23 Muay Thai techniques -beginner and advanced [with GIFS!]

Muay Thai Kicking Techniques

Dhe Dhrong – Straight kick ~ Muay Thai

In this kick, either the rear or front leg will be raised straight forward in one continuous movement towards the opponent’s mid-section.  Unlike some martial arts where the knee is raised first before the lower leg is thrust forward, in Muay Thai, the whole leg moves as one unit.

Muay Thai Techniques

Dhe Paa Maak – Nutcracker Kick ~ Muay Thai

This is quite a deceptive kick.  It is initiated as though it is a regular round kick to the side of the thigh.  The opponent raises their leg in order to check the kick, but instead of being blocked, the kick travels under the raised leg and strikes on the inside of the standing leg.

As the name suggests, you’ll need a good groin protector, to guard against stray strikes.  I recommend the following one (link to Amazon).

Dhe Dhad – Round Kick ~ Muay Thai

This is initiated from the rear leg which swings round in an arc attacking the thigh with the top of the  instep of the foot.  The involvement of the hips in throwing this kick makes it a very powerful technique.

Dhe Chiyang – Diagonal Kick ~ Muay Thai

This is similar to the Round Kick detailed above except rather than targeting the thigh, it moves in an upward trajectory to strike at the opponent’s floating ribs. It’s the top of the instep and bottom of the shin that slams into the ribcage.

Dhe Krueng Kheng Krueng Kow – Half Shin, Half-Knee Kick ~ Muay Thai

As the name suggests, this is a big of a hybrid kick.  It starts as a regular kick with the rear leg swinging up in a similar way to the diagonal kick.  Instead of extending the lower leg when the knee reaches waist height it remains coiled.  With the knee pointing to the opponent, the hips are driven forward so that the upper shin area is thrust into the ribs.

Dhe Glab Lang – Spinning Heel Kick ~ Muay Thai

This a spectacular kick and devastating when it is pulled off successfully.  The body spins on the front foot and the kick is delivered with the rear foot which twists behind the body and is raised so that by the time it reaches the opponent, it’s a head height.  The foot gains tremendous speed as it’s whipped round; if it connects, it has knock out potential.

Dhe Kod – Down Round Kick ~ Muay Thai

This kick is delivered with the rear foot.  The hips rotate and power the rear leg  around the body with the aim of slamming the shin into the top of the opponent’s thigh.  If it lands, this is a very powerful kick.

Dhe Khouk – Axe Heel Kick ~ Muay Thai

This is straight kick which is swung upwards so that it’s above head height.  It’s then pulled down with intention that the heel strikes at the top of the opponent’s head or shoulder area. 

Gra-dode Dhe – Jump Kick ~ Muay Thai

This is executed in a similar way to the round kick where the rear leg rotates around the body with the top of the instep slamming into the ribs of the opponent.  With the jump kick, you spring upwards on the front foot whilst simultaneously launching the kick with the rear foot.  This kick is aimed at the head and has the potential to knock out your opponent.

Yiep Dhe – Step-Up Kick ~ Muay Thai

This is a bit of a cheeky kick,  If your opponent adopts a stance where their front leg is excessively bent, you can use this to step up to gain extra elevation to deliver a round kick to the head.  This often takes the opponent unawares since they won’t be expected their leg to be used as a step ladder.

You can see these Muay Thai techniques in further detail here:


Muay Thai Elbow Techniques

 Sok Sap – Downwards Elbow ~ Muay Thai

In this strike the elbow is sticking downwards towards the opponent’s face.  It it hits the  nose, it’s likely to cause significant damage.  It requires good shoulder flexibility.

Sok Tong – Jumping Downward Elbow ~ Muay Thai

This is similar to the Sok Sap strike but is initiated with a jump so that increase force is delivered as you land just as the elbow makes contact.

Sok Tad –Horizontal Elbow ~ Muay Thai

This is very much like the cross punch but in this instance, rather than the forearm shooting forward to deliver the punch, it remains tight against the upper arm.  There’s a great deal of hip rotation in this movement and this is the source of this strikes power.

Sok Ngad – Upward Elbow ~ Muay Thai

This movement is like an upper cut punch but again the forearm remain tight against the upper arm.  The elbow is driven vertically upwards with the aim of striking the opponent’s chin.


These Muay Thai techniquues further illistrated in the video below.


Muay Thai Punching Techniques

Jab – Mat Na ~ Muay Thai

This is a quick, snappy punch delivered with the lead hand and is used to score easy points and to keep the opponent at bay.  

Cross/Straight – Mat Tron ~ Muay Thai

This is a power punch delivered with the rear hand which drives forward with the help of the twisting action of the hips.  The target in the case of this punch is your opponent’s head.

Hook – Mat Wiang San ~ Muay Thai

This punch can be delivered with either the lead or rear hand and is delivered with the arm bent at right angles and parallel to the floor.  Again the power of the punch is generated by the twisting power of the hips.

Upper Cut – Mat Soi Dao ~ Muay Thai

This is a powerful knock out punch delivered with the rear hand in a vertical, upwards direction and aimed at your chin.  It’s a very good punch if your opponent is covering up with their gloves in front of their face; the upper cut can break through their defenses.

You cam see more detail on Muay Thai punching techniques in the following video:

Muay Thai Blocking Techniques

Defense against the jab and cross ~ Muay Thai

In this defense, the hands are held up with your gloves resting on your forehead.  As the jab or cross  comes in you move your forearm slightly  to intercept the punch with the back of your glove.  Note how in this position, you’re very vulnerable to the upper cut so should be alert to this type of attack.

Defense against the hook ~ Muay Thai

This movement looks like you’re smoothing back your hair with your glove.  Your bent arm provides a wall to block the incoming hook to the side of your head.  

Defense against the upper cut ~ Muay Thai

In this defense, the hands remain so that the gloves are resting on the forehead.  This also allows you to see the whole of the opponent’s body so that you can see incoming kicks as well as punches.  As the upper cut comes in, you lean to the side so that the punch lands on the outside of your forearm close to the elbow.

Defense against low kicks ~ Muay Thai

In order to block kicks aimed at the thigh, you check the incoming kick by raising your leg so that the strike is blocked by your shin.  It’s important that all your weight is transferred to your standing leg otherwise once you’ve blocked the kick, you will fall forward into the punching range of your opponent.

Note the shin protectors being used.  I recommend these ones (link to Amazon).

Defense  against the diagonal kick ~ Muay Thai

Similar to the defense against the low kick you block this kick with your shin.  You just need to raise your blocking leg higher.  The raised knee always comes up between your raised elbows.

Defense against the straight kick ~ Muay Thai

As the straight kick comes in, you block using the opposite arm to your opponent’s leg.  You lower your arm so that you pull the knee across your front so that your opponent is spun so that his back is facing you.  From there you can launch a counter attack.



More information on Muay Thai kicking techniques can be seen in the following video:


Related Reading:

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Can you use elbows in Muay Thai?

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Is Muay Thai good for beginners?

How do I increase hip flexibility for round kicks?