Muay Thai is a beautiful sport with powerful strikes that offer an infinite amount of combinations. While it can be fun to play with unique or long combinations, it’s important to remember that sometimes, the simplest of combinations are the best and often the most effective.
The most simple combinations have the best chance of landing, mainly because they’ve been practiced hundreds, if not thousands, of times. Compare those repetitions to the number of reps given to “fancy” combos, and it’s not hard to figure out why simple combinations give birth to high effectiveness.
At the highest levels of fighting, fighters continue to utilize simple combinations of the strikes they love most. Everyone has their own favorites and is drawn to certain combinations. It’s not hard to practice and implement those simple combos we often see high-level fighters utilizing. Below are four simple combinations that you can utilize to instantly elevate your Muay Thai game.
1) Jab, Leg Kick
Starting with a simple, short, and highly effective combination, the jab, leg kick combo is one for everyone. This combination is short and sweet, making it an excellent combination for all levels of Muay Thai athletes, including beginners.
Why The Jab, Leg Kick Combo Is Effective
- The jab to the face draws your opponent’s hands up, making your leg kick more available.
- The jab utilizes a left side strike, followed by the leg kick utilizing the right side. The natural push and pull of utilizing your left and then right makes for a smooth full-body motion even for the most novice athletes, and more power as you utilize that natural motion to load the second strike.
- While the jab may or may not land, it causes a visual distraction as you move into the leg kick.
- Whether the jab lands or not, the leg kick packs a ton of power and finishes this combo with a solid strike.
- This combo leaves you relatively on the outside at the completion of this combo.
2) Jab, Body Cross, Uppercut, Leg Kick
A slightly longer, but just as effective simple combination is jab, body cross, uppercut, finished with a leg kick. This combo is short enough to keep it simple and straightforward, but gives a wide variety of opportunities to land various strikes to the head, body, and leg.
Why The Jab, Body Cross, Uppercut, Leg Kick Combo Is Effective
- This combo plays to multiple levels of the body, including the head, body, and leg.
- To properly throw this combo, you must personally create level changes. This tends to make your own body movements more likely to avoid returning strikes as well.
- This combo leads with a strike to the face, then the body, then returning to the face once more before ultimately landing a low strike to the leg. This gives plenty of feedback to your opponent that you are striking high, and they will often raise their guard up to protect themselves just as you begin to strike the leg.
3) Inside Leg Kick, Cross
Another super simple, two step combination with a high success rate is the inside leg kick followed up with a solid cross. This combo is effective when you are a little closer to your opponent and are looking to disrupt their base.
Why The Inside Leg Kick, Cross Is Effective
- The inside leg kick is a solid strike that tends to disrupt your opponent’s balance. The nature of the kick lends well towards pulling their foot off the ground and away from their body, or at the very least, causing them to step out to catch themselves to avoid from losing their balance.
- The pull of the kick and the inevitable loss of balance of your opponent, typically causes your opponent’s body to pull closer to you. This may seem less than ideal, but the cross will find its way to your opponent more swiftly and land with more power as they almost seem to fall into this strike.
- The inside leg kick is a solid strike to a part of the body that doesn’t condition as well as the outside of the leg. In an effort to protect against inside leg kicks, you might find your opponent’s stance changes slightly as they aim to protect their lead leg from taking more shots on the inside.
4) Switch Knee, Elbow, Clinch
The switch knee, elbow, clinch combination is a solid and simple combo if you find yourself very close on the inside during a match or even while striking up close on a heavy bag. Better yet, the clinch provides a whole host of opportunities to utilize in the follow up.
Why The Switch Knee, Elbow, Clinch Combo Is Effective
- It creates control over your opponent while in the inside space.
- The switch knee, especially when executed while also utilizing your hand to control the shoulder, often breaks your opponent’s posture.
- The elbow is a natural strike that flows easily off of the switch knee. This makes it a simple to follow combination, and easy to apply.
- The clinch can be collected off of either the switch knee (skipping the elbow) or off of the elbow, depending on your opponent’s movement.
- The clinch offers a wide range of strikes, movements, and creativity, while also giving you dominance over your opponent.
Muay Thai offers so many variations of strikes and combinations using all eight limbs. The opportunities are simply endless. Sometimes, however, looking at what is most simple and effective is the best route to success. Simple means that anyone can do it, even novice athletes, but it also means for greater precision of application for higher level athletes who have honed in on and practiced the combo thousands of times.
The above four combinations are simple but effective, and are bound to elevate your Muay Thai game as you perfect them and find ways to utilize them with various opponents, sparring partners, or even on the heavy bag.
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