The Anatomy of the Muay Thai MMA Leg Kick and Beyond

The Muay Thai Leg Kick has always held a special place in my heart.

One’s ultimate goal when fighting should always be to break the spirit of your opponent. When you knock someone out they have no choice in the matter. Their spirit is momentarily turned off. When you tap someone out, they realize that the smart move is to live to fight another day. But when you take someone out with a Leg Kick, they are perfectly conscious and aware. They can continue to fight if they want to.

Most times, they choose not to because of the excruciating pain and this is the moment that their spirit breaks.

How do I know this you ask? I’ve been there, on the receiving end, a couple of times.

The following is an in depth look at the anatomical structure of the nerves and muscles in the leg and the most efficient ways to render them inoperable. In addition we have included several set ups, combinations and techniques for using the information provided by the anatomical study.

As a side note, we learned from Dr. Cacciamani that there are two ways to cripple and immobilize the leg. 1 is an attack to the primary nerve structures (e.g. the Sciatic Nerve) and 2 is an attack on the muscle tissue. From our research, the difference is generally that nerve attacks immediately cause the temporary loss of control for the limb. Whereas muscle tissue attacks cause swelling, cramping/knotting, and gradual deterioration of muscle function.

This makes sense if you think about it. You can take out the structures that send messages to and from a muscle/group of muscles or you can pulverize the muscle itself. Bottom line is, if your opponent can’t or doesn’t want to move his/her leg anymore, you’ve pretty much done the job.

Included are some diagrams for reference. And below that are a series of videos showing how we like to apply the information we’ve learned from Dr. Cacciamani and from our independent research.

Anterior Neuromuscular Anatomy of Human Leg

Anterior Neuromuscular Anatomy of Human Leg

Posterior Neuromuscular Anatomy of Human Leg

Posterior Neuromuscular Anatomy of Human Leg

You can watch them in any order you wish, but

I have tried to assemble them in a loosely organized fashion in hopes that our readers will see how the various techniques can be used to compliment each other

and to form a catch all for reactions, energies, and defenses to any one particular attack.

Top View of Fascia and Nerves in Human Leg

Top View of Fascia and Nerves in Human Leg

Due to time constraints, I have initially included only 5 additional clips in this article. I will be updating it often over the following weeks until all the following clips are published:

  • Jab + Cross + Right Kick (unloaded leg theory)
  • Right Kick Counter to the Jab + Cross (loaded leg theory)
  • Jab + Cross + Hook + Right Kick (loaded leg theory)
  • Overhand Right + Left Kick (loaded leg theory)
  • Left Kick Retaliation to Right Kick (loaded leg theory)
  • Draw Step Set Up for the Right Kick (loaded leg theory)
  • Swing Kick Counter to the Right Kick (neutral leg theory)
  • Outside Angle Kick Counter to the Jab + Cross (neutral leg theory)
  • Jab Set Up for the Outside Angle Kick (neutral leg theory)
  • Left Inside Leg Kick Set Up for the Right Kick or Outside Angle Kick (neutral leg Theory)
  • Calve Punt(neutral leg theory)
  • Over-Riding The System, Forearm Chop, Knee, Heel Kick from the Clinch
  • Forearm Smash Attack vs Guard Pass Prevention
  • Elbow Spike Guard Opener

Loaded vs Unloaded Leg Theory (Weight Bearing vs Non-Weight Bearing – Contracted Muscle vs Relaxed Muscle)

Jab, Cross, Right Leg Kick Combination

Leg Kick By Draw

Jab, Cross, Hook, Leg Kick Combination

Kicking the Rear Leg and Inside Leg Kicks

Right Kick Counter to the Jab, Cross Combination

Swing Kick Counter to the Thai Kick

Outside Leg Kick Counter to the Jab, Cross

Jab, Outside Leg Kick Combination

Inside to Outside Leg Kick Combination

Overriding The System for MMA

MMA Karate Chop Guard Retention Counter

Yamasaki MMA Elbow Spike Guard Opener

40 responses to “The Anatomy of the Muay Thai MMA Leg Kick and Beyond”

  1. The Anatomy of the Muay Thai Kickboxing MMA Leg Kick and Beyond …: The following is an in depth look at the an..

  2. Thunder says:

    wow…amazing..great work Dr.Sick!

  3. Sterling says:

    This is by far the most in-depth information I’ve ever seen on muay thai leg kicks. The illustrations are very helpful. Wonderful post Dr. Sick.

  4. Dr Sick says:

    For those of you who don’t know, this article has spurred a new contest!!!

    You have until October 1st. to film a video of you attacking one of your buddy’s legs with a kick, knee, punch, pinch, elbow, etc. It doesn’t need to be Martial Arts related, it just has to show your ability to apply the information given here. My favorite clips are those that are unscripted and un planned. A clip of you sneaking up behind your friend and giving him/her a little shot unsuspecting at the redbox line or something.

    From October 2nd until October 14th we will all vote for our favorite video.

    Winner takes home $100.00!!!

    Shoot those videos and embed them here in the comments area for judgment.

    Alright, the first submission for a Leg Attack comes from my friend Preston who was unable to post this himself, so I’m posting it on his behalf:


  5. Dr Sick says:


    Thanks so much for your kind words. It’s great to see you here on Long Live CSW!!!

  6. Loved @DamageCtrlMMA ‘s article on devastating muay thai leg kicks for #mma. Great videos & diagrams.

  7. zaxonortesus says:

    lol at Preston’s video. I wouldn’t stand and eat it, I have done that once before and it SUCKED.

    Dr. Sick, That is an AWESOME series. I am going to be aiming for that spot on the back of the leg, going for the sciatic nerve, more now for sure. I am a fan of the 1-2-3-Leg kick for sure, but my lead kicks are SO MUCH stronger (who knows why) so the Jab-looping right-lead kick to the right leg is going to get drilled for sure.

  8. Dr Sick says:

    Thank you zaxonortesus. We have a series coming up that covers, specifically, the ways to set up the footwork and movement necessary to access the angle necessary to attack the muscle seam and Sciatic Nerve. Stay tuned… We’re just getting started!

  9. Wim says:

    That’s a wicked cool series of clips you got here! Great stuff! I particularly liked the Dr.’s explanation on the location of the sciatic nerve. I’ve heard way too much BS about it in the past too, loads of stuff that just didn’t match up with what was in my anatomy courses.

    I really got to training the leg kick when I first saw Rob Kaman vs. Ernesto Hoost in the 90’s. Great fight and a couple impressive leg kicks from Rob.
    Then I started studying how he threw them and found a wealth of info. He also liked to weigh up the opponent’s leg for his kick.
    The trick I liked best from him was blocking/redirecting kicks above the waist so you turn the guy slightly to his back. It gives you a great angle for the muscle split while at the same time making it harder for the guy to either block or counter.

    Looking forward to the rest of the series!


  10. PrestonBludworth says:

    Thanks for posting that for me Brian. I look forward to seeing you soon. And if I win, that 100 bucks is the exact amount I need to come and train with you for the day. Hmm……… my fingers are crossed.

  11. Dr Sick says:

    Hey, check it out! We’ve been featured as a guest on our friend site:

    If you want to see some awesome, hard core, unadulterated Muay Thai, this is the place to go.

    Thanks Nop!

  12. […] you know the muay Thai leg kick is one of my favorite techniques. I recently came across this link . It’s a really well done set of videos on the targeting with the leg kick. the part I enjoyed […]

  13. Poneyboy says:

    Wow, very informative series. Thanks for sharing this information to the world. I especially like the Inside to Outside kick counters. I will experimenting with that counter tonight.

  14. Dr Sick says:

    On Brandon’s behalf, I’m going to embed the youtube he submitted. Preston, I’m sorry, but I think he’s got you beat. Ninja’s kick @$$… or in this case, sciatics.

    However, there are no limits to how many submissions you can place.

  15. PrestonBludworth says:

    Video #2 here we come!!!!

  16. Brandon says:

    Thanks for re-posting that video for me kru. I hope to get a couple more in before it’s over……..

  17. kenseisato1989 says:

    ohhh man!!! lol at Brandon’s vedio

  18. Max Power says:

    I know it’s a few days late — and I’m not sure if Facebook videos will be viewable by the public, but here’s a leg kick video from Friday night. My buddy drunkenly kicked me in the balls, so he told me I could leg kick him. This was the result:

  19. Mikhail says:

    Wow That was very technical, you went as far as the nerve structure of the leg and targetting the right spot, which is a very dangerous knowledge in a fight. i’ll try this one on my next sparring session. I think I’m gonna feature this on my blog too. :). Great post

  20. Great article & video of the anatomy of the Muay Thai Leg Kick:

  21. RT @RenzoGracieBJJ: Great article & video of the anatomy of the Muay Thai Leg Kick:

  22. Very comprehensive breakdown of Muay Thai techniques, physiology, & kinesiology of the combinations.

  23. RT @RenzoGracieBJJ: Great article & video of the anatomy of the Muay Thai Leg Kick:

  24. Excelente material! RT @RenzoGracieBJJ: Very comprehensive breakdown of Muay Thai techniques, physiology….

  25. A Great writeup provided by my good friend @MaJeStu about the Thai/MMA leg kick :

  26. Here's a great article on Leg Kicks – The Anatomy of the Muay Thai Kickboxing MMA Leg Kick and Beyond: via @addthis

  27. zaxonortesus says:

    Ok, I know this has been silent for a while, but I had an experience last night that would be totally applicable. I ran into a guy that used to train with us and hasn’t been around in a few months. I figured he just stopped training, but it turns out that the last time him and I were sparring, I was attacking his legs like I do (a lot, lol) and I guess in the process I tore both his ACL and his MCL. I kind of felt bad, obviously. I don’t like REALLY damaging teammates, but it is sparring and I understand that things happen. Though it is kind of a good feeling that even at friendly sparring power, with me cutting my power down, I still have the ability to cause that amount of damage. Such a bittersweet feeling. But Mike will be fine, he is almost done with rehab and will be rejoining us soon. So yeah, attacking the legs works!!! Sometimes more effectively than you think it does, lol.

  28. Eric says:

    Wow – killer series of videos and explanations – thank you VERY MUCH!

  29. Dr Sick says:

    Thanks for stopping by Eric, hope your training is going well in 2010! Tell all your friends about and help us continue to bring you the very best in techniques, tips, tricks, and more.

  30. The Anatomy of the Muay Thai Kickboxing MMA Leg Kick and Beyond | Damage Control MMA

  31. It is my first post here, so I would like to say hallo to all of you! It is really diversion to meet your community!

  32. Ufc121 says:

    I’m a mma fighter how do I turn this kick into surprise attack with serious power

  33. prafulla1234 says:

    You have shown a perfect way of doing Muay-Thai workout.You have describe each step very specially with the help of videos.So fantastic content on this blog which will definately help most of the guys around the world.

  34. lalit63 says:

    great video !……….Muay thai kickboxing is great sports.<a href = >.muay thai kickboxing</a> is oldest sports

  35. lalit63 says:

    great video !……….Muay thai kickboxing is great sports..muay thai kickboxing is oldest sports

  36. […] The Anatomy of the Muay Thai Kickboxing MMA Leg Kick and BeyondSep 4, 2009 … The following is an in depth look at the anatomical structure of the nerves and muscles in the leg and the most efficient ways to render them … […]

  37. Muay Thai says:

    Thank you very much for sharing this useful information. I was doing a project and for that I was looking for related information. Some of the points are very useful. Do share some more material if you have.

  38. […] approach (protecting the liver by brining it rearward) exposes the lead leg for a Sweep Single or a Leg Kick. And the long combinations, offer ample opportunity for an opponent to change levels for a Shot. […]

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