The Game

Defense against attacks

ThaiboxingBlocking – defender’s hard blocks to stop a strike in its path so preventing it reaching its target (e.g. the shin block described in more detail below)

Redirection – defender’s soft parries to change the direction of a strike (e.g. a downwards tap to a jab) so that it misses the target

Avoidance – moving a body part out of the way or range of a strike so the defender remains in range for a counter-strike. For example, the defender moves their front leg backwards to avoid the attacker’s low kick, then immediately counters with a roundhouse kick. Or the defender might lay their head back from the attacker’s high roundhouse kick then counter-attack with a side kick.

Evasion – moving the body out of the way or range of a strike so the defender has to move close again to counter-attack, e.g. defender jumping laterally or back from attacker’s kicks

Disruption – Pre-empting an attack e.g. with defender using disruptive techniques like jab, foot-thrust or low roundhouse kick, generally called a “leg kick”(to the outside or inside of the attacker’s front leg, just above the knee) as the attacker attempts to close distance

Anticipation – Defender catching a strike (e.g. catching an roundhouse kick to the body) or countering it before it lands (e.g. defender’s low kick to the supporting leg below as the attacker initiates a high roundhouse kick).

Punches and kicks

Thaiboxing KickDefensively, the concept of “wall of defense” is used, in which shoulders, arms and legs are used to hinder the attacker from successfully executing techniques. Blocking is a critical element in Thaiboxing and compounds the level of conditioning a successful practitioner must possess.  Low and mid body roundhouse kicks are normally blocked with the upper portion of a raised shin. High body strikes are blocked ideally with the forearms and shoulder together, or if enough time is allowed for a parry, the glove(elusively), elbow, or shin will be used. Mid section roundhouse kicks can also be caught/trapped, allowing for a sweep or counter attack to the remaining leg of the opponent. Punches are blocked with an ordinary boxing guard and techniques similar, if not identical, to basic boxing technique. A common means of blocking a punch is using the hand on the same side as the oncoming punch. For example, if an orthodox fighter throws a jab (being the left hand), the defender will make a slight tap to redirect the punch’s angle with the right hand. The deflection is always as small and precise as possible to avoid unnecessary energy expenditure and return the hand to the guard as quickly as possible. Hooks are most often blocked with a motion most often described as “combing the hair”, that is, raising the elbow forward and effectively shielding the head with the forearm, flexed biceps and shoulder. More advanced Thaiboxing blocks are usually in the form of counter-strikes, using the opponents weight (as they strike) to  amplify the damage that the countering opponent can deliver. This requires impeccable timing and thus can generally only be learned by many repetitions.

Conditioning
Thaiboxing PunchLike most competitive full contact fighting sports, Thaiboxing has a heavy focus on body conditioning. Thaiboxing specifically designed to promote the level of fitness and toughness required for rinq competition. Training    regimens    include    many    staples    of    combat    sport   conditioning   such as running, shadowboxing, rope jumping, body weight resistance  exercises, medicine ball exercises, abdominal exercises and in some cases weight training. Thaiboxing practitioners typically apply Namman Muav liberally beforehand after their intense training sessions.

Training that is specific to a Thaiboxing fighter includes training with coaches on Thai pads, focus mitts, heavy bag, and sparring. The daily training includes many rounds (3-5 minute periods broken up by a short rest, often 1-2 minutes) of these various methods of practice. Thai pad training is a cornerstone of Thaiboxing conditioning which involves practicing punches, kicks, knees, and elbow strikes with a trainer wearing thick pads which cover the forearms and hands. These special pads are used to absorb the impact of the fighter’s strikes and allow the fighter to react to the attacks of the pad holder in an Alive manner. The trainer will often also wear a belly pad around the abdominal area so that the fighter can attack with straight kicks or knees to the body at anytime during the round.

Focus mitts are specific to training a fighter’s hand speed, punch combinations, timing, punching power, defense, and counter-punching and may also be used to practice elbow strikes. Heavy bag training is a conditioning and power exercise that reinforces the techniques practiced on the pads. Sparring is a means to test technique, skills, range, strategy, and timing against a partner. Sparring is often a light ro medium contact exercise because competitive fighters on a full schedule are not advised to risk injury by sparring hard. Specific tactics and strategies can be trained with sparring including in close fighting, clinching and kneeing only, cutting off the ring, or using reach and distance to keep aggressive fighter away.

Due to the rigorous training regimen (some Thai boxers fight almost every other week) professional Thaiboxing fighters have relatively short careers in the ring. Many retire from competition to begin instructing the next generation of Thai fighters. Most professional Thai boxers come  from the lower economic backgrounds, and the fight money(after the other parties get their cut) is sought as means of support for their profession.

Technique
ThaiboxingFormal Thaiboxing techniques are divided into two groups: mae mai or major techniques andluk maior minor techniques. Thaiboxing often a fighting art of attrition, where opponents exchange blow with one another This is certainly the case with traditional stylists in Thailand, but is a less popular form of fighting in the contemporary world fighting circuit where the Thai style of exchanging blow for blow is no longer favorable. Almost all techniques in Thaiboxing use the entire body movement, rotating the hip with each kick, punch, elbow and block.