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Thai Boxing Question


Hey guys,

I'm still having a problem in muay thai maybe you can help me with. Everytime I throw a roundhouse, I tend to hit a small part of the ankle as well as the shin. I think I'm simply hitting too low instead of higher on the leg. This is causing my ankle to swell up everytime I go to practice, it really blows. Do you think I'm misjudging distance or should just concentrate more on hitting with the shin?

Also, do you think it would be a good idea to take Flameout to help with the hurting ankle?


This would most likely be something that would have to be seen in action. It is a common problem though. You should work on getting it fixed as you can break your ankle doing that, especially if they shin check.

It does sound like either a ranging issue, or not driving through the hip. Make sure that your support foot is turning all the way around so that your ankle faces your opponent. To do this your right hip (in a right thai kick) comes through to lead the leg, not the other way around.



I agree with Fireplug. You could be 1)throwing correctly except for distance (too far away) or 2)at the correct distance but not throwing correctly (extention). Have your coach or another knowledgeable student watch you. Does it happen when you are working the bag/pads or just when sparring? If it's only in sparring you may not be accounting for movement of your partner (your kick is slow/telegraphed).

As for the 'ouch' factor, I've found things like fish oil help with chronic type issues. For acute (landed a kick wrong now my ankle looks like a softball), ice (actually RICE) and a non-steroidial anti-inflamatory (ibuprofen) helps.


Sounds like a range issue. It happens to everybody. We practice throwing a jab first, if you can touch their forehead with your jab hand, that is about the range of your rear leg round kick. Try it in practice, after a while you'll be able to judge the distance with the jab.


Yeah, I have a couple trainers watching me. They keep on telling me I am stepping too far out. My support foot is usally placed correctly. I'm not actually sparing yet, still working the heavy bags and shields. I'm going to try the "fist to forehead" judging method for distance.

I'll let you guys know if it fixes the problem.

Thanks for the help.


It sounds like you are not turning your hip over. You should be hitting with the front part of your shin, no matter what range you are at you should not be able to hit with your ankle. Do you have an instructor? Get one. Practicing Muay Thai without a coach is probably going to be a little fruitless.

As for that jab on the forehead thing, I don't think that that is true at all. I don't know about you, but if I'm in jabbing range I can hit my opponent with the top of my shin. The way I've always heard it explained, long range = kicks, medium range = punches, short range = elbows and knees. Also if you only kick in punching range, be prepared to take some shots to the face.


Your technique is wrong.
Try a low kick. If you experience the same problems, you must work on your core posture.

The key points to a devastating roundhouse:

your hip must turn in.
at the same time, bend torso at the hips, shortening the kicking angle. This is often forgotten. Even trainers tend to endlessly preach about "more hip, turn that hip", but it's only one half of the story.
the lower the kick the stiffer the leg. A true muay thai low kick has a total stiff kicking leg. Just think of it as a club.
flexiblity. You don't necessarily need to be able to perform a split, but inflexible MAs tend to be poor kickers, for a variety of reasons. By the way, learn as many stretch techniques as possible, because many athletes tend to use only a handful over and over again, shortening some muscles. (which sucks ass!, trust me)
the higher the kick, the more difficult it gets to transfer your mass to add power. Devastating high roundhouse kicks are difficult, 80% of all MAs shouldn't do them in a serious bout.
Even when it's important to maintain your guard: when practising the roundhouse, screw your guard! Practise only power and explosivness. Use your arms to better handle the momentum. If the technique gets in, which you will notice, you can worry about how to hold your arms in a properly defensive way.
Use your lower shin to hit. In sparring or fights you undoubtly will hit with the ankle or foot sometimes, but use that shin when practising. It's the only part of the leg which can positively absorb the rough training, the endless kicks against the heavy sandbag which are the fundament of strong kicking training. You may see many KOs where it's actually the foot/ankle which hits (which has a higher speed and thus hits more powerful) but to train the technique, use the shin.
There are a lot of variations and hybrid round house techniques, but first and foremost, try to achieve a powerful kick. The reason to kick is because it's potentially more powerful, not because it's fancy or smart. If you can do this, which should take about 6-18 months, you can explore these alternative roundhouse techniques, but it really isn't necessary.
Use mainly: the heavy sandbag and sparring partners. Use pads only occasionally.
train these muscles: hip flexors, abs, lower back, the WHOLE Leg.
Now go and train hard.


On a related note, is there anything you can do to toughen up the shin area? I've heard of rolling glass bottles on the shin. I often practice on heavy bags that are completely settled and my legs either go numb or fill up with pain after throwing a roundhouse.


never roll anything harder than the bone on your shin. it is a complete urban myth and will fuck your shin up royally. as will kicking trees or whatever else people say is a quick fix.

practicing on the heavy bag every day will be much better and safer. keep at it and the shins will toughen.

to the original post.

try using your hand to judge distance as you kick. an outstretched arm that just touches their face should put your shin in line with their body. just make sure you remember to keep your other hand next to your face for your guard.

hope that helps.


Most "hardening"-techniques are crap, and the ones who work are a two edged sword.

the crappy ones- if you hear about shaolin monks pouring boiling oil over their exposed limbs or how to attain the "iron head" through bashing a wall you can safely assume it's bullshit. Don't bother.
But there are ways and techniques which will actually harden the bones. However, they are not really healthy, leading to premature arthritis.
If someone wants to devote his life solely to Martial Arts or is a bodyguard in Moscow or somesuch, it may help him.

To all others (that means, practically everyone), continous work work with heavy sandbags will just do the trick.


Yep. Pretty much what they said. Continue to kick the bag, or the thai pads if they are particularly dense. We have an older set at my gym that are completely hard in the center from repeated kicking. Conditioned shins comes with time.