Monday, February 08, 2010

Don't Take Away My Muay Thai Round Kick!

There's a lot of dogma surrounding muay thai's most fearsome technique - the round kick. Krus and ajarns, and fighter/instructors teach us that in muay thai the round kick is thrown one way, and one way only (their way). He throws the kick as his instructor before him, and the master before him. The shin bone is a miniature baseball bat; K-1 morphed into a muay thai tournament due to the style's domination; MMA fighters have adopted it as their primary leg strike; it is arguably the most feared technique in modern martial arts. The round kick is steeped in this mystique of indomitable aggression. There just isn't any room for improvement, is there?

I say yes, but not improvement through evolution, but improvement through digression - taking the muay thai round kick back to where it was first used: on the battlefield. Over the past 100 years or so - since Westerners introduced gloves and fighter promotions to muay thai (muay boran) around the turn on the 20th century - fighters and their trainers begin to modify their offense and defense to better protect themselves. Certain techniques that were known to cause severe damage were removed. Fighters' careers begin to last longer and everyone involved made money. Hence, muay boran was relegated to become a sort of sideshow demonstration for tourists. Over time safety techniques were perfected, and that's what we have today in modern ring style muay thai. The widespread popularity of MMA has further degraded muay thai techniques due partly to their trainers, partly due to the "crash course' style training a lot of MMA schools practice. But I digress.

Back to my point. - I'm getting there - We've got to go back to explore what the purpose of the muay thai round kick was originally used for. It wasn't used to score points or wear down an opponent. The target was the side of the knee - it was used for incapacitation. If the warrior lost his sword, his elbows and legs became the replacement weapon until he could rearm himself. Muay Chao Cherk is Krabi Krabong without swords. The kick would have to be thrown quickly, without a windup. And chances are slim that the desperate warrior had the time and opportunity to throw that kick from the "appropriate" distance. He could have been uncomfortably close, or out of reach, they may have had to throw it from a run.

So what I'm saying, and can prove is that the popular muay thai round kick that 99% of the martial arts schools in North America teach is not the 'end-all-be-all' kick. It can be further modified to generate up to 40% more force. It can be thrown from inside of elbow range - lerd rit CQC kick; from 5 feet away, from a walk, a run. The muay chao cherk kick was thrown with a drive from a standard range. With just a little bit of bio-mechanics knowledge and simple application of basic physics (f=ma, torque) you can modify your cookie cutter muay thai round kick into a strike that can end a fight when it counts (outside of the ring). Oh, and inside the ring or cage, your opponent will only block the first few strikes before having to resort to an evasion strategy.