Muay Thai hand positions

Sometimes you see Muay Thai fighters holding up their arms high and out with palms facing the opponent. Other times I see them with more of a western boxing hand position. Is one position more popular/prevelant than the other? Has the first one I described become outdated, or is it better when facing someone who is throwing elbows? I am thinking of training Muay Thai and the instructor(who is from Thailand) teaches the first way. Any comments?

Different hand positions facilitate different type of fighting.

But to tell you more, you also have to include what the body postion is for the rest of the stance.

The hand position that you refer to sounds like one that I teach for a defensive kicking strategy. The weight is more towards the rear, the body is held upright (no boxing crouch), and the hands are held forward towards your opponent with your forearms close to parallel with each other.

This facilitates defensive kicking with the lead leg, which can easily transition to clinch knees and elbow strikes.

The palms are held forward for easier parrying (deflection) of punches and to make it easier to grab. The body is held upright on the rear leg to keep the head a hard-to-reach target.

There are other stances of course. For instance, I teach the above stand as well as an offensive kicking stance and an offensive boxing stance.

The two most common stances that I have seen are the offensive kicking stance and the defensive kicking stance. The offensive boxing stance is used a lot, but just not as much as the first two.

Hope this helps!

Khun Kao

Khun Kao,

Could I entice you to explain more about offensive boxing stance?


It's a regular Western Boxing Stance, plain and simple.

Hand are close to the face, arms parallel, elbows in tight to the floating ribs. 'Slight' crouch to facilitate easier movement laterally and in towards your opponent, and your weight is almost evenly distributed between your feet, favoring more weight on the front leg.

I use this stance a lot as I have good basic boxing skills and like to setup my Muay Thai techniques off of a boxing combo.

Khun Kao

the position that the palms are facing and hands are high is mostly for grabbing of kicks&counterattacking and for catching of the necks of the opponent...the thais like it too much...however, it has also some disadvantages,ie. if the opponent is a good puncher ,then you may be in shit...hence, ý believe that it is better to chance the guard sometimes...this type of guard is not a must, but gives much freedom for the above mentioned movements...

on the other side to take a short, not so high,short quinsbury boxing guard ,which is used by professional boxers, may also bring some disadvantages (,since you are fighting against kicks...)ý recommended to take a long, high,normal guard proportional to your kinesiological maneveur-moving will work better...