If you’ve watched the movie Ong Bak, then you already know by now the rigors of Thai boxing called Muay Thai. A popular sport not just in Thailand, its stance has always been compared to be somewhat alike to that of MMA fighting stances. With a flurry of kicks, straight knees, punches and elbows, it is only fitting to learn Muay Thai defense techniques to kickstart your first foray into any bloodthirsty arena.
Fighting in a Muay Thai ring is not just your usual boxing or kickboxing game. To be successful in the ring, you need to learn how to check, parry, or counter an opponent, or you risk being trumped down to oblivion. To keep yourself protected from incoming attacks, there are six (6) defense techniques which you must learn to keep yourself bruise-free from kicks, punches, knees, elbows, clinching, and so on.
- Blocking. One of the basics in Muay Thai defense techniques is blocking or the process of shielding your body from frontal attack by receiving the impact via your arm or leg. Punch strikes are often prevented via blocking using one’s fists or arms. To block leg strikes, a fighter must learn to block using his or her shins. In some cases, the elbow or shoulders may be used to thwart any attack on the body while the leg is used against low kicks.
- Parrying. Parrying is another defense technique in Muay Thai. While the idea is still to thwart an opponent’s attack like blocking, parrying aims to redirect the impact of an incoming attack. Often used as a defense for punches, it allows you to redirect an oncoming attack and use the opening to deliver a counter attack. When parrying a jab, for instance, you will need to push such to the side so it won’t hit your face, body or shoulders.
- Avoiding. This one comes with no explanation. While keeping yourself off an opponent’s attack may sound easy, it is not. Avoiding is one of the trickiest Muay Thai defense techniques as your opponent will also be hellbent in striking you. Leaning back, or backing up so a jab or a kick will simply swoosh in the air without hitting you requires topnotch speed and agility. This technique also helps to deliver a swift counterattack. The above fighter, for instance, gets into the “Matrix” move to evade a vicious kick to the head.
- Disruption. Rhythm is of utmost importance to a Muay Thai fighter. To deliver vicious attacks to knock down an opponent requires building up of momentum by allowing free flow of fighting rhythm. When on the defense side, the need to disrupt an opponent’s rhythm will not only stop attacks but also deflects an opponents momentum allowing you to effectively release counterattacks. You can use your elbow, like the picture above, to disrupt the onslaught of jabs and punches from an opponent.
- Anticipation. This defense technique allows a fighter to do something before the opponent deliver his or her attack. As a rule, being the first one to be able to successfully land a spinning back fist, or body kick, or even side step will help increase a fighter’s momentum while disrupting an opponent’s rhythm. Kicking an opponent’s leg, for instance, as he or she makes a move for a body kick would disrupt your opponents momentum.
- Catching. From the word “catch”, this technique usually happens when a fighter gets hold of an opponent’s foot, leg, knee or elbow before it lands to your body. Catching a kick, for instance, allows you to disrupt an opponent’s attack giving you plenty of options to counterattack. Known as one of the most effective, yet hard to accomplish Muay Thai defense techniques, this allows a fighter to put an opponent off balance allowing more leeway for a counterattack.
The bottom line: With vicious attacks coming in from various angles, beginners need to learn Muay Thai defense techniques to be able to conquer in the ring. Going on the defense will not only allow a fighter to thwart an opponent’s move, but also helps ensure landing a counter blow. The idea is to start learning the basics of these techniques, then move on to learn more advanced ones as you progress in your training.