5 Ways To Land Body Shots In Muay Thai

5 Ways To Land Body Shots In Muay Thai
Muay Thai Thursday

Many Muay Thai fighters tend to favour hunting for the head over targeting the body when sparring or competing. It’s a bias fighters from many striking-based martial arts often have. Attacking an opponent’s head is more likely to open up a cut, score a knockdown, or leave the other fighter unable to continue fighting than attacking the body. 

However, that’s not a good reason to neglect the body. A well-placed strike to the body is also more than capable of ending a fight, especially when the liver is targeted. Targeting your opponent’s body early on in a fight is a sure way to ensure their gas tank won’t be optimal in the late rounds. MMA fighters and boxers often call targeting the body “putting money in the bank” since it’s guaranteed to pay dividends if you’re consistent. 

This article will explore some of the most effective ways to set up body shots in Muay Thai. Let’s jump right into our list:


1) Secure A Clinch

Clinching up with a sparring partner or opponent automatically puts you in a position to land hard blows to the body, knees to be specific. That means your clinch game should be top-notch if you’re serious about working your opponent’s body. 

Try whipping your opponent around once you’ve clinched up with them to make it harder for them to break up your grip. You won’t be able to keep your opponent clinched forever, but it does allow you to land a few devastating blows to the body in a short amount of time. There’s also nothing stopping you from clinching up with your opponent as many times as you want since it’s perfectly legal in Muay Thai. 


2) Roundhouse Kicks to the Body

Roundhouse kicks to the body are the most common way to target the liver in Muay Thai. Roundhouse kicks land with lots of power so they can knock the wind out of an opponent’s lungs even if you don’t target the liver. 

There are many ways to set up a roundhouse kick to the liver, but the most important thing to keep in mind is you want your opponent to raise their guard, which leaves their liver unprotected. Targeting an opponent’s head is the best way to get them to raise their guard as they instinctively try to minimise the damage they’re taking. 

A simple way to get opponents to raise their guard is by throwing a few roundhouse kicks to set it up. That way their hands instinctively go up as soon as they detect your hips moving for a kick. If you fight out of an orthodox stance, consider switching before kicking when targeting the liver. Southpaws naturally have an easier time targeting the liver since their left leg is their rear leg, allowing them to throw full-force kicks at the liver with their strong leg. 


3) Shovel Hooks

Boxers aren’t the only fighters allowed to use shovel hooks. The technique is also quite popular with Muay Thai fighters. A shovel hook is a cross between a hook and an uppercut. It’s an excellent way to target the liver since it lands with lots of power. Throwing a shovel hook creates an awkward angle many fighters aren’t used to, but it leaves you wide open for counterattacks. The key to making the shovel hook part of your fighting arsenal is learning how to set it up properly to reduce the odds of opponents countering it.

One of the simplest ways to set up a shovel hook is by throwing jabs at your opponent’s head to get them to raise their guard. You can also throw jabcross or jab-rear hook combinations to get force your opponents to raise their guards. The jab-hook combo, in particular, is an excellent way to set up shovel hooks, but it’s a catch-22. A hard hook is almost guaranteed to make opponents raise their guard since most people don’t enjoy getting punched hard in the head. However, it leaves one side of your head exposed, so you must throw it quickly and immediately follow up with the shovel hook. 


4) Punches To The Body

Punches to the body are another effective way to break an opponent’s body down in Muay Thai. Boxers are particularly effective at attacking the body and they can only use their fists as weapons. It’s perfectly fine to throw body shots from a 50/50 stance (which means you and your opponent are facing each other), but what you really want to do is move off the centreline to the side to put you at a better angle to attack the body. 

In a 50/50 position, you can attack your opponent’s body and they can do the same to you. However, stepping to the side puts you in a “T” position where you can throw strikes at your opponent, but they can’t return the favor. 

Throwing punches to the body leaves you vulnerable to counters since your arms go lower than they do when you’re attacking the head. You always want to set up punches to the body and not get greedy. A few hard punches and you reset. 

The awesome part about attacking the body is that it opens up head punches. A few hard punches to the body are all it takes to get most people to lower their guards so they can better protect their torso. Mix up your head and body strikes to keep opponents guessing inside the ring. 


5) Flying Knees

While flying knees to the head have led to some of the most memorable knockouts in combat sports history, there’s nothing stopping you from targeting the body. Flying knees land with devastating power since you get to produce extra power with the momentum you generate by rushing and jumping at your opponent. 

A well-placed flying knee to the body is also more than capable of bringing a fight to an abrupt end. Anderson Silva, a Muay Thai specialist turned MMA legend, scored one of the most impressive finishes ever seen in combat sports when he connected with a flying knee to Stephan Bonnar’s midsection.

Flying knees typically work best when your opponent has their back against the ropes or doesn’t expect the technique from you. 


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