A knockout is the most decisive way to win in combat sports like Muay Thai, mixed martial arts, and boxing. At that moment, it makes it clear that you are the better opponent. Scoring a knockout means your opponent can no longer keep going on. Instead of hoping the judges score the fight in your favor, it allows you to take your destiny as a fighter into your own hands.
Knockouts are typically a result of striking someone so hard their brain and body momentarily shut down. You can also score technical knockouts in Muay Thai, which means you land so many unanswered strikes on your opponent, the referee is forced to step in to end the fight.
Many of the greatest comeback stories in combat sports wouldn’t have occurred if knockouts weren’t a thing. It doesn’t matter how many rounds you’re down on the judges’ scorecards; a knockout instantly earns you the win.
Landing Knockout Blows In Muay Thai
Any strike used in Muay Thai can be a knockout blow. Even jabs have been used to knock out fighters in Muay Thai. Of course, if you’re chasing a knockout, you’re better off sticking to power strikes like roundhouse kicks, knees, hooks, overhands, elbows, and uppercuts.
You also need to know which areas of the body to target when looking to seal the deal with a knockout. For example, a kick to the calves is less likely to lead to an instant knockout than a roundhouse to an opponent’s chin.
The main areas you should target when searching for a knockout include:
1) The Jaw
The jaw is the most prominent target on your opponent’s head and the easiest to land on. A vicious blow to the jaw often sends fighters to the canvas. You can attack it with a wide range of strikes like:
The science behind how a blow to the jaw leads to the brain shutting down isn’t yet clear, but many believe it might have something to do with the jaw amplifying the force from the strike transmitted to the head, increasing the brain’s movement within the skull. It is believed that the brain banging against the skull causes knockouts. The more intense the sloshing is, the more likely the receiver goes out.
Regardless of the exact reason why a shot to the jaw is the most likely target to lead to a knockout, the proof is all around us. From Muay Thai to street fights, most knockouts result from a hard hit to the jaw.
2) The Temple
The temple area is another excellent target for knockouts. Your temple is the area right behind your eyes and in front of your ears. Run your fingers along the area, and you will feel an indentation. That’s your temple, and everyone has them.
It is the weakest part of the skull since the bone there is thinner than other parts of the skull. It’s a smaller target than the jaw, but it’s equally as effective when it comes to putting opponents away.
Some of the strikes you can target the temple with in Muay Thai include:
- Hooks and haymakers
- Roundhouse kicks
- Heel kicks
3) Behind The Ears
Here’s a sweet spot for Muay Thai fighters who have accurate shots. It’s a nice area to exploit for a knockout, but it can get you in a bit of trouble with the referee if your strike strays from its intended target. Punching the back of an opponent’s head is illegal in virtually all combat sports, and it can get you disqualified.
You want to aim for the spot right behind the ear. Hit a person there with a hard shot, and it will send them to the canvas. It disrupts their equilibrium, and it can leave them unconscious. Just make sure you hit your intended target since punching the back of your opponent’s head can get you in trouble with the referee.
Some of the strikes you can attack behind the ears with in Muay Thai include:
- Roundhouse kicks
- Heel kicks
4) The Liver
A liver shot can bring a fight to an end at any moment. The liver is the largest gland organ in the body, and the rib cage doesn’t protect it. A direct strike to it is excruciatingly painful, and it often leaves fighters incapacitated.
The liver serves as the center of blood circulation in the body, so attacking it often causes difficulty breathing. It forces people to lose their focus and their drive to fight.
The liver is located on the right side of the body, right below the rib cage. This limits the attacks you can target the organ with. Southpaw fighters tend to have the advantage when attacking the liver since they can attack with their power side. Orthodox fighters should practice fighting throwing power shots with their weak side if they plan on stopping opponents with liver shots.
Some of the strikes Muay Thai fighters can use to target the liver include:
- Left hooks
- Left uppercuts
- Roundhouse kicks to the right side of the opponent’s body
- Knees to the right side of the body
5) The Solar Plexus
The solar plexus is the next best target on the body for scoring knockouts. A hard strike there can shut an opponent’s body down, making it extremely hard to breathe. The solar plexus is the soft area that lies between the bottom of the sternum and the top of the abdomen.
The solar plexus makes an excellent target for Muay Thai fighters since it’s a relatively easy area to target with straight punches and knees. A straight punch to the solar plexus might stun an opponent, but a flush knee to the area typically ends fights. Some of the different types of strikes you can target the solar plexus with include:
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