Daniel Sam’s first Muay Thai class at Diesel gave everyone a hell of a workout, and plenty of technical knowledge.
The technique of the day was low kicks.
Make ’em miss…
In this drill we alternate between three methods of defending. The three methods are as follows: bracing the kick, allowing it to ride up the leg, a check and a cross check. Training these three methods on a cycle programs a fighter to alternate between defences on reflex, rather than constantly having to stop and think about what sort of defence they want to use.
However all three of these methods still involve the kick making contact with you. While physically blocking is an important method of defence, it can still hurt and we don’t recommend trying to block every strike, as it will eventually wear you down.
Diesel Owner, Cliff, was once told by his own teacher that going shin to shin all the time, is a lot like a water fight, at the end of the day, you’ll both get wet. Choosing to constantly trade shins in a war of attrition is just asking for a limp.
Thankfully, there are alternatives to constant checking:
It’s important to know how to defend low kicks with evasive movement. The first method Daniel demonstrates is essentially a stance switch. When your opponent targets your lead leg, you retract it and go into the opposite stance. From here you can attack out of that opposite stance, or revert to normal.
The second method starts with a move off the back foot. Scooting backwards to allow the kick to fall short. You should still be facing your opponent ready to come back in and close that gap to attack.
It’s important to note that despite evasion being better for pure defence, these evasive movements (particularly stepping back) can put you out of range to attack. So the more aggressive you choose to fight, the more you should employ blocking over evasion, and vice versa for those looking to out point their opponent gradually.
Make ’em Pay!
Finally we’ll cover how to counter a low kick. All three of these counters come off the check but each focus on a different part of the body, being proficient at all three of these is essential for basic counter fighting. You must counter immediately after checking the kick, failure to do so will just allow your opponent time to attack with another kick or combination.
On each of these counters it’s important to step forward slightly on an angle with your checking leg. Planting your foot down on this angle enables you to get more power into your kick and knee, and allows your rear hand to bypass your opponents lead hand.
If you are a southpaw all this remains the same, with the sole difference being that you will be stepping outside of your opponents jabbing hand.
– Remember, blocking allows you to stay in the pocket but can lead to countering the counter (a tennis match of strikes)
– Remember evasion tends to leave your opponent off balanced and allows you to avoid injury – blocks should be higher up the shin as they tend to be stronger (less give as opposed to lower down which is further away from the fulcrum – the knee), also the block is faster (less movement) and reduces exposure of your standing leg.
– Follow up with your counters immediately
– Check out Daniel Sam’s explosive KO of Jaideep Singh at Glory 5.