Muay Roundhouse Kick: Diagonal or Downward Roundhouse

February 2, 2018

roundhouse kick


o you want to be deadly for your opponent from any distance, no matter how good his guard is? This article will help you!

There are many variations of a roundhouse kick. Muay Thai is a very specific martial art. A roundhouse kick can easily become a diagonal kick or a downward roundhouse kick, depending on the distance between you and your opponent.

The question is whether you need a quick strike or a strong strike. Diagonal kick can be both at the same time. The downward roundhouse kick is more known as a very surprising kick (1:15) which can harm your opponent heavily. Even in taekwondo, this is one of the most dangerous kicks, especially when an opponent is far away from you. Even from the close distance, this kick can be performed by your front leg. If you are a master of these two kicks, your opponent will have a hard time!

Both of those kicks are types of a roundhouse kick. Both of those kicks can be deadly, especially if you know to hit in the proper moment. If you repeat the kick over 8000 times, you will master it. And don’t overuse these kicks – diagonal kick can be an opening, but a downward roundhouse kick has a knockout power! Wait for an error and teach your opponent a lesson!

Diagonal kick – Quick and deadly at the same time

It is excellent technique if you want to force your opponent to open. If your opponent constantly holds the guard and protects his head, it is an excellent way to teach him a lesson. You can perform diagonal kick with front or rear leg. Optionally, you can aim a diagonal kick to the head. It is faster than high roundhouse kick, but it is less powerful.

Here is a great tutorial of diagonal kick. You can perform multiple kicks with the same leg too.

1 - Detail tutorial

Here is a detailed tutorial, step by step, how to perform a diagonal kick. As an extension of a roundhouse kick, it is similar to it. There are two main differences – it is quicker and it is not the best choice for close distance.

  • Step 1. Stand in the basic Muay Thai stance. Your hands are in the guard. Your weight is equally divided on both feet.
  • Step 2. Point the toes of your left leg counterclockwise rotating them 45 degrees or more. Lower your left hand slightly. Keep your right hand on the level of your forehead.
  • Step 3. Rotate your left foot counterclockwise and twist it. Lift the right knee to the level of your hip. Unlike at the roundhouse kick, you needn’t spring up on the ball of your left foot.
  • Step 4. Exploding of your legs, extend your right leg and kick the opponent. Make sure your shin bone initiates the contact with the opponent.
  • Step 5. Swing your right arm to the level of your hip.
  • Step 6. Return your right leg to the starting position in the same way you obtained the strike. Return your fists to the Muay Thai guard.

Unlike at the roundhouse kick, you will notice there is no hip rotation in this kick. Hip rotation can be slight, but the accent is on speed and quickness.

You can also obtain this attack with your front foot. It is very similar to the left high roundhouse kick, with few differences:

  • Hip rotation is not necessary;
  • You can close the right leg towards your left leg. Optionally, your right leg can slide towards your left leg if you want a super quick strike.
  • There is no need to lift up on the ball of your right foot. You have to rotate your right leg clockwise at least 60-degrees. If you rotate less, you have a great chance of losing balance.

2 - Professional Tips

  • Perform this strike of the half-distance. It is also a great counter kick if the opponent runs towards you.
  • Try to open up with a jab or left hook before landing the strike. Don’t overuse it, an opponent can catch your leg easily.
  • You can perform two, three or more strikes with the same leg. It is an excellent choice if your opponent is in the corner.
  • Don’t rotate your hip. If you miss, you will be able to increase the distance via side kick or teep kick.
  • Front diagonal kick is excellent if you want to keep your opponent on distance.
  • You can always connect a hook or a cross after this attack. You can also try a high roundhouse kick.
  • Keep at least one arm on your head. An opponent can receive the strike on his arm and counter you via right hook or right cross.

Downward Roundhouse Kick

This really is a world-class strike. You can send it out of nowhere. It comes as a surprise, especially if your opponent is on the long distance. If you have an opponent who pulls back a lot, it’s time to demolish his head like a wrecking ball!

If the distance is bigger, your opponent does you a favor. This attack is hardly visible. The first phase of this kick is not much different from high roundhouse kick or a regular roundhouse kick. Your opponent will probably think you are trying to score with a low kick. But when your leg goes high, he will have a big problem!

Here is a video tutorial. This kick is also called a Brazilian kick. And it can deliver a stunning knockout power (look at 0:55)! The kick is attractive – the crowd will love you!

Here is a detailed tutorial.

1 - Detail tutorial

  • Step 1. Stand in the basic stance, keeping your hands in the guard. Rotate your rear leg clockwise and shift your weight to your rear leg.
  • Step 2. Pull your body down, lowering your left hand slightly. Keep your right hand on the level of your forehead. Lift your right knee off the ground, shifting the weight to your left leg.
  • Step 3. Rotate your left foot 180-degrees counterclockwise, and lift the ball of your left foot. Make sure your right knee is turned towards the ground, just like on the picture above. The angle in your hip is 90 degrees.
  • Step 4. Extend your right arm, placing it few centimeters above the right side of your stomach. Extend your leg and hit your opponent. There is one difference compared to roundhouse kick – your foot hits the opponent, not your shin.
  • Step 5. Pass through the head of your opponent, keep rotating counterclockwise and return to the guard.

2 - Downward Roundhouse Kick from front leg

  • Step 1 & 2. Same as above
  • Step 3. Rotate your right foot 180-degrees clockwise. Your left knee is rotated towards the ground. Unlike at the roundhouse kick, there is no need to lift the ball of your right foot.
  • Step 4. Extend your left arm, placing it above the left side of your stomach. Extend your leg and hit the opponent.
  • Step 5. Pass through your opponent’s head. Continue moving your left leg clockwise and assume the guard position.

3 - Professional Tips

  • Perform this attack from the long distance. It is a great way to surprise an opponent who constantly goes away from you.
  • There is no need to perform a feint before attempting it. The kick is tricky.
  • If your opponent lifts his front knee in the air constantly, this is a perfect technique. He will drop his left hand in 90% of situations and that will leave him wide open.
  • If both of fighters are right-handed, the attack will remain hidden. It looks like a regular roundhouse kick until you rotate your knee towards the ground.
  • If you perform it with your front leg, you can slide on your right leg to cover more distance if your opponent is pulling back.
  • If you chase your opponent, push the hip forward, it will help you reach him.
  • This attack can sneak behind the guard. It is excellent if your opponent constantly covers up. Hit his neck and send him to the ground!
  • If your opponent gets too close, you can freely hit him with your shin. Due to the trajectory of the kick, it might be weaker. But it can knock your opponent out too!


Congratulations, you mastered two very important kicks. I hope you learned roundhouse kick properly. If the answer is yes, these two kicks will be very easy.

Try to apply it in the perfect moment and train your distance. If you are few feet away or too close, an opponent can easily counter you. Stay dedicated and earn the master of kicking title. You can do it!


Teaching, Friendly, Young, Passion. Always wanna go up & down. Hey, you gotta live, do you?  

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Robert Sterling  //  Author

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