Defence against attacks

Defenses in Muay Thai are categorised in 6 groups:

-  Blocking: defender's hard blocks to stop a strike in its path so preventing it reaching its target, (eg the Shin Block described in more detail below)

- Redirection: defender's soft parries to change the direction of a strike (eg a downwards tap to a jab) so that it misses the target

- Avoidance: moving a body part out of the way or range of a strike so the defender remains in range for a counter-strike, eg defender moving the front leg backwards from the attacker's low kick: then immediately counter-attacking with an angle kick: or defender laying the head back from the attacker's high angle kick: then immediately counter-attacking with a side kick from the front leg:

- Evasion: moving the body out of the way or range of a strike so the defender has to move close again to counter-attack, eg defender jumping back from attacker's kicks

- Disruption: Pre-empting an attack. eg with defender using disruptive techniques like jab, teep or low angle kick (to the inside of the attacker's front leg) as the attacker attempts to close distance

- Anticipation: Defender catching a strike (eg catching an angle kick to the body) or countering it before it lands (eg defender's low kick to the supporting leg below as the attacker iniates a high angle kick).

Punches and Kicks

Defensively, the concept of "wall of defence" is used, in which shoulders, arms and legs are used to hinder the attacker from successfully executing techniques. Blocking is a critical element in Muay Thai and compounds the level of conditioning a successful practitioner must possess. Low and mid body roundhouse kicks are normally blocked with the upper portion of a raised shin. High body strikes are blocked with the forearm/glove, elbow/shin. Mid section roundhouse kicks can also be caught/trapped, allowing for a sweep or counter attack to the remaining leg of the opponent. Punches are blocked with an ordinary boxing guard and techniques similar, if not identical, to basic boxing technique. A common means of blocking a punch is using the hand on the same side as the oncoming punch. For example, if an orthodox fighter throws a jab (being the left hand), the defender will make a slight tap to redirect the punch's angle with the right hand. The deflection is always as small and precise as possible to avoid unnecessary energy expenditure and return the hand to the guard as quickly as possible. Hooks are most often blocked with a motion most often described as "combing your hair," raising the elbow forward and effectively shielding the head with the forearm, flexed bicep, and shoulder. More advanced Muay Thai blocks are usually counters, used to damage the opponent to prevent another attack being made.