Standard Four Combos – 6 Rounds of Fun

Published by Jason Narog on

Muay Thai Combos

Let’s start by giving credit where credit is do. The “Standard Four” combo is something I learned at Northwest Fighting Arts in Portland, OR. I don’t know its history, if other Thai academies teach it, if they call it the Standard Four, etc. I know it as the Standard Four so we’re moving forward with that name.

What is the Standard Four?

I really like teaching this to personal training clients as part of the fitness boxing cardio component of their programs. It’s 4 kickboxing moves that teach body rotation / balance / timing / breathing and a bunch of other stuff all rolled into one. It’s fluid, and can be broken down into pieces to both work on (and break) timing.

1. Lead Kick

The first part of the standard four is a lead kick. If you’re right handed this would be a left kick, if you’re a southpaw its a right kick. Either way its with your lead foot (the one you put in front of you when in thai boxing stance.)

We already have variety built in here. You can switch step (bringing your back leg forward to turn this lead kick into a rear kick [thus making it more powerful]); or snap the kick up quickly. There’s also other footwork you can do where you step towards your rear side making the lead kick more powerful but not switch stepping. It doesn’t really matter how you start this off (unless you want to make more rounds out of it or just practice different footwork); the first move of the combo is a lead kick.

2. Rear Straight Punch

Rear means right if you’re right handed. So now things get interesting. Based on how you land after your lead kick, you’re either off balance or on balance for this straight punch.

Let’s say you’re kicking a heavy bag. Now, you can do 1 of 2 basic things with your leg after landing that kick – you can bring it all the way back to your original stance (which is slow and unwinds your body) OR you can stomp that left foot down after making contact with the bag (which puts your body weight forward | has you already wound up to deliver a powerful straight.)

Don’t believe me? Go try it. This blog will still be here. Try bringing your foot all the way back versus bringing your foot down and notice how your weight distribution changes and how much more power you have on that straight after landing the lead kick.

3. Lead Hook

So you just landed your rear straight. Notice how your body is wound up before you snap that arm back to cover position. Feel wound up and powerful for a lead hook? Yes? Good.

This is where timing comes into play and where fitness for boxing versus boxing for fighting are different. In fitness for boxing if you don’t snap your arm back to cover right away you have a good twist ready. Now (in theory) if you’re boxing for fighting and you miss that right straight and don’t bring your arm back to cover before going for the hook you could get clocked in the face. In fitness boxing, no one will hit you.

4. Rear Kick

While you’re twisting your body back from that lead hook, you’re loaded up for the rear kick. Twist into the hook, then while unwinding deliver the rear kick. Again, if this is for fitness we’re more interested in the rotational aspect of the movements versus where your hands are. In combat sports, you also need to pay attention to your cover.

Having Fun with the combo

Here are 5 variations you can play. I’ll make it a total of 9 rounds after I cover these 5 variations.

  1. Lead teep, lead kick, rear straight, lead hook, rear kick
  2. Lead kick, rear straight, lead hook, rear kick, rear kick
  3. Lead kick, rear feint (you start to throw the rear straight but stop short), lead head hook, lead body hook, rear kick
  4. Lead kick, rear straight, lead hook, rear spear knee
  5. Lead kick, rear straight, lead hook, rear spear knee, lead spear knee (repeat for a total of 6 knees)

Combo 5 would be the finisher for the workout. You can try it with cup knees, but it feels awkward compared to the spear knee.

If you wanted to make this a 9 rounds activity (yes, I’m playing on that particular fitness boxing clubs gimmick) you could do the following (please feel free to add variations where you feel appropriate, this is just to give you some ideas) [only rounds 1 and 2 note how you throw the first kick, the rest do whatever feels good or whatever you want to practice on]

  1. The standard four – switch step lead kick
  2. The standard four – lead leg stays forward
  3. Lead teep, rear straight, lead hook, rear kick
  4. Lead teep, lead kick, rear straight, lead hook, rear kick
  5. Lead kick, rear straight, rear straight, lead hook, rear kick
  6. Lead kick, rear straight, lead hook, rear kick, rear kick
  7. Lead kick, rear feint (you start to throw the rear straight but stop short), lead head hook, lead body hook, rear kick
  8. Lead kick, rear straight, lead hook, rear spear knee
  9. Lead kick, rear straight, lead hook, rear spear knee, lead spear knee (repeat for a total of 6 knees)

The combo is nothing more than left, right, left, right. You break up that rhythm by switching up things – left, left, right, left, right or left, right, right, left, right, etc

As you start training this combo you can start throwing in pauses between movements. The twisting is really good for oblique training. The kicking (and thai boxing in general) is good for your calves and balance.

Word of caution though – kicking a lot can mess with desk sitters who already have overly tight hips and IT bands. Stretch accordingly.

 


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