The sport of Muay Thai is built around powerful striking. As the nickname implies, the “Art of 8 Limbs” utilizes punches, elbows, knees, and kicks as its foundation. While these strikes can be successfully thrown at various targets on an opponent, they become even more powerful when thrown with precision. Learning to have precision in Muay Thai is a skill in and of itself that must be developed with practice and repetition.
If you have developed a solid understanding of punching, kicking, elbowing, and kneeling, and are looking to develop a skillset of precision in your game, check out these tips.
Precision Of Placement
Precision of placement is a key place to start when it comes to developing precision in your Muay Thai game. Proper strike placement can be the difference between a strike that glances off your opponent or one that sets them on their heels.
In the ring, powerful, dominating strikes are necessary, so learning to place them with precision is imperative. Learning to narrow down your aim to a smaller target will help you develop your shots into more powerful and effective strikes.
To develop better precision of placement, try some of these tips:
1) Aim Small, Miss Small
A common saying around Muay Thai gyms is “aim small, miss small.” This is an ideal phrase to remember while working towards precision. Rather than aiming for the chest as a whole, big target, consider picking an exact spot on the chest to focus on landing your strike.
If you miss, you will only miss by a little, and likely, it will still land on the chest. Picking a smaller target will help you to focus on your strikes and make them more effective.
2) Small Focus Mitts
The next time you are feeding pads for boxing with a partner, consider finding the smallest focus mitts available. This tip tags along with tip #1 about “aiming small.” With a smaller target available on your partner’s hands, you will naturally begin to focus on your aim with more precision on your punches.
For kicking, you can utilize the letters or markings on the heavy bag to throw a kick at each letter individually. This, too, will help develop the precision or placement for your kicks.
Precision Of Timing
Precision of timing is an important aspect of Muay Thai. Without precision of timing, it’s likely that many of your best strikes may not land, or even worse, that they may be countered with heavy strikes in return. Without precise timing, your strikes will not be as effective as they could. Therefore, precision of timing must be developed in your Muay Thai game.
What does having precise timing mean? Precise timing means being able to throw your strikes when you want to throw them, how you want to throw them, and where you want to throw them.
It means that you can throw your strikes at the best possible times, avoiding oncoming strikes in the process. If you are hoping to develop some precision of timing, try some of these the next time you step into the gym:
1) Speed Games
Pick a particular strike and grab a heavy bag or partner to feed pads. Have your partner call out “go” at various intervals. On each call out of “go,” throw your strike with as much speed as possible. Whether it’s a jab, kick, or an elbow, be sure to throw it rapidly, while still maintaining proper technique. Listening, waiting, and firing your strike only on the word “go” (and not a second before) will help you to develop precise timing and speedy response, as well.
2) Speed Bags And Double Ended Bags
These two bags are likely found somewhere in your gym. They are both excellent bags to work on while aiming to develop your timing precision. Both of these bags like to bounce around, recoil towards you, or rebound off of a backboard from which it hangs.
When you first start working on these bags, you might find that you tend to miss the bag. That’s completely normal. It takes a lot of practice and work to master these types of bags. As you build precision with your timing, you’ll find that you will begin to hit the bag with more regularity and fewer misses.
Experiment with different patterns and repetitions to develop a broad understanding of precise timings. When you take this skill onto the mats with you, your precision and understanding of timing will help you to land your shots.
Precision Of Defense
Having solid defense is incredibly important when you step in the ring or on the mats. A slip is good, but a slip that only moves as much as needed and no more is even better. Defense that opens doors to striking opportunities is better than defense that defends you but puts you out of range to strike.
Your precision of both timing and placement will be greatly enhanced if you develop some defensive skills alongside them. By working on these things, you will open more doors to allow for your striking to take place. Together with working on your timing and placement, be sure to work on the following to allow you to have better precision in your defense:
- Head Movement: Working towards precise head movement can be difficult. Aim to give yourself as many options for head movement as possible, and work towards learning how to use each piece effectively. Good, and precise, head movement will lead to openings for precise strikes and timing.
- Footwork: Good footwork allows you to defend yourself and move into spaces that will aid you in landing your strikes. You might be able to hit their chest, but with good footwork you’ll find that your precise target on the chest is more easily accessible. Use your footwork to your advantage to defend yourself while also opening up opportunities for your own striking.
Develop Your Precision To Improve Your Muay Thai Game
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