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.