Muay Tae: The Kicking Specialist

Muay Tae: The Kicking Specialist
Muay Thai Tuesday

Muay Thai is known as the “Art of Eight Limbs“, with powerful strikes and a diverse range of techniques, including punches, elbows, knee strikes, and most notably, kicks. 

When a fighter specialises in kicks over all the other techniques, they are called a Muay Tae fighter. Leaning heavily on kicking to score points and win fights, the Muay Tae has one mission and that’s to deliver crippling low kicks, rib-crushing body kicks, and knock-out kicks to the head. 

Kicks are one of the most important techniques and often the decider in a fight that goes the distance. A distinct advantage of a kick is the ability to deliver it to any part of the body. Compared to a knee or elbow or a punch, this offers a wide range of targets to choose from.

The different types of kicks, thrown with either the back leg or the front, can keep an opponent guessing on which type of kick is coming, and all the while they are having to endure the pain offered up by the Muay Tae fighter. The endgame for the Muay Tae fighter is kicking the opponent into submission and ending the fight. 


Low Kick

The low kick is a powerful technique that can be used to damage the opponent’s leg and slow them down. To execute the low kick properly, it is important to step toward the outside of your opponent’s lead leg and pivot your hips in the direction of the kick. You should always remember to keep your guard up, and after each low kick, return to your regular stance. 

The low kick can be directed to the inner leg, the outer thigh, and the lower inside leg, each of these techniques thrown with proper technique is quite effective for wearing down the opponent and setting up for other kicks


Low Kick Defence

Defending against a low kick requires quick reflexes and proper technique. One common defence is to check the kick by lifting the leg and turning the shin to absorb the impact of the kick. Timing drills and conditioning of the shins are two components of this defence that cannot be overlooked during training. 

As effective as a low kick block is alternatively, you can also evade the kick by dodging it completely. Speed, timing, and balance are the key elements to dodging a kick, as well as reading your opponent’s next move. The dodge is a far less painful option when it comes to low-kick defence.

Dodging too much, or not dodging enough can leave you off balance and vulnerable to other moves, and not using proper techniques in checking the kicks are a couple of the most common mistakes of low-kick defence.  


Roundhouse Kick

The roundhouse kick could be considered one of the most important and most often used kicks in Muay Thai. Its versatility in range, and the overall devastating power that can come from this kick, make it a high-scoring technique that should be mastered by all Muay Thai fighters, and definitely one to be mastered by the Muay Tae fighter.

The roundhouse kick is a versatile technique that can be used to attack the opponent’s legs, body, or head. To execute this versatile kick, the technique is important if you want to get the most out of it. Pivoting on the balls of your feet, hip rotation and overall direction of the kick is what separates a good kick from a devastating fight-stopping blow. 


Roundhouse Kick Defence

Many fights have ended with a roundhouse kick, and defending against a well-thrown roundhouse requires quick reflexes and proper technique. 

Three techniques you can use are:

One common defence is to block the kick with your shin or forearm, absorbing the impact of the strike. You have to keep your knees and your elbows tight when blocking well-thrown roundhouse kicks.  

Another defence is to evade the kick altogether by stepping back or to the side, effectively dodging the attack. It is important to keep your guard up and maintain a good balance to avoid getting knocked off your feet. 

And lastly, you can grab the kick and set up for a sweep or an elbow strike. The dangers of not getting this move right should be obvious, and practice and proper technique are key to using this defensive technique.  

Proper footwork is also essential, as shifting your weight can help you absorb the impact of the kick and reduce the damage you take.


High Kick

The high kick is a technique used to target an opponent’s head or neck area, and it is one of the most devastating techniques in Muay Thai. To execute a high kick, the Muay Tae fighter needs to have flexibility, balance, and precision. 

The range is important with the high kick. You need to be closer to be able to reach and deliver the kick to your opponent’s head. Reading your opponent is essential to getting inside your opponent and sending a fight-ending high kick to the head. 

High kicks are high-scoring kicks for the most part, but the type of high kick you throw makes a difference as well. Although not often used, there are two types of kicks that can score some huge points if landed correctly. A spinning back kick and an axe kick are two types of kicks that score huge points. Both of them require technique, balance and timing to land properly and get those big points. 


High Kick Defence

There are three ways to defend against a high kick.

  • Dodge
  • Block
  • Grab

Balance, speed, and keeping your guard up are components of these techniques. The intention of the kick is to score points or knock you out, and to be able to block and return to your stance or come out of the kick with a counter you will need to keep your blocks tight and maintain your balance, absorb the kick and keep a proper stance. 



The teep, also known as the push kick, is a versatile technique that can be used to control range, disrupt your opponent’s balance, or set up other strikes. To execute a teep, lift your lead leg and push your foot forward, making contact with your opponent’s midsection or leg. 

The teep will require proper technique and control to be effective and can be done with either the front or back foot, and delivered to the leg, mid-section or face of your opponent. 


Kick Set-Up Techniques

Kick set-up techniques involve using other techniques to set up a kick. For example, a fighter may use a fake punch or feint to get their opponent to lower their guard, then follow up with a high or low kick. Another technique is the switch kick, where a fighter quickly switches their stance and throws a kick from the new stance. Other set-up techniques include using a teep to create distance before a high kick or using a low kick to set up a high kick.

Kick set-up techniques


Using Kicks To Counter

Kicks can be a powerful counter-attacking tool in Muay Thai. For example, if an opponent throws a low kick, a fighter may counter with a teep to the body or a high kick to the head. Similarly, if an opponent throws a high kick, a fighter may catch the kick and counter with a sweep or a punch. Effective use of kicks in counter-attacking requires good timing, distance management, and awareness of the opponent’s movements.


High Kick Set-Ups

High kicks are one of the most spectacular techniques in Muay Thai, but they can be difficult to land without proper set-up. Common set-up techniques for high kicks include fakes, feints, and switching stances. A fighter may also use a low kick to force their opponent to lower their guard, creating an opening for a high kick. Another technique is the teep, which can be used to create distance and set up a high kick to the head.


Push Kick Set-Ups

The push kick, or teep, is a versatile technique that can be used to set up other strikes, create distance, or control the opponent’s movement. A fighter may use a push kick to the thigh to disrupt their opponent’s balance and create an opening for a punch or kick. They may also use a push kick to the chest or face to create distance and set up a follow-up strike. Timing and accuracy are crucial when using the push kick to set up other techniques.


Low Kick Set-Ups

Low kicks can be used to set up other strikes, create openings, or wear down the opponent’s legs. A common technique is the fake low kick, where a fighter throws a feint low kick to get their opponent to check or block, then follows up with a high kick or punch. Another technique is the switch low kick, where a fighter switches stance and throws a low kick from the new stance. Good timing and technique are crucial when using low kicks to set up other strikes.


Roundhouse Kick Set-Up

The roundhouse kick, or mid-kick, is a versatile technique that can be used to attack the body, legs, or head. To set up a roundhouse kick, a fighter may use a feint or fake to get their opponent to lower their guard or move in a certain direction. Another technique is to use a low kick or teep to create an opening for a roundhouse kick to the body or head. A fighter may also use footwork to create an angle for the roundhouse kick, making it more difficult for the opponent to block or counter.

Learning these techniques and understanding their applications and then consistently training to better your skills as a kicker will advance your Muay Thai to a higher level. If you want to be the best Muay Tae fighter, you will need to work at it diligently and commit to the drills.

Heavy bags and padwork are ways to up your kicking game. You learn to throw hard kicks by throwing hard kicks, in control with precise execution. 


Muay Thai Training Series: Muay Tae 

Don’t miss out on Evolve University’s new release Muay Thai Training Series: Muay Tae! Evolve MMA’s Muay Thai World Champions explain everything you need to know about kicks in Muay Thai. Kicks can be, and almost always are, used to great effect on any target, making them perhaps the most versatile technique in the ring. An accurate kick can score highly, and a well-timed kick can end the fight in an instant. As a well-rounded Nak Muay, it is essential to know how to set up, throw and land various kicks effectively and to defend yourself against them. 

From executing powerful low kicks to setting up a knockout kick, our Instructors spare no detail in their step-by-step explanations. This Training Series is a complete guide to kicking like a World Champion. Beginners will pick up the fundamentals of throwing low kicks, roundhouse kicks, teeps, and high kicks, while advanced fighters can gain insights into setting up elegant kick combinations and counters.

Whether you are a beginner or a more advanced practitioner of Muay Thai, this Training Series will give you an edge in your game. With over 4 hours of on-demand video content structured into 18 chapters, Evolve University’s Muay Thai Training Series: Muay Tae is the ultimate guide to fighting like a Muay Tae.

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