The switch kick is a fantastic tool to add into your Muay Thai arsenal.
Actually, switch-hitting in general is an amazing weapon. I mean, just look at Andy Ristie.
Andy Ristie managed to knock out Giorgio Petrosyan, the "Floyd Mayweather of kickboxing," just because of how incredibly weird his switch-hitting style was. But today we’re not trying to be Andy Ristie; we’re just trying to build a good switch kick.
Let's talk a bit more about why the switch kick is so useful. If you throw a regular rear-roundhouse in a closed-stance fight (orthodox vs. orthodox or southpaw vs. southpaw), you’re probably going to catch an elbow or kick your opponent’s back.
If you’re in an open-stance fight, however, the rear kick is open because both of your rear sides are open. A switch kick allows you to make use of this opening even if you’re in a closed-stance fight. When Buakaw was young, he landed nasty head kicks with a neat parry and switch kick.
Now, we’re not going to be like Andy Ristie or Buakaw right away, but perhaps we can start moving in that direction, or, at the very least, not have a switch-kick that sucks.
Now, back to Andy Ristie - specifically, what makes him such an offensive powerhouse that he was able to penetrate even Giorgio Petrosyan’s defense. To put it into perspective, before Petrosyan fought Ristie, he had 85 wins and only one loss. The man is the real deal.
So, how did Ristie do it?
Ristie is the master of finding openings where others may not see them. Switch-hitting itself is already like that, but Ristie offers so much more. Ristie will often throw a punch on a kick retraction. He’ll throw a front kick, then kick his leg back into a punch as if he’s doing a superman punch. So just when his opponent thinks the coast is clear and that it’s time to counter… boom.
Similarly, some fighters will throw spinning back fists off of missed roundhouse kicks. Bas Rutten famously smacked Frank Shamrock in the face with one of these. I can still hear the sound of that slap to this day.
Luckily, the shot did not land on Shamrock’s chin, so he survived. However, this shot has been used by many a fighter to knock their opponents out cold. It is a nice insurance policy to have in your tool kit and a solid way to keep your opponent filled with fear.
A key point there is to be creative. You want to be able to fill these idle spaces with strikes. Because if you do, you may be able to catch your opponent completely off guard and then find their bodies to be taking a speedy nap on the floor.
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