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Why Side-Kicks are not used in Muay Thai

In the world of martial arts, each discipline has its signature techniques that define its style and strategy. When it comes to Muay Thai, the absence of side kicks may seem conspicuous to practitioners familiar with other martial arts like Tae Kwon Do, Karate, MMA, and kung Fu. So, why aren't side kicks commonly employed in Muay Thai?

It's not just Muay Thai that excludes the side kick though. During my years of intensive training and competition in Tae Kwon Do, many decades ago, I was surprised by the rarity of competitive TKD fighters utilizing the side kick. This surprise was heightened by the fact that in Tae Kwon Do, the side kick was a staple of our training regimen and practiced consistently in every class.

One of the main reasons side kicks are not favored in Muay Thai is the difficulty in maintaining balance and posture after executing the kick. Muay Thai places a premium on stability and solidity of technique. A well-executed kick that lands with authority and allows the fighter to maintain their stance is valued over flashy maneuvers that leave them vulnerable to counterattacks.

Additionally, in Muay Thai scoring, judges look for techniques that land cleanly and effectively on the opponent without compromising the fighter's balance.

You may occasionally see a "Teep" (Front push kick) delivered with the foot blade but it is not quite a fully committed body twist Side kick.

A skilled exponent of the sidekick may be able to re chamber his strike with great speed and there could be an argument that if you highly proficient in this technique it could be used in Muay Thai. I suspect that over use of it would cause you defensive problems in the Muay Thai fighting scenario though.

While opinions may vary, the absence of side kicks in Muay Thai can be attributed, I belive, to the discipline's emphasis on practicality, balance, and effectiveness in combat. While side kicks may have their place in other martial arts, Muay Thai practitioners prioritize techniques that align with the discipline's core principles. Whether you agree or disagree, I invite you to share your thoughts on this topic.


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