“Tao” means “feet” to the Southerners of Thailand. In Muay Thai, “tao” means kick, one of the techniques used in this Thai combat sport. There are several variations and tricks used in Muay Thai kicks, and depending on the intent, they can be lethal.
Muay Thai Thigh Kick
Thigh kick, in Thai language is “Te Kha”, which means Thigh (Te) and Kick (Kha). It is basically a low roundhouse kick variation. But unlike the oblique roundhouse kick. You bend your standing leg when doing Te Kha. This kick is designed to weaken your opponent’s stance.
To execute the Muay Thai thigh kick, follow the steps/tips below:
- Start from your Muay Thai fighting stance.
- Step forward and slightly out of the center line.
- Kick with your back leg and twist on the ball of the foot of the front leg (standing leg). The knee of the standing leg is slightly bent.
- Kick with the bottom of the shin and not with the foot. The foot of the kicking leg is extended but relaxed. Turn your hips with the kick.
- At impact, the kicking leg is 80 percent extended.
- Don’t bend the kicking leg too much at the beginning. Muay Thai roundhouse kicks are not snapped.
- Extend one arm, keep the other hand close to your head and don’t lift the elbow. Make sure both sides of your head remain protected.
- Go back the same way and plant the kicking leg at the exact same spot where you started.
- If you notice that your opponent keeps looking at your head, attack him with low kicks.
- The cut kick is an even lower roundhouse kick variation than the thigh kick. Thigh kicks are usually easier to apply.
- Practice the Muay Thai thigh kick on a high heavy bag.
- Exhale as you kick.
- Keep your chin down.
Variations of Kicks
There are different ways in making your Muay Thai kicks powerful, decisive and possibly lethal.
- In order to produce a powerful kick, you need to have momentum support. A jumping kick should be able to support a decisive kick since all the power will be transferred to the stretching and kicking leg. The violent power of such kick will make the opponent unable to retaliate forcefully.
- You can aim for the opponent’s back of the neck by creating a deceiving movement that will lure the opponent to bring down his guard to protect the other parts of his body. When the opponent lowers his hands, it is the golden time to deliver your foot against his back of the neck with all the force you can gather.
- One technique is waiting for the opponent to attack first. You can counter such attack with impeccable timing. By doing this, your opponent could guess the opponent’s approach. An example would be when an opponent throws a punch, making his ribs exposed and open. You could sway your body away a little from the punch and send your powerful kick to his exposed ribs.
- In order to launch a lethal kick, you need to exploit any gaps or openings that will present during a strike. When the opponent swings his body to launch a kick, this is a good chance to exploit any gaps. You can target the solar plexus or the chest area around the heart. The impact of your kick on such target could finish off the opponent. Your Muay Thai thigh kick will have the power depending on the swing of the foot, the good timing, and the transfer of all power to the kicking foot.
Before you train to making your kicks lethal, learn the basics first. Here are the different basic Muay Thai kicks; the foundation of all other complicated and more powerful kick techniques.