Muay Thai Techniques – Chapter 1: Punches

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Ever since starting with Muay Thai training the Art of the eight limbs keeps fascinating me. In order to understand its background, its culture and my coach better I’m trying to explore more of the techniques and history of this fascinating sport. Today we’ll try to get a better understanding of underlying techniques, strikes, punches and kicks.

Boxing Techniques

Lets start with boxing techniques. When competing in Muay Thai fights punches will not get you the highest score on scorecards, nevertheless punches are obviously important to prepare and introduce other techniques. A good punch can be the opening for other scoring opportunities. Worth mentioning for all kind of punches btw: It’s not only how to throw them but also how to use the rest of your body while doing it. Feet, hip, shoulder…keep your eyes open for that!

For the beginning we start with some of the basic punches – punches you’ll usually learn quite early when taking on Muay Thai. Therefore lots of nak muay (Muay Thai students) consider those punches boring – but they are the basis for everything that follows.

Jab | Muay Thai Punch

The jab is well known all across Martial Arts. It is the most basic punch there is. It is, more often than not, the first choice of offensive weapon. The beauty of a good jab is that you will be able to use it in offense as well as in defense. Therefore it deserves a lot of attention and should be practiced to perfection.

Cross | Muay Thai Punch

While the jab is more of a conservative punch, the cross is also quite often called ‘power shot’. That’s the punch that will shake your opponent and that will enable you to k.o. him or her. A good jab is important to set up a perfect cross and only if you hit it right, you’ll see the effect you want.


Hook | Muay Thai Punch

The hook is already quite difficult to master but a great shot if you can actually hit the chin of your opponent. If it connects it will blow out the lights of the receiver and hence also has the name ‘knock out punch’. When starting to train Muay Thai, given you are not a southpaw, you will most likely go for the left hook at first. A good hook is essential to every fighter’s arsenal and a weapon that the opponent often does not see coming. So work on that!

Uppercut | Muay Thai Punch

Now when you watch Muay Thai fights you will often see that fighters ‘hug’ a lot. This means they go into the infight. Unlike Floyd Mayweather they don’t do that to waste time (well, some) but to knock the air out of the opponent. One of those ways to knock the air out of the your opponent is the uppercut. You can throw the uppercut with either the lead or the back hand. The power comes from your core (yes, core workout!). The uppercut is not only for close infights though. It can also help you to knock the opponent out if you can connect to his/her chin.

Overhand Punch | Muay Thai Punch

Now this punch is another potential ‘knock out punch’. This technique requires you to use your back hand. Throwing this punch generates lots of momentum for the attacker and hence makes the overhand punch quite success- and powerful.  from the overhand punch makes this one of the most powerful punch techniques that a fighter can throw. In order to land an overhand punch, you will need to set it up effectively.

Alright. Those have been some of the more basic punches. Which doesn’t mean they are easy. Just that they should be in the arsenal of everyone who wants to do Muay Thai on a bit ore of a serious level. Lets no check some of the more advanced punches.

Spinning Back Fist | Advanced Muay Thai Punch

The spinning back fist is a punch technique that is not seen that often in Martial Arts and while it is a Muay Thai technique not too many fighters dare to use it in actual combats. The generated momentum while spinning is crucial here and needs to be delivered into the back of the fighters fist.

Superman Punch | Advanced Muay Thai Punch

If you are a Wrestling fan you might think about Roman Reigns’ superman punch here. That is, however, not exactly how it works in real life. Nevertheless the superman punch is one of the ‘cooler’ ways to knock your opponent out and also works because it is based on some kind of a fake movement. You will see in the video how you will try to fool your opponent and then knock him out. If you are able to do this well, not only will gain advantage over your opponent but the crowd will also love you for throwing such entertaining punches.

Some examples of devastating Muay Thai punches:

Cross Knockout:

Hook Knockout:

Uppercut Knockout:

Spinning Back Fist knockout:

Overhand Punch Knockout:

Superman Punch knockout:

Enough with the punching for now though. It’s called the Art of Eight Limbs. Let’s go a bit further down in our next article, Chapter 2 – Kicks.

Sascha Funk

Founder / Editor at
Sascha is the publisher of and switched from an online marketing agency life in Europe to a teaching and education life in Thailand. He also writes about Teaching & Technology.

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