How to throw a knee

I'm sorry if this has been asked before, i checked the archives and couldn't find what i was looking for.
How do i throw knees? I don't actually train muay thai (no schools nearby) but i'm trying to learn to use my knees/elbows effectively. I seem to have problems with landing them and actually throwing the techniques, can anyone shed light on the suject?

go to Muay Thai section, and look through the archived articles. If I remember correctly, there are a couple of articles on Knees that might be what you're looking for.

If not, post again on this thread and we'll gladly answer you.

Khun Kao

i checked on stickgrappler, i couldn't really find what i wanted. think you you could explain to an ignorant soul like myself?

No problem, I just thought that maybe one of the archived articles might have what you were looking for.

There are a number of different knee strike variations, and I will try to cover a few of them here.

The most basic knee is the STRAIGHT KNEE STRIKE. This can be done with or without clinching your opponent. By clinching, I mean grabbing your opponent by his head, neck, shoulders, or arms as you deliver the knee.

The STRAIGHT KNEE STRIKE usually thrusts forwards through the target, as if you're trying to impale your opponent on the end of your knee, but there are instances where it takes an upwards trajectory, for instance if you get your opponent bent over or your are trying to strike him in the head.

FOOT WORK: Your support leg should be straight, or just slightly bent when delivering the Straight Knee Strike. Your support foot should also rotate between 45-90 degrees. This rotation helps your knee penetrate the target better, and it also helps you maintain better balance throughout the attack so that you can recover and strike again more quickly. The foot of your attacking leg should be flexed so that your toes are pointing towards the floor.

BODY POSITIONING: The key elements of a Straight Knee Strike are: 1) Your torso should move all as one unit. The hips and shoulders should move in the same direction at the same time. They do not twist as you deliver a strike. A good way to practice this is to practice throwing knee strikes with your arms behind your back. This FORCES your hips and shoulders to move together. 2) As your hips thrust forward with the knee strike, your shoulders should be leaning to the back. This adds a LOT more power into your knee strike as well as moving your head away from a possible counter attack.

GUARD POSITION: If you are not clinching your opponent, your hands need to be UP! The hand on the same side that you are throwing the knee from should be extended towards your opponents face with your shoulder up to protect your jaw, and the opposite hand glued tightly to your body. Elbow in to protect your ribs, and the hand up to protect your face (wrist near your eyebrow).

TARGETS: The most common target is your opponents torso, right in the solar plexus and bread basket. But in Muay Thai, the entire body (minus the groin) is a legal target for knees. You can aim low to frog your opponents thigh or smash into his hip, you can aim into his ribs and chest, or you can bring it high into his head.

I'll try to get back to this later today to discuss CURVING KNEE STRIKES and SIDE KNEE STRIKES.

Khun Kao


Great stuff... this is what I was looking for. Thanks hombre!

no problem. I will try to get back on here later to describe two other types of knees, the Curve Knee, and the Clinching Side Knee. (similar, but different knee strikes).

Khun Kao


(I haven't forgotten the other two yet, just trying to find time to sit down and focus on writing this out)

Khun Kao


Both of these knees share a similar, arcing trajectory, but there is a distinct difference in their area of impact and body positioning. Both of these styles of knee strikes are predominantly used from the clinch. Actually, I have NEVER seen the Side Knee used at any other time, and I have RARELY seen the Curve Knee used outside of the clinch.


The easiest way to execute this knee strike is to throw a roundhouse kick, but strike with the knee rather than the shin/instep area. In other words, simply tuck the lower leg back as you execute this motion. The striking surface of the knee is the top & point of the knee.

Its especially important to lean your upper body away as you execute this strike, and to keep your guard/shoulders up. You are going to be at close range, (punches, elbows, and return knee strikes) so you need to have a strong defensive position. Keep the shoulders up and get your hands in your opponents face.

This knee strike is often performed with a one-handed clinch. One hand is extended to your opponent and has grabbed your his head, neck, shoulder, or arm... and the other arm/hand is in a tight guard position.

This knee strike is often used in combination with, or in lieu of straight knee strikes while initiating a clinch. For instance, I was going over initiating the clinch in my Muay Thai class last night. One of the methods of initiating the clinch was to use the "Bob-n-weave" defensive head motion under a hook, then grab the shoulder or head/neck to deliver a knee strike while your opponent has his side turned to you. This is the perfect position to deliver a Curve Knee strike, as the angle is wrong for a Straight Knee strike, and Side Knees just don't have the same power.



To put simply, Side Knees are a compromise. They are the weakest of the knee strikes, though they can be dangerous to someone who doesn't know how to cope with them. I refer to them as a compromise because Straight Knees and Curve Knees are the preferable knee strikes, but, one of the most important lessons any Thai boxer learns is how to approach clinchwork to nullify those knee strikes effectiveness.

During the clinch, Thai boxers keep their hips tightly glued to each others bodies. This way, your opponent will not have enough room to execute an effective knee strike. Even though fighters train to create seperation to get their knee strikes in, its a lot harder than you would imagine to get an effective straight or curve knee strike in during the clinch... IF your opponent knows what hes doing, that is.

Hence, Thai boxers use Side Knee strikes. In this scenario, the boxer lifts his attacking leg out to the side (pardon the visualization, but imagine cocking your leg to the side as if you're a male dog about to piss on your opponents leg... LOL), and launches a short, fast knee strike with the inside of his knee. He pivots his support leg and tries to "snap" his knees together to add more power to the strike.

You might think "Why doesn't the boxer just use a Curve Knee, or Straight Knee instead?" It does seem that these knees would be just as effective and fast to launch, right?

The reasoning is that because you are clinched, you cannot get your upper body into the proper position to deliver an effective knee strike. One of the key elements of the Straight & Curve Knee strikes is that the upper body (torso) leans away from the attacking leg. By doing so, it causes the hip of the attacking leg to "pop" into the target more forcefully.

When you are clinched, however, your opponent is holding onto you and preventing you from creating that kind of seperation. You need to create the seperation with your hips instead. The motion of the Side Knee strike is entirely in pivoting, or swiveling, the support leg and the hips. Also, because you are striking with the inside surface of the knee, you do not need to create quite as much room to deliver an effective strike.

Khun Kao


great post. nice amount of info there

A little something i adapted to my Muay Thai knees. Over shoot them. Bruce Lee always said if you are aiming for your opponents face look at something behind him or you aim for his mouth try look at his forehead. So likewise i invision my knee going through the dudes head. if you overshoot you can almost always recover has stuff on knees and you can lookup chutebox valetudo and youll get a chuteboxe team highlight video which shows perfect knees.

thank you very much... I've been busy (training for a test, as I go to a karate school), so I'm just seeing this now. great pst, exactly what I was looking for

Glad to help =)

Great stuff Khun Kao, thanks a lot