Top 8 Popular Muay Thai Stances

Muay Thai Stances

Muay Thai is one of the most ancient martial art dating back to the 15th century in Thailand. In the past centuries, Muay Thai matches were mostly brutal fights as compared to today, where a referee governs it, and opponents wear protective clothing to minimize the damage done to one another. However, Muay Thai is still a dangerous and fast-paced sport, and anyone considering a sparring match should learn the necessary techniques. Muay Thai stances dictate your balance and rhythm, which is the cornerstone for any fight sport.

The positions will keep you in control of your weight, movement, and ready to defend, move away, and attack your opponent. You can recognize a Thai boxer by the fighting stance he or she adopts. Here is an exclusive look at the top 8 popular Muay Thai stances.

The Basic Muay Thai Stance

This stance has a lot of similarities with the generic kickboxing stance. The stunt is performed by taking a single forward step with your lead leg, with a distance of about one shoulder between your feet. You should stay in a position where your front foot is in front of you, and the rear foot is away from you at an angle of ninety degrees. Bend the knees a little and shift your weight to the back leg while you raise your fist to be in line with the eyebrows.


  • It’s effective for self-defense.
  • Both knees are bent for extra mobility and stability.


  • Slow reaction as both knees are bent.

The High Guard Stance

One of the significant aspects of Muay Thai is that it does not encourage retreating because it’s not an act of bravely and gives the wrong impression to the opponent. This means there are no backward movements or evasion, and it is where the high guard stance comes in. The stance acts as an automatic shield that defends you from oncoming attacks. You are supposed to place your hands near your cheeks or chin while you are on the weight on back foot stance for maximum stability. Using your forearms to block damage is the main defensive strategy in Muay Thai.


  • You don’t have to think so much about defense.
  • The stance serves as an automatic shield.


  • Your hands need to be hardened enough for effective defense.

Muay Thai Narrow Stance

The stance involves keeping the feet closer together, enabling you to evade your opponent’s attacks. The stance also helps to close the distance on your opponent, but you should keep in mind that you be vulnerable to low kicks as you move in. The stance is effective for tall fighters that want to throw straight punches and long boots.


  • Reduced exposure to vulnerable areas.
  • Higher force generation.


  • More vulnerable to takedowns.

The Curved Back Stance

In all the martial arts, the curved back stance is mostly pronounced in Muay Thai. The lower back is taut but not completely flexed and is curved a little forward. The stance makes you a smaller target. Your guard will cover most of your torso, protecting you from body shots.

The distance that your leg requires to travel to check the kicks is also reduced. Your body stays coiled up like a spring, and once the tension is released, the strike will be more powerful and quicker. Generally, curving your back is a good practice in fighting, and top boxers like Floyd Mayweather also do it.


  • Effectively protects you from body shots.
  • It allows for a more powerful strike.


  • Puts one vulnerable to a strike

Weight on the back-foot stance

This is the most potent incarnation that results in a cat-like stance. Most of the Thai boxers use this stance that mostly involves placing most of their weight on their back foot.

This stance is most common because Muay Thai often uses kicking. The fighters get into the position in anticipation of a roundhouse kick. On this stance, you can quickly push kick with your front leg for counter kicking and defense.


  • It gives you the most potent stability,
  • Allows for quick transition of striking kicks


  • It relies on slow but powerful strikes that might not always work.

Related article: Muay Thai Diet: How Fighters Eat

Square Stance

The square stance is one of the most popular. The position allows for kick defense but is more porous to punching. It enables you to throw elbows more relaxed, and round kicks are also quicker from this stance. The square stance is more appropriate if the leg kicks are involved.


  • Effective self-defense
  • Keeps one mentally and physically ready


  • Vulnerable to punching

The Bounce Stance

One of the peculiar things you will notice if you watch Muay Thai is that most fighters like bouncing a lot. The bouncing might sometimes look exaggerated and is usually accompanied by a distinct look on the face of the opponents. But this should not surprise you.

This stance is all about rhythm. The bounce designates the fighter’s internal rhythm to which they defend, move, and attack. Having this rhythm run through the body is one of the crucial aspects of all the fighting sports. As an incentive, Thai people use old Thai music in the traditional Muay Thai bouts to assist in pacing the fighters with the tempo increasing with each round.


  • It helps to dictate the tempo.
  • Keeps the fighter less predictable,
  • It gives you mental focus.


  • It keeps one more vulnerable.

Related article: All The Muay Thai Belts & Rankings

Right Hand to the Jaw

This stance involves placing the right hand to the chin, and the elbow tucked in to rest on the body while keeping the left hand at the eye level. The left hand is used to fell out and probe the opponent while allowing a maximum power strike from the right hand. Keeping the arms out decreases your strike’s power and gives you a problem with the rotator cuff. You can avoid this by using this stance.


  • It allows for the launching a powerful strike.
  • Great self-defense.


  • Poor balance fundamentals.

These are some of the famous Muay Thai stances used in this martial art. The first thing that you should focus on is the mastery of these Muay Thai stances. These stances are perfect for competing in Muay Thai, and although they are not the best for MMA or a street fight, they will hold their own against any style in a striking match.

More so, martial artists can learn a lot from adopting some aspects of these Muay Thai stances, especially when it comes to kicks and self-defense.

Muay Thai Basic Stance and Movement: instructional