The Angle of the Round Kick
From Coach Jason Webster: As I've opined continually, one of the fundamental problems encountered when learning or improving in Muay Thai is not realizing one's vantage point is skewed. That is, mistakenly associating one thing with another. An easy understood example of this is the Thai knee. Hey, you grab the opponent's neck and pull him or her into one's unstoppable, mill-like knee. Lights out, right? The problem is that the MT knee must have forward pressure to work. Kind of oil and water for most of us....pull as I push? Well...yeah.
But misappropriation of these concepts spans almost every movement. Perhaps the most fundamental misunderstood concept I see continually deals with the angle of the round kick. Perhaps it's that the leg is straight upon (proper) impact or maybe something to do with our affinity toward western boxing style stances, but it's rare to see a western MT exponent kick with the angle of a Thai. Check this short video out of some slow mo footage from Thailand. Pay particular attention to two key things with their kicks that might help unlock the nuance for you to 'take it to the next level.'
- Notice where the knee is in relation to the shin and ankle as the kick travels to the target. It's almost always 'deep' into the target. Most throw the round kick without near this articulation of the lower leg.
- Calculate/estimate what percentage of the lower leg is making contact when the kick lands. This is a direct consequence of the kick's angle: leg's angle to target, fighter's angle to opponent, to name just a couple.