My Muay Thai coach showed a technique where we move backwards

  1. Punch with right hand, cross punch,
  2. and step back with same side right leg.

If I'm trying to evade a flurry of punches/kicks, I generally jab with left hand continuously first to punch/block/deflect (instead of a cross), and step back with right leg .

Moving back, while doing Cross punch seems counter intuitive to me, since I have to rotate my body forward , while moving backwards. It feels slower. Can someone explain why this is done? Trying to understand

Videos here:



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  • Something I see perhaps missing here is possibly a lack of power due to minimal hip rotation. That said, you can't have full power from every position. This is just a quick comment, as I didn't have time to watch the videos. Commented Jan 31, 2023 at 10:13

1 Answer 1


A fighter is better off being able to execute as wide a range of strikes and defensive maneouvres from as many positions as possible.

You identify in your question that you have a habit of using the jab when stepping back.

Over the course of a bout, a good opponent will identify this habit and may take advantage of it.

Utilising your right gives you an extra tool. You can use this tool to reduce your predictability; reducing your vulnerability by presenting a greater offensive and defensive challenge to your opponent.

One situation in which the right can be useful when stepping back is when your opponent is stepping in to you with repeated jabs. You can slip and use a surprise overhand right, although this is difficult to pull off and is risky, particularly if mistimed and if not followed up with further offensive and/or defensive manoeuvres.

You can also counter your opponent's right, surprising them by stepping in (left guard up, chin down), upsetting their timing by meeting their forward momentum with your own. (These are only two applications, but more than enough to work on for a while).

In both these situations, the backwards movement is only half the story; you utilise backward motion to suddenly generate forward momentum via a stable base, planting the ball of your rear foot as you launch forward (It is often employed as a 'bait and switch'). Fighting whilst reversing is not so much about throwing strikes in the midst of panicked back-pedalling as it is about integrating backwards motion with well-grounded forward attacks, which are launched as the retreating foot lands (see Video 1), much in the same way as a forward punch is empowered by coordinating the moment of impact with the weighting of either the front or rear foot. Note in Video 2 (1:20), his drop step back is not actually increasing his distance from his opponent. It is only when he follows up with his left leg that distance is created. In Video 1 (1:35), that distance-creation is combined with a left hook.

When drilling these moves, de-emphasise power and aim initially for timing and flow, being sure to maintain defence with your opposite hand. Practice the right step first, being sure to coordinate foot weighting with punch impact, then introduce the hook follow-up.

This process of stepping back before punching seems slower initially as it takes time to train your coordination. When mastered, it is an incredibly valuable asset that can help to blunt a volume puncher's efforts.

One of the most important tips comes in Video 1 (2:18), where he emphasises the importance of circular, as opposed to rearward movement. Lateral movement triples your retreating options and again makes you less predictable and vulnerable, and equipped with more offensive variation.

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