Dutch Vs Thai Kick – Differences And When To Use Each One

Dutch Vs Thai Kick – Differences And When To Use Each One
Muay Thai Thursday

The low kick is a quintessential technique found across many striking sports, including Muay Thai and Kickboxing. The Dutch Kickboxing style is characterized by rapid punches punctuated with a heavy low kick, while a Nak Muay generally fights at a slower pace and puts more power into individual strikes. Today, Evolve University is pleased to share a guide on the Dutch vs Thai kick, their differences, and when to use each one.


Dutch Kick

The Dutch-style low kick is usually thrown before or after a boxing combination. The general concept of the Dutch style is to draw the opponent’s attention to their legs by throwing a low kick, then immediately follow up with punches. Once the opponent shells up and is focused on defending their head, return to chopping their legs with heavy low kicks. This style is simple but extremely effective. Many MMA fighters prefer the Dutch style, as the stance is similar to an MMA stance.

The Dutch-style low kick combines a hip thrust with a shallow hip rotation. Most of the kick’s rotational force is generated by rotating your shoulders. When throwing the Dutch kick, you step out and pivot slightly with your lead leg as your rear leg kicks. Your lead foot should point slightly outwards from your target. There is minimal chambering, meaning the kick is delivered with an almost straight leg. The Dutch kick’s trajectory is upwards at a forty-five-degree angle – the straightest pathway possible for the kick to take. This straight-line trajectory is why the Dutch-style low kick is much faster than the traditional Thai low kick. Above is a video of Liam Harrison, a ONE Muay Thai fighter and prolific low kicker, demonstrating his style of low kick, which closely resembles a Dutch kick.


Thai Kick

The traditional Muay Thai low kick is an iconic strike that is quintessential to the sport. Muay Thai low kicks are heavy blows meant to cripple the legs of an opponent. A Thai-style low kick combines forward drive, using hip thrust and weight shifting, with full hip rotation to batter an opponent’s legs.

When throwing a Thai low kick, step forward and out at a forty-five-degree angle with your lead foot. As you throw the low kick, your lead foot will pivot and point off to the side. This helps transfer all of your weight from your back foot onto your front foot as your kick lands, adding a tremendous amount of power. Below is the legendary Saenchai himself demonstrating a classic Muay Thai low kick.

Saenchai tends to use his lower shin to make contact with his kicks, maximizing his range and speed. He also chambers his kicks, more commonly found in traditional martial arts such as Karate or Taekwondo.

Buakaw is another legendary Muay Thai fighter known for his kicking prowess. Unlike Saenchai, he aims to use his upper shin to make contact with his kicks, maximizing damage. Buakaw can land his body kick with a straight or a bent leg. Landing with a straight leg impacts the side of an opponent, whereas landing with a bent leg changes the point of impact to the front.


When To Use Dutch Vs Thai Kick

Although there are situations where each type of kick may excel, much of it comes down to preference and your individual fight style. Both the Dutch and Thai-style kicks are invaluable tools to have in your arsenal and any fighter should be proficient in both.

If both you and your opponent are committed to fighting on the inside, the Dutch-style low kick will be far better suited to help you win. Throwing a traditional Muay Thai low kick inside the pocket can give your opponent an opening to land a big knockout punch on your chin. Although the Thai-style low kick is powerful, the retraction of the leg is much slower than the Dutch-style kick.

Because the Dutch-style low kick is so quick, you can also throw it multiple times to disrupt your opponent’s movement. This also serves to bring your opponent’s attention to their lower body, giving you an opening to land boxing combinations to their body and head. The clip above features Liam Harrison explaining and demonstrating this concept.

If your opponent is committed to fighting you on the outside, a Thai-style kick can help you close the gap to fight from punching range. An example of this would be throwing a lead switch kick to close the distance on your opponent. The kick would occupy the space between you and your opponent, effectively closing the lane of attack for a moment. Once inside punch range, you can unleash a combination, then follow up with another Thai-style low kick as they attempt to move out of range. The hip rotation of the Thai low kick maximizes its range, letting it land on your opponent well outside of punching distance.

Most of the low kicks found in MMA are a hybrid of the Dutch and Thai-style kicks. Elements of both kicks can be useful for a fighter, depending on their fighting style and inherent physical attributes. Takrowlek Dejrat demonstrates a powerful low kick that resembles an MMA hybrid low kick in the video above.

An MMA fighter with heavy hands may incorporate more elements of the Dutch-style low kick, as it can be thrown inside the pocket. That same fighter may favor a longer-range, Thai-style round kick to catch a backpedaling opponent that is exiting the punching range.

In general, MMA fighters tend to use more of a Dutch-style kick to reduce the risk of takedowns. However, many MMA fighters start to turn their hip over like a Thai kick, once they have established their rhythm.

Justin Gaethje is known to have a particularly devastating low kick and is noted for his ability to land at a close range, often in the clinch. His technique is almost identical to a classic Dutch-style kick and compliments his power punching style.

In summary, both Dutch and Thai-style kicks can be used in a myriad of situations. Achieving a level of proficiency in both will allow you to craft your own kick that is best suited to you personally. Happy Training!


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