Muay Thai is known as the martial art that utilises the most destructive 8 parts of the human body, also know as the muay thai 8 Weapons, Art of Eight Limbs or the Science of Eight Limbs. These muay thai weapons are the fists, elbows, feet and knees, combined together to create a fast paced and destructive stand up fighting style. Though this was not always the case, in fact muay thai used to have 9 weapons, the additional weapon was the head itself. Though some traditional muay thai dojos still train the art of 9 weapons also referred to as na-wa arwud, most modernised muay thai dojos focus primarily on the 8 weapons. Which makes sense when you think about it, headbutting is extremely dangerous for both the person receiving the attack and the person executing the technique. That was the brief description of the muay thai weapons, now I’m going to discuss more in depth each muay thai weapon.
Muay Thai Weapon – Fist
The first weapon we are going to discuss is the muay thai fist. The main difference between muay thai fist attacks and other martial arts fist attacks is the range that the techniques are used in. In most martial arts fists are used primarily for close range attacks, while in muay thai fists are more used as a mid-ranged attack. If you are fighting against a muay thai fighter you will notice particularly that the hook and uppercut techniques are not executed from a close range distance like you would normally expect. There are 2 reasons for this which are :
- That they prefer to use their second muay thai weapon for close range attacks, there elbows.
- By getting close with a punch they are risking an elbow strike which is significantly stronger than that of a fist strike.
Like any weapon, the muay thai fist can be used to attack or defend. In fact the standard muay thai guard got a very unique psychological attribute to it but before we get to that, i’ll explain briefly how it’s held.
The muay thai guard is very open compared to that of other martial art styles, since I can’t really explain how the guard looks like by text here’s a video by stefan from Muay Thai PROS.
What could be the psychological attribute this guard has you might ask, well. Unlike the usual guards which are more closed up providing a better protection for the chest area. The muay thai guard is designed to bait the attacker into attacking the user’s chest. This gives the muay thai fighter the chance to counter a stronger attack on a weaker part of the body, by means such as catching the opponent’s leg or counter punching.
Muay Thai Weapon – Elbow
The second muay thai weapon we are going to discuss are the elbows ‘the knives of muay thai’ . The muay thai elbow strikes are a unique and truly destructive aspect of muay thai. Though most martial arts incorporated elbow techniques into their style few really integrate them into their sparring regime. Due to the popular martial art muay thai hold called the clinch, the use of elbow techniques are essential. This forces muay thai fighters to consistently use their elbows, developing their technique significantly more than that of other styles.
The muay thai elbow also plays a huge role in the styles defence system. In fact muay thai fighters are known as the fighters that inflict damage to you, by simply blocking your own attack. Most martial arts prefer to mainly block an attack then counter, though muay thai and similar styles that incorporate elbows tend to try and intersect a punch with their elbow. Unfortunately we don’t see this technique often, mainly because of boxing gloves which dilute the effectiveness of this technique. Assuming your opponent isn’t wearing boxing gloves, the goal of intersecting one’s punch with your elbow is to shatter the tiny bones in one’s fist rendering them unable to fight.
Muay Thai Weapon – Feet
The third devastating muay thai weapon happens to be there feet. Muay thai fighters learn a wide range of kicking techniques, making them able to deploy lightning fast and powerful combos. Due to this they make a great hybrid combination with kickboxing, though certain techniques are restricted in kickboxing tournaments muay thai is still an effective form of kickboxing
Muay thai fighters know that the human feet are an extremely powerful weapon and they emphases greatly on getting their feet to the next level by:
- Regularly practicing proper technique form.
- Building up leg muscles with exercises such as squatting.
- Conditioning there legs by hitting strong objects such as heavy bags, lots and lots of times.
The muay thai common stance is very tall and active, making it easier to perform fast kicks.
Muay Thai Weapon – Knee
The last of the eight muay thai weapons, also the most catastrophic weapon of them all, the almighty knee. Most points in muay thai fights are given to the person that executes the most successful knee strikes to the abdominal. Therefore it is expected that muay thai fighters focuses on improving this technique.
Knee strikes in muay thai can be used from various situations such as:
- To finish off a combo.
- Within the clinch.
- As a counter.
The knee is also one of the greatest defence mechanisms muay thai has to offer. Much like the elbow intersects the fist, the knee intersects the shin. I remember the first time a muay thai friend used this on me, I ended up wobbling for a week.
The tall muay thai stance makes this intersecting knee ‘block’ very easy to use, as it gives the user enough motion to be able to intersect from all directions.
The Art of Eight Limbs Conclusion
Well that concludes this article about the 8 weapons of muay thai, if you’ve got any questions or got something to add feel free to write in the comments section.
All images have been taken from pixabay with a Creative Commons CC0 licence.
Videos are embedded so that the original creator will still gain the views and any monetization they have.