Learning to achieve and maintain ring dominance in Muay Thai is an important aspect of the game. Like anything, it is a learned skill. Even an excellent fighter could fail to maintain ring dominance, costing him a valuable edge over his opponent, or even losing him the fight. As with anything, understanding how to gain that dominant edge will boost your confidence and competency as you step into the ring. Here’s how to achieve ring dominance within the sport of Muay Thai.
1) Control The Center
Maintaining control of the center of the ring is one of the easiest ways to show ring dominance in Muay Thai. It gives a visual and physical snapshot of who is controlling the space in which the fight is happening. The fighter who is controlling the center is like a sheepdog telling its herd of sheep where they can and cannot go. Maintaining the center of the ring will give you more space to move, and present you with more angles and opportunities for striking.
Controlling the center also tends to give you a little space to breathe as you wear out your opponent. Since you have the dominant position, typically coupled with good angles on your opponent, you will be setting yourself up for a prime position of wearing them out and making them more tired as they work to regain the primary space at the center of the ring.
How To Control The Center
- Angles: Angles are a quick way to dominate the center of the ring. Cut an angle on your opponent, and then follow up with a strike to keep them out of the inside space. Once you’ve captured the center, maintaining good angles will come more naturally. Continue to cut angles and strike to maintain your dominance as your opponent tries to come back into the center
- Teeps: Teeps, or push kicks, up the middle will drive your opponent back and give you the center space. Not only do teeps show dominance in terms of who is the dominant fighter based on who is landing the most significant strikes, but it almost always creates space for you to either follow up or even to just step into the center space of the ring. If you weren’t already in the position to do so, your teeps will have allowed you to accomplish this.
2) Land Dominant Strikes
Besides working on controlling the center of the ring, controlling your opponent with dominating strikes will give you a clear edge during the fight. Not only will the opponent with the most dominating strikes score better, but they will also be less tired than their counterpart. Dominant strikes come in all shapes and forms, but they are always marked by the fact that they cause a reaction from your opponent. Not every strike will be a dominant strike, so make sure to capitalize on your opportunities.
How To Land Dominant Strikes
- Use Everything In Your Arsenal: There is no shortage of significant strikes in Muay Thai. While aiming to achieve ring dominance, be sure to utilize a wide variety of strikes. Teeps, leg kicks, knees, elbows, and solid body shots are excellent options. Mix them up, and utilize every opportunity to land a clean, dominant shot on your opponent.
- Sweeps: There’s not much in Muay Thai that shows more dominance than a clean sweep. Sweeping your opponent to the ground while you maintain your standing posture is a sure way to show that you are the dominant fighter in the ring.
3) Defend And Counter
Using good defense and following up with a quick and clean counter will show everyone who has dominance inside the ring. When your opponent throws a shot at you, be sure to defend as quickly and efficiently as possible. As soon as you defend, your counter should be ready to fire. Regardless of how you defend or how you choose to counter, this pair is extremely important as you aim to show ring dominance. Any time you are up and your opponent is down, the message is clear – you have ring dominance.
How To Use Defense And Counter
- Catch And Sweep: You may be able to capitalize on your opponent’s missed thigh kick and land a sweep to the one leg still on the ground. Or, you might find yourself catching a kick and utilizing it for a sweep or other significant strike while your opponent is unbalanced. There are a lot of different ways to catch a kick, coupled with many different ways to land sweeps off the catch. You will find no shortage in defending and countering using a catch kick and sweep.
- Head Movement And Counter: Never underestimate the power of good head movement. Utilize your head movement to minimize the damage caused by your opponent, and quickly find a counter. Head movement often leads to good angles, which again, will also help you maintain the center of the ring.
- Block And Counter: Whether you are utilizing a parry, a cover, or even a check, be sure to fire back quickly. Try checking a kick and returning with the same leg teep before your opponent even has a chance to set their leg back down.
4) Attitude, Emotions And Body Language
During the match, be sure to keep your attitude, emotions, and body language in check. Our body language is often a clear indicator of what we are feeling and thinking. If you want to have ring dominance, make sure to portray that through your attitude, emotions, and body language. These are important aspects that people often overlook when considering how to maintain ring dominance.
How To Keep Your Attitude, Emotions, And Body Language In Check
- Get Back Up: If you get swept, get back up immediately; don’t wait for an eight-count from the referee.
- Act Neutral: When you get hit, be sure to keep your body language neutral. Do not let your opponent see that they caused damage with their strike, and similarly, don’t let your spectators and the referee see that damage was caused either.
- Emotional Control: Whether you are in the middle of a match or are in the corner with your coach, keep your emotions under control. If you are feeling angry or frustrated, be sure to keep those in check and out of sight from the referee and your opponent.
Achieving Ring Dominance In Muay Thai
There are many ways to achieve ring dominance in Muay Thai. Controlling the center of the ring, landing dominant strikes, utilizing good defense and counters, and remembering to keep your attitude, emotions, and body language in check will result in a clear and obvious decision of which fighter has better ring dominance. Be sure to implement all four of these to maximize your opportunities for dominance.
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