How to use muay thai in a street fight?

Discussion in 'Muay Thai' started by Red Ranger, Aug 2, 2009.

  1. Red Ranger

    Red Ranger White Belt

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    I'd like to first say i am a huge supporter of keeping fights in the ring or cage. Ive actually never been in a streetfight, nor do i want to. But.. This month alone, ive had 3 different confrontations that couldve easily became violent. And now i feel like it wont be long till i have to defend myself without gloves or rules. Keep in mind i didnt instigate any of these confrontations. Im a quiet reserved guy, so those situations take tolls on me. I do muay thai, and my niche so to speak is more of a brawlers type of fight. I take alot of hits, and i like getting my hands dirty and putting it all on the line. So i realize... This isnt exactly the smartest thing to do in a real fight. And honestly i believe i wouldnt have a problem defending myself against anyone my size. Unfortunately, people my size arent the problem. Im 120. Its the bigger guys or guys with other people with them that like to get violent or physical. So.. With the tools taught in muay thai, whats the most practical, effective way of self defense? Thanks.
     
  2. Akira

    Akira Green Belt

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    Size means nothing, I've seen many small people whallop bigger heavier opponenents.

    Techniques, well.. leg kick, elbows to the head, knees to the stomach/chest..even the largest opponent will have trouble with those if they don't know how to block them effectively.
     
  3. blackdiamondcobra

    blackdiamondcobra Purple Belt

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    In the street, its not a sport or anything like it. Muay Thai contributes many positive attributes but you want the right mental state and right arsenal to deal with those situations as well as deal with any environmental issues. If muay thai is your main art, and if self defense or the extension into self defense is the key then you extend into military muay thai or lerd rit or something of that nature and you learn that end. In sport many of the things that are common in the ring become a telegraph in the street and things you want to sort of bring down in a confrontation until the right moment, there are no timings in the street or refs to stop you or to tell you when to stop. Theres no gloves on your hands or handwraps for the most part(in winter environments you have thin or thick gloves), so you want to use your hands in a way the bare knuckle guys did to avoid breaking or fracturing the hands. Dealing with the situations with or without weapons or multiple opponents come into play all of which need to be dealt with too or at least understood within the confines of non sporting combative krabi krabong. So you just take muay thai skills and adjust, refine and work it into the new arena.

    I learned all the different thai martial arts and employ them as needed. From meditation and massage to ring muay thai to weapons to combatics, its there if you need it and want to learn it.
     
  4. Omar B

    Omar B Senior Master

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    Though MT can work for the street, it's designed around the ring and you yourself said you are a brawler and to me that means you take a good amount of damage while dishing it out too. Rather than say "Learn karate so you can end confrontations before you get hit," I'll say, realize that what you are doing is tailored for a ring and rules not for the street and consider for yourself how confrontations on the street usually go. Can you break a hold, choke, wrist grab? How about when a guy and his buds decide to attack, is your training preparing you for a confrontation with multiple attackers from several angles? Can you handle a knife or some other weapon?
     
  5. Franc0

    Franc0 Purple Belt

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    Good points. 1st I'd suggest if your MT training is all you have (which IMO is the one of the best ONLY things to have), then realize a difference between your ring MT, and dirty street MT where you'd implement everything thats illegal in the ring, including carrying a knife.
    2nd, you might want to look into expanding your toolbox to be able to deal with things like Omar mentioned, chokes, locks etc.
    If it's legal to carry a knife where you live, I couldn't suggest enough to learn some basic knifework also.

    Franco
     
  6. MrLane

    MrLane White Belt

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    Fellas! Carrying knives!? SERIOUSLY!?

    SERIOUSLY!?

    According to the adverts over here, you're more likely to get stabbed if you carry a knife - and whats the point in carrying one unless you intend to use it? I don't know about you but I'm not sure I could bring it upon myself to STAB SOMEONE!

    If you want street defense do Krav Maga or find a JKD school. Jesus. Next you'll be saying carry a gun cause everyone else has a knife!
     
  7. Franc0

    Franc0 Purple Belt

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    Seriously? Yes, just because you have the inability to use a knife doesn't mean others do also. I've carried a knife for over 20 yrs, pulled it out once, and the guy who pulled his knife on me 1st in a robbery attempt, simply ran away when he saw mine was bigger than his. Would also like to see where your stats come from.
    Hoping not to derail this Muay Thai thread either.

    Franco
     
  8. Giorgio

    Giorgio Green Belt

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    Ok firstly, the best way you can use MT in a street fight is to use all that cardio training you've done and RUN AWAY. There's no point risking a fight when the other guy might have a knife, or a bunch of friends, or even the intention of beating you to death if he does get the upper hand. Save your pride for your work and your family, not for some thug.

    That said, some basic tips on the two fights I've gotten into, and from stories from friends/training partners:

    -Don't get into clinch. You WILL get your nuts kneed.

    -Don't go for body punches, they're a waste of time. Focus on the head and throat.

    -Use elbows if you can. Most people don't know how to deal with them.

    -Push kicks to the opponent's legs/knees are effective, especially if you're wearing heavy shoes.

    -Most importantly, when you're in the fight, keep your wits about you, and don't get into the blind fury stage that precedes most fights. This is both to keep you aware of whether he has friends coming to back him up, and because you want to be able to break off the fight as soon as possible.

    As soon as you get the upper hand, break it off and say something like "this is stupid, let's just drop it" or something to that effect. Resist the urge to humiliate him or gloat, as that will only make him want to continue fighting, or even pull a knife/go and get a knife to come back and take revenge. Be the bigger man.

    Hope that helps.
     
  9. xoek

    xoek White Belt

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    two observations, both from personal experience.

    1. it is safer for you to use your elbows than punch with a bare fist. your hand is fragile and suseptible to injury. lots of small bones that are easily broken. use your elbows, it's much sturdier allowing you to hit with greater impact force repeated times if necesary.

    2. don't kick. every time you lift your leg off the ground you lose the ability to balance and rebelance rapidly as you or he move. you never know when he's gonna go for the old drunken bum rush, and you do not want to be on the ground. remember GAGE ground avoidance ground escape.

    oh, and also the element of surprise is both very underrated and very effective, and you want to end the fight as soon as possible and leave.

    yes, your first reaction should be to run and avoid these confrontations, however, in a scenario where someone goes hands on with you, your ideal reaction would be to react fast (elbow to the face, or whatever) and that will usually buy you a few seconds from your attacker becoming stunned/ disoriented for a few seconds. Then you would use this time wisely to get the hell out of there, get lost in a crowd or something and leave the area.

    above all muay thai gives you the confidence you need to feel comfortable in these type of situations. remember that heart is beating out of your chest feeling from sparring for the first time?
     
  10. Skpotamus

    Skpotamus Brown Belt

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    From personal experience: A clinch is going to happen in almost any fight that lasts beyond the first strike thrown. whether the people know what they are doing or not. Knowing how to fight in the clinch helps tremendously especially against bigger people. Most people have no idea how to defend the thai clinch and you can actually pull most peoples heads down to their knees without any real resistance.

    Get good at using your knees and elbows in the clinch, hit fast, hard and keep on hitting until the fight is over.

    Always keep an eye on the environment around you. If you see someone else starting to jump in, use the cardio you get from MT training and run.
     
  11. Wagonmancer

    Wagonmancer Yellow Belt

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    If im gonna engage in a fight with someone im pretty pissed off, im picking up something and bashing him over the head. If you are strictly hand to hand with the guy b.s. him and stall to set up a head kick he won't see coming and kick him repeatedly. I don't think many guys on the street will know what to do when your kicking their knees out and knocking the air out of them kicks. Add in some elbows to the face when their focused on your kicks and i don't see them lasting long. Just stay moving or they'll tackle you.
     
  12. Rob2109

    Rob2109 Yellow Belt

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    Obviously the best tactic is to just run away, like various other posters have said. If you find yourself having to fight i'd use low kicks, target the side of the knee, if they cant stand, they cant fight. Plus if you're wearing jeans you can still low kick easily and they will be expecting a punch to the head (element of surprise) There aren't many other martial artists that can deal with the low kick so the average joe will have no chance, you need it to be over quickly as they may have mates close by to join in.
    Another point is that you can knock someone down, they bang their head on the pavement and can die - it happens fairly often here in the UK and you would be looking at Manslaughter. Not sure where you're from but the law generally looks badly on a trained martial artist battering a guy senseless.
    That's just my two cents worth anyway, hope it's of some use to you.
     
  13. Giorgio

    Giorgio Green Belt

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    @Skpotamus: Although I agree that most fights end up in a clinch after the first few blows are exchanged, I really would try to avoid them. The clinch in Muay Thai is the most regulated (and thus most unrealistic) part of the martial art. No groin strikes, no joint locks, no chokes, and no transition to groundwork. Although you may be an expert in the Muay Thai clinch and feel comfortable in it, you will NOT be comfortable in a clinch in a street situation. And as I mentioned before, the Muay Thai clinch position practically INVITES knees to the groin.

    @Wagonmancer: What kind of trousers do you wear that allow you to pull of a flash kick to the head? I need to get me some :D

    Seriously, though, in most street situations you're gonna be wearing jeans, which means you'll be struggling to pull off kicks to the ribs, let alone the head. Rob is right on when he advises using the low kicks. Just make sure you keep your wits about you. You'll probably need a couple of good low kicks to incapacitate him, whereas he only needs one good hook to knock you down.
     
  14. Skpotamus

    Skpotamus Brown Belt

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    Have you ever tried to do anything in jeans before? I can throw head height kicks with regular jeans on (I'm 6'1"), both teeps and rounds. If you can't, then you either need to work on your kicks a bit more because your flexibility and abdominal strength are lacking or pull your pants up. As long as you wear your pants around your waist (where they are supposed to be) and not your thighs you shouldn't have any real problems with kicking high. A quick youtube search shows a newby kicking a heavy bag with jeans on without stretching Here's a video of a guy in cargo pants kicking high http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4g9_ZhdUDHA&feature=related
    Here's tom kurz kicking high in a suit without stretching
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsftAKAB1hg&feature=channel_page Another kurz video showing people doing suspended splits, some of them in jeans.
    A quick trailer to kurz video "power high kicks with no warmup" shows him throwing quite a few high kicks with jeans on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaMqRJROcTM&feature=channel_page (Personally, I don't recommend kicking to the head unless you are doing it as a clinch exit).

    Why do people assume that you would follow ring rules in a street fight? Hell, the reason the ref watches it so closely is that people don't follow the rules in the ring when they are supposed to!
    When I HAVE used the clinch in real street fights before, I threw knees and elbows until the fight was over, knees targeted the groin and ribs, elbows the temple and chin. I have yet to have anybody be ABLE to throw a groin shot since I start kneeing and elbowing while I'm grabbing for the clinch. A proper thai clinch will get their head down low, below your chin level (remember, most people don't train in muay thai and will LET you pull their head down instead of fighting for inside control and keeping their head up), making them using knees impossible, and punches difficult since they will be punching up at you and create a perfect opening for elbows. I've used it in two real fights where I threw the knees and elbows, and probably a half dozen times working security at fraternity parties where I didn't have to throw any strikes (most of the time you can actually push the person's head all the way to the ground and the thai clinch becomes a takedown).
     
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  15. Jaspthecat

    Jaspthecat Orange Belt

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    I study Muay Thai and Krav Maga.

    Krav Maga which concentrates on the topic of street defense and assailant neutralisation relies on a lot of Muay Thai techniques.

    I would agree that if you bounced around waiting for a gap to strike as per MT sparring, you are putting yourself at a possible disadvantage however, Muay Thai combined with the burst and multiple attack philosopy of Krav would be quite effective I think.
     
  16. tenzen

    tenzen Blue Belt

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    imho. firstly i would like to say that the poster was asking about when in a street fight so run away is no longer an option as he stated he did that and it works but he wants to know about in fighting what he should do. also we need to keep in mind he is asking about the tools he has not learning new ones. so all the krav maga talk is irelevant. please remember this is my opinion and may not be what he was getting at.

    as far as technique i would say stomp/push kicks to the knees and elbows to the head and yes avoid the clinch. knees to the legs and torso will work also. a solid knee to the sciatic nerve will definately slow them down and drop the guard momentarily thus setting up an elbow stirke to the face, preferably the lower jaw which is full of quick knockout pressure points. others are above the eyebrow and of course the temple. these are easy. a more difficult one is under the cheek bone close to the nose. these points are very high chance knockout points. they will work for you with hands or elbows but you want to use your elbows to save your hands although this is not always possible. this only works in the ring with elbows as the gloves stop you from reaching the pressure point.

    hope this helps. sorry if the first few lines come off wrong its not on purpose.
     
  17. Giorgio

    Giorgio Green Belt

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    @skpotamus: Thanks for posting the links to the vids. Two things, though: Firstly, you're right, I don't wear jeans like that, the jeans I usually wear (and which most people my age wear around London, to be honest), while not being "around the thighs" seriously restrict how high you can kick. As I said, about the hip is as high as you're likely to go, and even then, you'll be fighting against the jeans. I was very impressed by those videos, I've honestly never seen jeans like that. Also, I wouldn't be caught dead in a suit as baggy and horribly cut as the one in the second video you linked. :D

    Secondly, I'm glad the clinch works out for you in street fights. I still don't recommend it. You ask why people would follow ring rules in a street fight: they follow ring rules because they've been training ring rules for years. Not many proper Muay Thai gyms teach students how to knee people in the groin during a clinch, and almost no Nak Muay who's training for a bout bothers to drill kneeing to the groin, or defend a knee to the groin. Because it's just not part of the sport, it doesn't get taught, and it doesn't get trained.

    I'm not saying that a Nak Muay will out of principle refuse to knee someone in the groin, I'm saying that if you've trained the clinch for 5 years with (almost) complete confidence that you can go into clinch without getting kneed in the nuts, you will by definition not be as ready for a knee to the nuts as you will be for say, a hook to the face, or a kick to the stomach, which you most definitely WILL have drilled in the gym.

    My advice is to stick to ranges where you know (and control) the game. If you're both unarmed, stick to punching and kicking ranges, because there's absolutely nothing Muay Thai can't handle at those ranges. In grappling range, you're dealing with joint locks, chokes, groin strikes, biting, and eye gouging, all weapons you haven't trained to defend against.

    And forget about it if he gets you on the ground and you haven't done any BJJ. I'm not saying he'll definitely beat you at these ranges, but you're throwing away the advantages your training gives you if you let him get to these ranges.

    That's my two cents, anyways.
     
  18. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes Senior Master

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    In general I'm a strong advocate of using the muay thai clinch in a self-defence situation. If you're skilled in using the clinch, it should be easy to learn how to use and defend against knees to the groin in that position - just do a little supplemental training with some friends on the side. Against an untrained opponent, establishing head control should give a huge advantage in landing knees to the groin or anywhere else.

    In this particular case I'm not so sure. The poster weighs 120 pounds and doesn't have grappling/groundfighting experience. Against a much larger opponent, clinching could lead to being tackled to the ground, which is a bad place to be if you're much smaller and don't have groundfighting skills.
     
  19. Skpotamus

    Skpotamus Brown Belt

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    From my experience, the smaller guys get grabbed more often in fights. I think it's an ego trip for some jack@$$es to man handle smaller guys in fights, like it makes them feel powerful or something. Shrug, pretty much every fight I've seen had clinch and grappling work (usually no technique, just grab, squeeze and lift/trip or hold and hit), so why not train to fight in the range that happens even when you're trying hard to NOT fight there? I mean, boxing, Muay Thai, San Shou, MMA, Real Contact Sick Fighting, street fight vids, etc all show an extremely high amount of grappling and wrestling during fights, usually standing up grappling and hitting, even in the sports that don't allow it. It's pretty hard to stay out of a clinch. Being better than other people at the range that happens so often is never a bad thing IMO.


    As always, YMMV.
     
  20. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes Senior Master

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    I totally agree. There's an excellent chance that an assailant will try to grab the smaller guy, and in that case the muay thai clinch skills can come in handy. I was responding to the debate over whether the smaller guy should deliberately choose to enter the clinch range in order to use his muay thai training.
     

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