9 Muay Thai Techniques For Beginners To Master First

9 Muay Thai Techniques For Beginners To Master First
Muay Thai Thursday

Mastering techniques in any martial or combat art takes time, and for beginners, the basics will always be a part of your training. In Muay Thai, it may be even more important to take the time to master each technique, giving time to each of the “Eight Limbs of Muay Thai”.

Fists, elbows, knees, and shins are emphasized in Muay Thai, and understanding the basic techniques to use these weapons requires intense physical training, learning the skills, and a degree of mental toughness

With a solid foundation of these nine techniques, beginners can progress to more advanced techniques, while building confidence, discipline, and focus.

If you want to get better, you have to practice consistently!

Let’s take a look at the nine Muay Thai techniques that beginners should master first. 


Muay Thai Stance 

The very first technique to learn is the basic stance. There are slight differences in the Muay Thai basic stance compared to other fighting stances. The basic stance for Muay Thai is more forward facing and somewhat squared off, with the feet shoulder-width apart.

Your hands will be at eye level slightly extended, forearms vertical, and elbows tucked inward. There are slight variations of the basic stance that can be used as your skill level increases, but establishing a good posture and perfecting your fighting stance, in the beginning, is important. 

Keeping your feet shoulder-width apart provides a solid base for movement and allows for quick pivoting and footwork. Tucking your elbows in helps protect your body and allows for straighter punches. Keeping your hands up and chin tucked is crucial for protecting yourself from strikes and maintaining a strong defense.

Having your power foot and hand in the back is important for generating maximum power and utilizing your natural striking ability. It is also essential to never be flat-footed, as being light on your feet allows for more fluid movement and quick strikes and defense. 

Weight distribution between the front and back foot often involves subtle changes. This will become more apparent as you begin to understand the mechanics of strikes and defenses as your technique and skill improve.



Developing the skill to move forward, backward, and side to side is the basis of all footwork. Staying light on your feet while being able to advance or retreat takes a lot of practice. More advanced footwork techniques can only be built on a good understanding and many, many hours of practicing the basic forward, reverse, and lateral movements.

From the fighting stance, you will step first with your lead foot, left or right depending on your stance, and follow with your rear foot behind it, landing back in your fight position. Then step back with your rear foot and follow it with your lead foot. This is a basic forward and reverse movement that is the foundation of all Muay Thai footwork. From this basic technique, you will develop more advanced footwork as your training continues. 


Muay Thai Guard

The guard is maybe the most important fundamental tool and technique in your growing Muay Thai arsenal. The guard is your defensive stance used to protect the body and head from incoming strikes. It is achieved by keeping both hands up in front of the face and chest, with the elbows tucked in to protect the ribs.

This guard allows you to defend against punches, kicks, and other strikes, while also providing you with the ability to launch counterattacks. 



A good set of hands can add to your Muay Thai game. Having the basic punches honed and mastered can raise your overall fight game but before mastering these four types of punches, you need to know what they are. 

When you are starting the basic punches need to be practiced repeatedly. The four basic punches include the following:

  • Jab
  • Cross
  • Hook
  • Uppercut


1) Jab

The jab is considered by some to be the most important punch in your toolbox. It’s thrown from your lead hand in a quick snapping motion and used to judge distance and set up your other punches. From the basic Muay Thai stance, your lead hand delivers the jab. 


2) Cross

The cross is thrown from the rear hand of your fighting position. The cross gets its name from the position of the arm when it is thrown and the direction of its travel. As the punch is executed, the arm crosses in front of the body towards the target. This crossing movement allows you to generate torque, power, and energy that comes up from the floor while you pivot slightly on the ball of your rear foot, coming up through the legs and hips during the rotation and exiting through the fist.


3) Hook

The hook punch is a power punch utilized as a close-range weapon that can be thrown from either the lead hand or the rear power side. It can be delivered to the head or the body with high impact and knockout power. 

The hook is used to get around the guard when it’s thrown at the head and get under the guard when it’s thrown to the body. When the hook is thrown with proper technique it can be one of your most devastating punches. 

The power of the hook comes from the floor up through the pivoting of your foot, to the rotation of your hip and shoulder and ends with a crushing blow to the head or body of your opponent. Mastering this technique involves footwork, guard, stance, and defense. 


4) Uppercut

The uppercut is a technique that is part of the basic punch package. It can be thrown with either hand, as a first strike, or as part of a combination

The uppercut gets its name from the upward motion of the punch, which comes from below and rises toward the opponent’s chin. It is a powerful punch that can lift the opponent’s head and expose their body to more strikes. The uppercut is often used in close-range combat and can be effective against taller opponents.



Not only are they one of your strongest weapons but kicks score the most points. Several different types of kicks are commonly used, each with its specific purpose and technique. Mastering these kicks as a beginner will help you develop the kicking power and foundation for more advanced techniques in the future. 

  • Leg kick / Low kick
  • Body kick 
  • Switch kick
  • Push kick / Teep


1) Low Kick

A powerful strike that targets the opponent’s thigh. It is executed by swinging the leg in a circular motion and landing the kick on the outside of the opponent’s upper leg. This kick is commonly used to wear down the opponent’s leg and limit their mobility.


2) Roundhouse Kick

A kick that targets the opponent’s midsection. It is executed by swinging the leg in a straight line and landing the kick on the opponent’s ribs or stomach. This kick is used to inflict damage on the opponent and score points.


3) Switch Kick

A technique used to deceive the opponent by switching the position of the feet before kicking. It involves stepping forward with the lead foot and then switching the position of the feet, followed by a kick with the rear leg. 


4) Push Kick / Teep

The teep is a front kick that is used to keep the opponent at a distance. It is executed by lifting the knee and pushing the ball of the foot into the opponent’s midsection or leg. This kick is commonly used to create space between the fighter and the opponent or to push the opponent back.


Defensive Blocks

Defense as well as offense is what will win fights. It may seem at first that you are only protecting yourself with these techniques, but as you grow as a fighter, defense becomes a gateway to counterattacks that can win fights. 

Defenses in Muay Thai can be classified into these categories:

  • Teep: a push kick using the ball of the foot to create distance.
  • Check: blocking a low kick with the shin.
  • Parry: using the hands to deflect an incoming strike.
  • Bob And Weavemoving the head to avoid punches.
  • Slip: moving the head to avoid punches by shifting the body.
  • Covers: using the arms to cover the head and body for protection.
  • Catching: catching a kick to gain control of the attacker’s leg.
  • Leaning: leaning the body to avoid strikes.

As you advance, your defenses will become the staging points for your counterattacks, as well as defending against incoming strikes. Defensive techniques need to be continually practiced and mastered to win a fight.


Knee Strike

The knee strike is iconic in Muay Thai and a devastating technique to be mastered.

There are six types of knee strikes that are commonly used in Muay Thai, but for the moment we will outline four.

  • Straight Knee: executed by thrusting the knee directly forward, targeting the opponent’s midsection or face.
  • Diagonal Knee: similar to the straight knee, but it is delivered at an angle. It is commonly used to target the opponent’s ribs or thighs.
  • Curving Knee: bringing the knee up and then curving it to the side before making contact with the opponent. It is commonly used to target the opponent’s head or neck.
  • Small Knee: tapping knees to the thigh or midsection, used to sap the strength from your opponent 


Elbow Strike

Elbow strikes are some of the most powerful and effective techniques used in Muay Thai. The angles and techniques for elbows are numerous as the situations where you would use them, so let’s look at these four basic elbow strikes.

  • Horizontal Elbow Strike: This elbow strike is executed by bringing the elbow across the body horizontally, targeting the opponent’s face, temple, or collarbone.
  • Uppercut Elbow Strike: This elbow strike is executed by bringing the elbow upward, targeting the opponent’s chin, jaw, or nose.
  • Downward Elbow Strike: This elbow strike is executed by bringing the elbow down, targeting the opponent’s forehead, nose, or collarbone.
  • Diagonal Elbow Strike: This elbow strike is executed by bringing the elbow downward at a diagonal angle, targeting the opponent’s temple or cheekbone.

As your training progresses, so do the tools at your disposal. Elbow strikes are mastered through practice and developed over the years to become one of your most effective tools while in the clinch or thrown from the outside.



In some combat sports, the clinch is used to tie up your opponent and used as a tactic where you can catch your breath or tie up an aggressive attack. But in Muay Thai the clinch is sometimes a destination of choice, where techniques are used to land devastating blows, sweep your opponent for points or throw them to the canvas to show your domination. 

The clinch is a fundamental technique in Muay Thai, which involves grappling and holding the opponent in close range. It’s a standing position where two fighters wrap their arms around each other’s necks or shoulders, trying to control each other’s body and position.

In the clinch, you can use various techniques such as knee strikes, elbow strikes, sweeps, throws, and off-balancing techniques to gain an advantage over your opponent. The clinch is often used to control your opponent’s movements and tire them out. It uses up a lot of energy to grapple in the clinch. Proper technique and practice are essential to executing effective clinching techniques in Muay Thai.


The Basics

Covered here are several essential basic techniques of Muay Thai, including the basic stance and footwork, punches (jab, cross, hook, and uppercut), kicks (low kick, body kick, switch kick, push kick/teep, and head kick), knee strikes, elbow strikes and the clinch. We also talked about the importance of maintaining a good guard, as well as the importance of footwork in Muay Thai.

It’s essential that you continually practice and refine these basic techniques to master them. The basics serve as the foundation for all advanced techniques, and without a strong foundation, it will be difficult to progress and improve in Muay Thai. 


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