Turning The Corner: Tips And Tricks To Get Out From The Corner Ring Ropes In Muay Thai

There is a common misconception in Muay Thai that the fighter showing the most aggression in a bout will impress the judges and alongside this view is the idea that fighting with your back on the ropes is a road to certain defeat. This, of course, isn’t true. You can defeat an aggressive fighter whilst on the back foot and even be pressed against the ropes. The only time an aggressive fighter has a real advantage in the ring is when they have their opponent pressed into the corner without the chance to evade or sidestep.

If you’ve ever been caught in the corner during sparring or in a fight then you will know that it is by far, the last place you want to be during a round. With your back pressed against the turnbuckle and no room to move, you can’t counter or offer an effective attack. When you reach this point, there is only one way out.

In this article, we are going to teach you how to escape the corner if you are trapped there during a fight. While the process is fairly simple, it can be incredibly dangerous and so we are going to give you some essential points to focus on to minimize the risk. While there is only one way to escape the corner once you are trapped within it, you have far more tools at your disposal that can be used before you are completely cornered. So, before we describe the method of escape, we’ll also give you a few pointers on how to stop yourself from getting trapped in the corner altogether.


How To Prevent Yourself Getting Trapped In The Corner

The best way to escape the corner is to not get trapped there to begin with. When an aggressive opponent is backing you up, trying to shepherd you into the corner, there are a few options you can use to circle off and reclaim the centre-ring position.

Here are two simple options that you can use:


Feint Footwork

If your opponent is pressing forward, directly in front of you and you find yourself with your back directly in line with the corner then you’ll find that you have two equally-sized escape paths before you. You can try and move left or right to evade the corner post but, you’ll find that whichever way you move, your opponent will follow, cutting off your means of escape.

If you find yourself in this scenario then you need to use your opponent’s tactics against them. Take a step to your left and when your opponent moves to cut you off, they will open a wider path to your right, giving you the opportunity to quickly move right into the open space where you can circle off behind them. To stop them from closing the gap as you change directions you can steer them away with looping strikes from your right side. (and of course, you can do this the other way by feinting right before moving left as well.)


Cut An Angle

An aggressive fighter will apply a combination of steady forward pressure and shepherding strikes to steer you into the corner. In this evasive maneuver, you will use this forward pressure against them to reclaim the center-ring position.

As your opponent steps forward, reverse your backward movement and step forward with your front leg to meet them. Planting your lead foot outside of theirs, in the same place you would if you were going to throw a roundhouse kick, shoot your lead hand forward and push their glove across their body. As you do this, pivot your rear foot around in a ninety-degree turn so you are staring directly at the side of their head.

From this position you are able to kick them while being out of their effective striking range or, if you feel pressured, you can continue moving off behind them to reclaim the center position.

If you want to pivot the other way, you can follow the same steps but instead of stepping forward with your lead foot, you will step forward with your rear leg, switching your stance to plant your foot in the roundhouse kick position before using your arm and pivot in tandem to cut the angle.


What To Do If You Get Trapped In The Corner

The previous two techniques will only work if your back isn’t pressed into the corner and you have space to move. If you do find yourself caught, then it’s too late for evasive maneuver and the only way out is through.

You’re going to need to pressure directly into your opponent, passing through their effective strikes to lock up their arms in the clinch so they can’t land any scoring shots. Then, you will either be forced to clinch or stall so that the referees force a break which will give you the space you need to employ evasive footwork and escape.

This movement is incredibly risky. To pull it off you need to walk through your opponent’s power strikes without getting caught with a knockout blow. This can be disconcerting but since it is more dangerous to stay with your back against the turnbuckle we’ve got a few tips you can use to minimise the risk:

  • Lower Your Chin: If you walk forward with your head held high any punch is going to make you give your best bobble-head impression, increasing your chances of getting knocked out. Before you rush in, lower your chin as tight to your chest as possible.
  • Tighten Your Guard: Whether you decide to press your gloves to your temples or long guard your way through punches, you want to make your guard airtight. Close everything as tightly as possible so that your opponents’ gloves can’t slip through and catch you.
  • Get As Close As Possible: Just because you make it into the clinch doesn’t mean you’re safe. You are still going to be inside the effective knee and elbow range. When you engage in the clinch, smother your opponent by pressing your head and chest right against theirs so that they can’t land any significant strikes.
  • High Marching Can Be An Option: Punches aren’t the only weapon to look out for when you try and escape the corner. An experienced fighter may use teeps to push you back as you attempt to escape. If this is the case, lock your guard down tight and march forward, lifting your knees in line with your elbows to create a shield which will deflect any incoming teeps.


In Summary

If you get caught in the corner there is only one way out. You’re going to need to pressure through your opponent’s strikes and tie them up to force a break. You’re going to need to be tough with a tight guard because the only way to escape is going to be through a rain of strikes. It’s safer to escape the corner before your back is pressed into the turnbuckle. While you still have some room to move, try feinting your footwork and cutting angles for less grueling methods of escape.


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