Muay Thai Teep – What Is it, How to do it, how to defend against it

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Are you a beginner in Muay Thai and looking to grasp what a teep is? Or have you mastered it but feel that there are new teep approaches you could benefit from? 

A teep is in Muay Thai, what a punch represents in boxing. This might be the most essential strike you learn in Muay Thai. Once you become an expert in the basic teep, you can start to explore the different variations.

Continue reading to know when to use teep and the best moves to defend yourself from one. Come and learn about the various types of teeps, their uses and how to throw them. 



What is a Teep? Defining Muay Thai Teep

Also called ‘push kick,’ a teep is one of the fundamental techniques in Muay Thai. Beginners tend to under-rate this strike to focus on the more impressive knee or elbow kicks. From an inexperienced eyes’ standpoint, it may look like a simple leg kick towards your opponent, yet there is a bit more into it. 

Traditionally, Muay Thai fighters hardly used punches and heavily relied on leg kicks to win a fight. Although the popularity of boxing increased the utilization of punches in Muay Thai, kicks remain the predominant offensive and defensive strategies.



Why Use a Teep?

To throw one correctly, you need to know what your end goal is. A teep can be used for various purposes:

  • Control.
  • Mental Advantage.
  • Defensive and offensive strategies.


Take Control

Each Nak Muay may have a different style of fighting, requiring more or less distance from the attacker. Aggressive fighters tend to only leave a close gap between them and the opposition. On the other hand, others enjoy their personal space, looking for the optimum time to strike. 

A push kick is ideal for recovering your territory and preventing your opponent from entering the striking range. Kicking with longer legs, tall fighters certainly have an advantage when it comes to teeps. 

Depending on how far back your opponent flies, you may even have a few seconds to catch your breath after landing a teep. Taking control over the rhythm of a fight generally means dominating the combat.


Gain Mental Advantage

Landing a teep on the opponent might make them feel unprepared. A second one will likely become frustrating. Multiple, relentless teeps can make your opponent lose focus and concentration, leading to mistakes. You can then seize the moment to your advantage.

While Muay Thai isn’t about fighting mentally with your attacker, any legal strategy leading to winning a bout should be considered.


Defensive Teep

The defensive teep is considered the standard type and mainly aimed to regain distance rather than hurting your opponent. It’s typically aimed at the hips and abs. Depending on the power of the kick, it could result in merely losing balance or flying off to the opposite edge of the ring. 

Teeps are highly efficient against fighters who have strong boxing skills. As they throw punches, one side of their body is generally left unprotected, and therefore prone to teeps.


The Right Timing & Distance

Whatever the goal is, the right timing when blowing a teep is critical. Any leg kick requires a large amount of energy, which shouldn’t be wasted. As one side of your opponent’s core gets exposed, fighters tend to land a teep between jabs and straights punches.

You also need to estimate the distance between your rival and yourself. Within a closer range, a lead teep should be used, but if you need to cover more distance, use your rear leg. Fully grasping ranges and distances generally comes with experience.



Different Types of Teeps

No matter your stance, a teep can be done with both your right or left leg.


Lead Leg Teep

This teep is achieved by kicking with your front leg. Because you don’t have the same magnitude as with a rear teep, it generally delivers less power. 

  1. In your stance position, the toes of your front leg should be pointing forward. The toes of your back foot will be at 90 degrees from your body. 
  2. With your back leg, take a step forward and place it just behind the front one. At this point, your feet should form a T-shape.
  3. Balance your body weight onto your back leg, your hips pushing forward.
  4. Lift your front knee to your chest and towards the direction you’re aiming to kick. This movement should be in continuation with the kick. 
  5. Keep your rear fist close to your chin, protecting your face. 
  6. Extend your front leg in a snap and push motion.
  7. Land your front foot flat on your attacker’s abs or hips. This gives you more strength and power to make them shift backward.
  8. To increase the power of your kick and help you stay balanced, sharply drop the front arm to your outside as you proceed with the push. 
  9. Place your front leg back to its original position.

The lead leg teep can also be achieved without stepping forward. Yet, this tiny step can create the needed momentum to deliver a powerful teep.


male fighter throwing teep kick


Rear Leg Teep

A lead teep is often compared to a leg jab. Similarly, the rear teep can be matched to a straight/cross punch.

  1. Get in your stance position. 
  2. This time, directly bring your back leg up to your chest, skipping a small step forward. 
  3. As you’re extending the back leg in a burst motion, drop your front arm on the same side. Your back hand remains by your chin to guard it.
  4. Because this teep comes with power and force, your hips will play a key role in keeping you balanced. As you deliver the teep, use your hips and move your upper body backward. 

Keep in mind that the rear teep covers more distance than the lead teep, making it more predictable. 



How to Defend Against a Teep?

Here is what we advise to do when you see a teep coming toward you:


Sweep the Leg

If your opponent is using their right leg to teep, use your left or right hand to scoop and push the attacking leg towards your right side. Although the most common practice is, in this case, to use the right hand, we’ve seen boxers using the left one as a personal preference. 

Your attacker may then lose balance, which you can use to your advantage. It also prevents them from counter-attacking as they’ll need to rotate back towards you to do so.


Catch the Leg

Another technique is to grab the foot as it’s coming towards you. 

  1. Place your most powerful arm under the heel.
  2. The other hand should be just above the foot.
  3. Press the leg against your chest to keep it from moving. It’s okay if you move back a little, as long as you hold onto the leg.
  4. From there, you can try sweeping their planted leg, or simply push the leg away using the previously described technique.


A Few More Defensive Techniques

  • Knee push: Just as you would use your arm to block a teep, take the same approach but lift your knee instead. This allows you to keep your face protected. 
  • Footwork: The easiest, yet less efficient in destabilizing your attacker, is to move your body, torso or hips backward to avoid the teep. For this, you need to predict the kick and where it’ll be landing.



Teep Variations

In an offensive strategy, either the heel or the toes are pointing towards your target. This technique allows you to reach more specific areas of the body — such as the liver or solar plexus — creating greater pain. Here are the main ones:

  • Solar plexus teep: Kicking the core will have the same impact as the same punch, causing pain and shortness of breath
  • Liver teep: reach just under your opponent’s right rib cage. The pain should be felt instantly and immobilize your attacker.
  • Fake teeps: once you start throwing a few kicks, your competitors might expect more to come. Lift a knee towards your chest, but finish with a punch or any other strike. Or, it can start by lifting the back knee, only to jump onto that same leg and proceed with a lead teep instead.
  • Chin teep: for this kick, you need to bring your foot at a 90-degree angle, under your attacker’s jaw. This type of teep can lead to a knockout. 



S-teep-ping Back

When starting with boxing, jabs might be the first move you learn. In a similar manner, teeps should be one of the first strikes to master in muay Thai. 

A Muay Thai teep — or its variations — should be used both in offensive and defensive strategies. And if you’re tall enough, your opponent might never be able to get close to you.

We hope this guide on Muay Thai teeps will help you gain control over your fight, and, ultimately, winning the bout!

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