The second of today’s classes was a double lesson on Muay Thai for Martial Arts Cross Training. As with another recent Muay Thai double lesson, I decided to focus the first half on kickboxing and the second half on Thai clinch. We looked a lot at Thai footwork and using rhythm to create momentum.
The kickboxing session was prefaced with a quick discussion on how we were going to take the traditional Muay Thai lead as much as possible in this session, only using punches to set up the various other techniques. We began with the teep, differentiating it from the classic push kick often found in kickboxing and karate. In this article, Connor Ruebusch puts forward the argument that trajectory separates the teep from all other front kicks. The kick is delivered straight like a jab rather than upwards like a front kick. Even a push front kick relies more heavily on a hinging motion and a pronounced knee. The teep is thrown far straighter with little bend in the knee joint and, if anything, comes down onto a target. We trained this first in a one-for-one controlled target drill and then introduced a counter, bringing in a low round kick.
We next looked at Muay Thai footwork to help develop the unique rhythm for the teep and round kick. Playing a far more patient game to other strike-based combat sports, nakmuay tend to rock on their feet. They also tend to switch stance a lot more often. After going through all the basic directional work, I focused on the v-step. Stepping off the direct line and attacking from an angle lends itself well to round kicks. We trained both attacking to the outside and the inside using this movement.
This movement worked perfectly for the clinch session. We used the v-step in the clinch to set up for straight and diagonal knee strikes. My client’s background in judo helped him out here, fully appreciating the importance of breaking a person’s balance before bringing them onto an incoming knee strike. Many judo-type throws have been banned in mainstream Muay Thai. However, modern judo, which promotes a far higher and narrower stance compared to other grappling sports such as sambo, freestyle wrestling and Brazilian jiu jitsu, has a fair amount to lend to the Thai clinch.
Next we moved onto round knees from the clinch. These strikes require a pendulum type movement from the sides to execute. It is best to learn the movement and rhythm first before bringing in the round knee. Indeed, I found that the technique pretty much finds itself once this movement is achieved. The round knee generates a tremendous amount of power from this pendulum swing and is a very effective weapon at the clinch range.
We then moved onto elbow strikes. We covered horizontal elbow strikes and then combined them with backward elbow strikes. Then we looked at uppercut elbows and then combined them with smashing down elbows. These were then brought into the clinch and combined with other techniques.
Above picture of my late kru, Tony Hayes (photographer unknown), and one of me by Charlotte Von Bulow Quirk Photography.