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Military Boxing: from Tiger Step to Killing Shift.

Good combative footwork is the ability to move the body smoothly and efficiently so that balance is never upset. It involves the possibility to attack or defend at all times. The true essence of Muay is the art of moving at the right time so as to be always in the best position to offend or defend. Offensive footwork is essential in aggressive combat arts such as Muay Lert Rit. Every step is performed to increase the power of blows, be it a punch, a knee or elbow strike or a head-butt. The basic step of traditional Siamese martial arts, both unarmed and with weapons, is the Tiger’s Step or Seua Yang. This step is a balanced, solid shift used for advancing and retreating without compromising one’s balance. When used offensively the Tiger’s Step loads the attacker’s strikes with great power.

For this reason this is the preferred choice for executing knock out blows that ends a confrontation with a single action. The same kind of step has been used to teach military personnel to quickly dispatch enemies on the battlefield, not only in Thailand but in the West, as well. A noteworthy example is represented by close combat expert Colonel A.J.D. Biddle and his “killing shift”. Anthony Joseph Drexel Biddle was an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps; in his career as combat instructor he trained the Marines in two world wars and the FBI special agents. Biddle was an expert in Boxing and Close-Combat and the author of Do or Die: A Manual on Individual Combat, a book on to hand combat methods, including knives and empty-hand skills. In his book he describes the technique “invented” by the famous heavyweight champion of the world Bob Fitzimmons, a killing combination of punches performed with a quick forward step that Biddle calls the “killing shift”.

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According to Biddle, this shifting attack, if landed with killing intent, could really dispatch an enemy with a single action. The attack is based on a full forward step (Muay Boran Seua Yang or Tiger Step). Starting with the left foot forward, the right foot steps forward: this adds power to the offensive action. A vicious right hook (in Lert Rit this attack is called Mahd Kwang) is aimed at the opponent’s jaw or temple. This is a knock-out blow that, if connects correctly with the right target (upper or lower jaw or temple), may cause an instantaneous loss of consciousness. However, this is just the first part of the technique. In fact, if the first attack fails to land or if it doesn’t bring to a quick knock out, the attacker should let the momentum of his missed strike carry him slightly downward.
The momentum is then reversed and the attacker explosively straightens his legs and twists his trunk and unleashes an uppercut punch that packs tremendous power. The target of this vicious attack is the chin or throat of the opponent. According to Colonel Biddle, such a blow, if delivered correctly and with full force, may drive the upper jaw bones into the base of the brain, causing serious brain concussion which can result in death of the victim. A common optional attack often employed in Military Boxing as a substitute for the chin punch, in case of an unexpected movement of the opponent’s head after the first hook punch, is the infamous groin knee strike (Tang Naka in Siamese Lert Rit’s terminology).
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Right after the punch to the jaw, the attacker turns his body, from feet to shoulders and unleashes a penetrating low knee blow to the opponent’s crotch. A stunned opponent will find this extremely vicious attack impossible to evade: the result of a full power knee blow to the groin area is very serious and a strong attack of this kind may have lethal consequences.
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