The Curving Knee Strike, also known as 'Khao Khong' in Thai, is a powerful technique widely used in the discipline of Muay Thai. This move involves the practitioner striking their opponent with a swinging motion of their knee. Its key strength comes from the possibility of executing it in close combat situations against vulnerable areas of the opponent’s body such as the ribs, liver, or even the head, if the practitioner's agility allows it.
Assume a regular Muay Thai stance. This means standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, with the lead foot pointing directly ahead and the rear foot facing slightly outward. Keep your fists up in line with your temples to protect your face.
Turn the hip of your striking leg towards your target while the foot of the same leg is pivoting for the power generation. As you gain momentum, swing and lift the striking knee horizontally across your body towards the target. Make sure to contact the target with your knee.
Defending against Khao Khong involves maintaining distance from the attacker. Block the incoming knee with a guarded elbow or stiff arm. In addition, a quick lean back can help to evade a high target knee strike.
To counter Khao Khong, one can sidestep to dodge the oncoming knee strike or catch the attacker's knee mid-strike and push it down, concurrent with a leg sweep or quick counter kick.
In a competition, Khao Khong might be used when fighters are in close combat or in a clinch, where it can nail targets like the liver or ribs. This attack can surprise the opponent due to its unusual angle, potentially causing significant damage.
Training Khao Khong requires proper knee conditioning, practice on padding, and mastering the timing for optimal results.
Mastering Khao Khong requires time and patience, but yields a powerful addition to your close range arsenal. Be sure to understand and respect its potential and power, ensuring its application responsibly in practice and competition.