Here’s How To Utilize Sweeps For Muay Thai

Muay Thai sweeps make for a thrilling sparring round or Muay Thai fight. They are immediately met with excitement from both athletes and spectators alike, and bring the energy of any type of match to a loud roar. 

They’re effective, often quite simple in execution, and bring a short pause to the round as the swept athlete picks themself up off the ground to resume the match. One solid sweep can change the trajectory of a round, so it’s important to aim to be the one doing the sweeping.

Muay Thai is a sport where athletes participate while standing and moving around on their feet. The one exception to this rule is a sweep. In essence, a sweep is when one athlete essentially “sweeps” their opponent off of their feet and onto the ground. The athlete completing the sweep aims to stay grounded and on their own feet while sweeping their opponent down. There are many sweeps that may be found and executed on the Muay Thai mats, and none of them are anything short of incredible and exciting. 

Learning Muay Thai sweeps will take your Muay Thai game to the next level. Whether you are using sweeps to get your opponent to the ground and score points, using them to give yourself a quick breather while your opponent takes a few seconds to get back up, or using them to slow your opponent down or create new striking opportunities for yourself, there is no shortage of ways to utilize sweeps in Muay Thai. 



  • Sweeping your opponent gives you an immediate, dominant edge over them. Sweeps generate points and demonstrate successful management of your opponent. There is also a visual representation when you sweep your opponent, as it leaves one athlete standing tall over the other athlete who lies on the ground. Further, it can be emotionally challenging and draining to get swept, giving you dominance over them both physically and mentally. 

If you are in a match or a round where there is a fairly even back and forth between you and your opponent, be sure to try leveraging a sweep to give you the dominance you need to make a clear-cut distinction between the two of you. 


Give Yourself Time To Breathe

  • Sweeping your opponent gives you a second to breathe while they scramble back up to their feet to resume the match. When (not if) you get tired, sometimes a technical sweep is just the thing to kickstart your mind and body while also giving you a couple of seconds to take a few deep breaths and recover good breathing. 
  • Everyone gets tired. Everyone. Learning how to push through tiredness or exhaustion is an important skill set to be practiced and worked right alongside all of the striking aspects of your Muay Thai game. Finding techniques that you can utilize to give you a little bit of time, even if it’s just a couple of seconds, will be pivotal in helping you learn to push through tiredness. 


Sweeps accomplish this in an abrupt manner, while also giving you that little bit of edge over your opponent in dominance. If you are finding yourself short of breath and tired during your match, be sure to try utilizing your sweeps to gain a couple of seconds to breathe.


Slow Down Your Opponent

  • Taking a hard shot to the stomach, whether by a punch or a kick, is a quick way to slow down your opponent and wear them out. A sweep accomplishes the same thing at a much more extreme level compared to just a strike. A tired opponent gives you yet another edge in Muay Thai, so learning to utilize sweeps to drain your opponent’s energy tank is a very worthwhile endeavor. 
  • Even better, try pairing sweeps with hard body shots to really deplete their gas tank and bring their energy levels down a few notches. If you can leverage your sweeps as an avenue to slow down your opponent, you will inevitably open doors for more strikes and set-ups, as well. 
  • A tired opponent does not typically move as smoothly or respond as quickly or fluidly as a fresh partner. 


Try utilizing your sweeps during Muay Thai matches where your opponent seems to have more energy than you do. Using sweeps, you should be able to slowly chip away at their energy levels, giving you more opportunities throughout the match to land your strikes. 


Create Striking Opportunities For Yourself

  • Sometimes, especially as you begin to learn, practice, and work on executing your new Muay Thai sweeps, you will inevitably fail at the sweep. One benefit of sweeps is that even in failure, sweeps tend to open up other doors for other strikes. 
  • Sweeps, even failed ones, create imbalance for your opponent. They may struggle briefly to regain their base and get their feet planted firmly back on the ground. During that moment of disruption, be sure to capitalize on their unstable base by striking your opponent. Whether by kicking or punching, you have a good chance of landing a significant strike or even knocking your opponent down to the ground while striking them in an off-balanced position. 


Utilizing your sweeps, even if you don’t have them securely figured out yet, is a great way to create new striking opportunities for yourself.

nong o and kwankao sweep

No matter your skill level, Muay Thai sweeps are an excellent investment into your Muay Thai game. They are highly effective and can be utilized to create dominance over your partner, give you time to breathe while simultaneously taking away your opponent’s energy and chances to breathe, and will even open doors through failure for other significant strikes to land. 

As you begin to experiment with sweeps, be sure to utilize every opportunity that they open up for you. If you fail the sweep, don’t forget to land another strike while your opponent is still off-balance. If you do land the sweep, don’t forget to take a few deep breaths while your opponent scrambles to catch theirs as they stand back up. Either way, start working on those sweeps and enjoy all the opportunities they open up for you. 

If you would like to master the Muay Thai sweep, consider learning from Evolve University’s Muay Thai Training Series: Sweeps & Trips which is packed with 4 hours of on-demand video, structured into 19 chapters of sweeps and trips instructional content.


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