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IronMan 06-07-2006 02:17 PM

Kickboxing In MMA
We've seen alot of Kickboxers fight in MMA and they never seem to do well without the ability to grapple. Striking really doesn't happen muchin the UFC outside of the heavyweight division and chuck liddell's fights. But there is a reason why it's important in MMA:
1) Groundnpound is best stopped with a strike to the head during the takedown.
2) The only way to keep a Jiu-jitsu fighter from going to the ground is to strike.
3) If your opponent has you up against the fence/ropes then you need to use elbows and knees to get out.
Anyone else have any ideas on why kickboxing/muay thai is important? I'm a grappler so this isn't my area of expertise.

donttap 06-08-2006 03:03 AM

I have seen some old school Muay Thai fighters and those dudes can kick a tree and keep coming. That says alot not just about their striking but also about the mental toughness of the disipline.

Onganju 06-08-2006 03:21 AM

I think "kickboxing" as a whole is kind of a generic term for strikers who use more than just the 2-point offense. But there are a few reasons why it (and western boxing) are showing up more than most other traditional striking arts. I'll offer my views considering Muay Thai and Boxing in general.

Generally speaking, when you're training in either MT or Boxing, you're going to be training with practical/live application in mind. Whereas a lot of Traditional Martial Arts may still hold on to 1-step or 2-step sparring in order to engrain form and execution under application, they are rather limited in an actual combat situation where things are chaotic and will most likely progress past the initial set of techniques (even when those techniques are successful). When training in boxing or MT, a large part of the training is implemented and sharpened during sparring when you have a live and resisting partner. Instead of the flow of training being a "Start/Stop/Reset" process, the sparring will be " not stop until this ends" continuing process that teaches one how to adjust, pace themselves, feint and/or setup your opponent. Further, both arts do well in teaching footwork and distancing, which is way more maleable (or applicable) on your feet than it would be on the ground.

Another point of view is this: As Mark Hatmaker would note (find his book "Savage Strikes") 100% of all fights start on your feet. 90% of all fights go to the ground. 90% of the time, the fighter that can take the fight to the ground will win the fight. Since all fights start on your feet, why not be equipped with the tools to do damage on your feet? Further, why not be equipped to defend against such standing attacks? It just makes sense. All MMA practitioners should be able to fight in all circumstances.

Further, the skilled striker always has a chance as the act of closing the distance for a shoot/takedown offers the opportunity to damage the person shooting when they are most vunerable. In this case, a knee to the head while shooting in can always be discouraging to any grappler or end a fight. You can see that here when James Irving KOs Terry Martin with a flying knee as Martin goes for the takedown.

But this can be seen in stand up contests too, where great punches can end a fight. I think where kickboxing has a larger application than just boxing is that leg kicks have proven to be a serious weapon in the MMA world.

In the current stage of evolution that MMA is in, one must be able to fight standing and on the ground to be competitive. Most will be better at one thing than the other, but you have to be well versed in both. Randy Couture made "Dirty Boxing" a hallmark of his fight game as well as his wrestling. Genki Sudo has K-1 level striking to go with his phenomenal ground game. Bas Rutten was a phenomenal striker coming into Pancrase, and after he developed his ground game he became even more dangerous. As much as I love the ground game, effective striking can be just as lethal.

IronMan 06-08-2006 04:44 PM

Ong, you are right. When I use the term kickboxing I am refferring to anyone who punches and kicks, but I think we have to remember the significance of all kinds of striking, no just Muay Thai and western striking systems.

I am, personally, a freestyle striker and I still learn alot of my stuff from watching the Muay Thai guys and just trying my own stuff.

Kickboxing, especially with elbows and knees, is the best takedown defense in MMA. So I think that we have to say that the Thai, who developed the knee and elbow striking, have the biggest influence on MMA striking.

Onganju 06-08-2006 09:03 PM

Another thing to consider about Muay Thai is that alot of the action within the MMA realm occurs within a clinch. Considering that most styles of striking will restart once the opponents get tied up, MT carries itself further in its application by addressing (even encouraging) clinch fighting. Amongst all strikes in an 8-point offense, elbows and knees are the most damaging, high percentage stopping tools available.

About the only other Striking style that may transition well into MMA that I could think of is San Shou. You can see examples of it here, and here. San Shou follows a more traditional style of the 4-point offense (I haven't seen knees or elbows thrown in any San Shou matches), but also allows takedowns and throws. Building off of that, one only has to urgently work on their ground game to complete their MMA arsenal.

The most dominant guy in San Shou now turned MMA fighter is Cung Le. He fights on the Strike Force cards in San Jose, CA. Here are a few vids on him:

In the second clip you get a peak at his trademark move, the Scissors Leg Sweep. He's KO'd folks by dropping them on the back of there heads with that move.

IronMan 06-09-2006 02:43 AM

It's all good stuff. Like I've said, I'm a freestyle striker so I don't know much about this. You're right about working from the clinch, I've been doing some research on it and watching alot of fights and you're absolutely right. That muay thai clinch is something that has really shown through into MMA.

I use that clinch sometimes and I didn't even realize that it was a product of Muay Thai, just something I picked up watching Chuck Liddell, who isn't even a Muay Thai fighter.

The Don 06-11-2006 12:50 PM

yea I have had some Muay thai training and I see what you are all talking about when in the clinch, its hard to throw a punch but easy to bring an elbow across. though I do need more work on my striking I got surprising handspeed for a big guy decent power, I just need more focus with it

IronMan 06-11-2006 09:18 PM

Exactly Don. In a punch you can't punch or kick, so the six point system becomes the most useful.

Yeti 11-01-2006 03:24 PM

Awesome thread, what sets Muay Thai apart from other kick boxing disciplines?

Onganju 11-01-2006 07:57 PM


Originally Posted by Yeti
Awesome thread, what sets Muay Thai apart from other kick boxing disciplines?

Generally speaking, Muay Thai is set apart from other Kick Boxing disciplines from by utilizing the full 8-point striking system (punches, kicks, knees and elbows), and emphasizing fighting in a clinch. Most western styles of Kick Boxing only allow a 4-point striking system (punches and kicks), and use the clinch only as a way to tie up the opponent in hopes for a break and reset in the action. Not only is the Muay Thai competitor needing to address the added weapons of elbows and knees, but they must be competent in the clinch as the fight will not be stopped once the opponents enter the clinch unless there is a period of inactivity.

Currently there are 3 predominant styles of "Kick Boxing" amongst active competitors and this is how they differ:

"Western" Style Kick Boxing - This is actually a modern form of full-contact Karate matches
  • Utilizes only the 4-point striking system (punches and kicks)
  • No throws or takedowns are allowed
  • A Clinch causes a reset in the fighters position
Muay Thai - Traditional Kick Boxing as taught by practitioners in Thailand
  • Utilizes the full 8-point striking system (punches, kicks, elbows and knees)
  • Only "Sweep" style throws and unbalancing pushes are allowed (like kicking an opponent's supporting leg while they are kicking, catching a kick and throwing it aside to unbalance the opponent, etc.)
  • A Clinch situation continues with the fighters using suitable attacks and will only reset the fight if a period of inactivity occurs
San Shou - A modern system based off of full-contact Chinese Boxing
  • Utilizes a 6-point striking system (no elbows)
  • Full throws and takedowns are allowed
  • A Clinch situation continues with the fighters using suitable attacks and throws, and will only reset the fight if a period of inactivity occurs

For those who are wondering, K-1 uses a hybrid of western and Muay Thai techniques. It utilizes a 6-point striking system, no throws are allowed, and only allows a limited clinch situation (no neck clinches, and positions are quickly reset regardless of fighter activity).

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