If you’re serious about your MMA fight game then you must start incorporating Muay Thai training into your Mixed Martial Arts training routine.
Muay Thai is without a doubt the most powerful striking system available and its’ techniques can be readily integrated into mixed martial arts training, however, with the ability to take an opponent to the ground many techniques have to be either avoided or modified.
• In respect of punching techniques there is little problem and the Jab should be diligently drilled with footwork to set up your attacks, whether striking or setting up takedowns. The straight or overhand right is a safe and powerful punch that should also be included and drilled with your jab.
• The uppercut and hooks, we drill in Muay Thai training, are excellent against grapplers when they are shooting for the takedown and should be drilled with angular takedown evading footwork.
• Elbows provide devastatingly powerful strikes in mixed martial arts training whether during standup or on the ground. Train striking with elbows from all angles, standing and on the ground. Incorporate elbows into your mixed martial arts training from the standup grappling “pummeled” clinch position by breaking away to open up the clinch and striking with elbows.
• I would recommend keeping your straight punching attacks focused on the head as dropping to the body could leave you open to being sprawled.
• However, body hooks from an angle are still a very useful energy sapping attack that wears the opponent down.
• In addition, train all of your punches for striking on the ground. Practice developing power in your strikes from the mount, switch-base side control, knee ride, guard and even back control.
• Muay Thai is probably best known for its’ round kicks and knees which deliver very powerful and destructive strikes to all parts of an opponents’ body.
• When incorporating Muay Thai training into your Mixed Martial Arts training routine I recommend keeping the kicks to the low line of the legs. Always throw your kicks from a hand attack setup or as a counter to a committed move by the opponent and always train your kicks with fast maneuverable footwork, in a hit and run strategy, so that you get them back to starting stance position quickly thus making it difficult for your opponent to grab them for a takedown set up. Throwing high kicks or kicks without setting them up properly will leave you wide open for a takedown.
• The knees are probably the most destructive strike in Muay Thai and should be developed for striking both in standup and on the ground. Train delivering knees in the clinch being sure to pay attention to using tactics that avoid the leg being grabbed that will make you vulnerable to a takedown.
• I also recommend learning the Muay Thai clinching tactics correctly as these can be adapted, with a little modification, to Mixed Martial Arts. By training strong striking or counter attack entries into the clinch, it can serve as a strong set up for takedowns.
• Train your Muay Thai striking attacks with both “hit and run” maneuverability in your footwork and also work on fast, efficient entries to the clinch or takedowns so that once you have executed your striking attack you are either safely out of the way from being taken down or in a position to dominate the takedown ready for the ground.
In this article I have concentrated on providing you with recommendations for incorporating Muay Thai training into your Mixed MartialArts training routine, however, you must train and test all techniques and tactics under the pressure of sparring and actual fighting as MMA is a fight game that is and will be for a long time continually evolving – that is what makes it so exciting.
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