WATCH: These Are The Best Muay Thai Techniques For Self-Defense (Videos)

Time and again, Muay Thai has been called one of the most powerful and effective martial arts in the world because it has been battle-tested, street-certified, and ring-proven for all real life encounters. Unlike other martial arts, Muay Thai’s techniques are considerably more straightforward and are equally effective when executed from a short or long range, making them useful in a self-defense situation.

Unlike other martial arts, most Muay Thai techniques are simple yet powerful. Any Muay Thai technique, whether it is a kick or a punch, has the ability to stun your attacker. This gives you the perfect opportunity to walk out of harm’s way. When you train Muay Thai, you will hone these techniques to perfection through drills and sparring, which will undoubtedly prepare you for any situation.

Editor’s Note: Evolve MMA does not condone violence of any kind. Martial arts is a last-resort option to defend oneself in a life-threatening situation.

Should you ever find yourself in a situation where you are left with no choice but to resort to self-defense, these are the Muay Thai techniques that will work best:


Push kick

The push kick, or teep, creates distance between you and your attacker. Not only is it a simple technique, it will be one of the first that you will learn in a Muay Thai class. It works just like a boxing jab, but because it is performed with the leg and foot, it has a longer effective range. Thus, if you want to keep your opponent away from you, you should use the push kick to do so.

To add more power into your push kick, you can extend your kicking leg all the way and swing your arm down to generate explosive power. Don’t forget to thrust your hips while doing so.

A push kick can be thrown to many different parts of your opponent’s body. A kick to their thigh or midsection can stop them from advancing on you, whereas a push kick to their face can serve as a knockout blow.


Straight knee

One of the most lethal weapons a Muay Thai fighter has in his/her arsenal are his/her knee strikes. If executed and aimed properly, a knee has the potential to stop an opponent in their tracks.

In a self-defense situation where basic, straightforward attacks are paramount, one should use the straight knee strike. This strike is especially useful if your attacker is holding you by your arms. When using this strike, remember to aim straight for the midsection and thrust forward with your hips.

One well-placed knee strike could stun your opponent and give you time to get away.



In Muay Thai, the clinch is used to close the distance between you and your opponent. A powerful clinch is an important tool in any Muay Thai fighter’s arsenal as it could easily dictate who wins the fight. In a self-defense situation, you should aim to never give up control inside the clinch and focus on having two points of control at all times, such as the head and arms.

If your attacker is holding you in a clinch (and he is much bigger and stronger), you must work on regaining your posture and know how to conserve your energy and stay confident in your skills. If you are able to control your attacker in the clinch and have a good, strong lock on him, you could throw a straight knee strike or elbow, but it’s important to ensure that you stay balanced at all times. You could also attempt to sweep or throw your opponent on the ground and away from you, but this assumes that you are able to completely control your opponent in the clinch.

Typically, someone with zero Muay Thai knowledge will have difficulty breaking from the Muay Thai clinch, especially if they are being held down with a double collar tie. His/her normal reaction would be to bend and duck down, putting them in the perfect position for you to throw a knee strike.



One of the easiest ways to cause significant damage to your attacker is to throw an elbow. If your attacker is in close range, this would be the perfect strike to use because it aims at slicing the temple, jaw, and facial areas in general. In fact, elbows are so effective that they are known as the knives of Muay Thai. The elbow is a perfect strike to throw in a tight space such as a bar or inside a crowd, where plenty of self-defense situations happen.

If you are able to lock your attacker in a strong, tight clinch, you’re in the perfect position to throw an elbow strike. Remember to hold your attacker down with a firm grip behind his neck or arm to ensure that you have good control and stay in position to attack if needed.

Sometimes, an elbow could come as a big surprise to your attacker as you can throw an elbow from a hands raised in front of your face stance or the putting your hands out to stop someone from walking forward stance. This stance signals to your attacker that you don’t want any trouble and does not look threatening. If your attacker is adamant about starting a fight, you could instantly slice an elbow from this position and be on your way.


There’s a good reason why Muay Thai is considered to be the most effective martial arts. Its use of knees, elbows, shins, and fists, and combinations of these allow any practitioner to use all the weapons available to the human body, making him/her effective in all ranges of stand-up fighting. The conditioning of the mind, body and, spirit achieved in training Muay Thai also provides the physical toughness and confidence needed for practitioners to defend themselves intelligently, should the occasion ever arise.


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