When it comes to Muay Thai, having a variety of boxing combinations can be an excellent way to up your game. The more options you have in your arsenal, the greater chance of presenting your opponent with an unanswerable question.
Many of the most bread and butter combinations are not as difficult as you may expect to learn. However, putting them into practice in a fight scenario will only be achieved once you can master them and pull them off convincingly.
As those with strong boxing skills can really stand out in a Muay Thai fight, it can pay dividends to maximize your skills with the fists. As there are many kicks, knees, and even elbows which can be set up off the back of punch combinations, this really adds depth to your skill-set. Another considerable benefit of knowing effective boxing combinations is that they will make an opponent think twice about bringing the fight to the inside.
In a Muay Thai setting, these basic combinations can be incredibly effective.
For the purpose of illustration, these combinations are designed for orthodox fighters. If you are a southpaw, please adjust accordingly.
1) Jab – Right Cross
Starting with the easiest of combinations, the jab-right cross – or 1,2 – is the most basic and utilized combination in Muay Thai. It is, in its own right, the most effective out there. The jab-right cross can set up a whole host of alternate attacks, given your opponent’s reaction. The jab-right cross is a quick and snappy combination that allows you to stay at range.
If this basic combination lands, you can inflict damage. If it is blocked, you can follow it up with attacks to the body or some pretty punishing legs kicks. Many a knockout in Muay Thai followed this basic combination, as it essentially a door opener to more powerful shots.
2) Jab – Overhand Right
Once again, a very simple but effective combination. A fighter will aim to throw a jab and follow it up with an overhand right. This can be a jab to the midriff or the head, as the intention is throwing the jab to trick your opponent into moving their guard or countering with a cross.
Your overhand right – if thrown at full power – should loop over your opponent’s guard or counter and land hard enough to potentially knock him/her out.
3) Jab – Right Cross – Left Hook
A common combination in boxing and one which can be very useful in Muay Thai is the jab – right cross – left hook. This is really effective as a combination to introduce as the fight goes on, especially if you have been throwing jab-right crosses for the first round or two.
If your opponent predicts that you are getting a little too reliant on this basic 1,2, then they may be tricked into attacking or dropping their guard. The left hook – one which they were not expecting – could be the knockout shot on the night. If your opponent thinks you are going to stick with the straight 1, 2, his/her guard may start to narrow to block those shots. If that happens, the hook is the perfect shot to come around the outside and catch him/her flush. Throwing the left hook also rotates your body to follow up with a right leg kick perfectly. When the left hook lands on your opponent, his/her weight will be transferred to his/her left side, making it difficult to lift his/her left leg to check the leg kick.
4) Jab – Right Uppercut – Left Hook
When facing your opponent square, mix it up with a jab and right uppercut. If the uppercut gets through your opponent’s guard, finish it off with a left hook.
Once again, adding another shot to a 1,2 like this can work wonders against an opponent that puts everything into the computer through a fight. By changing up the angles in which the punches are coming in, you will keep your opponent guessing, not sure how to defend or which way to move.
5) Jab to the Head – Straight Right to the Body
Take the body away and the head usually follows. Throw a jab to the head to bring your opponent’s guard up. When that window is open for a body shot, jump at it and blast a cutting straight to his/her midriff. Aim for the solar plexus, and there may be a chance of stopping the fight.
Changing up the targets you are throwing you strikes at will again keep your opponent guessing and may help to overwhelm his/her internal computer. After throwing your jab, it helps to step forward and a 45-degree angle to throw your straight to the body. This allows you to line up your shot, penetrate deeper with your shot, and pull your head off the center line to avoid counters.
6) Jab to the Body – Straight Right to the Head
This one is pretty self-explanatory but can catch many fighters out inside the ropes. What you want to do is throw a jab to the body, which will test your opponent’s reaction time. If you see that your opponent is keen to drop his/her guard to block the shot, add a hard straight right to the head.
This can easily be mixed up with a leg kick in order to further confuse your opponent.
7) Straight Right – Left Hook to the Body
Another simple combo that works wonders in Muay Thai. This one can throw your opponent off, too, if you have a cultured jab which has been established throughout the fight. Your opponent may be expecting most significant punching attacks to be set up behind the jab, so feint, throw a straight right to the head and then swing a punishing left hook to the body.
8) Straight Right – Left Uppercut
Once again, this involves leading with your rear hand, so make sure you are smart with how you do it. Your opponent may be tricked by your well-timed leading rear straight, which gives you a small window to land a swift and deftly-timed left uppercut.
The great thing about this simple combination is that you throw in a head kick with your right leg, making for a potential nightmare from your opponent’s perspective.
9) Left Uppercut – Straight Right
This works very well against an opponent with a high guard and ambitions of getting into the clinch. Feint a right hand once you have timed the distance, and instead, launch an uppercut with the left hand. Even if your opponent manages to block the shot, you can throw a straight to the head or the body as they are retreating. Landing the left uppercut will help to lift your opponent’s head up exposing his/her chin and jaw. This allows creates the perfect target for your straight right.
10) Right Uppercut – Left Hook
This is another combo which confuses the opponent with a high guard. This one works especially well when you have the fighter against the ropes. Throw the right uppercut to pop your opponent’s head up from the guard, and finish the job with a left hook.
This combo isn’t only useful when you have your opponent on the back foot, you can also initiate an attack while they are moving forward. You can effectively open an opponent’s guard with the right uppercut, drop it with a right hook, and then go for the knockout with the left hook.
These are basic combinations which can mastered over time in the gym. While they are simple-combinations, they are most effective in a Muay Thai setting, as, unlike boxing, you do need to account for kicks, elbows, knees, and clinches.
Try them out and see which ones work best for you!