Muay Thai has its own unique set of techniques that help set it apart from other forms of martial arts. Instead of the usual four to six weapons, Muay Thai utilizes nine. Namely, these weapons are the head, fists, elbow, knee, and feet, which are collectively referred to as the Na-wa arwud. However, using the head is no longer allowed in Muay Thai today for safety concerns.
In Muay Thai, the clinch is an important part of fighting, as grappling can be used for both offensive and defensive purposes.
All techniques in Muay Thai utilize the whole body, requiring either a partial or a full rotation of the hip with every punch, kick and block. This is perhaps what really sets Muay Thai apart from other forms of martial arts.
Below is a quick rundown of the basic Muay Thai moves and techniques.
- Punching (Chok). Punching in Muay Thai isn’t scored as high as compared to other sports. This is mainly because it’s seen as inferior compared to kicks and knee strikes. Although body punching is also allowed and actually used in Muay Thai, it’s not all too common as it exposes the fighter’s head to knee strikes and elbows, which could easily lead to a knockout.
- Elbows (Dhee Sork). Elbows are heavily utilized in Muay Thai and rightfully so, they can be devastating when used properly. The elbow can easily be used as a finishing move to knock out opponents, or to cut their eyebrows, causing it to bleed. While the bleeding doesn’t always lead to an immediate knockout, it does block a fighter’s vision and has a significant effect on the fighter’s performance.
- Kicks (Dhe). Of all the basic Muay Thai moves, kicks are probably one of the most commonly used. In fact, so effective are the many different kicks in Muay Thai that other forms of martial arts have adopted some. So important are kicks are in Muay Thai that fighters are taught to use a counter rotation of their arms to help make each kick more powerful
- Knee (Dhe Kao). Much like elbows, knees are also heavily utilized in Muay Thai, as they can either be used as a finishing move, or simply to inflict pain on an opponent.
- Foot thrust (Theep). This is one of the most basic Muay Thai moves that’s used by both amateurs and beginners. Also known as Push Kicks, the foot thrust is used to attack opponents and try to get them off balance.
- Clinching in Muay Thai is different in that the fighters are not separated, unlike in boxing. There are several clinching techniques in Muay Thai, including the arm clinch, side clinch, low clinch and swan neck.
Of course, these are just some of the basic Muay Thai moves that Muay Thai fighters eventually get to learn and master throughout their training.
If you’re interested in learning Muay Thai, then be sure to find a good and reputable gym in your area, preferably one whose trainer has actually gone on Thailand for Muay Thai training.