Muay Thai is considered one of the world’s most effective martial arts and a cornerstone discipline for an MMA fighter.
The widespread popularity of Muay Thai is due to it's ridiculous knockout power and the ability to cause serious damage and phase any opponent it is used on.
Primarily focused on strikes, Muay Thai is a martial art that creates deadly weapons from all of a nak muays limbs. From punches, kicks, elbows and knees we'll explore why this is one of the best martial arts to engage a zombie attacker in with close combat.
The Z Factor
As with any new and unknown challenge, Muay Thai would need to be adapted to the new enemy. For example, it is widely accepted that a zombie’s main goal will be to bite you in order to eat your flesh and/or ‘turn’ you into one of them. Therefore, our goal is to avoid their mouths and being bitten at any cost.
Other factors such as their speed would also come into consideration, think of the original Dawn of the Dead vs the 2004 remake. In the case of a slow zombie from the original Dawn of the Dead, Muay Thai gives you option should you find yourself unarmed. Against the terrifying running zombies from the remake, it is almost always the best option to run where possible. Muay Thai would be exclusively reserved as a last resort to create space and get away when cornered.
Let’s take a look at which Muay Thai techniques would be best to fend off a zombie attacker:
Central to effective Muay Thai is the simple but effective punch. The punch offers more range variation than other strikes such as the elbow or knee, meaning it can be applied over a longer or shorter range. Assuming you’re wearing gloves, the simple jab can be used to measure range or hide more devastating techniques such as the cross. Uppercuts or hooks to the head won’t render something that’s dead unconscious, but they might generate enough force to unbalance a ghoul.
If you’re lucky, your undead opponent, not known for their agility, might also sustain falling damage. Unfortunately the zombie will be invulnerable to the prestigious body blow knock out so don’t be tempted by a liver shot even if you can see the organ through their decomposing torso.
One of the most devastating weapons in the Muay Thai arsenal is the elbow. Whether it’s used like an upper-cut, in a horizontal slashing motion or a spectacular downwards (12 to 6) movement, an undefended elbow against the head or torso of a living opponent usually means sleepy time or a stoppage.
The elbow is applied at close range and the huge amount of force generated should mean that a well-placed elbow can be used as a last resort to create space and avoid becoming lunch. An upwards elbow placed under the chin might knock the zombie back, a huge 12 to 6 downwards elbow on top of the zombie's head might even be enough to crush it and finish them.
A firm crowd pleaser, go to any Muay Thai event and it won’t be long before you hear someone from the crowd enthusiastically urging their fighter to, “KNEEEEEE!” It’s a mistake to think that the knee is a uniquely close range weapon. The spear knee has as much range as a jab but with much more force. It’s effective to knock a zombie backwards, however misjudge this and it leaves you vulnerable inside of their tangling grasp. The rare flying knee delivers almost unstoppable knock-out power but the trade-off between effectiveness, energy required and dire consequence of missing leaves this weapon strictly on the Hollywood shelf.
In Muay Thai knees are usually thrown at one of two places, either the ribs/stomach to wind the opponent or the face to knock them out. In the first instance, the knee may lack usefulness as it is unlikely that winding or inflicting pain on a zombie would slow them down at all. Also, when landing a knee to the face it is usually very difficult to see or accurately throw where the knee will land, this leaves you open to being bitten. Perhaps as last resort, a survivor might clinch a zombie and deliver a knee in order to double them up and follow up with a knee to the head. However, in a clinch it would be more efficient to just throw the zombie down to the ground. With this in mind, the knee would be used very reservedly.
Unarmed, a kick is probably the best weapon to use against a zombie and Muay Thai ranks in the elite tier of martial arts when it comes to brutal and effective kicks. Muay Thai kicks have both the advantages of longer range and proven bone breaking power. The Muay Thai roundhouse is a vicious tool which is traditionally applied to the body or thighs and it quickly robs a living opponent of stamina and mobility. However, one would question the reason attack the body or legs when a zombie can feel no pain and will relentlessly carry on coming forward. Sure you can aim for the head but any head kick is a high risk move which exposes you to unnecessary injury and being tangled up should you miss, and even if you land!
However, one particular kick that cannot be ignored is the teep. This kick works by lifting your knee and throwing the base of your foot into your opponent’s torso in order to maintain distance or create space. Though not as powerful as a roundhouse, the teep is a much faster kick and still packs a considerable amount of force which has the effect of throwing the opponent backwards and off-balance.
Conclusion.As we can see Muay Thai would certainly be an effective martial art style to learn in preparation for World War Z. The ability to deliver extreme blunt force trauma using only your body can only help you stay alive. Of course, using your own body to generate and deliver so much power is intrinsically risky and open to injury. Care must be taken not to make yourself a casualty and becoming lunch.
If you're fighting against the classic Romero zombie, if you're away from a horde and you have the most basic armour, you can tee off on the rotters all day until you become exhausted. Of course a zombie's strength, apart from feeling no pain and being undead is from the horde. If you're not careful, their superior numbers could sneak up or corner you, tangle you up and then drag you down with surprising speed.
Close quarter combat should be avoided at all costs against the undead, but as a last resort, we rate Muay Thai 4/5. So tell us what you think. Are you a nak muay? How do you think you'd fare against the undead?