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Muay Boran

Muay Thai is well known for its adaptive style, and the main reason for this can only be attributed to the number of weapons at a fighter’s disposal. Regardless of range there is always a multitude of attacks, counters and defensive moves to draw from. This section will look at some of the basic principles that could be considered the building blocks.

I feel it is also worth while noting, that the spelling used when describing the moves in Thai will vary from source to source and you will no doubt notice a difference between web sites and even books. This is not because none of us in the Thai Boxing world can spell. It merely reflects the fact that there is no definitive way to translate Thai script into our western alphabet. So all translations are based on phonetics and how each individual translates them.


Below are just a few of the basic punching techniques used in Muay Thai. Although punches are an effective enough weapon, they are by many practitioners considered one of the weakest of all weapons available to the Thai Boxer.

It isn’t until they are used to string together combinations that they come into their own. With lightening speed and accuracy they are an effective way to cause both confusion and distraction. Opening the way for a much more decisive blow.



The elbow is an extremely effective weapon when used properly. As a close quarter weapon its lightening fast and difficult to guard against. Anyone who has seen televised fights from Thailand will know that the elbow is used to cut the opponent as much as knock them out. Producing the same result – end of fight!


Unlike boxing, when two Thai boxers lock together in a clinch the real heard work begins. Both fighters must use all their skills to find an opening whilst keeping their opponent off balance to avoid receiving a counter strike. The level of activity and the referee usually dictates how long a clinch will last for, and even though they may not last very long to look at, the knees are an extremely powerful weapon.


Front Kicks and Roundhouse kicks are the long range weapons of choice, they can also be the most devastating and effective techniques in any fighters arsenal. But before a fighter can fully utilise this weapon, conditioning of the shins is required. For both offensive and defensive purposes.

Advancing Moves

The ability to close the distance on your opponent should also be considered a basic requirement. Even if you just stick to the simple techniques, some are more suitable for advancing (moving forward). You’ll want to be able to move in all directions including backwards while fighting, but these are a few techniques that allow you to cover distance quickly and effectively.

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