The Muay Thai Kick is an arcing movement that initiates in the hip. Unlike snapping kicks from other arts which rely on the strength of the quadriceps to power the strike, the Muay Thai kick incorporates the whole body. The Muay Thai kick derives it’s massive potential power from the core of the body and the movement of the hips.
When throwing your Muay Thai kick, lead with the hip of the kicking leg. The leg follows the line of the hip at ninety-five percent extension. The whole body torques in unison with the leading hip; shoulder following the movement. Lift the heel in the ground foot so that it can pivot freely into the motion of your Muay Thai kick. The kicking leg follows the hip in a whipping motion, much like swinging a baseball bat. The point of impact is the last few inches of your shin bone, never the top of the foot. The shin bone provides a rigid structure which can more effectively deliver force then the flexible surface of your foot. Depending on the aim of your hip the Muay Thai kick can be delivered anywhere from the opponent’s knee/thigh to their head.
Covering in a Muay Thai kick: It is vital while kicking (as with any attack) that you minimize the exposure of vulnerable targets on your body. The lead arm swings down the side of your body to cover the ribs while your shoulder rolls forward with the movement of the Muay Thai kick. Your chin tucks down behind the shoulder protecting it from the opponents lead hook. Your rear hand crosses over the body and makes contact with the lead shoulder to protect the chin from straight punches. From this position it can quickly slide to the ear to protect the far side of your head, though this is an unlikely target if you are throwing your Muay Thai kick from the proper range.
The Muay Thai Kick has three common initiations, the “Step-into”, the “Stationary” and the “Quick-Switch” or “Hop-into” (depending on which foot is in front.
The Step-Into Muay Thai Kick: This is your most powerful kick, though it is also relatively speaking, your slowest. Step forward at a forty five degree angle to either side and pivot into a kick with the rear leg.
The Stationary Muay Thai Kick: The equivalent of your jab, this kick takes advantage of a brief opportunity and step up your follow up. Fire off the kick from the hip without adjusting the feet.
The Quick-Switch Muay Thai Kick: Without hopping up snap the feet into an opposite lead and fire off your Muay Thai kick with the left leg (right if you fight from a left hand stance) This kick has more power than a stationary kick and is faster than the Step-Into option. It works well if you don’t have room to step in and as an evasion and counter for an opponent’s kick to your lead leg.
The Hop-Into Muay Thai Kick: Bring the rear hip partially forward to slightly lift the rear foot. Drive the hip back dragging the foot into the ground (like pushing off on a skate board) while making a small hop step with the left foot. This creates a spring like force in the rear leg which you then deliver into your kick . The broken rhythm of this Muay Thai kick is effective for disrupting your opponent’s timing.