Essential Muay Thai Stance Techniques
Podcast by Charlie.
The Muay Thai Stance is your Foundation
Your Muay Thai stance is very important and should be the first thing you learn. You need to get comfortable with your chosen stance before you start training in anything else in this combat sport.
It doesn’t matter whether you are going into an offensive attack or getting into a defensive position, you’re going to start from your stance and you’re going to return to it.
That’s why it’s very important that you learn your stance first.
Some of you might be coming from a different martial art and you might find learning a Muay Thai stance hard to get used to at first. The main thing is that you put in the time into correcting your mistakes and training your body until your stance starts to feel natural to you.
There has been much discussion about which stance is the best among many instructors and the reason for that is because each gym has its own way of teaching their style of Thai combat.
There’s probably no end to the debates, but we’ll answer the question with an open ended answer.
What is the best Muay Thai stance? The best Muay Thai stance differs among instructors and gyms. Some prefer a squared rather than a staggered stance, some say an upright position is better than bending your back more, and some say remaining on the balls of your feet is best while others think you should have the back of your feet planted.
Who should you listen to and what stance should you adopt? The best answer is for you to listen to your instructor and do what he tells you. That’s the best way for you to start on a good footing.
If you don’t have an instructor, then don’t worry about it because we’ll be going over some stances and how you should perform them. While learn though, you want to always check your stance. You can use a mirror each day. Take a couple of minutes and practice.
Even when you get experienced in Muay Thai, you’ll still do this exercise of checking your stance in the mirror. I’m not joking. Even top fighters check themselves to make sure they’re stance is right. That’s because their stance is their foundation and without a proper Muay Thai stance, their skills become weak.
After you’ve gotten better at Muay Thai and you understand it more, then you can start to try out other stances and see which one feels best to you.
This isn’t going to happen over night. You will take some time in learning which stance is best for you and you’re going to work very hard at finding it.
You have to remember that everyone is different. We’re all built different and that’s something you have to think about.
If someone is shorter than you and he’s using a particular stance, and he’s trying to get you to use the same stance, it may not be for you. His height, arm span, the length of his legs, and body type will play a major role in what stance he’s using.
Your arms may be longer, you could be taller, and you’re physical traits will most likely be different. So his stance will probably not work for you.
Even though there are differences among fighter’s stances, there are similarities among Muay Thai stances.
These similarities include fighters having balanced structure, hands should always be up during offensive and defense techniques, their heads should be tilted downwards slightly, shoulders should be up for chin protection, and the eyes are focused on the opponent’s chest to watch for upper and lower body movements for when he strikes.
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Muay Thai Stance Key Points to Implement
We went over the fact that there are similarities between stances that all fighters should poses even though there are many different types of stances.
These similarities can be found within the key points below.
Stance Key Points Include:
- Your techniques will begin and end with your stance.
- You must find a stance you’re comfortable with.
- Different stances are better for different situations.
- Different stances work better against different fighters.
- You should master multiple stances.
- Mastering multiple stances gives you more options during fights.
- Check your stance in the mirror.
- Checking your stance in the mirror for proper form.
All Stances Basic Rules are:
- Balanced body structure
- Weight is evenly distributed over hips
- Hands are up and out for blocking
- Feet are shoulder width apart (give or take some inches)
- Chin is tucked
- Shoulders are up for jaw protection
- Eyes focused on opponent’s chest
- Knees are slightly bent
- Techniques will begin and end with your stance
Now we’re going to cover some of the main Muay Thai stances which are known as the Standard, the Square, Weight Back, and Southpaw Stances.
The Standard Stance Explained
The Muay Thai stance begins with in a left lead stance. This means that your right arm and right leg are placed back in the power position. Next, you’re going to distribute just a tiny bit more of your weight onto your front leg and you’re steady in readiness holding your balance.
Your back foot should be flat on the ground and should be at a 45 degree angle in relation to where your opponent would be facing you.
Your front leg is going to be bent just a little but your back leg will be almost straight.
Your body structure should be straight and your weight should be spread evenly above your hips.
Your head needs to be leaning forward and downward slightly so that your shoulders can cover and protect your neck and jaw.
Keep your hands up to eye level so that you can guard your head and face. At this point your left hand needs to be at least half of your arm’s distance to your head while your right hand is close to your head and protecting your jaw.
Now you’re going to make sure that your elbows are outward slightly with just enough room to bring your knees below your elbows to check any incoming kicks.
Don’t forget, during all this you’re going to keep your eyes on your opponent’s chest. This allows you to be able to watch for his upper and lower movements.
The Square Stance is Favored for Kicking
The squared stance is a common Muay Thai stance that is favored by fighters who like to kick.
The reason for this is that their weight is spread more evenly between their legs. This makes it easier for them to kick and check any of their opponent’s blows.
Another thing about the square stance is that it gives fighters the ability to quickly switch between their lead stances. They can change from right lead to left lead as they move forwards and backwards.
This stance is very effective if you can master it but it’s also going to leave a lot of your body open for your opponent to attack.
If you decide to learn this stance and eventually use it, you’re going to need to know how to defend yourself.
The type of attacks that are going to break this stance’s defense are direct blows along a straight path. To defend against them, you’ll need to keep your hands up and keep your guard tight.
One thing to consider if you were to use this stance outside of your training and/or competitions is in a street fight.
A street fight is dirty and anyone is liable to get hurt. If your opponent is a good fighter, you’re going to be exposed in the groin area. So that’s something to think about.
The Square Stance Explained
Take your left foot and bring it forward slightly ahead of your right foot. Keep your weight spread evenly amongst both of your legs.
Keep your body structure in an upright position with your knees slightly bent.
Lower your head and chin slightly. Get your shoulders up to guard your chin and neck area.
Put your hands up to protect your head and face.
Your left lead hand is going to be half of your arms length away from your head while your right hand is close to your head.
Just like in the standard Muay Thai stance, your elbows are outward slightly with just enough room for you to bring up your knees to the inside of your elbows to check any incoming kicks.
The Weight Back Stance
This stance is used by many fighters during their fights. You’ve most likely seen this stance when two fighters are within kicking range of one another.
From this stance you can throw kicks with your lead leg, block or check with your lead leg, or you can stop your opponent from using his lead leg in a push kick.
Sounds like a good stance to use, but there’s a weakness in it. The weakness of this stance is found in your rear leg area. Your rear leg is what is now supporting all of your weight. Attacks to your rear leg will throw you off balance pretty easily if you’re not careful.
So, how do you become better at using the weight back stance? You need to be able to move in an instant to be proficient at it. You’ll also be switching back and forth between your regular stance and this one to try and catch your opponent slipping.
Most pro fighters don’t stay in the weight back stance during their complete fight, only a few will.
If you’re thinking you can last the whole fight, let me tell you that this stance yielded only a few wins. It’s your choice.
The Weight Back Stance Explained
In this stance your going to stand with all your weight resting on your back leg. Your front foot is going to be resting on the tips of your toes.
While trying to find an opening to attack your opponent, you’re going to bounce your lead leg up and down to get your opponent off rhythm.
During this Muay Thai stance your back leg is bent slightly and you body structure is straight and is in the upright position.
Your neck is bent with your head slightly downward. This is so that your neck and chin can be hidden and protected by your shoulders.
In this stance, your left arm is going to be half of your arm’s length away from your head and your right arm is going to be about six inches away from your head.
Your elbows are going to be slightly outward just enough for your knees to come up on the inside of them so that you’re able to block your opponent’s kicks from hitting your ribs or head.
The Southpaw Stance
Most right-handed fighters are going to stand with their left foot out in front. Their right arm and leg are going to be back in the power position so they can use them to throw their hardest and toughest blows.
You can say the same thing about left-handed fighters, but in the opposite. That’s what you call a southpaw.
If you’re a southpaw, you’re going to use the same moves as if you were right-handed. The only difference is that when you’re setting to attack or defend, it’s going to be a little different. So will your fighting strategy, that’s also going to change.
Also, if you’re in a standard stance and you’re the one fighting against the southpaw, the way you throw your punches and kicks are going to change. You may need to use more of your Muay Thai footwork and combinations to create openings.
The thing you don’t want to do is to slowly move towards your opponent’s power side.
If you and another fighter are standing with both of your left legs forward, you’re both going to move towards your right to stay away from each other’s power punches and kicks.
The tricky part is when one has his left leg forward and the other has his right leg forward.
Whoever is in the southpaw stance will want to move towards his right. The fighter who’s in the standard Muay Thai stance will try and move towards his left.
So what happens when both of them try to move at the same time? If they’re not experienced enough they’ll run into one another.
Experienced fighters will work to get their lead leg on the outside of their opponent’s lead leg. This can be an advantage for the fighter who manages to do it. The reason for that is he opens up his opponent’s back and exposes it for openings to attack easily.
This is an important strategy when using the southpaw stance or if your fighting against someone who is using the southpaw.
If you’re not a southpaw, it’s a good idea to work on it as much as possible during your sparring. You’ll never know when you’ll face a fighter who uses southpaw stance.
If you’re learning Muay Thai in a gym but you can’t find anyone who’s a southpaw, then you should get into the southpaw stance and use it to practice.
For your information, most pro Muay Thai fighters can switch between standard stance and southpaw stance whenever they want.
I’m not saying it’s an easy task to do, especially if you’re right handed. Before you attempt to even start with the southpaw stance, you have to master your normal Muay Thai stance first.
Once you’ve accomplished that, then you can take on the southpaw. After mastering the southpaw, you’re going to be a better fighter and have more options in your arsenal.
Remember! The Muay stance is your foundation. You can’t become a great fighter without mastering it. Heck, you can’t become a good fighter either!
I hope you enjoyed these instructions on The Essential Muay Thai Stance for Offensive & Defensive training. If you have anything else to add or would like to share some of your knowledge, please do so.
Leave a comment below and as always, thanks for listening. OH! And don’t forget to share guys! Spread the knowledge!