“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.
For most Thai men who are lacking in height and physique, physical fighting always put them at a disadvantage. Good thing Muay Thai employs some powerful kicking techniques which somehow offset the physical disadvantage and turned the feet into effective defense weapon against aggressors.
“Tao” for the Southerners of Thailand refers to feet. In Muay Thai, “tae” refers to kick. Muay Thai kicking techniques are one of the important techniques in Thai Boxing as kicks can really be powerful and violent. If properly trained, one’s kicks can be a lethal weapon that can protect lives, property, families and the country.
There are five kicking techniques in Muay Thai Boxing, namely:
- Tae Tad (Side kick or Round kick). Tae Tad is commonly used in Muay Thai. This kicking technique is easy to control and one can maintain balance after the kick and be prepared for the opponent’s counter strike. Tae Tad is done by bending the legs a little and swinging the kick to the area around the knee joint or the back of the knee joint. For the kicking leg to be really powerful, it should be straightened. One should move forward to kick with the hand guard up securely. Do not drop your guard, or you might suffer from the counter-punch.
- Tae Chieng (Diagonal Kick). A diagonal kick targets the lower rib-cage and use the shin to attack. To attain maximum efficiency, the kick should make a 45 degree angle against the floor. You should kick by letting the instep of the back of the foot hit the target. The body should be inclined in the opposite direction of the kick. Swing your leg upwards in the appropriate angle and before the point of impact, twist the foot such that the arch faces down. The instep should hit the back of the neck of your opponent. The secret of this diagonal kick is that kick will be higher when your supporting leg causes your body to incline more in the opposite direction. This lethal kick normally targets area around the ears, the back of the neck, the upper thighs, the right and left arms. While executing this kick, one should always keep one hand on guard to protect the face from a possible counter-punch or the knee thrust.
- Tae Kod (Down round kick). Hook kicks are also commonly used due to its power which is more than the power of a side kick or diagonal kick. Such power results from the kick causing the hip and body to fully twist in the same direction of the swing, thus increasing the power of the kick. The hook kick can be used to attack opponent who docks down or in a lower position. However, the major disadvantage of the hook kick is losing the balance if you miss the target. This may give your opponent the chance to retaliate.
- Tae Pub Nok (Kick to the outside of the knee joint). Tae Pub Nok is the kick to the outside of the knee joints of your opponent. For a proper kick, you must sway your body a little away from the opponent, then move right up to the opponent with this kick as a greeting.
- Tae Pub Nai (Kick to the inside of the knee-joint). This is the kick to the inside of the opponent’s knee joint done by stepping closer to the opponent and swinging the kick to the inside. When the foot hits the target, the opponent’s leg will be blasted sideways, thus making him lose balance. At this moment, one has many options for doing damage to the opponent.
Muay Thai kicks are commonly used in competition. Its power is enough to knockout an opponent. All it takes is a powerful kick and you can send your opponent down. Muay Thai techniques are learned and it takes time to master it. Continuous training is important to enhance the power or strength of every kick thrown to the opponent.