In this fight between Damien Trainor and Tawatchai Budsadee, both fighters keep using these jumping/flying attacks without really setting them up with fakes or combos. Either that or I am actually missing something here. They seem to land most of the time. See two of these back to back at 4:38. The first is a jumping vertical/downward elbow to the head by Damien, and the second is a long jumping superman cross by Tawatchai.

Damien Trainor is one of the greatest in MT in recent history. He is a skilled technical fighter. I would expect him to counter Tawatchai's flying attacks while he is in the air (possibly with a sidekick or a front kick). Tawatchai's wind up in 4:43 is hard to miss. There is a flying knee at 8:23 which missed Damien's head. However, it did make contact with the body. Also, while landing Tawatchai grabbed Damien's head with both hands pulling it down. Damien missed a jumping elbow at 9:18, but then landed the next one at 12:42.

There are more of those. Some are evaded, true, but none are countered. There has to be a reason. Usually, it's impossible to counter a well-timed strike.

How are they setting these up? I can't figure out the fakes and feints. Is there any special body movement or footwork (used as fakes or feints) that I can't distinguish?

I tried the jumping elbow a number of times in the gym (of course just tagged the head gently). When I did it with people who don't study the art, I landed flush. When they saw me jump they instantly covered up, which allowed me to land the strike safely. But when I did it with people who are at my level or better, every single time they either threw a tip (front kick) or just moved away. I fell on my face twice.

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    In all honesty, there's not really any set up to these. He's able to do this because he's very fast, no other reason. He can perform the flying attack before his opponent is able to react, but it doesn't seem to apply a lot of power, resulting in his opponent remaining unfazed.
    – Sjana
    Dec 24, 2019 at 18:14

2 Answers 2



Trainor sets up his flying elbow with his left, causing Budsadee to cover up and duck his head, removing most of his vision and allowing Trainor to execute the flying elbow unimpeded. Trainor either intended to use his left to control Budsadee's head from the outset, or threw a jab and decided to control the head when Budsadee covered up inside it.


Trainor made a basic error here. He was unlikely distracted too much by Budsadee's outstretched right (then again, he may have been), but upon seeing Budsadee burst forward, he covered up and exhibited absolutely no lateral movement, leaving himself vulnerable to whatever Budsadee wanted to do (in this case, a superman punch).

The thing about flying attacks is that a fighter can't really change direction effectively whilst airborne. A simple step to his right would have allowed Trainor to counter quite effectively, or even to evade and recompose. I'm not claiming that a 'simple' step to the right is easy, but for an elite fighter, allowing yourself to be pressured backwards towards the ropes when you are initially well out of range is poor form, and dangerous.


It wasn't a devastating attack by any means. Vision of any contact is obscured, but Trainor didn't appear to sustain much, if any, damage.

Budsadee did manage to reach him before he could evade however, and there are multiple contributing factors to Budsadee's success in this regard.

The first is his quick rebound from the ropes; a position in which fighters will often loiter for a little longer. This gave his attack a degree of unpredictability and surprise.

The second is that, leaping with hands raised, Trainor would have had difficulty determining whether Budsadee was going to attempt another elbow, another superman, a flying front or side kick, or a knee. This added another degree of unpredictability.

Thirdly, Budsadee was extremely quick here. From the ropes, he covers approximately 2 metres (and considerable elevation) in roughly a second. This, combined with the unpredictability of his strike, tips the scales in his favour.


We see here quite clearly that Trainor again sets up the elbow by using his left to both obscure vision and pull the head forward. He only misses thanks to a timely leg strike from Budsadee which tips Trainor off balance. Try this in the gym. You will note that, if you manage to get your left behind your opponent's head and are able to pull it forward and down, you find yourself in a very advantageous position, able to launch a range of strikes relatively unimpeded.


We see the same thing all over again. Trainor, for the third time, is able to provoke a high guard response from Budsadee by transitioning a jab-like motion into a head control. He executes this in a fraction of a second.

If your opponents are reading your flying attacks early, it could be for many reasons, including but not limited to:

  • No set-up. Are you feinting? Are you throwing a precursor strike? Are you disguising your attack in any way by utilising ambiguous movements or movements typically associated with different attacks?
  • Telegraphing. Get feedback from your sparing partners. Ask them why they are able to read your strikes. If they are honest and open, their feedback may well help to solve your issues, and quickly. It could be just one little 'tell' in your technique that you're not aware of.
  • Speed. How quick are you?
  • Distance. How much distance are you trying to cover?

The fact that your opponents are able to evade you or throw front kicks when you attack suggests you are likely commencing your strike from too far out and/or telegraphing too much. Note how close Trainor is at 12:45. It would be nearly impossible to land a front kick against him in similar circumstances.


Aerial/jump attacks are very over-exaggerated in a street fight. There’s rarely any reason to kick above the waist area; you're broadcasting your leg and balance high way above center of gravity. A nice round kick to the thigh/hip region or a lovely knee to the groin will do a lot of damage and is far more stable. That's not "Muay Thai" The Superman punch/Cobra punch or กระโดดชก Uses an elevated position. But any fighter who uses the time to ascend to such a height risks being counter-attacked by a well routed fighter.

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