated On: June 26, 2019)

Want to ramp up your Muay Thai experience by getting into competitive fights?  Well, you can’t just jump into a fighting ring by learning just offensive moves.  Like any combat sports out there, learning Muay Thai defense must also be part and parcel of your fighting arsenal.

Defensive techniques are a means to protect yourself from any serious hit causing injuries, or worse, debilitating circumstances, or even death. 

Failure to block an opponent’s strike is one of the most crucial tipping points in Muay Thai.  Think about being kicked full-force in the jaw and you’ll know why.  Even the fittest fighter won’t survive a fight with an inexperienced opponent when he/she doesn’t know how to block, avoid, or evade an incoming strike.  When thinking of going into competition, training as early as now on various defense tactics must be done.

Here are some defensive techniques you should be learning and practicing in your muay thai training…

1.  Blocking.  One of the most direct and subtle Muay Thai defense techniques, blocking is meant to stop or deflect an opponent’s attack.  It’s main purpose is to protect the part of the body about to be attacked.  It is normally done by placing a leg, both arms, and so on across an opponent’s offensive move.  One of the most popular blocking techniques in Muay Thai is the 45-degree block.  This is meant to stop elbows, high kicks, and even punches to effectively counter a strike.  Here’s a tutorial on proper blocking—

2.  Redirecting.  A favorite among underdogs, redirecting is actually taken from the Law of Physics.  Regardless of one’s size, strength, or weight, learning effective redirection techniques allows you to deliver a reaction that will change an attacker’s offensive action.  It is usually done via soft parrying like say a downward tapping motion to a knee or a jab, preventing the strike from impacting on point.  Here’s how to do it right —

3.  Avoidance.  This is done by not actually doing anything to defend yourself from an incoming attack.  You simply move your body away from the range of strike whether it be backwards or to the side.  However, don’t move far enough away where you won’t be able to deliver an immediate counterattack.  To counter with a roundhouse kick, for instance, you can move your front leg backwards to avoid a low kick and then strike.  You may also duck from an incoming jab, and then proceed to counter attack with an upper cut.  Here are some avoidance defense techniques to practice–

4.  Evasion.  This technique means “getting out of the way” in layman’s terms.  It closely resembles avoidance, only this one is more deliberate and with a goal in mind– getting your opponent frustrated.  This happens by denying your opponent the opportunity of hitting you, making him/her lose their cool, thus giving you more control of the fight.  You can lean back, or take a step back with the purpose of stimulating an opponent to move closer or change their planned offensive move midway.  Here’s how to do it–

5.  Disruption.  A favorite Muay Thai defense technique used when facing high kickers.  This is literally done to preempt an opponents offensive move, giving you more leeway to deliver a counter attack.  You can thrust your foot forward to target the leg of an opponent while he is in the motion of doing a heavy rear leg kick.  This will make him lose his balance and make it harder for him to return a counter move.  Check this out–

The following adage heard from various trainers and coaches in Thailand rings true to form– “Offense make a fighter score points,  Muay Thai defense wins the belt.”  When thinking of entering the competitive ring, learning how to defend yourself from all attacks must always be taken as seriously as learning offensive strikes.  From blocking, to avoiding, parrying, countering, and so forth, practicing these skills requires time and diligence.  So, beef up your training regimen and set your eyes on the goal.  With enough patience and practice, you are bound to achieve all that and more!