Learning the Basic Muay Thai Stance

Learning the Basic Muay Thai Stance

The following article on Learning the Basic Muay Thai Stance was submitted by Joe Monzon.

Muay Thai is a stand-up combat sport that originated in Thailand. It is often referred to as the “art of 8 limbs” for its use of the two fists, elbows, knees and legs. Muay Thai moves consist of punches, kicks, elbow strikes, knee strikes and clinching (think of it as grappling in stand-up form). It is  a full-contact kickboxing sport but also gaining popularity as a fitness workout regime in recent years.

If you are new to Muay Thai, then this article will serve as a quick guide on getting started with the basic Muay Thai stance. This is because every Muay Thai fighter starts by learning the basic stance.

The basic Muay Thai stance is the posture that a fighter assumes in order to attack and defend effectively. There are subtle variations between fighters but the basic idea of the stance is to guard against strikes to the head while remaining ready to defend against or strike the opponent. After each move or exchange, the fighter returns to the basic stance to be ready to attack or defend.

Basic Muay Thai Stance

Let’s start with the positioning of the body in the basic stance. You can practise this using a mirror at home or at the gym.

First of all, keep the feet shoulder width apart, with the lead leg pointing near to 12 o’clock and the toes of the rear leg pointing at around 2 o’clock. If you are a right-hander, your lead leg would be your left leg and vice versa.

Keep your hips facing forward and remain squared towards the opponent. This allows you to see your opponent clearly and react swiftly to any attack or movement.

Hands are held up in front and close to the head around eyebrow-level, palms slightly inwards facing each other with elbows down. Remember to tuck your chin. The main reason for this position is to protect your head and chin as much as possible.

Some fighters occasionally drop their hands to bait their opponents but this is a dangerous move best reserved for the advanced practitioner.

Lastly, keep the knees slightly bent so your legs are ready to move or strike quickly. The key to the Muay Thai stance is to stay light-footed and relaxed as you will be able to react and counteract faster.

Basic Movements in Muay Thai

Footwork is as important in Muay Thai as it is in boxing. While boxing footwork tends to be more fluid and dynamic, Muay Thai footwork tends to be more calculated. This is because there are more weapons and attacks to deal with in Muay Thai compared to just punches in boxing.

However, there are exceptions. Muay Femur fighters like Saenchai adopt a very dynamic and fluid footwork. Before attempting the more advanced footwork, it’s best to start with the basic movements of Muay Thai.

When moving in any direction, the legs do not cross the same way as when you walk. The idea is to move in such a way so that the feet are always shoulder-width apart as much as possible to maintain balance. Taking big steps should be avoided as it leaves you open to attack and is easy to be thrown off-balance when hit.

So when one foot moves, the other foot follows immediately in the same direction to maintain balance. For e.g. to move forward towards the opponent, step forward with the lead leg then followed promptly by the rear leg such that you end up at the basic stance.

Likewise, to move towards the left, take a step with the leg foot then followed promptly by the right and vice versa.

Whether you are stationary or in motion, keep your weight shifted onto the ball of the feet and not flat-footed. This helps in keeping you light on your feet, ready to defend or strike promptly. As mentioned earlier, keep your body square towards the opponent as much as possible.

You can practise walking on your own or with a training partner to simulate movement in the ring.


The basic stance is the foundation of the Thai martial art. As they say, “you can’t build a great building on a weak foundation” and “a strong foundation is the key to long-term success”.

In Thailand, young fighters begin by learning the stance and “walking” for weeks -sometimes months- before moving on to actual striking.

With enough practice and focus on building your foundation, you will be well on your way to becoming a better fighter as you progress.

About the writer

Joe Monzon

    I am Joe Monzon and practice martial arts and follow my sporting passion as an athlete by participating in Muay Thai and kickboxing competitions. Because of my upbringing in sports, I am naturally a very optimistic, disciplined, and positive person. As a hobby to fulfill my love and passion for Muay Thai I read and write about it. I really want to share my love for boxing and martial arts with the masses.

    The views and opinions in this article are those of the guest author and may not represent Fight Quality’s own. We welcome guest posts from knowledgeable and passionate writers, but have no affiliation with the author or connected companies/products.

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