Muay Thai 101: The Roundhouse Kick

Ask any Muay Thai practitioner and they will tell you that the roundhouse kick is one of the most difficult techniques to perfect. To execute the perfect roundhouse kick, it takes a combination of flexibility, balance, coordination, and timing – which may prove to be difficult for many beginners. If you are just beginning your Muay Thai journey and are wondering how you can improve your roundhouse quick, you’re in luck.

Today, Evolve Daily shares Muay Thai 101: The Roundhouse Kick:

Before you even throw the Muay Thai roundhouse kick, you have to make sure you’re in a correct stance. Start in your fighting stance, with your feet shoulder width apart and pointing slightly outwards. Make sure the majority of your weight is in the balls of your feet.

Before you launch your kick, ensure that you are in the right range to do so. You can establish range by throwing a few jabs. If your opponent is within an arm’s reach, you’re more than close enough to land your kick, as your kick is a longer-range weapon. You can also stab in a few lead leg push kicks to gauge distance as well.

Now that you’re all set, here are some tricks to getting that roundhouse kick down perfectly:

1) Step out with your pivoting foot as you kick

Muay Thai Kick

A beautiful Muay Thai kick on the heavy bag.

Stepping out with your pivoting foot at a 45-degree angle helps you keep your balance as you throw that roundhouse kick. Many beginner Muay Thai students will find themselves falling off balance when they begin using the roundhouse kick because of all the power they use while trying to strike and stepping in too narrowly. Stepping outwards allows you to open up your hip to load the kick and get ready for the rotation. It also allows you to step off the center line, helping you avoid your opponent’s counters. Steeping on this angle also shortens the distance your kick has to travel to reach the target, increasing the perceived speed of the kick and the power of the kick.

 

2) Stay on the ball of your foot

Muay Thai World Champion and ONE Superstar Sagetdao Petpayathai is one of the greatest fighters of his generation.

After you step your planted foot out, you must explode up onto the ball of your foot and remain on it throughout the duration of the kick. Exploding up instantly after you step in adds power to the kick. Being on the ball of your foot for the duration of the kick will allow you to rotate into the kick better as there is less surface friction with the ground, ensuring maximum speed and power.

 

3) Your kicking motion should blend into your rhythm

Another way to maintain balance while executing the roundhouse kick is to make it blend into your rhythm. As with all striking martial arts, rhythm is very important, allowing you to shift directions faster, time counter punches or kicks and your own attacks, and most importantly, to confuse your opponent. By having your kicking motion blend into your rhythm, it will be much easier to throw a roundhouse kick because it won’t throw you off balance and help you evade your opponent’s strikes.

 

4) Turn your hip and whip your hand down (in one motion)

As with every kick, all the power lies in your hips. If you’ve attended a Muay Thai class or two, you will have noticed how many times your instructor emphasizes hip movement when kicking. When you twist your hip and thrust it forwards when you kick, your body weight transfers into the kick, making it more powerful.

Whipping your hand down as you turn your hip and kick will not only help you generate speed and power, it will also help you maintain balance.

 

5) Return to your stance

ONE Superstar and multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion Sagetdao Petpayathai slams in a kick during the Evolve Fighters Program.

Another common mistake that many Muay Thai practitioners make is that they forget to come back into their stance after they make impact. This leaves them vulnerable to counterattacks, which can quickly end a fight. Once you’ve thrown a kick, bring your leg back the same way you came in and do it quickly. And when you’ve returned to your stance, you should quickly transition to your next attack or be ready to defend any counters coming at you. The quicker you react, the less time your opponent will have to attack since his/her defense may already be down.

 

The roundhouse kick is a staple of every Muay Thai arsenal, but to use it properly, you must remember all the aspects we’ve mentioned above. As with all Muay Thai techniques, you need to drill your roundhouse kick in class until you feel as if it is second nature. Always be aware of your balance, weight transfer and your hand placement — don’t just throw a kick aimlessly. Once you master the technique of the kick, you will then start learning how to set up the kick and when to throw it. By following our advice, you’ll be sure to throw a roundhouse kick without any problems the next time around. So tell us, when will you start working on your Muay Thai roundhouse kick?

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