The Muay Thai sweep is a technique used to off balance an opponent and put them in a vulnerable position. Sweeps are great scoring techniques that look good to the judges scoring the fight.
Fighters each have their variation of different sweeps that they utilize. Some fighters like to trip with the inside leg, while others will use the outside leg. To be successful with sweeps you need to learn the art of off balancing your opponent.
If your opponent has excellent balance, it can be difficult to sweep them to the ground. Some fighters are good at balancing and punching from a caught kick, which can result in the occasional knockout.
The following video showcases an inside leg sweep demonstrated by Petchboonchu:
Keys to the Sweep
It is important for you to grab your opponent’s leg and squeeze your arm tight. Raising your arm after the grab will make it difficult for your opponent to stay balanced.
If you are a shorter fighter, it may be difficult to sweep taller opponents without closing the distance and tripping them off balance. Saenchai is an excellent example of how you can sweep taller opponents if you are a shorter fighter.
Once you grab hold of your opponent’s leg, using footwork and circling will force them to adjust to you. The footwork will help push your opponent off balance and put give you the opportunity to sweep them down.
Use your off arm to control your opponent’s leg to throw it to the ground. There are many variations of the sweep you can execute. Some fighters like to step forward after the leg catch and use their off arm to pull their opponent’s body down. In the above example, Petchboonchu uses the off arm to control my leg and throw me off balance.
The more practice you have working on your sweeps, the better you will get at learning to off balance your opponent.
Adjusting to Your Opponent
In some cases, you will not be able to execute this sweep. If that happens, quickly release your opponent’s leg and go for a quick strike. Throwing a quick strike will allow you to score points and gain the advantage on the scorecard. Many Thai fighters will grab a kick and quickly release it to hit right away. This back and forth often happens in Thailand when both fighters catch and release each other’s kicks.
It is important to understand that your opponent can punch you in the face when you grab their leg. This is why you need to be vigilant with your off arm to protect your face. When you go for the sweep, you can drop your guard momentarily, but keep in mind the dangers of having an open guard.
Special thanks to Petchboonchu for demonstrating this technique. If you want to train with Petchboonchu, you can visit him over at Evolve Vacation.