| Maxim Claes
Are You Making These Common Muay Thai Roundhouse Kick Mistakes?
If you’re looking for a Muay Thai move to master, it should be the roundhouse kick. It’s arguably one of the most powerful strikes you can throw to land a knockout in a fight. Clean, heavy kicks to the head will likely put any fighter down—no matter how determined they are.
Though powerful, Muay Thai roundhouse kicks can be hard to master. If you don’t kick correctly, you may end up hurting your legs. These injuries can cause permanent damage to your legs or shins. It’s vital to stop any poor kicking habits and correct your mistakes right away.
The Common Roundhouse Kick Mistakes to Avoid
It’s OK to commit mistakes from time to time. That’s the purpose of training, after all. Repeating the same mistakes, however, can put your body in danger. Make sure to learn the correct stance and hone your roundhouse kicking techniques by avoiding these mistakes.
Mistake #1: Failure to set up your opponent
Usually, when you’re planning to do a roundhouse kick, your rear leg is far from the target. It has to travel a great distance to hit. That can give your opponent enough time to escape, block or even counter you. That’s why it’s crucial to distract and set up your opponent first.
Remember to throw a mix of kicks with punches first. The goal is to get your opponent to blink, flinch or react to a jab, hook or combination. Then, once they’re out of their element, you should take advantage of the moment strike with a powerful roundhouse kick.
The lesson here is this: a single roundhouse kick can’t knock a person out. Instead, you need a combo of punches and kicks to distract your opponent before throwing a roundhouse kick. Catch them off guard, and you’ll likely strike a clean kick to the head.
Mistake #2: Not Stepping Out Before Throwing a Kick
Before kicking, you need to ensure that your support leg steps out at a 45-degree angle. Otherwise, failing to do this step can throw your form off. In turn, your roundhouse kick will likely hit your opponent’s elbow rather than their head or rib cage. You might still score, but the kick won’t be as effective and impactful as when you stepped out first.
Mistake #3: Forgetting to Pivot Your Non-Hitting Foot and Leg
When kicking, many amateur Muay Thai fighters fail to maximise the power that comes from their non-hitting leg and foot. They usually keep their inactive leg and foot on the ground. The proper technique, however, is to keep your non-hitting foot and leg pivoted. That way, you can turn your hips properly. Plus, it allows for the better mobility of your entire body. You can then avoid making other kicking mistakes that can hurt your game and injure your leg.
Mistake #4: Failure to Turn Your Hips Properly
Many Muay Thai beginners are guilty of committing this mistake. They don’t realise that a major portion of a roundhouse kick’s power comes from the proper rotation of the hips. If you fail to turn your hips properly, your shin will likely go upward instead of hitting the target spot.
you don’t rotate your hips the right way, it won’t travel too fast. That can give your opponent a chance to catch your leg and do a counterattack. Plus, rotating your hips before kicking can help you return to your initial stance if your strike somehow misses the target.
Mistake #5: Not Engaging Your Arms
With a Muay Thai roundhouse kick, you primarily use your leg and foot. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should no longer use your arms during the strike. If anything, your arms play a vital role in making your kicks stronger and heavier. You should learn to execute a scissor-like movement with your arms, swinging them in the opposite direction of your kick.
Always engage your arms, no matter the kind of kick you’re doing. Your arms can help you block the counter punch or kick that your opponent might also throw as you strike a roundhouse kick. Keep them up and involved as you try to finish your fight inside a ring.
Mistake #6: Kicking from a Standing Position
It’s a no-no to execute a roundhouse kick from a standing position. For one, you won’t get the momentum you need to throw a clear, heavy kick. Plus, again, when kicking from an incorrect stance, your leg and shin will end up hitting the wrong spots. The goal is to hit the good soft spots of your opponent, like their hamstrings or calf. Imagine if your shin ends up hitting your opponent’s knee. That impact can lead to a severe leg fracture. That happens to the best of fighters, like Anderson Silva. But that doesn’t mean you can’t avoid it yourself.
As mentioned above, always step your support leg out at a 45-degree angle before kicking. Then, get closer to your opponent while distracting them and setting them up to receive your roundhouse kick. While doing that, stay alert for any possible counterpunches and kicks.
Mistake #7: Hitting with the Foot Instead of the Shin
In Taekwondo and other martial arts, players primarily use their feet to do snap kicks. A Muay Thai roundhouse kick, however, is a bit different. With this move, your prominent weapon should be your shins. You should engage them fully for an effective kick.
Sure, you may lose your range when kicking with your shins, but that’s why you need to throw combinations and set up your opponent before kicking. When done right, kicking with your shin can do more damage than kicking with your foot.
Mistake #8: Not Wearing Proper Muay Thai Gear
Your feet, shins and legs are at work when you’re doing roundhouse kicks. So you need to strengthen them by doing exercises and going on different Muay Thai workouts. Many beginners, however, skip wearing proper gear when learning to master the roundhouse kick.
Injuries don’t only occur when you’re inside a ring. You can also sustain them while training. So while honing your roundhouse kicking skills, make sure to wear Muay Thai shin guards, ankle support and other protective gear. You need all the protection you can get to prevent leg fractures and other debilitating injuries that can stop you from practising Muay Thai.
How To Get Better at Muay Thai Today
Now that you know the common Muay Thai roundhouse kick mistakes to avoid, it’s time to start getting better. Film yourself when performing the move over and over. That way, you can review your blunders, critique your form and make necessary adjustments. Use the sparring time to get valuable feedback from your coaches and experienced fighters. And again, don’t forget to equip yourself with the correct protective equipment, especially now that you’re still honing your roundhouse kicks and learning to be a better Muay Thai fighter.
For more ideas about proper gear in Muay Thai, don’t hesitate to check out our collection.