The use of elbows in Muay Thai is unique. Many other martial arts and combat sports like karate and taekwondo may include elbow strikes, but none of them allow for elbows to be used quite as practically and often as Muay Thai, especially in competition.
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This grants the average Muay Thai fighter a significant advantage on the feet over practitioners of most other martial arts. This is because the elbows work very much as the knives of the Muay Thai arsenal. When executed correctly, they have the ability to cause severe cuts across the face or even end a fight altogether.
Attacks using the elbows are usually executed in close-range. So even in a situation where two fighters are forced close to one another or into a clinch, where the use of punches and kicks are almost impossible, the average Muay Thai fighter is still able to be effective and even dominate and devastate their opponents with elbow and knee strikes that are no doubt supplemented by knowledge in the art of Muay Thai clinching as well.
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Also, because of the structure and sharpness of the elbow and the blade of the forearm connected to the elbow, elbow strikes are able to slice and penetrate through an opponent’s guard like no other strike can. This is no doubt one of the most distinct and beneficial aspects of the elbow strike.
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Some of the most commonly used elbow strikes in Muay Thai include the horizontal, upward, slashing/diagonal, chopping, and spinning elbow strikes.
The roundhouse kick is without question the most frequently used power kicking technique used in combat sports. And of all the variations of the roundhouse kick across the many martial arts in the world, it the refined version used in Muay Thai that strikes the most fear in the world of unarmed combat.
What makes Muay Thai so unique when compared to all other unarmed fighting arts is no doubt the art’s use of elbow and knee strikes. But make no mistake about it, it is the use of the shins and feet that the ancient art has built its foundation on. And it is through the simplicity, power, and technique of its kicks that Muay Thai has caught the attention of millions of fight fans worldwide.
The mechanics behind the famed Muay Thai roundhouse kick works very much like how a bat is swung. As the long to mid-range weapons of Muay Thai, the roundhouse kick is thrown using as much of the entire body as possible; with the legs, hips, core, and also the arms. The rotation of the entire body when kicking channels weight to the shins at a highly explosive rate. So whether they are thrown to the head, body or legs of an opponent, the Muay Thai roundhouse kick generates a deadly amount of force that is unmatched by any other strike.
Another way the kicks of Muay Thai are highly regarded is through its foot-thrusts, also known in Thai as teeps. Often regarded as one of the most underrated and perhaps also the most underutilized of all the techniques in Muay Thai, the teep enhances a Muay Thai fighter’s offensive and defensive capabilities and plays a huge part in breaking down an opponent mentally.
Many experts and fans of Muay Thai often compare the teep to the jab of the fists (especially the lead leg teep) because of its simplicity and its general function both offensively and defensively in a fight. However, it goes without saying that the teep has a lot more damage and impact potential than a jab. And when done at the right moment, with the right technique, and to the right target area – any variation of the teep can send its victim flying as far as the ring would allow him/her.