Since there have been so many questions as of late about the thai method of kicking...I thought I'd make a thread about the technical aspects of the kicks. I know there are other coaches on this forum as well so for those individuals please feel free to reply as well with any perspectives you might have regarding anything I've written. As I know it, there are a few different kicks within the muay thai arsenal that are still used today. The most common being the "teep trong" and the "te tad / chiang" (the straight thrust kick and the round / angle kick). There are also variations and lesser used kicks like the "teep kang" (side thust kick) "te krung kang krung kao" (half-shin-half knee kick), the "te kuk" (ax kick), and the "te / teep glap lang" (spinning heel / side kick). I'll go over these specific kicks for the time being. TEEP TRONG: The kick--while done in a single fluid motion--actual consists of 4 parts: raising the leg, thrusting it straight out, pulling it back in, and placing it down. The contact patch is generally the ball of the foot, but any part of the underside of the foot is considered acceptable. The body should stay generally upright and not lean excessively back on the execution--though some lean is natural. The kick should never be something that "reaches" in that it puts you off balance. The hands should stay in the normal guard position that you are accustomed to. The targets are generally on the centerline, with the hips, solar plexus, and the face as targets. Targeting the face generally won't make you any friends, however. Teeps are excellent kicks to setup other attacks and to serve as intercepting kicks against punches or kicks. Remember that the teep should generally be followed with something else, be it another kick or punch. For example a lead-leg teep followed by a power diagonal kick. TEEP KANG: This variation of the teep is differentiated by the sideways position of the foot. Overall it's the done in the same way as the teep trong, except that on the lift the chambered knee is brought up in a more lateral motion and thrust out with a more side long turning of the hips relative to the target. Another trick that I learned was to bring the leg up straight just as I would with the trong and the hip would turn sideways as the kick is thrust out. Contact patch can be any part of the bottom of the foot, guard stays up (though some will swing the kick side arm down for balance), and the body leans only slightly back. Targets for this kick are generally (for me) just the low-mid level. This kick is a good kick to use if the round kick misses and the opponent leans away and then tries to rush in after. Since you'll be turned around due to the rotation of the kick, you would launch the side thrust kick just as the foot touches the ground as you'll be turned sideways anyway. TE TAD / TE CHIANG: Known as the round kick, diagonal kick, power kick, thai kick, and a host of other monikers...this is the poster child of muay thai kicking. The kick starts from the ground--launched via an quick extension of the calf muscle and led by the hips and shoulders. The buttocks should be flexed forward to keep the hips leading, the shoulders should be aligned as well. The kick's vector is 30-45 degrees relative to the ground and the contact patch runs the entire tibia and instep. Both the kicking leg and the standing leg should be bent, not locked, with the bend in the leg varying by distance and preference. The arm on the same side of the kicking leg can be held in place, extended straight out, or swung back for counter balance with the shoulder held high to protect the chin. Generally the arm is held up and forward for low kicks and is used for counter balance more often on the mid-high level kicks. The opposite hand should be held high and close to the jawline for protection. Note that there are variations to this kick where it comes across more laterally and even at a downward angle. Targets are generally done in levels, with the low level at the calf or thigh. Mid level to the floating ribs and rib cage in general. Upper level at the neck and head. Success with this kick lies in knowing when, where, and how to kick. Because muay thai is a thinking art, you don't want to kick when the opponent expects it, but rather when they don't. I generally like to use the "kick the puncher" strategy...i.e. I kick the open areas when punches are thrown. So with a lead jab I'll step with the right foot to the outside of the punch and throw a left kick to the body for example. On a right cross I may parry and counter punch and follow with a left switch kick to the body. TE KRUNG KANG KRUNG KAO: One of my favorite kicks. This is a basically a cross between a kao trung/chiang (straight/diagonal knee) and a te chiang (angle kick). Mechanically the leg is sprung up via the calf extension and bent 90 degrees at the knee, the hip leading forward. The hip is turned slightly as well so that the tibia is held almost laterally. The contact patch is going to be the upper shin and the knee. The kick should ultimately feel like a round kick that's shortened and projected more forward--you're driving your shin forward instead of around like a bat swing. This kick does well as a defensive maneuver to keep someone from moving too deep into clinch range, where you can push them off after with your leg. It also works well when you go to kick and the timing is off and they close the distance before you can fire off the normal kick. I personally like using it when they come in with a punching attack where I can have them close the distance for me to put ME in clinching range. TE KUK: The ax kick. This is done similarly to the ax kicks you'd see in karate and TKD. The leg is raised high with a slight inside curve and brought down quickly slightly to the outside atop it's target. Contact patch with the heel. I generally don't use this kick often, but when I do it's done to keep the opponent guessing as I'll mix it in with a series of other kicks like two teeps and a te kuk. Remember to retain your guard and not to widen or let the arms fall on this kick. TE / TEEP GLAP LANG: The spinning heel and side kicks. These also are done with little to no variation over other's systems use of them. The spinning heel kick is done where you simply spin around on the ball of the foot, letting your kicking leg swing backwards and slightly downwards to it's target. The contact patch is the heel, and the target is generally the neck or head. Lead with the head turn so that you can keep eye contact on the target before the kick lands. Keep the hands up to protect against a rush-in. The spinning side kick is done much in the same manner except that the kick is done in a straight thrusting motion with the underside of the foot as the contact patch. The targets for this kick are generally the body or the thigh/knee. Excellent kicks to use when the opponent tries to flank you to the outside...say for example a duck under the lead hook to escape the pocket.