What does it take to be a good striker? There are many variables and dynamics at play when we observe any world-class boxer or Muay Thai fighter. This sentiment also applies to standouts of other striking disciplines like Taekwondo and Western Kickboxing, where elite competitors must create angles and openings in order to hit their targets. In any high-class contest, an opponent will never be a sitting target.
Any fighter, be it in mixed martial arts or in any other striking capacity, needs to constantly work in order to sharpen their skills. This does not apply just to the movements of the limbs, but their hips, head, and their overall fluidity. In theory, the higher the level you compete at, the more difficult it will be to land on your opponent. As such, your capabilities as a striker should be in a constant state of evolution.
As we have seen over the years with the evolution of MMA, there is one striking discipline that has proven to be superior, and that is Muay Thai. There is so much to learn from the “art of the eight limbs” when it comes to upgrading your skills as a striker. There is a case to argue that no student of martial arts should ignore Muay Thai when focusing on improving their striking capabilities, and below, we will explain why.
Muay Thai Will Improve Your Diversity Of Strikes
In warfare, the side with the largest arsenal of weapons will typically win. Inside the ring or cage, this principle typically applies too. In Muay Thai, fighters are trained to employ a wide array of strikes in order to succeed. Both fighters, therefore, will have a refined and varied level of weaponry to exchange. At particular times, one strike will work better than the other, depending on what the situation calls for.
Diversity is very important when it comes to a high-level combat situation. One-dimensional fighters are often figured out before they step into the ring or cage, with fighters developing a game plan based on their opponent’s powerful haymaker or trademark uppercut. In sports like boxing, you will often see a fighter badly exposed by an opponent for lacking any diversity (Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield comes to mind).
Muay Thai is a sport that relies on the use of the fists, elbows, knees, shins, and various parts of the foot. These weapons are aimed at numerous parts of the body and this creates a number of striking opportunities for a fighter. In simple terms, a Muay Thai fighter will enter the ring with a lot more than one tool to get the job done.
It Teaches How To Strike Effectively
Of course, a great weapon is only effective if it is being used in the right way. The spade and the spoon are two incredibly useful tools to man. However, we wouldn’t use a spade to eat soup and a spoon to dig a ditch. Therefore, each and every tool we use must be used the right way. This applies to any scenario inside the ropes: some tools are better in close-quarters and others get the job done from a distance.
In Muay Thai, with the diversity of weapons comes the knowledge of how and when to use them. This helps fighters to understand how range, distance, and spatial awareness all come into the equation. Measuring your opponent’s distance and knowing whether to throw a punch or kick can make all the difference. A head kick from the clinch is not going to be effective, but elbows and knees are, and so on.
In any striking scenario, the effectiveness of your strikes depends on finding the right range and understanding the distance between yourself and your target. Those who dedicate themselves to training in Muay Thai reap great benefits for their efforts.
By Using Your Entire Body As A Weapon
What can be more valuable to the striker than using their entire body as a weapon? In Muay Thai, the emphasis on bringing every single tool possible into a bout makes it the incredibly potent striking art that it is. In Muay Boran – the ancient art that Muay Thai derives from – the use of the head as a weapon was also permitted. So, excusing the use of head butts, Muay Thai uses the entire body as a weapon.
This means that everything from the fists and elbows to the knees, shins, and feet can be combined to make a fighter a walking arsenal of weaponry. If you want to truly excel as a striker, what other disciplines on the face of the Earth offer as much potential as Muay Thai?
It Can Make You Unpredictable To Opponents
To be considered an elite striker, fighters must have a range of tools at their disposal. These days, with the evolution of mixed martial arts, comes the aim of developing the most effective all-around skill set. Many fighters strive for constant improvement. For example, as an MMA practitioner, you might have the aim of honing your stand-up game to levels of perfection. If this is the case, you want to be more than a one-trick pony.
Any fighter worth their salt will quickly figure an opponent out. This is why it is important to be unpredictable in any fighting scenario. As with anything – in any walk of life – the best to way to avoid being predictable is to keep things fresh and varied. The human mind absorbs information very quickly, and an astute fighter’s brain is akin to a computer. Every pattern, gesture, feint, and routine will be exploited.
Muay Thai, by its nature, is an art where a variety of weaponry and strikes are used to con, trick, convince, and bully a fighter inside their guard of their opponent. The unpredictability of where an attack is coming from makes for a very dangerous opponent. Unpredictability is a good thing. The question is, do you want to be that unpredictable fighter or the one who has to find a way of figuring them out?