Kicking the muay thai way

I was thinking about posting some video covering the ins and outs of the ever popular Muay Thai swing kick, probably one of the most practiced techniques in the art for most people.

For exercise purposes even doing a leg raise is going to be useful and increase your overall fitness… BUT when we get into the details, it’s clear a lot can go very wrong in a poorly executed  KICK of any type.

Off the very top.. I am not talking about mixed martial arts, where i can personally attest to how god damn slippery the octagon is at certain spots and times, making it tricky at times for even the best technician to launch a proper kick. The flip side of the coin is something more like traditional stadium Muay Thai in Thailand where kicks are scored disproportionately high compared to other tools and  its worth the risk to launch them in large numbers, which guarantees you a safe win via points if the K.O. doesn’t come through.

Im going to use k1 style muay thai kickboxing / low kick fighting  as the example since it’s pretty much is a happy medium.

My shins are hard and I practice a lot!  WHY NOT KICK????

Well think about it.. you place yourself on 1 leg, “ONE” leg while launching an attack with the other..  If you miss you probably break the momentum of your attack  and more commonly if the kick’s telegraphed or poorly thrown, you are wide open for counter punches..

check out this clip starting at the 5:50 mark for a prime example of that mistake and the results.


Your hands are faster and don’t comprise your base much when launched compared to kicking.

It seems like using the hands is a much better idea wouldn’t you say?

Lets not get to far ahead of ourselves now as in all cases timing is everything and the muay thai swing kick has some serious upside when used properly.


Getting those kicks off right….

hand and head position are going to vary but a few  things are going to remain constant

  • your legs are longer than arms, making kicking a good idea if you aren’t superior in the punching game
  • The THAI style round house/ swing kick is all about hip rotation to build speed and power… not to say this is the only way to kick but this is what I am looking at today.
  • Protecting your head either by moving it or shielding it while kicking is probably a good idea and cuts back the odds of you walking into a counter punch like our friend Mr Kikuta in the video above.
  • Done properly, your kicks have a lot more destructive power than your punches; just think the weight of leg vs that of your hand. Add the force you generate with propper hip rotation and you may as well be swinging a baseball bat at the target.

Still have doubts? watch Buakaw kick down a banana tree with his bare leg “do not try this at home or anywhere else!!!”


Lets take a look at Alex Snendon’s excellent review of the mechanics of the swing kick..”yes, its kind of rough with the accent but get over it, its a great piece other than that “.. then jump right into seeing what type of results you get when its done right.

Basics of the thai swing kick


So there you have it, the basics of the attack, of course there are several other versions and variations but Alex does a great job in that video summarizing the key points that you’d like to apply to your Muay Thai kicking mechanics.

It’s Showtime

Mr. Muay Thai in the k1 circuit has to be Buakaw.. I clearly remember in 2004 when he burst on the scene totally dominating everyone with solid leg / clinch work , so much so that k1 changed the clinching rules shortly thereafter but it make little difference as Buakaw adjusted to make better use of his hands and always had VERY solid kicks.

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Punching or kicking is ultimately up to you but as with anything in a fight its best to learn it right. These videos are a decent start but the best move you can make is to hit the gym and get practicing.

All the best,


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