Tools Of The Trade: The Muay Thai Swing Kick

The basic Muay Thai swing kick, also known as a round kick, is one of the key weapons that separates Muay Thai from other styles of kickboxing. It is devastating when it lands, yet equally devastating if the striker accidentally makes contact with their opponent’s bones (knee, hip, elbow). The motion of the basic Muay Thai swing kick is most notably described as swinging a baseball bat. When executed correctly, the shin bone literally swings through the target, making it one of the most powerful techniques in Kickboxing & Muay Thai.

Many of the new practitioners of Muay Thai in our mississauga martial arts academy have a hard time developing their basic Muay Thai swing kick. There are a few reasons why this is the case:

  • You still haven’t perfected your stance
  • You are lacking hip mobility
  • You are missing a specific piece of the mechanical puzzle or, 
  • You are simply not practicing enough

The swing kick isn’t something that comes naturally to most people. We can all figure out rather quickly how to punch, teep, knee, and elbow, but the basic Muay Thai swing kick is something unique. Just like swinging a golf club, it’s not something we have an innate ability for. It requires practice, coaching, more practice, and most importantly, a strict observance of the fundamental mechanics associated with an efficient swing kick.

Let’s take a look at some of the basic steps we focus on at mississauga muay thai that will improve your swing kick.

  • Start in your stance – this may sound silly, but a lot of athletes still don’t have a good stance, and this negatively affects your kick. Your lead foot must be pointing forward to begin the kick, and you must be standing upright. If your lead foot is turned inward, or if you have even the slightest lean in your upper body, your kick won’t come out smoothly. 
  • Pivot the lead foot outward – Pivoting the lead foot opens up your hips, and creates the correct kicking angle. If you keep your lead foot straight, your hips won’t rotate, which is a key component for developing powerful and smooth swing kicks. It doesn’t require an exaggerated step. When you get comfortable with the kick, you will learn where you need to step based on where your target is. For now, remove extra variables. Begin with a small pivot outward on the ball of your lead foot. 
  • Rear shoulder turns first – We were working on a drill this week where partners locked up their rear hands before they began the rear kick. I like this drill because it gets your shoulder rotating forward and it demonstrates the correct distance you need to be from your opponent to land a swing kick with nothing but shin. Rotating your rear shoulder toward your opponent is known as the ‘loading phase’. It ensures maximum twisting of the hips and generates serious rotational force. This may sound abstract to those that didn’t participate in the drill, so here is a video demonstration by two instructors from North Jersey Muay Thai featured on Paul ‘The Reaper’ Banasiak’s YouTube account. 

             4. Hip and shoulder face the target – When you’ve made contact with your target, both your rear shoulder and rear hip have now fully rotated and are lined up evenly, facing your target. This is how every kick should end. It ensures that as much power as possible is being delivered into your target.

            5. Supporting foot has fully rotated – You are pivoting on the ball of your foot throughout  the movement of the swing kick. When you make contact with your target, your supporting foot should be fully rotated with your heel facing your target, toes facing away.

These are a few of the basic principles that will help you develop a smooth and powerful swing kick. 

Here is a video from Shane Fazen at fightTips. This is a great video describing what not to do when throwing your basic Muay Thai swing kick. 

And another video from Sean Fagan the Muay Thai Guy. It’s a quick description of the kick

For those of us with tight hips and lack of mobility, here is a video that demonstrates some great stretches to improve your kicks. You can search ‘hip mobility stretches for kicks’ in Google our YouTube to discover lots of different stretches. We don’t all suffer from the same issues, so it’s important to try different stretches and see which ones will help you the most

Finally, a really smart & clear demonstration of the kick emphasizing the importance of the hip rotation and the impact the use of this fundamental tool can deliver.

Take a look

Final thoughts on the Basic Muay Thai Swing Kick

You’ve now been given the fundamental principles to observe if you want to throw a really smooth and powerful swing kick. None of this comes easily, but it’s certainly worth you best efforts. Keep practicing the movement. Don’t think about power. Think about technique. The speed and power will follow when you have mastered the basics.

Keep practising!!!