Muay Thai 101: Everything You Need To Know About The Muay Sok Style

Muay Thai is a diverse sport with many different styles. The ability to throw eight different weapons, both at range and from the clinch, gives fighters the amazing opportunity to fight utilizing a whole range of styles. Amongst these styles, Muay Sok holds special resonance in the hearts of fighters and fans. These elbow hunters are known to be the most relentless, hunting their prey down to get close enough to unleash the sport’s most savage weapon. This makes the Muay Sok fighters feared by many but while the style is known to be incredibly tenacious and damaging, fighting with elbows as your primary weapon comes with significant disadvantages.

In this article, we are going to give you a crash course in the Muay Sok style. We’ll explain how this fighter tends to operate in the ring, giving examples from some of the most prolific elbow technicians in history. Then we’ll explain the weaknesses of this style and use the example of Yodkhunpon Sittraiphum, The Golden Era’s most revered Muay Sok, to explain how to overcome them. So, this article has everything you need to know if you want to improve your elbow game in Muay Thai.


How Does A Muay Sok Fight?

“Sok” is the Thai word for Elbow, so “Muay Sok” translates to “Elbow Fighter,” and this type of fighter does just as the name suggests, tirelessly looking to cut and flatten their opponents with sharp, unpadded elbow strikes.

To throw elbows, a Muay Sok needs to get past all of their opponent’s ranged weapons. This doesn’t just include kicks and teeps, it also includes punching and knee strikes and so this style of fighter often falls into the category of “Muay Bouk,” which is Thai for aggressive fighters. They hunt their opponent across the ring with a tight guard, seemingly impervious to their opponent’s long-range weapons, until they have them cornered. Then, they will create openings for elbows with punches or by “stripping their opponent’s guard.

A great Muay Sok has fast footwork and can cut angles or move in and out of range quickly. This helps them avoid the clinch, which will tie up their arms and make elbows difficult. It also helps them to dodge their opponent’s punches, which in turn creates openings for more elbow strikes.

Nathan “Carnage” Corbett is one of the most devastating Muay Sok fighters in Muay Thai history. The video above explains the beautiful yet devastating elbow tactics he utilized to become one of The Best Headhunters In Muay Thai And Kickboxing History.


Muay Sok Weaknesses

Due to their need to be at an incredibly close range to use their preferred weapon, a Muay Sok is going to struggle against a Muay Tae (kick fighter) or Muay Femur (counterfighter) who can use their footwork and ringcraft to stay out of range whilst scoring points with their longer-range weapons. Even if a Muay Sok is able to briefly get into elbow range, they need to stay there long enough to make up for the damage they’ve taken both physically and on the scorecards.

While getting into a close-quarters fight is a Muay Sok’s priority, doing so can make them easy prey for a Muay Khao (clinch and knee fighter). A good clincher will look to tie up a Muay Sok’s arms while scoring their damaging knee strikes. With this in mind, a Muay Sok either needs to master the specific clinch techniques that create openings for elbows or master their footwork so they can strike and evade without falling into a Muay Khao’s grasp.


How To Be An Effective Muay Sok: A Case Study Of Yodkhunpon Sittraiphum

A Muay Sok who only charges forward, full steam ahead for an entire fight is susceptible to just about every attack in the Muay Thai encyclopedia. So, you might be wondering how on earth anyone can win a fight using this style. To answer this question, we look towards Yodkhunpon Sittraiphum, “The Elbow Hunter of 100 Stitches.”.

Yodkhunpon was a Golden Era legend who held simultaneous titles at Rajadamnern and Lumpinee, Bangkok’s most elite stadiums whilst fighting as a highly technical Muay Sok.

Yodkhunpon had an answer for every one of the Muay Sok weaknesses we’ve listed and was able to get past long-range weapons, steer opponents against the ropes, and elbow from the clinch without his opponents racking up an insurmountable number of strikes against him.

At range, he would use his own teeps and kicks to control and steer his opponent where he wanted them to go. In doing so he was able to trap them in positions where he could land elbows while keeping them in defensive mode. They were too busy defending to score with their long-range weapons and if they did throw them, he had mastered countering them. He would parry teeps to create opportunities to close distance and catch kicks in order to push opponents into ropes rather than simply sweeping them.

When on the offense Yodkhunpon wouldn’t just charge at his opponents in a predictable and easily countered pace. He would change tempo and angles constantly, making his opponents unable to tell when he was going to charge in for a killer elbow combination. He would feint kicks and teeps to help him succeed in this.

In mid-range, he would use his punches to create openings for elbows, much like Nathan Corbett. If he did get tied up in the clinch, he was able to control his opponent’s arms well enough to sneak in a few elbows and was known to throw knees to their bodies simply to distract them from protecting their head.

With Yodkhunpon’s example in mind, we can see that the secret to being a successful Muay Sok doesn’t come from simply being aggressive and throwing a lot of elbows. It actually comes from learning a variety of Muay Thai styles and developing a huge fight IQ. Watching Yodkhunpon fight you can see that he was able to fight in any style but simply chose to use their strengths to bolster his Muay Sok strategies. By utilizing Muay Tae and Muay Khao techniques as a supplement to his style he was able to overcome the elbow fighter’s disadvantages and rise to the top of Bangkok’s Golden Era Stadiums.


In Summary

The Muay Sok is a savage elbow fighter who is known for using weaponized cardio and relentless pressure to overcome their adversary’s defenses. This doesn’t mean that they are mindless brawlers. The examples of both Nathan Corbett and Yodkhunpon Sittraiphum show that a great Muay Sok needs to employ a range of skills to overcome the brutal style’s many disadvantages. So, if you want to develop your Muay Sok game, then you need to focus on your long-range techniques and clinch game just as much, if not more, than simply mastering vicious elbow combinations.


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