How To Throw Knees Like Buakaw
The Muay Thai knee is considered to be one of the most dangerous and impactful martial arts techniques. Thai fighters pride themselves on their dexterous hips and impeccable timing; spearing their knees underneath their opponents punches.
However, landing a fight-ending knee is easier said than done against a skilled opponent. Although it helps to be flexible, the real magic lies within the footwork. Footwork is a heavy focus of any striking practitioner. From western boxers, to karate specialists, to Muay Thai champions, motion and foot placement sets the essential groundwork to land big shots.
Being able to consistently land knees is a can to damage your opponent, deter them from being comfortable in punching range and allow you to dominate the fight from clinch range. In this video, Buakaw explains his secrets to landing long knees on his opponents.
Who Is Buakaw Banchamek?
Buakaw is a Muay Thai legend holding a record of 239 wins with only 24 losses. Starting his fighting career at eight years of age, he went on to become a two time Omnoi Stadium Champion, Lumpinee Stadium Toyota Marathon Champion, the Thailand featherweight champion, and two time K1 kickboxing champion. Today, at 39 years old, Buakaw is widely regarded as one of the greatest Muay Thai fighters of all time.
What Should My Stance Look Like?
Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to stand in a split stance with one leg in front of the other with your hands up to protect your face. For any striking art, balance is a huge key to success. Muay Thai specialists are masters of dynamic movements on one foot and disrupting the balance of their opponents.
Buakaw begins by specifying that the appropriate stance for throwing knees must be on the toes, not full feet. He shows that he boosts up on the toes of his standing leg while keeping his upper body flexible to slightly bend his back as he fires the knee.
He specifies, “Don’t ever lose the guard while we throwing!”
What he means by this is that his hands stay up protecting his head as he steps in, closing the distance for the knee.
Buakaw demonstrates that if he steps into range with his hands down he risks running directly into a punch as he comes forward. He also shows that if he fires the knee from punching range with his guard up, he is able to knee right underneath his opponents punches without getting clobbered.
How Can I Counter Kicks With Knees?
Although it’s common to counter punches with knees, Buakaw also shows that we can counter kicks just as easily. As his opponent throws a round kick at Buakaw, he circles slightly away from the kick so that it loses some of the impact. Then he catches the kick by wrapping his arm over his opponents kicking leg. From here he shows the knee from two ranges. First, he catches the kick and steps through with the knee in a similar fashion to countering punches. Then he shows that you can jump into the knee to cover more distance. This is useful if the opponent pulls away or if you push them forward after catching the kick.
In summary, Buakaw reminds us that “the way we step is very important!”. He demonstrates his step forward; making sure that his hands are up and that he’s on his toes as he fires his knee.