The Importance of the Lead Fist & Lead Leg
Proper distancing when delivering each fighting technique is something that the practitioner of Muay Thai cannot overlook. A distance of only a palm span or elbow can allow us to gain an advantage in a fight. Or, it might lead us to defeat. Or, it could lead us to victory. Therefore, we should be interested in trying to understand it as clearly as possible.
The Lead Fist refers to the fist that is located all the way in front of us when we’re standing in the fighting stance or guarding position. Suppose that we’re standing in the left stance… our left fist would be in front of our right fist except when we’re standing in the “MAH-YOHNG” (or “Galloping Horse”) stance from “KRU DTUNG-GKEE YOHN-DTAH-RAH-GKID”. That is, you would alternate the angle of your stance with the position of your fists. If you’re standing in the left stance, then your right fist would be in front of your left fist. For example, that is.
What is the purpose & function of the Lead Fist? You have to know how close you are to the intended target. You should practice how to deliver attacks without drawing back your arm. The “TIM” (Chaiya style JAB or “poking punch” or "stabbing punch") punch is delivered by extending or stretching your arm out from its original position. That is the proper way to deliver the lead fist. You have to observe your opponent. When your opponent moves a little bit with the intent of delivering an attack, extend your lead fist so it can strike in the direction of any of the points closest to your lead fist. That is, any point that can cause your opponent to stop abruptly or become confused, dazed, stunned, and/or stupefied. Strike any point that can cause your opponent pain and make them lose their balance or offset their overall rhythm. With regards to using the lead fist… the ancient masters called it “CHING-KOHM” (making the “FIRST MOVE” before that of your attacker). You must also NOT forget the importance of “NAH-TEE TONG” (or “golden minutes” in Thai) which means using valuable opportunity in applying the concepts of “FOLLOW” (“DTID-DTAHM”) and “AGGRAVATE” (“SUM-DTERM”) until you’re able to end the fight. Being able to perform that, inevitably, comes from practicing often with a training partner.
When you practice with a training partner, you should use the lead fist in a variety of situations. For example, use it when your training partner is preparing to punch. Use it when your training partner is preparing to kick. And, you must practice how to apply the concepts of “FOLLOW” (“DTID-DTAHM”) and “AGGRAVATE” (“SUM-DTERM”) in a variety of situations in order for you to become accustomed to delivering techniques.
Everything that I mentioned so far was just a brief explanation to help you understand its existing practical application(s) so that you, the reader, can use it as a stepping stone during your first level of training and obtain a new set of skills from there on out.