On Monday I began a brand new course on Basic Muay Thai for Martial Arts Cross Training with a new client. My client’s bespoke course is designed with the objective of firstly learning a kickboxing art, secondly general fitness and conditioning with some emphasis on increasing flexibility. I have advised on looking at technique first with supplementary callisthenics and PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) stretching. I chose not to use any protective equipment or focus pads for this lesson in order to better assess correct technique and targeting.
Tonight’s lesson began with a completely clean slate and focused on raw technique. After a short period of loosening up joints and gentle movement warm-ups we began with stance, guard and footwork. The Muay Thai stance is relatively shallow and square-on compared to other combat sports, including American and Japanese Kickboxing. The back foot is raised off the heel and much is dictated by the need to defend against low kicks. The guard changes a lot, but it is fair to say that most nak muays keep a basic high, symmetrical guard. Muay Thai has a distinctive footwork, involving a slight rocking motion that allows for transference of the entire body in each strike.
Mirror footwork is a great partner exercise that immediately gets the fighter thinking about their positioning in relation to an opponent. They get honest feedback on distancing and an idea of pace.
Guard was checked a few times before I began introducing the jab and the teep. Typically basic Muay Thai combinations involve following one technique with the opposite side limb. However, to begin with I feel I have to contradict this rule a little in order to get across these two very important techniques. The jab and the teep work in a similar fashion. Although they both can be used to knock an opponent out they are generally used to set up an opponent for other techniques and to create or maintain distance. It is very important for the fighter to grasp this early on. The techniques are taught in isolation and also in combination. A rear teep can also be used in conjunction with the jab to begin the crisscross nature of basic Muay Thai combinations.
The last technique introduced was the cross (or rear hand straight). This was taught so that the fighter could put together a three technique combination jab/cross/teep. We then brought in parries and I worked on the behaviour of responding to an attack and a counter-attack. Fighter parries a jab/cross responds with a jab/cross, which is parries and then scores with a lead teep.
The lesson was finished with an introduction to tabata training – perhaps the most extreme version of High Intensity Interval Training – breathing exercises and PNF stretching. Homework was shadow boxing focusing on all that had been taught in tonight’s class.
Relevant Muay Thai tutorials on material covered in this lesson
Basic Muay Thai Footwork