A TKD perspective of Muay Thai

Thousand Kicks

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In another thread a person mentioned that they were looking at trying Muay Thai to help with their TKD. As somebody who is currently doing Muay Thai with a TKD background, I thought I'd offer my opinion.

First let me say that I am not a professional fighter and I don't train with professional fighters so some of what I say might be incomplete due to my experience.

1. The damage game versus the point game
My TKD background is primarily Olympic. The object is to score points. A kick delivered to the body that causes pain or doesn't cause pain is scored the same way. In Muay Thai you are trying to do damage. This changes the way you look at sparring and practice. Not all strikes are intended to be KO strikes, but you are trying to position yourself to do damage. The cardio intensity is the same between the two, but the intensity and emphasis on striking with power is more emphasized in Muay Thai.

2. The clinch game is much more complex than I thought
I don't know why I thought the Thai clinch game was basically full clinch with knees or sweeps. You certainly have that, but you also have situations where you clinch for maybe one knee strike then push away. In these instances you don't have control of the opponent but you are affecting them. You also have situations where you are just monitoring them. You are not controlling them or affecting them, but you are making sure they can't fire back freely. All this takes place in the clinch game, and as you are trying to do something the opponent is countering and trying to get there own stuff off.

3. It's not all about toughness
One misconception about Thai fighters is that they needlessly absorb strikes to show how tough they are. My instructor constantly tells us to mind our defense; to protect oueselves. There is just as much blocking as there is evading and parrying. Your foundation has to be solid. Blocking doesn't matter if you get knocked off balance

4. Yep, there's mostly just 2 kicks
Round kick and push kick. So, my TKD back ground helps a lot here as my round kick and push kick were already pretty good. The lack of kicks is made up by being able to use punches, elbows, and knees. Also, with the ability to catch kicks you find that you are much more weary about throwing kicks


All in all I would highly reccomend all martial artist study a little Muay Thai. It covers short medium and long range so no matter what your base style is, you can find a way to incorporate Thai to cover deficiencies or give you more options.
 

Drose427

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Im not going to touch on your first point, as that depends more on the background of the tkd'er and since tkd is so diverse, its a grab bag

2. oh yeah,

Whether its boxing, kickboxing, or MT the clinch is great to recuperate some, get a better feel on where their at stamina-wise, set up great counter punches (a master of the clinch is going to clinch, break off, and absolutely murder you with straights, possibly hooks, on the retreat). Needless to say, its and under-appreciated tactic

However, I know in the 90's clinching was a part of oylmpic tkd (its how mark lopez beat my instructor at the Jr olympics before we got out of the olympic scene). Is it not anymore?

3. + 4. yup

From the same folks who think shin nerves really die. Generally, when I hear folks talking about how MT is the most brutal, elephant killing (or any other exaggeration) art in the world I assume theyve never actually experienced it.


Finally, MT really isnt a kick heavy art. Nor are the kicks the most powerful. Its definitely more about the other techs. At my gym, every now and then the MMA guys will have me kickbox with them because their coaches base is thai and mine isnt. The last thing they want to do is get caught with something they arent used to (axe kick, hig knee raise roundhouse,etc) because its not a normal part of their base

Dont get too caught up with your kicks being caught, unless youre moving slowly its not likely. If you are a proficient kicker, the worst thing you can do is just stop relying on them out of fear.

Even in professional MMA and kickboxing(where youre allowed to catch and sweep) it rarely happens, including god awful kicks. It takes a good bit of dexterity to actually catch or trap

Unless youre kicking into their guard that is
 
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Thousand Kicks

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Clinching, as in actually grabbing your opponent, is not allowed in WTF TKD. My insctructor would teach us to jam the opponent, which is basically closing the distance really fast and ending up chest to chest. You can extend your arms to prevent the other person from kicking, but you can't grab them.

Now, as a person who has comepeted in tournaments I can say there's the things that are allowed and the things you can get away with. Have I ever been in a clinch or seen other people get clinched...sure. Have I ever used the clinch in a TKD match...maybe
 

Danny T

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As to kicks in Muay Thai -
in Traditional Muay Thai there are more than just 2 kicks.
The following is a list of some of the kicks we teach and use. There are others but are mostly variations of these; such as a pivot kick, step in kick, hop in kick.
  • Roundhouse Kick - Te Tat
  • Axe Kick - Te Khao
  • Diagonal Kick - Te Chiang
  • Downward Roundhouse Kick - Te Kot
  • Front or Straight Kick - Te Trong
  • Push Kick or Foot Thrust - Teep
  • Side Kick - Te Tad
  • Spinning Hook Kick, Spinning Heel Kick - Te Klap Lang
The clinch game has single arm controls, double arm controls, arm traps & tie ups, head and shoulder control, hip and waist control, off balancing, sweeps & take-downs, along with knee, elbow, punch, and knee-kick attacks.
 

Tony Dismukes

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Yep, there's mostly just 2 kicks

As to kicks in Muay Thai -
in Traditional Muay Thai there are more than just 2 kicks.

In fairness, the other kicks exist in traditional practice, but in modern Muay Thai the round kick and the teep make up >99% of what is trained in the gym and used in the ring.
 

Drose427

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In fairness, the other kicks exist in traditional practice, but in modern Muay Thai the round kick and the teep make up >99% of what is trained in the gym and used in the ring.

Which is fairly disappointing,

Comfortability and confidence with kicks can be a devastating weapon in the ring

So many times watching UFC do I see people kick terribly (over rotating, leaning way back off their center of gravity, improbable combinations i.e. crescent/axe kick into a same leg skipping side kick etc.) and I think to myself, "Theyre lucky their opponent isnt a comfortable kicker"

Basic kicks(not skipping, or jumping) are just like intermediate difficulty subs, once you get good technique and have that confidence their extremely easier to do effectively without getting yourself caught
 

Danny T

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In fairness, the other kicks exist in traditional practice, but in modern Muay Thai the round kick and the teep make up >99% of what is trained in the gym and used in the ring.
And the other kicks aren't used in the ring because they aren't trained. We train them and use them. Several fighters out of Thailand use them as well. Have to agree the round kick and teep are use much more.
What is also use less and less by many gyms is the leg shield. At least in my area very few gyms use them I guess in modern MT that will be lost soon as well.
 
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Thousand Kicks

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Ah yes, it seems no matter what style I study I can't get away from the traditional versus sport argument.

My MT coach has done a little bit of Muay Buran (excuse the spelling if it is incorrect), but it is few and far between. He was a fighter utilizing "modern" Muay Thai and he teaches modern Muay Thai. He has said his coach knows more of the traditional techniques, but I have never personally met him so I can't say.

I will say the modern form of MT can be devastating; as it is effective at all ranges (short, medium, long)
 

skribs

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1. A powerful hit can still matter in TKD. It can knock the wind out of an opponent and it can knock the will to fight out, too. Its the same as football yes, you can make a technically correct tackle, but look at what happens to someone when they get hit by an awesome shoulder tackle, and how much will they have to keep playing after a big hit.



4. How do you explain Tony Jaa?



I think most TMAs have a lot of the same techniques, they just emphasize others. Capoeira and Taekwondo are kick-heavy, Muay Thai and Karate are punch-heavy, but you have a lot of the same techniques if you get to the advanced level (or just have a school with a different philosophy).



I think that most martial arts, taken as a general sense of the art, hone a specific set of skills in a different way. I think the big thing about MMA or some of the others (Kenpo, Kajukenbo, etc) is mixing and matching what various arts excel at for specific circumstances, such as sport or self defense. Those arts are kind of like the ultimate football teams that people come up with, like if you had Aaron Rodgers, Antonio Brown, Marshawn Lynch, and Gronkowski all on the same team. However, just like how you have a salary cap in football, you can only focus on so many skills at once (depending on how fast you learn and how much time you can practice).



At our school, we do a combination of traditional and modern Taekwondo (traditional forms and self defense, modern sparring rules), but we incorporate some Muay Thai strikes, some Hapkido and Judo grappling skills, and every once in a while we break out the Wing Chun. Ive taught wrestling moves a couple of times, as well as demonstrated (my limited understand of) the Capoiera Jenga (which I should probably break out in sparring class one of these days). My Master explained one day that his school is called World Class Martial Art instead of Taekwondo because we do other things in it.



I guess my conclusion is MT can learn from TKD, and TKD can learn from MT. Both can learn from BJJ, but neither can learn from stubbornness.
 

Chrisoro

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I remember having read somewhere that Tony Jaa also studied Taekwondo when he was a teen, reaching 1st. dan, in addition to learning Muay Thai from his father. That would explain some of his more uncommon(for Muay Thai) kicks.
 

ShotoNoob

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DINKYDOO? And MT members have made light of my handle?:wacky:
TKD and Muay Thai you say....

This is awesome:

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Ignacio Capollinch's TKD talent aside, his success follows from the usual & typical failings of full-contact kick boxers.
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1. Striking strategy of 'trading punches.'
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2. Passive striking defense....
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Ignacio's opponents, however highly ranked by the sports world, suffer greatly from each....:dead:
 

Dinkydoo

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DINKYDOO? And MT members have made light of my handle?:wacky:

It relates to a sketch on a Scottish sitcom that was around when I was growing up (late 90s to 00s) and I've just ended up keeping it as my online handle of choice - let the internet stalking begin

Basically, I stole the word from a fictional character who takes a game of countdown way too seriously:

 
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Thousand Kicks

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There are two ways around this;

1) Do better and faster kicks.
2) Learn to release from leg grabs.

I chose my words poorly.

When I say you are more weary of throwing kicks it's more about understanding that catching kicks is an option for your opponent (as well as punching to the face, checking, clinching, etc.). As the attacker you are more mindful about throwing kicks as Muay Thai rules give a defender more options to counter kicking than WTF TKD rules.
 

Tez3

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It relates to a sketch on a Scottish sitcom that was around when I was growing up (late 90s to 00s) and I've just ended up keeping it as my online handle of choice - let the internet stalking begin

Basically, I stole the word from a fictional character who takes a game of countdown way too seriously:



There's not many who are going to understand what's being said :D I can. (went to school in Scotland)
 

hoshin1600

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I think we have had the conversation on tony ja before. He is from a part of a Thai land very close to where my wife grew up. Tony Ja is an actor. His dad sent him to train with the country's most famous fight choreographer . Your link saying he is an undefeated fighter is pure BS. I also can't substantiate that he knows TKD either. If he does know it he would be in the same situation as jackie chan, actor first then only later decided to take up a true martial art.
 

Drew Ahn-Kim

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There's great things about Muay Thai especially in a MMA context, but you can absolutely make TKD kicks work even head to head with MT switch kicks which are usually going to be more powerful but slower. There's way less telegraphing from a Karate or TKD specialist, while MT often has a switch in it. There's lost of examples of great performances by Kickboxers who also have Karate or TKD training (check out Stephen Wonderboy Thompson before he joined the UFC).

Cerrone vs Pettis a few years back was the perfect example of how the TKD speed kicks can dismantle a very high level MT attack.

 
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