8 Basic Muay Thai Kicks Every Fighter Needs to Know

Imagine the look on your opponent’s face as you execute a roundhouse kick with precision and grace. That’s what you will get after practicing these basic Muay Thai kicks. Step into the world of Muay Thai and discover the excitement and thrill of delivering powerful kicks. So let’s dive in and unlock your potential as a Muay Thai master and amaze yourself with the power of your legs.

Muay Thai Kicks You Need To Master

You can elevate your Muay Thai skills with these powerful eight basic Muay Thai kicks.

Afroamerican kickboxer ready to fight on black background

1. Jab

The jab is one of the most basic strikes in Muay Thai[1]. It’s a straight punch to the face or body, usually used to set up more powerful strikes and maintain distance between you and your opponent.

How to Perform the Jab?

  1. To throw a jab, start by assuming your Muay Thai stance – feet shoulder-width apart and fists raised in guard position.
  2. Keeping your elbows tight to your body, extend your left arm out in a straight line.
  3. Keep your wrist relaxed and twist your shoulder forward as you thrust your arm toward your opponent.
  4. Make sure to keep your chin down to protect yourself from counter-attacks.

 Benefits of the Jab

  • A jab is an excellent tool for creating distance between you and your opponent. You can use it to establish control of the range of the fight by pushing your opponent back.
  • Additionally, jabs are often used to “feel out” an opponent and gauge their skill level. Lastly, jabs are often used to set up combinations and more powerful strikes like the cross or hook.

  2. Cross

The cross is an essential Muay Thai kick to deliver a powerful strike to your opponent.

How to perform it?

To perform the cross, you will need to move your leading foot forward while simultaneously throwing your rear hand out simultaneously.

You have to ensure your rear arm is fully extended, which will create more force behind the strike. When executing the cross, you should aim for the target with your knuckles and keep your body weight balanced to maximize the strike’s power.

Benefits of the Cross

  • By practicing and perfecting this technique, you will be able to create more powerful strikes with increased accuracy.
  • A strong Cross will help you defend against your opponent’s strikes more effectively.

3. Hook

The hook is a powerful punch that comes from the side of the body and is thrown with the same hand. It’s an effective technique and one of the most used punches in boxing and Muay Thai.

How to Perform the Hook?

You’ll need to extend your arm with your elbow bent, and your fist clenched to perform the hook. Twist your body and use your hips to generate power for the punch, then twist back in the same direction after the punch lands. This helps keep your balance and maintain proper form.

Benefits of the Hook

  • The hook is excellent for knocking out opponents or temporarily disorienting them.
  • It can also be used as a defensive maneuver, allowing you to create space between you and your opponent or counter their attack.
  • Plus, it’s also a great way to surprise opponents expecting a straight punch, giving you an edge over them.

4. Knee Strike

The knee strike is one of the most powerful and effective techniques in Muay Thai [2]. It involves striking your opponent with a sharp, snapping knee thrust. This technique can be used offensively to attack your opponent or defensively to block and parry their strikes.

How to Perform the Knee Strike?

When performing the knee strike, it is essential to remember that you should always keep your feet shoulder-width apart and your upper body upright. As you move forward, extend your arm and reach out toward your target. When you are close enough, drive your knee up and forward into your target using an explosive motion. Keep your hip muscles engaged and drive through your entire body for maximum power.

Benefits of the Knee Strike

  • A knee strike is an excellent tool for offense and defense in Muay Thai. It is a powerful and versatile technique that can inflict devastating damage on your opponent if executed correctly.
  • The knee strike also provides excellent protection from strikes, allowing you to block or parry attacks quickly and efficiently.
  • It can also be used as an offensive counter-attack, allowing you to quickly switch from defensive to offensive techniques in a single move.

5.  Roundhouse Kick, AKA Spin Kick

The roundhouse kick, also known as the spin kick or 360, is one of the most basic Muay Thai kick. It involves rotating your body in a circular motion while delivering a powerful kick with your shin or instep. This Kick is effective in offense and defense and a great way to surprise your opponent.

How to perform it?

To perform the roundhouse kick:

  • Start in a ready position with your hands up and chin down.
  • Keep your elbows close to your body and shoulders relaxed.
  • Shift your weight to one side and swing your leg across your body, with the sole of your foot facing your target.
  • As you turn your body, raise your knee so that your shin or instep makes contact with the target.
  • Return to the starting position.

Benefits of Roundhouse Kick

  • The roundhouse kick has numerous benefits. Not only can it inflict severe damage on an opponent, but it can also create distance and open up opportunities for other strikes.
  • Additionally, it develops coordination, power, and accuracy and helps build stability in the hips and core. This Kick can become a valuable tool in any fighter’s arsenal with proper practice and technique.

6.  Push Kick, AKA Front Kick Or Teep

The Push Kick (aka Front kick or teep) is a powerful Muay Thai kick that you should include in your arsenal. It’s primarily used to create distance between yourself and your opponent and set up other techniques like punches and kicks.

How to perform Push kicks?

  • To perform a Push Kick, raise your knee and swing your foot forward with the toes pointing toward the target.
  • You can use the ball of your foot or the heel to strike, depending on what’s most comfortable.
  • When you thrust forward, lean your torso back slightly and keep your balance. This will ensure the Kick’s power is focused in the right direction.

Benefits of Push kick

  • The Push Kick is great for keeping an opponent at a distance and catching them off guard. It’s also an effective way to interrupt an opponent’s attack.
  • If timed correctly, you can use the Push Kick to knock your opponent off balance and put them in a vulnerable position.
  • Adding the Push Kick to your Muay Thai repertoire will give you a significant advantage during sparring sessions or matches. So make sure to practice it regularly until it becomes second nature!

7.  Sidekick

The Sidekick is an effective Muay Thai kick that combines powerful kicks with deceptive movement. This move has many applications and can surprise your opponent or disrupt their rhythm.

How to perform a sidekick?

  • To perform the Sidekick, you should start in a fighting stance, feet about shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent.
  • Turn your hips and pivot your foot in the direction you want to kick.
  • Extend your leg outward as you thrust it upward and slightly forward.
  • Keep your shin parallel to the floor as you kick and snap your ankle, so your toes point toward the target.
  • When performing this Kick, try to imagine yourself throwing a roundhouse kick and stopping just before it makes contact.

Benefits of side kick

  • The Sidekick offers a variety of benefits when used effectively. Its deceptive nature can catch opponents off guard, allowing you to land a powerful strike without them seeing it coming.
  • This Kick also helps create space between you and your opponent, giving you time to reset or transition into another attack.
  • The Sidekick can also be used as a set-up move, allowing you to transition into other offensive maneuvers easily.

8.  Back Kick

The back kick is a powerful and versatile kick commonly used in Muay Thai [4]. It is a powerful way to strike your opponent from a distance and can be used to target the chest, ribs, abdomen, or even the head.

How to Perform the Back Kick?

  • To perform a back kick, begin in an upright stance with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Shift your weight onto one leg, bringing your back foot off the ground and preparing to strike.
  • Your knee should be bent and your toes pointed outward as you raise your heel toward the target.
  • As you come forward, drive your heel through the target area while extending your hips and keeping your foot and toes pointed outward.
  • Keep your balance throughout the move by shifting your weight as you come down.

Benefits of the Back Kick

  • The back kick can create space between you and your opponent, allowing you to gain the upper hand.
  • It is also a powerful tool for targeting specific areas on your opponent’s body, including their head and chest.
  • Back kicks are also very effective in counterattacking and can catch your opponent off guard.

Practical Tips for Improved Kicking

When it comes to honing your Muay Thai kicks, practice makes perfect. To nail those combos and finish with a powerful kick, here are some practical tips to consider:

1. Start with the basics

Before attempting any more advanced Muay Thai kicks, it’s essential first to become comfortable with the basics. This means mastering the jab, cross, hook, knee strike, roundhouse kick, push Kick, Sidekick, and back kick. Drill these until they become second nature.

2. Increase your speed

Once you feel comfortable with the basics, you can focus on increasing your speed. Make sure you start slowly [3] and gradually build your momentum. An excellent way to do this is by kicking through a punching bag and timing yourself.

3. Put it into practice

You can’t just practice your Muay Thai kicks in isolation – they need to be put into practice during sparring sessions. This is how you’ll develop the skills necessary to use your kicks in a fight.

4. Visualize success

The power of visualization can’t be understated – take some time each day to envision yourself successfully executing your Muay Thai kicks in a fight. Doing this will help condition your mind and body for when you do it in real life.


The eight basic Muay Thai kicks are essential for any aspiring fighter to learn and practice. You now know the jab, cross, hook, knee strike, roundhouse kick, push Kick, Sidekick, and back Kick. These strikes will be the foundation of your Muay Thai repertoire.

Once you’ve mastered these basics, you can move on to more advanced techniques and combinations. As you gain experience, you’ll have the confidence to face any opponent with poise and composure. Training hard is part of the journey, but so is having fun. So remember to take some time to enjoy the process and embrace the art of Muay Thai.


1. What are the 8 basic Muay Thai kicks?

The 8 basic Muay Thai kicks are the jab, cross, hook, knee strike, roundhouse kick, Push kick, sidekick, and back kick.

2. How important is mastering the basic Muay Thai kicks?

It is important to master the basic Muay Thai kicks as they are essential building blocks of the art.

3. What are the benefits of learning Muay Thai kicks?

Muay Thai kicks provide many benefits, such as increased cardio, coordination, agility, balance, flexibility, muscle toning, and self-confidence.

4. Are there any health risks associated with learning basic Muay Thai kicks?

Although some potential health risks are associated with learning martial arts, including Muay Thai, the risk of injury is minimized when training with an experienced trainer martial arts in san antonio. Be sure to stretch properly, take breaks when necessary, and hydrate to reduce the chances of injury.


[1] https://www.muay-thai-guy.com/blog/beginners-basic-strike-terminology

[2] https://evolve-vacation.com/blog/the-different-types-of-knees-in-muay-thai/

[3] https://evolve-mma.com/blog/5-ways-improve-your-kicking-speed-muay-thai/

[4] https://hongikmartialarts.com/importance-back-kick/


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