Muay Thai, a combat sport known for its powerful striking techniques, emphasizes the importance of stances as they can make a significant difference in a fighter's ability to deliver powerful strikes, defend against attacks, and maintain balance.
Without a proper stance, fighters may struggle to generate force behind their strikes, which can hold back their overall performance in training and competitions.
In this article, we will discuss four common Muay Thai stances, and their unique advantages and limitations. By understanding the nuances of each stance, we hope that you can develop a well-rounded fighting style and maximize your potential in the ring.
1. Basic Stance
As for your back foot, make sure it's flat on the ground and angled at 45 degrees to where your opponent is facing. While your front leg should be slightly bent, your back leg should be nearly straight. Keep your body straight and evenly distribute your weight above your hips.
For protection, tilt your head slightly forward so that your shoulders can cover your neck and jaw. Additionally, keep your hands up to eye level in order to guard your face. Your left hand should be about half the distance of your arm away from your head, while your right hand should be protecting your jaw.
To ensure that you have enough space to check any incoming kicks, position your elbows slightly outwards. Lastly, make sure to keep your gaze fixed on your opponent's chest so you can anticipate their movements.
2. Square Stance
The Square Stance in Muay Thai is a popular stance among fighters who prefer to use kicks in their fighting style. This is because it distributes the fighter's weight evenly between their legs, making it easier for them to execute kicks and block their opponent's strikes.
In addition, this stance enables fighters to switch quickly between their lead stances, allowing them to move forwards and backwards with ease.
While the square stance can be an effective technique if mastered, it also exposes a lot of the fighter's body to their opponent's attacks, making defense a crucial aspect of this stance.
Direct attacks along a straight path can easily break this stance's defense, so it's essential to keep your hands up and guard tight to defend against them if you choose to use this stance in your fighting style.
To do the square stance, start by bringing your left foot slightly forward from your right foot. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed between both legs.
Keep your body upright with your knees slightly bent. Lower your head and chin a bit and raise your shoulders to protect your neck and chin.
Place your hands up to shield your face and head. Your left lead hand should be positioned about halfway between your head and the end of your arm, while your right hand should be closer to your head.
Similar to the basic Muay Thai stance, keep your elbows slightly outward with enough room to bring up your knees inside your elbows to check incoming kicks.
3. Weight Back Stance
The weight back stance is commonly used by many fighters during their fights. You've probably seen it in action when two fighters are within kicking range of one another. It allows you to throw kicks with your lead leg, block or check with your lead leg, or stop your opponent from using their lead leg in a push kick. Overall, it's a useful stance to have in your arsenal, but it does have a weakness.
The weakness of the weight back stance is in your rear leg area. With all your weight resting on your back leg, attacks to this area can easily throw you off balance if you're not careful. To become proficient in using this stance, you need to be able to move quickly and switch between your regular stance and this one to catch your opponent off-guard.
To execute this Muay Thai stance, stand with all your weight resting on your back leg and your front foot on the tips of your toes. While looking for an opening to attack your opponent, bounce your lead leg up and down to throw them off their rhythm. Your back leg should be bent slightly and your body structure straight and upright. Your head should be slightly downward with your neck hidden and protected by your shoulders.
In this stance, your left arm should be half the length of your arm away from your head, while your right arm should be about six inches away from your head. Your elbows should be slightly outward, just enough for your knees to come up on the inside of them to block your opponent's kicks from hitting your ribs or head.
4. Southpaw Stance
In most cases, right-handed fighters adopt the orthodox stance, with their left foot forward and their right leg and arm in the back to generate power for their hardest strikes.
Left-handed fighters, on the other hand, are known as southpaws and they reverse this stance, placing their right foot forward and their left leg and arm in the back.
Although southpaws use similar techniques as orthodox fighters, their strategy and footwork differ in order to accommodate their stance. Similarly, if an orthodox fighter faces a southpaw opponent, they will need to adjust their punches and kicks to create opportunities.
One key rule is to avoid moving towards your opponent's power side, which can lead to being caught off guard by their punches and kicks. When both fighters have their left leg forward, they need to move towards their right to avoid each other's power strikes. However, when one fighter is in a southpaw stance and the other in an orthodox stance, they need to move in opposite directions.
Experienced fighters aim to get their lead leg on the outside of their opponent's lead leg. This gives them an advantage as it opens up their opponent's back, making them more vulnerable to attacks.
Whether you prefer the basic, square, weight back, or southpaw stance, mastering each stance can provide you with a distinct advantage in the ring.
Always remember to keep your hands up, protect your head and body, and anticipate your opponent's movements by keeping your gaze fixed on their chest. With practice and dedication, you can become a formidable Muay Thai fighter, capable of delivering powerful strikes and defending against your opponent's attacks.
Join our Muay Thai Introduction Classes to further practice your Muay Thai stances! At Ubud Muay Thai, we welcome beginners, intermediate, and advanced practitioners to train and develop their Muay Thai skills with our experienced instructors.