Spinning attacks can be a touchy subject for many martial artists, including Muay Thai fighters. Some view them as “fancy” high-risk techniques that are often ineffective while sparring or competing, while others think the opposite.
What we do know is that fight fans love spinning techniques and they are often the main highlights of fights. Even missed spinning techniques often lead to audible gasps from the crowd. Finish an opponent with one of these techniques and you’ll have a new army of fans.
Data shows that spinning techniques can be effective given how often they land and even finish opponents when thrown. There’s nothing wrong with adding these techniques to your Muay Thai arsenal; just make sure you learn how to execute them correctly since some of them do leave you in vulnerable positions if you miss them.
Five Effective Signature Spinning Techniques For Muay Thai
Ready to find out what some of the most effective spinning techniques used in the art of eight limbs are? Let’s jump right into our list:
The spinning elbow is quite popular with Muay Thai fighters and mixed martial artists. The technique allows you to rotate your entire body to generate extra power for the elbow. It’s a short-range technique that requires you to be at close range to land.
To perform this technique:
- Close the distance on your opponent to ensure you’re in range for the elbow. The easiest way to do this is by jabbing yourself into range.
- Take a small side step inside with your lead leg before starting your rotation. Use your free arm to protect your face as you enter your spin. Try not to telegraph your intent since this technique requires you to turn your back to your opponent which can be extremely dangerous.
- Be prepared to follow up with other strikes or defend yourself immediately after the elbow. You can also clinch up with your opponent afterwards to reduce their offensive options.
2) Spinning Back Fist
The spinning back fist is arguably the most popular spinning attack used in Muay Thai. It covers more distance than the spinning elbow and it’s often easier to learn. The only difference between a spinning back fist and a hammer fist is the part of your hand that lands. A back fist involves landing with the back of your hand, while you use the bottom for hammer fists.
Spinning back fists are typically used to target an opponent’s jawline or temple. The key to making your opponent feel the full power of the technique is to spin through them. Don’t be content with just touching opponents with the technique. You want to imagine your hand going through the target.
To perform the technique:
- Use weapons like your jab and teep to get into the desired range.
- Take a side step inside with your lead leg so you’re no longer on the centreline before starting your spin. Spin off your lead foot, rotating your entire body with you.
- Keep your arm outstretched as you spin, while your other arm protects your face. Keep the thumb of your attacking arm facing the ceiling to ensure your knuckles are in the correct position for back fists.
The spinning hammer fist is considered the more powerful attack, but it’s also more likely to leave the attacker injured since the bottom of Muay Thai gloves aren’t heavily padded.
3) Spinning Hook Kick
A spinning hook fight involves throwing your leg in an arc-like motion and landing on your opponent’s temple. It is typically used to target the head and works best at long-range. You should spend some time learning how to throw a basic hook kick before trying to add a spin.
Here’s what the technique looks like:
- From your fighting stance, step your lead leg inside to get into position.
- Start spinning by pivoting off your lead foot and use your arms to generate additional momentum.
- Look at your opponent once you’re about halfway through your spin and start your hook kick. Kick through your opponent for maximum damage.
4) Spinning Back Kick
The spinning back kick is the most popular spinning kick used in Muay Thai. It’s easy to learn but can be challenging to master. The key to mastering it is learning how to throw a proper sidekick correctly without spinning. While it’s called a spinning kick, the truth is it’s a turning kick, since you don’t really spin.
Spinning back kicks can be used to target the body or head. It is often more effective when targeting the body given the larger target. Spinning back kicks often lead to knockouts when they connect with an opponent’s head, but it leaves you in a vulnerable position when you miss. Depending on your stance, you can also use a spinning back kick to target an opponent’s liver.
Here’s what the technique looks like:
- Get into position for the kick by using weapons like your teep to gauge the distance. Keep your lead foot pointing toward your opponent as you prepare to throw the technique. You want to be aligned with your opponent’s rib before starting the technique.
- Keep your hands close to your body protecting you as you start the technique. Moving your hands away from your body reduces the power of the kick.
- Perform a back turn by pivoting your lead foot so you’re looking over your shoulders to see your opponent, this movement needs to be extremely fast.
- Raise your back leg and align it with your front leg. Now fold your back leg and keep your knees straight. Perform a back kick by extending your back foot towards your opponent.
5) Tornado Kick
The tornado kick can be difficult to master, but it’s simply combining a roundhouse kick, an inside step, and a spin. Its mechanics can be used to target the head, body, or leg. Here’s what it looks like:
- Take an inside step with your lead leg, dig it into the ground, and pivot into a spin. Halfway through your spin, pick your trailing leg off the ground.
- Hop slightly on your trailing leg as you face your opponent and throw a roundhouse with the same leg you pivoted with.
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