Knee strikes are incredibly powerful and useful strikes within the Art of 8 Limbs. A solid knee strike in Muay Thai can cause your opponent to think twice about entering a closer range with you, and it can help you to strike your opponent’s body from both a closer range and within the clinch.
While knee strikes are typically close-range strikes, there are certainly exceptions. The jump knee is one of those such exceptions. The jump knee offers all the benefits of a knee strike, with the added benefit of starting further away. It is also uniquely suited to catch your opponent off-guard as you quickly change the range on your opponent to land the strike.
If you are looking to add jump knees to your Muay Thai game, check out these tips to learn how to set up and land them the next time you step on the mats.
What Is The Jump Knee And How Do You Execute It?
The jump knee is just as its name suggests. It combines a knee strike with a jumping motion. Here’s how to do it:
- While facing your opponent (or heavy bag/pads), make sure you have enough space to land the knee.
- Jump with both your feet into the air, moving your body forward towards the target.
- Drive your rear knee up and towards the target.
- Extend your hands in front of you (think of a long-guard hand position) to stabilize yourself as you land the knee to snag up the clinch or land further strikes.
While simple in execution, this jump knee does take a lot of practice to establish a good understanding of timing and range for landing it.
Requirements For The Jump Knee
While you are likely already adept at throwing a regular knee since it is a foundational strike in the sport of Muay Thai, the differences between the two can make it feel like you are learning a completely different strike. Here are two key components that you’ll want to understand well before utilizing your jump knee:
- Range: For the jump knee to work, you generally need a little bit more range than with a regular knee. While this is a general statement, it’s not a hard and fast rule. Once you get skilled at this knee, you’ll find that its versatility allows you to throw it from a variety of ranges.
- Solid Starting And Ending Base: Due to the nature of this strike, your entire body will be leaving the ground at once. This means that you will need to start from a solid base so you can get a good jump, as well as land in a solid base so you don’t get swept, tripped, or knocked back with a returning strike.
How To Set Up The Jump Knee
Setting up the jump knee can be done in many ways. The jump knee tends to be quite elusive, catching your opponent off-guard in most instances, so it is also a great way to regain dominance in the ring or to land a solid finish in a match. Here are a few ways you can set up the jump knee, starting with some defensive movements or blocks:
- Defend a leg kick with a check or block. Counter with a teep to create some space, and follow up with your jump knee.
- Defend a head kick by moving out of the way. Immediately counter with the jump knee. Speed is your friend on this one, as your opponent’s missed head kick leaves you with a small time frame to capitalize on the lack of a solid base.
- Defend punches coming towards your face by utilizing head movement, footwork, and angles. Utilizing the angle created by your footwork, and the movement of your opponent as they move to square up with you at your new angle, throw your jump knee towards your opponent.
- If your opponent happens to be backing you up, use the opportunity to set up the jump knee. Throw punches at your opponent while you step back to create space and protect yourself, and then move straight into the jump knee.
Conversely, here are a few ways you can set up the jump knee as a part of your offensive striking:
- Utilizing a long guard, throw a couple of teeps toward your opponent. Once your opponent begins to expect your teep, switch it up with a jump knee. The range will be similar, so it is easy to catch your opponent off-guard, but the movement is quick-changing and will allow you to cut the range quickly and effectively.
- Utilize a leg kick to set up the jump knee. Throw the leg kick, and immediately upon bringing your kicking leg back for your base, jump into your jump knee.
- Back your opponent up with heavy punches. As you get them on their heels, utilize the jump knee to land a solid strike while they are slightly off-balance.
Whether you decide to utilize your jump knee off of defensive movements or as a part of your offensive striking, you will begin to see that there are many opportunities to throw the jump knee.
What The Jump Knee Is Great For
The jump knee is an incredibly powerful strike. Notably, it is a quickly thrown strike that can also cut the range quite abruptly. This makes it an elusive strike as your opponents will often have a challenging time seeing the strike coming.
The jump knee is also an excellent strike to pull out when you need to quickly change the nature of the fight. It is a dominant strike, with the ability to help you regain any lost dominance in the ring. The jump knee is definitely one knee strike variation that you will want to drill and add into your Muay Thai game.
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