In Muay Thai, defending and countering a Southpaw’s roundhouse kick requires a combination of techniques, timing, and strategy. The force of their kick to your side arm, body, or leg will eventually begin to break it down and make it difficult to throw an effective punch or kick.
Take for example the Golden Era fighter – Samkor. He used a devastating roundhouse kick from his southpaw stance throughout the fight to “crack the shell” of his opponents. To come up against a southpaw kicker you have got to be ready to take a beating on your right side, but there are ways to defend and counter.
So let’s take a look at a few ways to counter those big left-leg roundhouses and then a couple of ways to counter them. Remember, the southpaw kicker wants you to take that kick every time, so a solid defense is a good strategy and a matter of survival.
When it comes to defending and then countering a roundhouse from a southpaw, the moves need to be powerful and agile. A successful counter requires timing and the ability to know when to move. The split-second decision on how you want to counter comes from practicing different scenarios during your sparring sessions.
Checking The Kicks
One way to defend and set a counter is to utilize the Muay Thai style leg check. Depending on your counter move, you can use either the front or the back leg to check with. You should probably use both front and rear legs during the fight to keep your opponent guessing.
Blocks and parries are a good way to defend against a Southpaw roundhouse and set up a counter-defense. As seen in most fights there is a combination of these two defensive moves when the left roundhouse comes in given its power. The block and parry will also set you up for a catch.
If you know one of your strong points is speed and agility, evading the roundhouse is a great option. If you don’t have to absorb the blow, it’s better to utilize your footwork and lean back and let the kick go by.
There are two schools when it comes to blocking and countering a southpaw roundhouse kick. One is the Muay style of blocking utilizing the legs, and the second is the Dutch-style kickboxing cross-body arm blocks.
It may be beneficial to utilize both of these styles and the counters that follow them. The southpaw is going to be using the roundhouse kick to break down your right arm making it less effective as the fight goes on. The counters and blocks are intended to keep you from just taking the force of the kick, but the impact is inevitable.
Cross Block And Counterpunch Or Kick
Utilizing a crossblock almost immediately sets you up for a counterstrike. The force of the impact is distributed between a vertical block and a cross parry. It gives you the twist needed for the torque to deliver a solid right cross or sets you up for a kick.
Shuffle And Step Front Leg Kick
Utilizing your footwork is key when squaring off with a southpaw. Staying to the outside as well as shuffling in to deliver a kick to the inside front leg, timed and coordinated immediately after their kick. Using the same type of block and parry to stop the kick, you then sidestep and shuffle in and to the outside of their front leg and counter with a leg kick. The shuffle keeps you in striking distance.
Teep The Front Leg And Counter
Speed and timing are crucial with this counter, and pillars of a good counterattack. When your southpaw opponent throws the roundhouse, you can step in and teep their front leg, then in a fluid motion step forward and deliver a leg hook to the head, followed by a right roundhouse to the head. The teep off-balances them from the start, opening them up to your counters.
The catch and sweep counter is probably the most difficult of the counters to pull off. Again, timing and technique are important when trying to catch a kick and counter after it. Several countermoves can be accomplished from the catch, the sweep being one of them.
After absorbing the initial strike, which is no small feat, hanging on is the next step. From there you can initiate the sweep. After the catch, you will need to close the gap with a knee or a shuffle step to get in close enough to get a grip on your opponent’s head, neck or shoulder to gain more control.
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