Using your hands in Muay Thai

Discussion in 'Standup Technique' started by katolotus, Jan 20, 2006.

  1. katolotus

    katolotus Yellow Belt

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    Looking for some help with my Muay Thai from some of the more experience guys on the forum. I've only been training in MT for 6 months and we have mostly been concentrating on kicks when practicing. We do sparr every session and here's were the problem lies.

    My kicking is poor due to my bad flexability and general lack of skill. My hands are good, jab, cross and left hook are all pretty good for my skill level. I'm learning MT to give me some stand-up to complement by BJJ with perhaps a go a some MMA in the future. I'm doing it to learn to defend against kicks, learn some low kicks and clinch work (knees & elbows).

    What I've found when sparring with MT guys of different levels, is that the distance is different to boxing or generally fighting without kicks. I seem to be that bit further away from my opponent due to staying out of kicking range. I'm now finding it very difficult to use my Jab without taking at least a kick. Most of the class tend to kick a lot and stay out of range of the hands. I end up having to bum rush just to land a couple of shots. I feel like I almost have to run at them to get close enough. either that or trade low kicks for jabs, that stuggle to reach their target. My right hand is just cocked most of the time and never in range to land. Obviously I find this more against guy taller than me.

    Any advice would be welcome. I want to use my hands more than kick, but just can't get close enough, often enough. And just to clear up, I do move forward on my jab and cross, it just that extra starting distance due to staying out of kicking range is bring my shots up short. If I close the distance a little, most often they back up a little to keep the distance. Don't think I should be lunging in!

    Any technical advice very welcome, also anything I can practice would be cool too.

    I'm 5'8" and 170lb and not partically slow or unfit.
     
  2. CowboyPete

    CowboyPete Green Belt

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    Closing distance is all a matter of footwork. If your opponent is attempting to stay away from you, you can cut him off at the angles to force him into a corner or at the very least, to make him work a lot harder than you are to maintain distance. This will wear him down over time and you'll be fresh while he's wheezing. Ask your trainer to focus on controlling the ring with you for a few sessions and you'll notice a marked improvement.

    A good way to set up punches in Muay Thai is with a kick. If you can throw a quick inside leg kick with your lead leg, you will get their attention away from their hands and onto their legs, if only for a split second. When you bring the leg down, do it while stepping forward and bingo, you're in range. This will work whether the kick lands or not and it really doesn't matter if it does since your goal is to close distance, not to punish his legs. Arlovski uses this technique a lot.
     
  3. katolotus

    katolotus Yellow Belt

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    We don't sparr in a ring, as there's too many people, so no corners!

    I've tried the low kick and I can normally get a jab in, but have real trouble getting my right hand working. Would you advise following the lead leg kick followed by the lead hand or cross?
     
  4. Caddock

    Caddock Orange Belt

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    If you watch matches from Thailand, available on the web and via a few live TV sites etc, you will see that the hands are not really used in the same manner as in Western boxing. There are fighters with good hand techniques and always punching knockouts on a card. However a lot of the time the hands are thrown as distraction/setup for entering the clinch.

    As noted above a kick sets up the hands well and you can see this reflected in matches. A kick (or a bunch) then a kick into a jab-cross while wading into clinching and kneeing. Like a transitionary move on the way in. The punches get thrown and then a knee before the clinch is settled in, then the neck wrestling, throws and knees begin in earnest.
     
  5. CowboyPete

    CowboyPete Green Belt

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    It is a lot harder to corner a guy when you're not in a ring but it's still possible if you're inside. There are boundaries of some kind so work him until he's up against them. You could also work on your foot speed so you can jump in close nice and quick for a crisp two or three shots.

    As for the low kick, you should follow it with both hands... a quick 1-2 punch. Nothing beats a well placed jab and cross for dropping someone quick. If you land both of those on the solid on the chin, the guy will drop 2 out of 3 times. If he doesn't, you can always do it again. If he gets wise to your strategy and starts to protect his head right after you leg kick him, drill one into his body.
     
  6. aries

    aries Silver Belt

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    If you can get the first jab on target but are out of range with the cross why not try doubling up on the jab to close that small distance again?
     
  7. Marvin Covar

    Marvin Covar Amateur Fighter

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    use your teep as a jab. or refer to king kabuki's closing the gap.
     
  8. Nisse4

    Nisse4 White Belt

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    Be aggressive in your footwork watch out fore kicks and pressure on your opponent and eventually you will get a chance to box him out. Its true that muay thai isn
     
  9. chlorox

    chlorox Blue Belt

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  10. katolotus

    katolotus Yellow Belt

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    I'm doing MT for MMA, so not too worried about the tradional stuff or fighting MT rules.
     
  11. recoil

    recoil Orange Belt

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    try:

    left inside lowkick-right cross- left hook- right outside kick- teep
     
  12. CelebritySexist

    CelebritySexist Foaming with much blood

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    Agree with the Swedish gent.

    Keep the pressure on at all times; in Thai matches (as you are undoubtedly aware) aggression scores big. Your opponent can't keep running away all the time unless he has excellent ringcraft, and that isn't something you come across in C and B class fights. Your problem seems to be that you and your opponents(s) are spending the bulk of your time en guard, with any movement a signal that an attack is coming. I used to feint these people a lot and it tended to make them more wary of reacting ie feinting a jab then following through with a 'real' jab is the most basic drill I can think of (sorry if anyone's already offered this). Also, generally smokescreening them with twitching (not the tourettes type, mind!), bobbing and feigning works wonders. This should help you until your actual hand speed increases.

    Which camp do you train with, just out of interest?
     
  13. Jonatan

    Jonatan Norrland top team

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    Good advice but I want to give one more; if you want to land the right make sure to use angels, i.e. if both are ortodox try to move in on your right and his left side where he cant kick with his power leg before he has repositioned himself. Waring about this tough, I did it against my opponent in my last fight and got caught with a left kick in the throat.
     
  14. Pro Killer

    Pro Killer Black Belt

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    Exactly what I was going to say!
     

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