One of the reasons why we learn combinations in Muay Thai training is because it helps us develop a better offense. If you only drill one strike at a time, your offense can be easy to predict and defend against.
While you can still win a fight with a single punch or kick that lands the entire fight, good opponents will block most strikes unless you have much better timing and speed. Combinations can help you distract your opponent by making them defend against different looks.
Whenever you practice a combination it is important to understand that you will need adjust your speed, timing, and distance to your opponent.
The following video showcases a very simple combination from Evolve trainer Nong-O. This combination starts off with a left knee strike this is followed by a left kick. After your left kick, step back and throw the left teep to prevent your opponent from moving forward and closing the distance.
To get into the kneeing range you can watch the last video from Nong-O about how to land a left knee strike.
Muay Thai Kick Combination
Focus on Timing
Whenever you drill a combination it is important to work on the same sequences when you are sparring. In fact, the reason why Nong-O was showing me this particular combination was because he used this exact sequence on me when we were sparring.
Going over a combination without trying to use it in sparring is the equivalent to learning how to say ‘hello’ in Thai, but never actually saying ‘hello’ to anyone. If you want to learn something you need to use it. When you practice something enough times your brain will automatically start to incorporate it into your game.
The most effective combinations are simple and short. If your combinations are long, they may give you a good workout on pads, but they will not reflect a real fighting scenario. The goal of combinations should be to give you practical tools that you can work.
The benefit of drilling combinations is that it will train your brain to instinctively fire off one technique after another. The first combination you probably learned was the jab-cross. You don’t have to think about firing a cross after you throw the jab because it is something you’ve done since you started training.
The same concept can apply to other sequences of strikes that you perform. By constantly throwing a right low kick after you throw a jab, that will develop a natural reflex to throw the right low kick after your jab.
When you practice something over and over it will eventually become part of your game. Experienced fighters don’t have to think about throwing a particular strike because they have been trained to automatically fire those strikes through hours and hours of repetition.
As they often say, “repetition is the mother of learning.”
This particular combination by Nong-O helps you develop the kicking response after you knee. Most of the time when you knee, you probably find that you just reset and wait to do something else. By training your brain to throw the left kick right when your knee comes back, it will give you another opportunity to land a strike.
Drilling these sequences over and over will help you develop the trigger response that will allow you to perform the combinations without having to think about them.
Special thanks to Nong-O from Evolve MMA for demonstrating the combination. You can learn from Nong-O directly by visiting Evolve Vacation.