The push kick, also known as the “teep” in Muay Thai, is not only a useful tool to create distance between a fighter and his opponent, it’s also a formidable weapon to use on both offense and defense. It’s a straight kicking technique usually aimed at an opponent’s midsection in a stabbing motion.
It’s not a kick that’s designed to deal damage typically, but rather, one that is used to establish separation. It’s similar to the jab in boxing, whereas the push kick can control pace and distance, especially against forward-charging opponents such as Muay Mat fighters.
In the video above, we demonstrate three variations of the push kick feints and the attacks you can launch from them. These techniques will work against any type of fighter, but especially against aggressive Muay Mat fighters, or opponents who always constantly push forward and apply pressure.
You can use the push kick feint to set up strong shots, and the drills we teach will help you practice this tactic. Note that these drills are best to use against another fighter of the same stance, whether you’re a southpaw or orthodox fighter, but they can also be effective against someone of the opposite stance to some degree.
Today, Evolve University shares three Muay Thai push kick feint combinations you can add to your game.
1) Lead Feint to Lead Kick
The first of these push kick feint combinations is the lead feint to lead kick. In this drill, you start by using the lead leg push kick. This should stop the aggressive opponent from coming forward. By stabbing the push kick hard into an opponent’s midsection, you earn respect and your opponent becomes conscious of the push kick, second-guessing whether or not he should keep moving forward.
This will help you sell the feint, and cause your opponent to buy into it. If your opponent doesn’t respect your push kick, he isn’t going to care about getting hit by it, and this technique won’t work effectively.
With the feint, you lift your leg up sharply to get a reaction out of your opponent. The reaction you’re looking for is him trying to cover his body or trying to catch the push kick.
At this point, you need to throw a jab to the head, because your opponent’s head will be exposed. This will bring his guard back up to the top. The next step is to throw the left kick to the arms or to the body.
The final move in this sequence, after you’ve thrown the left body kick, is to throw the inside low kick sweep. Always be one step ahead in Muay Thai, so if you notice your opponent is blocking a certain area, then you have to think about what to do next, and that’s the inside sweep of your opponent’s lead leg.
When you’re sweeping, you want to at the ankle. You don’t want to sweep too high, because that’s not going to achieve the result that you want. You want to get your opponent off balance, and even take him to the floor with this shot. Step out with your right leg, and sweep with the left, going across your opponent’s body. This gives you enough space to execute a meaningful sweep. If you don’t step out, your sweep won’t be powerful enough.
Once you have your opponent in a vulnerable position, you can even follow up with another kick, knee, or punch.
2) Lead Feint to Rear Kick
The second push kick feint sequence is the lead feint to rear kick.
This makes use of another lead push kick feint, but this time, to create separation and create an angle to throw the right body kick. With these push kick feints, you’re going to be constantly on the back foot against an aggressive Muay Mat style opponent.
To start this sequence, you’ll need to go to your right kick and target the body or the arm. If he’s still coming forward, that’s when you stab him with the left push kick and create distance and take the back foot again.
When you connect with the right kick, and as soon as your right foot lands back on the floor, immediately attack with the left push kick. Keep repeating these two kicks until your opponent starts to respect the push kick. If you catch your opponent biting on the push kick, that’s when you can feint with it. This will then set up opportunities to throw harder shots.
The reaction you want from the feints is your opponent either trying to cover up or trying to defend against the push kick. That’s when you step at an angle, slap the hand away, and then pivot into your opponent’s blind spot. From your opponent’s blind spot, that’s where you throw another right body kick, and because you’re at such a good angle, you can slam that right body kick right into the ribs or midsection.
You’re looking to step outside at a 45-degree angle, slapping at your opponent’s wrist or forearm and pivoting at the same time. That’s going to help you get around his blind spot and land effectively with the right body kick.
If your opponent remains aggressive and still tries to attack even after getting hit with the right body kick, just use the right push kick to create distance again.
3) Rear Feint to Rear Kick
Last but not least, the final sequence is the rear feint to rear kick, one of the most commonly used attacks from the rear push kick feint. This sequence utilizes the right leg to push your opponent off balance, then allowing you to counter with some nice shots.
Again, this technique is effective against forward-moving opponents, someone who is going to be putting on the pressure. The push kick is once again used to create distance and just keep the opponent at bay constantly. You’re giving yourself a small amount of space and a split second to think so you can launch your next attack.
To start the sequence, you’ll throw a right kick to your opponent. Naturally, he will then counter with a left kick to the body, which you should block. After that, throw a right push kick.
This happens in Muay Thai often, when a lot of fighters are going kick for kick in a unique rhythm. One fighter will throw a body kick while the other throws one in return until one doesn’t block. In this sequence, we’re going to use the right push kick to disrupt that rhythm.
In this exchange, your opponent will be expecting a return body kick, but that’s when you’re going to come in with the right push kick. Like before, you’ll want to connect with the right push kick with gusto, to get him worried about that technique in particular. When your opponent starts to try and defend against the right push kick, that’s when it’s time to feint.
Feinting with the rear leg, bring the leg up nice and high so that you’re bringing the knee up as if you’re throwing a push kick. The desired reaction from your opponent here is that he drops his hands to try and defend the push kick, or try to counter it. That leaves his head exposed. With his guard down, you can then unleash a rear head kick. It’s an effective shot that is tried and tested
This is a KO shot. If it connects, it is almost guaranteed to score a knockdown if it lands clean. In the best scenario, it will turn the lights out on your opponent and put them to sleep.
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