How to Kick with Speed and Power: Muay Thai Roundhouse

by Tom Reynolds on March 29, 2011

There’s a huge difference between the kicks and footwork of a good Thai fighter vs a great Thai fighter. I’ve been watching a lot of Muay Thai matches lately and keep running across Saiyok Pumpanmuang’s fights.  If you want to learn how to kick properly, this is one of the top guys to watch. He is the current Lumpinee Thai Boxing Stadium champ at 154 lbs which is an incredibly tough bracket at an very competitive stadium.

What is Lumpinee Stadium?

Muay Thai is to Thailand as American Football is to the US. Along those same lines, the Thai Lumpinee Stadium is the Lambeau Field of Thailand. For those of you that aren’t familiar with Lumpinee Stadium, it’s run by the Royal Thai army and to have the ability to fight there is one of the top honors for any Thai.

How to Kick Like a Muay Thai Champion

The Muay Thai Fighter, Saiyok has some of the most devastating kicking mechanics and footwork for striking for a Muay Thai fighter that I’ve seen.  Take a look at this short video and watch it a few times.  Pay close attention to how he bends his base leg and digs into his kicks, punches, elbows and knees with his hips.

Ingredients  for a Devastating Roundhouse Kick:

  • Only roundhouse when you have an opening. Countering your opponent with a roundhouse or using your punches to setup the kick are fundamental in Muay Thai.
  • Turn out your foot as much as you can so that your hip can rotate into the kick.  Muay Thai is all about torque and force. The more you turn your hips into the kick, the more power you get.
  • Bend the knee of your base leg for more power. In order to drive your leg through your opponent, the leg that is supporting your weight has to turn and bend deep for power.
  • Keep your hands up and high! People are getting better and better at countering the kick with punches so keep your hands high.
  • For devastating knockouts in Muay Thai or any striking art, focus on getting a good angle on your opponent. You can see Saiyok work his angles with the heavy bag and mits. If you can get to their side, you’re at a huge advantage.

Just posted a great video with a Savate Legend and Erik Paulson teaching his striking system on the Facebook Fan Page. Check it out.

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  • Stefan Palmer

    That is some crazy speed. I wonder how long it took him to develop.

  • His entire life, but the basics can be learned quickly through repetition.

  • Question: I have been experimenting with flexing the side of my abs throwing the roundhouse kick to generate more power while keeping the leg untensed but stiff until the moment of impact. I have also read elsewhere that it is preferable to point your toes downward so as to tighten the muscles in the calve and ankle upon impact and potentially stave of injury of hitting your opponent on the toes, have you heard or tried any of these things?

  • @facebook-100000230640568:disqus Flexing the side of the core will naturally happen when you chamber your leg and turn the hips through the kick.

    Turning the toes downward can be helpful, especially with leg kicks.

    The biggest things to focus on for power is chambering your knee and turning your hips hard.

    For defense, the biggest things to focus on are keeping the hands high and recovering your stance quickly after the kick.

    Good points Andrew.

  • Niel

    Muay thai and Sanshou are the two best kickboxing arts, not too into American kickboxing its too watered down lol

  • lucas

    FIrst of all, you dont keep your hands up while kicking. One hand goes down and one goes up. Second of all you dont bend your knee for a kick. You do if you are doing a low kick. For body kicks and high kicks the support leg is almost straight.

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