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      Master list of muay thai combos

      Master list of muay thai combos

      Have you ever been lost with what combos to throw on the bags or pads?  The coaches here at Legacy have put together some of their favorite muay thai combos.  They are very basic, yet they work at the highest levels of competition. Don't just glance over them, study them, and know them well.

      Don't forget to read our related blogpost called "CREATING MUAY THAI COMBOS."

      Lets dive into it.

      Major Single Strike Attacks

      1. Jab
      2. Cross
      3. Rear up elbow
      4. Lead up elbow
      5. Rear side elbow
      6. Lead side elbow
      7. Rear swing kick
      8. Lead swing kick (switch kick)
      9. Rear low kick
      10. Rear pushkick
      11. Lead pushkick
      12. Rear knee
      13. Lead knee (switch knee)



      • Parrying punches
      • Blocking against punches
      • Shin blocks against kicks
      • Arm-shield Blocks against kicks
      • Dracula guard
      • Catching kicks


      Counter Strikes

      • Parry any punch to swing kick counter
      • Parry any punch to straight knee counter
      • Shin block to swing kick counter
      • Counter the cross with a rear swing kick or rear low kick
      • Counter the jab with a switch kick


      Basic Punching Combos

      *all hooks are lead hooks

      *all jabs or crosses can be substituted for uppercuts

      • Jab, cross
      • Jab, cross, jab, cross
      • Jab, cross, hook
      • Jab, cross, hook, cross
      • Jab, jab, cross
      • Jab, cross, lead body hook
      • Fake jab, cross, lead hook


      Elbow Focused Combos

      • Lead up elbow, rear side elbow
      • Lead side elbow, rear up elbow
      • Jab, lead up elbow, rear side elbow
      • Pull down opponent guard and side elbow
      • Jab, cross, lead side elbow,rear up elbow (important to close distance)
      • Jab, cross, lead side elbow, rear up elbow (important to close distance)


      Kick Focused Combos

      • Jab, cross, hook, rear swing kick
      • Jab, rear swing kick
      • Jab, cross, switch lead kick
      • Cross, switch lead kick
      • Cross, hook, rear swing kick
      • Hook, cross, lead swing kick
      • Jab, jab, cross, swing kick
      • Jab, lead uppercut, cross, switch kick
      • Inside lead kick, cross
      • Jab, body cross, lead hook, low kick
      • Lead teep, rear swing kick *2
      • Rear swing kick, lead teep
      • Cross, switch kick*2

      Low Kick Focused Combos

      • Jab, rear low kick
      • Jab, cross, hook, low kick
      • Cross, hook, low kick
      • Jab-hook, low kick
      • Rear upper, hook, low kick


      Teep focused Combos 

      • Jab, lead teep, jab fake lead teep -> any rear weapon after that works based on range.
      • Jab, rear swing kick, lead teep
      • Teep, fake teep, rear swing kick (or low)
      • Jab, lead teep, rear face teep
      • Swing kick, fake swing kick to rear teep

      *Side note - timing teeps (lead especially) vs swing kicks is very important.

      Establishing an effective teep leads to many opportunities to step a a variety of combinations for all range of weapons

      Knee Focused Combo 

      • Cross, rear knee
      • Jab, switch knee
      • Jab, cross, switch knee
      • Left hook rear knee
      • Cross, hook, rear knee
      • Lead teep, fake lead teep, rear knee

      *knees are great counters after blocking kicks or parrying punches, example:

      • Parry jab to rear knee
      • Parry cross to switch knee
      • Either side shin block against kicks to either side knee


      Combos Starting with a Kick

      • Rear swing kick, cross
      • Switch kick, cross
      • Switch kick, cross, hook, low kick
      • Lead push kick, rear swing kick
      • Rear push kick, lead swing kick




      Muay thai sparring rules and etiquette - PART 2

      Muay thai sparring rules and etiquette - PART 2


      In PART 1 we covered the equipment needed for muay thai sparring. In this part, we will go over the associated rules and etiquette. Talk to your coaches as these rules do vary from gym to gym, but I am confident that most would agree with many of the points below.  Watch this video below before reading this blog post.



      Knee strikes are permitted in muay thai sparring given that you learn how to “pull” the weight back at the point of impact. A knee strike should be controlled all the way through and at any moment can be retracted if need be. Angle your knee strikes to make contact with the side of your knee as well as your thigh to ease the damage to your partner. If you can’t throw knees in a controlled fashion, then don’t throw them at all.  Save them for fights.

      2. NO ELBOWS
      No elbows are to be thrown during sparring, even with elbow pads. Elbow pads can be worn for your own extra protection but they often slip off exposing the bare bone during exchanges.  Better be safe and don't throw elbows. The slightest contact can cut your partner.  

      A great way to spar with less experienced partners is to handicap yourself. For instance, you may decide to limit yourself to the use of only swing kicks while your partner can use all their strikes. This will make the session more challenging, forcing you to get creative and dig deeper into the essence of the technique in order to compensate. The best way to acquire new abilities and skills is by practicing them on less experienced partners. Don’t just beat them down with your A game, use them to develop your B game and get the most out of training.

      We all know that guy who starts off the round listing all his injuries, insisting that you take it easy on him. The bell rings and he goes bananas trying to take your head off. Wtf. don’t be that guy.


      5. MR. "I'M NEW," DON'T GO HARD ON ME
      We all know that guy who starts off telling you he’s a beginner, insisting that you take it easy on him. The bell rings and he goes bananas trying to take your head off. Wtf. don’t be that guy.

      You and your partner are going at 40% intensity. All is fine and dandy as it seemed like the both of you guys have an understanding. You get tagged by a clean, nicely timed (but not hard) technique and you suddenly, without warning amp the intensity to 110%. Not cool.

      At Legacy Fight Club, we have quadrants divided with tape. We try to do our best to stay within it to avoid clashing into our other teammates.

      There is a time and place for light sparring where the emphasis is on perfecting technique, timing, and learning new skills; hard sparring sessions are also important to your training as this is where you can practice your moves under extreme resistance, simulating a real fight. Both are essential to your growth as a fighter. You just need to adjust your intensity accordingly. Keep communication open with your teammates, there is no shame in asking for a light spar. Weight and skill differences play a huge factor so be mindful of this.


      Spinning elbows, back fists, axe kicks, superman punches and kicks...I am not saying they don’t work! They do, but be careful if you are going to use them in sparring. The primary problem with these attacks is that they are hard to control and retract after they are thrown. Spinning attacks are extra dangerous because they not only expose the back of your head to the opposition, but you cannot see where your strike lands.  Unless you are Saenchai.

      Ok we all do this at times :P. We all have a tendency to show off or at least try harder when we know there is an audience or the cameras are on us. Just be in control and keep everything in context.


      You win some, you lose some. You win a bunch of sparring matches and then decide to call it quits early so that you can protect your “win” streak. This is not being a good team player. Stay and help your teammates train until the end.

      It’s ok to gently sweep your partner to the ground in the boxing ring (where there is some give to the floor) or on thick grappling mats. Do not sweep your partners on puzzle mats. Puzzle mats are not designed to break falls.


      What equipment is required for sparring & sparring etiquette - PART 1

      What equipment is required for sparring & sparring etiquette - PART 1

      Are you thinking of getting into sparring? Every club has their own rules and protocol when it comes to sparring.  At Legacy, we allow students to spar as early as a few months in...HOWEVER, safety is paramount.


      16oz GLOVES
      Standard across the board are 16oz gloves being worn when there are punches to the head. 16oz gloves have more padding than the 10, 12, and 14oz gloves (duh). The excess padding will soften the force of your punches and thus minimize damage to your training partner. If you weigh less than 130lbs, you may get away with wearing 14oz gloves to spar (but please confirm with your coach first). Kids ages 8-12 years can potentially spar with 10-12oz gloves. Please respect your training partner and wear the appropriate size gloves. It is all of our duty to call out those who are sparring with undersized gloves.

      Take note that not all 14-16oz gloves are created equal. Many entry level brands like Kimurawear, Benza, Reevo, etc are adequate for bag and pad work but not sparring because their “16oz” gloves are actually lighter than what is stated. You can’t go wrong with gloves made by reputable brands like Fairtex, Twins, Top King, Windy, Yokkao, Boon, and Raja.

      Shin guards should always be worn for sparring, with the exception of tech sparring where the intensity is kept under 15%. The top of the shin guard should sit just under the bottom of your knee to prevent the upper shin from being exposed. As this can be painful for your partner if you block one of his kicks on the bare part of your upper shin. Your shin guards should also have a padded flap that goes over your foot for added protection to your toes. Sock shin guards (1st photo below) can be worn for tech sparring but not for regular sparring sessions. Most muay thai branded equipment will do just fine, they include Fairtex, Twins, Top King, Windy, Raja, Boon, Muay Thai Brand, Legacy, RDX, Kimurawear, etc.


      Another important piece of equipment is the mouthguard. Any generic self-moulded one will suffice. If you are looking for added protection and fitting, talk to your Dentist to make custom mouth guards that are fitted to your teeth and gums. I prefer the generic ones as I found custom mouthguards were too tight and snug for my personal liking. I also often misplace my mouth guards so I didn’t like to spend too much on them. Consider investing in a mouthguard case and clip it to your gym bag for safe keeping. If you do go for the custom guards, they can run you anywhere between $200-$800. Check your employment benefits as many do cover the cost of constructing one. Military and para-military benefits generally include custom fitted mouthguards at 100%.


      Guys, do I need to say more? Most will opt to leave this one out until they eat a knee right in the “you know where.” Yes, this has happened to me many times, especially in the clinch. Now, I always take an extra couple of minutes before battle to put on my cup. Muay thai cups can be made of steel or plastic. You honestly don’t need something as hard as a steel cup but if you want to feel like a badass Thai fighter then go right ahead. I had both kinds throughout my fight career. Fairtex and Twins steel cups are quite reputable. Shock Doctor has some reliable plastic groin protectors.


      With modern research showing that headgear does nothing to reduce concussions or force of punches, many muay thai gyms no longer require headgear for sparring. Headgear is optional at Legacy. However, note that Muay Thai has many more offensive options than kickboxing and boxing (punch, elbow, kick, knee, throws, sweeps, locks). Although the headgear may not protect you from blunt trauma, it can reduce the chances of you getting cut and scraped from an accidental elbow or knee to the head or face.

      You can read this article as to why Olympic Boxers aren’t required to wear headgear anymore:

      These can be worn for extra protection but take note that this is not an invitation for you to go bezerk and blast your partner with hard knees or sharp elbows. Elbow pads have a tendency to shift exposing your bare-elbow bone so be careful. NO KNEES TO THE HEAD, EVER. Knee pads and elbow pads will also protect your knee and elbow joints.

      Light muay thai sparring (less that 10-15% power) using mainly kicks, knees, and clinch is known as technical (tech) sparring. The emphasis here is on technique, timing, and placement of strikes (accuracy and precision). Thai fighters are notorious for tech sparring. They seldom spar hard in training as they frequently compete, sometimes as often as every other week so they want to keep their body fresh and injury free. Western fighters do not have the luxury of frequent competition opportunities so we must incorporate harder rounds to stay sharp and fight ready. In anycase, for tech sparring you do not require much protective equipment, granted that both partners exhibit some self control. The choice of protective equipment is based on the style of tech sparring you are doing. Watch here:

      With gloves and shin guards:

      Without gloves and shin guards:





      Having fun with your training and competition

      Having fun with your training and competition

      I was reminded this week by a training partner to remember to have fun with my training and competition.  Whether it's muay thai or brazilian jiu-jitsu,  the pressure to perform as well as the high expectations you set for yourself can really take away the enjoyment in training and competition. 

      Do you want to continue your sport for the long haul? Into your 40s, 50s, 60s?  It sounds cliche but if you do, you must learn to EMBRACE THE JOURNEY.  And the journey will be full of highs and lows, wins and losses; the journey can be an emotional rollercoaster ride at times! There will be days you don’t want to go to the gym, and days where you do go only to leave feeling discouraged and frustrated with your progress or lack thereof. The trick is to understand that these feelings are normal and are all part of the process.  We all go through it so learn to sit with the uncomfortable. 

      Don’t fight it!  

      As a general rule for myself, I try not to let my successes or failures get to my head.  Does that mean I don’t feel happy when I win, or sad when I lose?  Of course not.  I feel all of those emotions.  I just try to put them into perspective by turning my attention to my long term goals.  If you focus on your long term goals; 5,10,15 and even 20 years down the road, then these little milestones, good or bad, will easily be accepted for what they are...just small stepping stones of a larger, and more purposeful journey.

      And it’s all about the journey. 



      How martial arts can help with anger

      How martial arts can help with anger

      It is a common story. Someone having experienced something traumatic and doesn’t know how to process the experience develops extreme behaviours. Think movies like Karate Kid, Never Back Down, or Warrior. Dealing with poverty, bullying, and loss completely overshadows their behaviour leading them to make some questionable choices. Then through a series of synchronistic events they find themselves faced with learning a martial art, and through that art they transform their pain into something beneficial. 

      What does this have to do with anger? 

      Let me first set the stage by stating for the record that I’m not a psychologist. And the information shared here comes from my own healing practice, working with spiritual mentors and studying human behaviour over a long period of time.

      Anger. Anger gets a bad rep because if untended can be very destructive. Think war, aggression, violence. 

      Yet emotions are neither bad nor good, they simply provide information. On the positive side, anger inspires action by telling you what’s not working for you. It tells you who/what is overstepping your boundaries. It asks you to take your responsibility back. It allows you to choose again. 

      From an energetic perspective, anger has an upward motion; it needs to leave your body. Anger literally NEEDS movement to leave the body.

      I have personally spent a lot of time working on emotional wellbeing and for so many years I thought emotional intelligence was the ability to “control” emotions. What I have learned is that control doesn’t put the energy anywhere useful. The problem is when you don’t process it, or ignore it, then they tend to control you instead. 

      The scenario is that you are angry; you realize a boundary has been crossed and you want to set it right, but you have no control over the outcome of the situation. The outcome is in the hands of someone else, the deed is done, the betrayal has happened. How do you respond? For the most part I believe we hope we don’t let anger drive our response (especially when we are dealing with family, friends, or colleagues). Then where does that anger go, where do we put it?   On the mat.

      Every time you step on the mat, or in that ring, you can intentionally decide to transform that energy into something beneficial. Drawing on the explosive energy in training will not only leave you feeling lighter, but it will allow you to communicate boundaries with an even head when you need to. 

      Maybe you do this already. Then this level of awareness and intentionality can really bring more depth to your practice. You can literally declare that the anger and energy you release can be transformed into new, useful energy. 

      While you might not have control over a situation or another person, you ALWAYS own your-self. 

      Who knows, you might find that you find more strength and passion with your practice when you bring awareness to how you are feeling beforehand. 

      Please remind yourself of the real message of anger: that of dis-empowerment. It’s never truly about the other. It’s about not acting (or not knowing how to act or even not being capable to act) on your actual needs and desires. 

      It is no wonder then that martial arts movies really appeal to people and it is a story that resonates. There is a real sense of freedom when you not only process your emotions but learn to use them to help you achieve your goals.

      “Any anger that is not coming out, flowing freely, will turn into sadism, power drive, stammering, and other means of torturing.” – Bruce Lee




      Samantha Mogulko 

      When not spending time with my family, you’ll find me on the Muay Thai or Yoga mat, or with my nose in a book. While my day is spent in corporate retail, I am a certified Reiki practitioner and tarot card reader. Life is about the mind, body, and spirit and I spend time strengthening that connection.