WATCH: How To Deal With An Aggressive Opponent in Muay Thai

In Muay Thai, nothing is more frustrating than dealing with an aggressive opponent. They come into the ring, charging forward, looking to attack their opponent and finish the fight quickly. They are relentless bulldozers, ready to drive their opponent to the ropes and swarm them with punches, knees, and kicks until they’re out cold on the canvas.
Even before the fight, aggressive fighters, or muay bou are known to elicit fear into their opponents. Anyone who faces an aggressive fighter knows that they are in for a long night of heavy punches, elbows, kicks and knees. The greatest Muay Thai fighters such as  Buakaw Banchamek, Bovy Sor Udonsom, Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke, Ramon Dekkers, John Wayne Parr, and Anuwat Kaewsamrit are all known for their aggressiveness inside the ring.

Are you having a difficult time dealing with aggressive opponents in Muay Thai? Today, Evolve Vacation explains How To Deal With An Aggressive Opponent In Muay Thai:


The Standard Setup Of An Aggressive Fighter

An aggressive fighter will always charge forward and try to dominate the center of the ring. From the minute you touch gloves, he will try to create an impression of superiority and strength by attacking, usually with punches and low kicks. He will try to keep you close and attack you with his favorite weapons, and place you on the ropes. He won’t stop doing this until the bell rings.


Defense Against An Aggressive Opponent

To work on your defense against an aggressive opponent, you must be prepared to create distance. Doing so will keep your opponent away and break his combination of attacks. The better your defense is, the more openings you’ll have for offense, especially against an aggressive fighter. When your opponent is aggressive and throwing punches left and right, it means that they are open somewhere.

 1) Using teeps

In this video, multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion Sam-A Gaiyanghadao, uses teeps to keep his opponent at a distance, as well as to off-balance him. Using the teep or push kick is a great way to keep your opponent at bay and break your opponent’s combination of attacks. It is one of the easiest ways to defend against an aggressive opponent.


If you perform a teep with enough power, you could even use it to hurt your opponent.


2) Using jabs

The jab is one of the most effective and important punches. It not only allows you to control your opponent defensively, it is also a great way to attack. A jab helps you measure the distance between you and your opponent and an effective way to break his rhythm.

In this video, multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion Nong-O Gaiyanghadao uses well-timed jabs to break Pakorn’s rhythm and prevent him from closing up the distance to attack. He also uses his jab to create distance to prevent him from being in close range with Pakorn and his aggressive style.


3) Using the clinch 

To prevent punches and elbows from an aggressive fighter, you can use the clinch. By clinching, you can control the inside elbow as you lock your opponent’s arms. In the clinch, there is no room for the aggressive fighter to exert his aggression because he is limited to the clinch, which could be frustrating for him. It is good for fighters who don’t do so well with defending strikes as it is almost impossible to execute punches and kicks in the Muay Thai clinch, and the fighter can focus solely on executing knees and defending against elbows

In this video, multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion Petchboonchu FA Group faces Saenchai PKMuaythaisaenchaigym. As the bell rings, Saenchai is the aggressor, moving forward and driving Petchboonchu to the ropes. However, Petchboonchu is able to grab ahold of Saenchai and get him into the clinch, which he uses to deliver a barrage of knees.


4) Maintaining range

This, to many, is probably the most important aspect in fighting not just an aggressive fighter, but any type of fighter for that matter. Maintaining range means better defense – more room to see what’s coming, which means a higher chance of defending and avoiding strikes effectively. It also opens up a lot of opportunities for counterattacks, which in most cases, is what aggressive fighters are most susceptible to not just in Muay Thai but almost every other combat sport there is such as MMA.

In this video, multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion Orono Wor Petchpun faces William Diender, an aggressive fighter. This fight is a great example of how one can use range to his advantage and get the knockout.


Offense Against An Aggressive Opponent

When you’re faced with an aggressive fighter, you must be aware of two very important aspects: their lack of balance and defense. Aggressive fighters typically give up their balance and defense to increase the power in their strikes in the hopes that they can outwit and overpower their opponents.

This knowledge is very crucial to note when facing aggressive fighters because the key to fighting aggressive fighters is to use their aggression against them. The lack of balance, defense and overall focus on precision and technique makes them open to a lot of counterattacking opportunities, especially if their opponents are highly skilled, calm and intelligent Muay Femurs.

1) Using counterattacks  

Counterattacks are the best weapons to use against any type of fire. The case is the same for any combat sport in the world. Counter fighters usually do better and have a long fighting career span due to their ability to not get hit and still be effective in their offense.

Aggressive fighters are very susceptible to counter attacks, this is because of their tendency to over commit to strikes due to the amount of power they put into their strikes. Their aggression and pressure also causes them to swing their strikes to generate more momentum, which can at times be very easy for their opponents to see coming, move out of the way, and land a quick counterattack. The sudden impact of a perfectly placed strike to any fighter who is not prepared for it could end in a knockout.


2) Using angles

 Saenchai is probably the best in the game at this. Creating and using angles is extremely important in fighting aggressive fighters. Because aggressive fighters tend to come forward in a straight line, stepping to the side or pivoting away from their forward pressure and momentum places you in the perfect position to land combinations and also gets you almost completely out of danger. It can also help a fighter readjust his position in the ring (e.g. pivoting away from getting in a corner).


3) Using feints

In this video, multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion Chaowalit Jockey Gym shows an excellent example of how feints can be used against an aggressive fighter. Because aggressive fighters can tend to get very reactive to attacks coming in, using feints can cause a reaction from them to perhaps adjust their stance or drop their guard and open up a spot to land a perfect and significant shot.


Although dealing with an aggressive fighter might seem intimidating at first, it will eventually come naturally after enough experience in the ring and in sparring. Remember, in order to make it difficult for an aggressive fighter to get the best of you, you must be prepared to defend and attack at all times. Or, if all else fails, keep your hands up as much as you can and just chalk it up to experience.

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