Crocodile Whips His Tail (diary entry)

crocodile 1thai spinning heel kick09.12.19


Monday night was my client’s last lesson in her current course of Muay Thai. We revised various material over the course and then looked at the back kick (deer kick) and the spinning heel kick (crocodile kick).


We warmed up with mirror footwork. Here I introduced hopping steps and diamond steps. We then began some one-for-one light sparring, ensuring that all kicks were set up with hand techniques. This led onto some counter-work with the belly shield such as leg catches into knee strikes. I also introduced a combination of three mini-combinations – jab/low round kick, jab/cross/switch knee and jab/cross/liver-shot/high round kick.


Then we went back over the back-kick, a move I haven’t properly covered since the end of the last course. We worked on two combinations. The first one was a form of baiting where the fighter opened up with a teep and then shifted back to lead the opponent onto the back-kick. The second one was more aggressive, using a curved knee opening from southpaw to create distance for the fighter to spin and then execute the back kick.


Next I introduced the spinning heel kick. I teach this technique rather than the spinning crescent or spinning hook kick purely because it is more damaging. The other techniques, whilst relevant and valid, tend to be more from the semi-contact field of sports training. The spinning heel kick does not comfortably fit in with modern Muay Thai practices and carries a good degree of risk. The main problem with the kick is it requires the fighter to briefly assume a side-on stance, much like a semi-contact fighter or a fencer. This leaves the fighter open to Muay Thai’s infamous low kicks. The move is often regarded as a Muay Boran technique. I have to admit that it seems strange that this technique and many other similarly flamboyant/high risk techniques were part of combative arts supposedly intended for war. We started with simply 360 degree spin on the spot, getting the head around early and then gradually began bringing the straight, horizontal leg up. Finally it was integrated into a combination that began with a jab/cross. I also advised on using a slight lean back after throwing the punches, prompting the opponent to move forward into the spinning kick.


The lesson finished with 4 x 3 minute rounds of sparring.

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