What Is The Switch Step In Muay Thai

The switch step in Muay Thai is a footwork movement that is easy to understand, simple in execution, and excellent for a multitude of uses. Its ability to help you change your stance quickly or get your head off the center line and cut an angle around your opponent makes it an excellent move to improve your Muay Thai game

Its variety of applications provides plenty of opportunities for usage, making you a more elusive fighter. Here’s everything you need to know about the switch step in Muay Thai.


What Is The Switch Step?

The switch step is a movement based on footwork. At its most basic level of understanding, you are simply “switching” your feet. The movement is all done in one fluid step. 

While in your normal stance, create a small jumping movement as you switch your feet. Essentially, if you were in an orthodox stance, you are now in a southpaw stance, and vice versa. The movement should be quick and fluid as you continue to stay light on your feet. Your weight will typically move to your new lead foot as you press forward to strike. 

Once you get this movement down, try doing the switch step while landing your front foot slightly off line, as though you were preparing for a leg kick. This will help you to set up various moves, while also moving your head off line and helping move your body on an angle around your opponent.

As you become familiar with the movement of the switch step, you can then utilize it for many different strikes and movement patterns. Whether you end up moving forward or off at an angle, you can utilize this one simple movement to begin it all. 


Utilizing The Switch Step For Kicks

The switch step is an excellent way to utilize your lead leg for strong, powerful kicks

  • Use the movement of the switch step to load power into your lead leg as it draws back to become the new rear leg.
  • Once loaded, utilize your new rear leg to throw a strong kick to your opponent’s leg or body. 
  • Depending on how you land the kick and the feedback it provides, you can either draw the leg back to the same stance and then take a full step back to your normal stance, or you can land it in front with a half step back to regain some space from your opponent, as well as your normal stance.


The switch step kick is a powerful kick that is easy to learn and quick to utilize. Try it next time you find that you need to change up the dynamics of your round. 


Utilizing The Switch Step For Knees

A quick way to pack a big punch into your lead leg knee is to utilize the switch step. If you are working to gain a bit of an angle on your opponent, landing your new lead foot off line slightly as you land your switch step will help you follow through as you work to your opponent’s side.

  • From an orthodox stance, switch step your feet, landing your new lead leg slightly off line towards the right side of your opponent. 
  • Reach towards your opponent’s right shoulder with your left hand to provide a bit of some leverage to pull your opponent into your knee.
  • Drive your left knee, which is currently in the back, straight up into the midsection or ribcage area of your opponent as you simultaneously pull them into the strike via your hand on their shoulder. 

The switch step knee is an incredibly quick knee that carries a ton of weight behind it. It often results in a clear-cut strike, as well as decent control over your opponent’s posture. The result of the postural control can often land in opportunities for the clinch, making it a great striking option if you are trying to work to the inside for a clinch


Utilizing The Switch Step For Punches

The switch step is excellent for moving your head off line while landing an often unsuspecting punch. 

  • Utilize your switch step while landing your foot off line.
  • As you switch your feet, throw your regular jab hand simultaneously. This motion should be fluid and in one step.
  • An excellent follow-up for this strike is to take a full step and throw the cross, putting you back in your regular stance while also having gained some range on your opponent. 

Try utilizing the switch step with your jabs the next time you need to cut the distance between you and your opponent.


Utilizing The Switch Step For Movement

The switch step can be used to create movement, whether that’s movement forward or at an angle to the side, regardless of whether or not you plan to immediately strike. 

  • Use your switch step to move straight forward towards your opponent. Whether you use it to utilize a knee, teep, or even a punch up the middle, you can use the switch to launch you forward.
  • Use your switch step to step off line and move at an angle around your opponent. This is perfect for kicks and punches alike. 
  • Use your switch step to simply move and play with footwork. The switch step has no requirement for a follow-up strike. Utilizing the switch step for movement will create more opportunities for angles, strikes, and dominating the ring on your opponent. 


The Switch Step Is A Necessary Piece Of Footwork For Muay Thai

At the end of the day, this simple move is a must-have for every Muay Thai athlete’s tool belt. Whether you are utilizing the movement to land kicks, drive forward to land knees, or throw quick punches while keeping your head off line, the switch step can be used for each of these with a high degree of effectiveness. 

Don’t forget that you can also just mix this switch step into your regular movements and footwork for diversity and open up new doors. The next time you step on the mats for sparring or hitting the bag, be sure to give the switch step a try. 


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