Tips on How to Defeat a Taller Opponent in Muay Thai

kareem_abdul_jabbar_1978_01_01-620x485In Muay Thai or Kickboxing, sparring against a taller opponent can be overwhelming in the best of times. But there are some strategies that can help you. In this video, they advocate:

  • footwork and angles
  • patience
  • using your kicks versus their punches
  • trying to entice your opponent to throw their kicks, so that you can catch their kicks. Sort of like using Bruce Lee’s Attack by Drawing tactic

From my own expertise, I also like using the following techniques:

The inside kick to their lead leg. I find that this is a relatively safe kick to throw against anyone, most people have strong outside leg muscles and can take hard kicks, but can not handle the inside kick, and it does not compromise my balance or ability to block punches.

Punches to the body. Most tall guys have such a large surface area to cover that they leave their midsection open. I prefer the cross or the left hook to the liver. But be careful. Get to greedy and you can walk into a knee or a kick. Or they will clinch you up. Use this technique selectively and work your anti-clinch and clinch game.

The overhand right. A lot of tall people have a tendency to keep their lead hand down. Maybe because it is easier to punch us short guys :). Of maybe you have been working their body, and their hands are slowly lowering down. This is a perfect time to throw the right overhand over their lead hand. The only issue is distance with this technique. You have to step in with the overhand. Meaning you have to have confidence in this technique. The kind of confidence that comes through drilling and sparring.

For sure sparring against a taller opponent can be daunting, but there are sound tactics that can give you an advantage. What techniques do you like using against a taller opponent?

P.S. I know the pik is not a Muay Thai pik, but I love the Bruce Lee era, and this pik showing a fight scene between Bruce Lee and Kareem Abdul-Jabar is a classic.