Muay Thai is becoming increasingly popular across North America, both for its art form as a fighting sport, and its ability to develop the core principles of strength, endurance, and agility in its participants. In order to particular fully in Muay Thai, you will first need to understand the subtle differences that make it different from other mixed martial arts disciplines. That begins with an understanding of the main techniques that go into developing an effective Muay Thai fighter.

The Basis of Muay Thai Techniques

The global version of Muay Thai has developed a bit differently than the traditional Thai version. While Thai boxers used to focus on a quick exchange of blows, the whole body is now more favorable. As such, you will discover that nearly all techniques used in Muay Thai today make use of a total body movement routine, beginning with the rotation of the hip with every kick, block, elbow, and punch that is thrown. It is those four basic techniques that we will now briefly touch upon.

The Elbow

Muay Thai Fighters can use the elbow in various ways, all designed as a striking weapon. You can come at your opponent in a horizontal, diagonal upwards or downwards motion, with an uppercut, or via a flying motion just to name a few. If you come at your opponent from the side, the elbow can become a finishing move that is meant to end the bout. Many fighters also use it to cut the eyebrow of an opponent in order that blood may cloud his or her vision. Because of this, most people regard the elbow as the most dangerous and severe of the attacking techniques currently used in Muay Thai.

The Kick

There are two main types of kicks used in Muay Thai: the foot jab and a roundhouse kick. Many people who have watched Muay Thai extensively will be more familiar with the roundhouse kick, as it involves a nearly complete rotation of the body to sweep through the opponent. It is extremely difficult to execute, but can be highly effective if incorporated into a fight at just the right time. It is important to remember that the foot is one of the more delicate parts of a Muay Thai fighter’s body given the number of fine bones that it possesses. Kicks must be executed with precision in order to avoid a break, which is why many Thai boxers focus just on quick kicks to the shin region of their opponent.

The Block

Naturally, defense is an important technique in Muay Thai and this begins with the block. This involves an opponent using a hard block to thwart any effort on the part of the other fighter to connect. A shin block is an effective way at stopping a kick coming your way, while a chop block can stop punches coming towards the upper body. Many blocks also involve a redirection, which effectively changes the direction of a strike so that it misses you all together.


While boxers may use punches primarily as an offensive weapon, it is considered to be a defensive technique in Muay Thai. With a punch, you will use your shoulders, arms, and legs as tools to stop your opponent from effectively executing any of their own techniques. You will use a punch to make a slight tap against the fist of the other fighter, effectively redirecting his or her own punch.

These techniques will go a long way towards helping you perfect your own Muay Thai ability. Remember to train hard under the supervision of a trained coach in order to ensure that you are incorporating these techniques effectively into your own style of fighting.