Muay Thai footwork and Muay Thai moves are very important parts of an elite Muay Thai competitor.
A good fighter needs to know how to evade the incoming strike and hide his real intentions.
There is a wrong belief that Muay Thai fighters stand like a wooden object, receiving the incoming strikes and attacking with a combo.
Predicting the strike is equally important just as countering.
But Muay Thai footwork is an ultimate, secret weapon of the superstars like Saenchai.
The primary purpose of feinting is distraction and tricking.
For example, when you face an opponent who check a lot of kicks, you need to make him believe you will throw the kick over and over.
He will try to raise the knee up every time he sees your leg in the air, and that is the perfect chance to use Muay Thai moves wisely and smack his face.
A fighter with better Muay Thai footwork and Muay Thai moves has more chances of winning the match!
There is no need to randomly go forward – Footwork and feinting drills will help you create an opening and an opportunity for the perfectly timed attack.
Muay Thai Footwork - Escape Or Perfect Situation?
There are many benefits of good Muay Thai footwork – evading attacks, position improvement, and receiving less impact of the incoming strike.
It is always easier to end up the fight if you escape some of the attacks – receiving fewer impact might affect significantly the time you spent in the ring.
You are improving the chances of the victory too.
There are 7 basic Muay Thai footwork techniques:
- Stance switch,
- Turning and rotation,
- Clinch movement.
#1 - Sliding
Sliding can be done forward, backward, 45-degrees forward and 45-degrees backward.
Sliding is the movement when the front foot slides down the mat, and the rear foot follows the movement, maintaining the same distance from the rear foot.
The most critical part is that you don’t lift the balls of your feet off the ground.
- Sliding forward is used to decrease the distance, especially when you want to clinch up with the opponent.
- Sliding backward is when you want to force your opponent miss a roundhouse kick off the distance by a hair and counter it.
Sliding 45-degrees forward or backward is used when the stances are opposite (southpaw fighters simply love it), and the main purpose is opening or closing the angles.
You can walk backward, forward, sideways, or 45-degrees forward and 45-degrees backward.
Walking is a tricky part, you look relaxed, but your legs are ready to react and increase the distance in the split of a second.
It is more used by the fighters who have good kicks.
#2 - Sliding
Stepping is the ultimate secret of Muay Thai footwork, similar to super quick sliding, where you do at least two or more quick slides to evade the incoming attack or shorten the distance.
It can be done forward, backward, 45-degrees forward, 45- degrees backward, and sideways.
Steps backward are great to increase the distance for a kick counter.
#3 - Stance Switch
Stance switch is placing leading leg in the position of the rear leg.
The technique is used to confuse the opponent or protect heavily harmed leg or side of the body.
#4 - Turning & Rotation
Turning and rotation mean any type of sideways movement where your leading leg rotates more than 45-degrees.
You can also rotate more if you are on the ropes and you want to improve the position.
Muay Thai Moves - Why Defensive Movement Saves Your Day?
#1 - Jumping
Jumping can be performed forward, backward, in the clinch, or high jump in the air.
The most popular jumping is backward to evade kick, but you can also jump forward when you land a superman punch or a flying knee.
Clinch jumping and high jump in the air are also acceptable options.
In the clinch, you usually jump when your intention is landing the knee into the opponent’s head while holding his head and pressing him against the ropes.
High jump in the air is suitable if the opponent attacks a low kick under or in the level of your knee.
#2 - Belly Movement
Belly movement is also the crown of Muay Thai moves and a weapon of real masters.
When an opponent tries to punch your stomach or kick you on a big distance, pull your buttock backward and you will escape his leg or punch if the distance is sufficient.
#3 - Clinch Movement
Clinch movements are the combination of all Muay Thai footwork and Muay Thai moves, especially the defensive ones, when you have the contact with your opponent when the distance is less than arm-length, and when your arms are on the opponent’s body or vice versa.
When you fight for the position, you can also pull the opponent or hold his head.
The most often movement is stance switch, where you try to deliver the knee to the opponent’s leg, body, or head.
Muay Thai Moves - Will Feinting Help You Win?
Feinting is a fake movement, Muay Thai moves that distract and hide the real attack.
The key point of feinting is disabling the opponent from seeing your real intention.
It is a lot easier to hit the opponent’s critical spot when he is unaware of the part of his body we are trying to hit.
- Leading arm feints,
- Leading leg feints,
- Head feints,
- Guard drop feints,
- Rear punch feints,
- Rear leg feints.
#1 - Leading arm feint
Leading arm feint is mostly used to fake the attack to the head or body to hide the real attack.
You can connect with another hand, front leg, or even a rear leg.
This is the most often feint.
Most fighters throw a fake jab and when the opponent gets the hands close, the front hook or an overhand hit the mark.
#2 - Leading leg feint
#3 - Head feint
Head feints are a great trick to provoke the opponent attack you.
You can counter the opponent’s punches in many ways.
You have probably seen how the boxer moves his head, forcing the opponent to miss.
When it comes to Muay Thai moves and fights, it could be a great solution for someone with tremendous punches and weaker knees and kicks.
#4 - Guard drop feint
Guard drop feints are pretty dangerous because of the kicks, but you can force the opponent to miss and waste energy.
All you need to do is put your arms under the level of your shoulders.
You can get knocked out, but you can also perform the best counter KO ever.
#5 - Rear punch feint
Rear punch feints are rarely used in a Muay Thai fight, however, it can be very effective for a right overhand.
When you raise the arm, the opponent instinctively protects his head, and you can throw a front diagonal kick to the legs or body.
Rear leg feint is more common when you go for a superman punch, or when you try to fake the attack for the opposite leg teep kick.
You can see how the real master, Georges St-Pierre, explains what is the best way to use it and why faking groin kick might be such a great weapon.
Wrapping It Up
It is always better to create a clear situation for the incoming attack.
A good Muay Thai footwork creates more difficulties for your opponent since you are not a stationary target.
Even if you have a gun or a rifle, moving target is always harder to shoot.
Muay Thai moves help in 2 ways:
- Fake movements can make your opponent’s brain go crazy weaken his defense significantly,
- While defensive movements help you survive in the ring.
Make sure your feints look as realistic as possible.
Even the best striker who has predictable strikes might face problems versus world-class Muay Thai footwork and endless repertoire of defensive movements and fake attacks.
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