If you’ve been training Muay Thai, you’d know that a good defense is just as important as a strong offense. After all, the whole point of being in the ring is to hit without getting hit, so you can inflict more damage on your opponent and end the fight with your hand raised in victory.
However, most beginners (and even some seasoned practitioners) tend to focus on attacking, and as a result, end up neglecting their defense – which is not good, because they run the risk of getting injured or even knocked out when in the ring. We’re pretty sure you might have chanced upon some people sparring with their guards down and giving their opponents all kinds of openings to land strikes. Psst! If you find that you’re getting hit almost all the time, this could be you.
Fortunately, it’s never too late to work on your defense. So if you haven’t been focusing much on it, then there’s no better time than now to start. With that said, it is of course also important to look out for openings and opportunities to strike or counterattack. That’s why we’ve compiled some essential moves for you to take note of.
Ready to take your game to greater heights? Then watch the following videos closely. Today, Evolve Daily shares Essential Muay Thai Defense And Counterattack Moves:
1) 5 Leg Catch Combinations
On the surface, a leg catch looks like you’re simply wrapping your arm around your opponent’s leg. But there’s more than meets the eye. When executed well, a leg catch can help you effectively defend against an incoming roundhouse kick. What’s more, it helps you break your opponent’s rhythm and also creates an opening for counterattacks.
In this video, multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion Orono Wor Petchpun demonstrates 5 leg catch combinations which you can drill with a partner or utilize when sparring. If you pay close attention, you’ll notice that Orono doesn’t keep still and stay in the same spot after catching his partner’s leg. By moving slightly after catching the leg, he is able to mess with his opponent’s balance and as a result, make it harder for him to free the trapped leg so there is a higher chance of landing strikes.
Tip: When you catch your opponent’s leg, make sure you keep it tight by keeping your elbow bent at a 45-degree angle with your fist over your chest. By keeping your leg catch tight, your opponent would have a lower chance of freeing his/her leg.
2) 4 Essential Muay Thai Leg Catch Counterattacks
At this point, you might be wondering what happens if you’re the one with a leg trapped in a leg catch. Does it mean that your opponent now has the upper hand? Yes and no – depending on the situation. Fortunately, you don’t necessarily have to be on the losing end if your leg is caught, because there are ways to counterattack!
In this video, you’ll learn 4 ways to counterattack when you’re caught in a leg catch, as shown by multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion Orono Wor Petchpun. As we mentioned earlier, it’s all about finding the right openings to strike, so you can inflict some damage on your opponent and/or free your leg! Notice how Orono chooses his strikes according to distance – cross when he’s further away, and knee/elbow when he’s in close range with his opponent. Range is one of the factors you should take into consideration before executing your next move, so that you can throw the right strikes at the right time.
Tip: Drill these combinations with a partner, without power first, so that you can get a better feel of distance and timing. Once your technique is on point, you may utilize them when sparring or even in the ring.
3) 3 Essential Ways To Defend Against A Push Kick
Besides the roundhouse kick, the push kick – or teep – is another strike that can be utilized in Muay Thai. That’s why it’s crucial for you to learn how to defend against it as well. Like the previous leg catch, one way to effectively defend against a push kick involves – you guessed it – catching your opponent’s leg (ankle, to be more exact!) Another way is to block the kick by sweeping his/her leg down with your hand.
In this video, multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion Singtongtoi Por Telakun demonstrates 3 essential ways to defend against a push kick. After catching the ankle, Singtongnoi takes advantage of his opponent’s instability and sweeps him to the ground. In the second technique, he shows that you can slide back to distract your opponent before stepping forward and executing a knee. Also, he also shows how you can counterattack once you’ve blocked your opponent’s push kick with a hand sweep.
Tip: Don’t be afraid to experiment when drilling or sparring as there are various ways to defend and counterattack a push kick. If you’re unsure, don’t hesitate to approach your instructor for help!
So tell us, which of these moves are you planning to master?