In answer to the thread opener interms of power to a certain degree yes knees carry a lot of natural power even “light” knees. It’s not uncommon to receive very deep bruising around the ribs form just walking onto a protruding straight knee not thrown with any real venom, just held up to break a technique, this can put you out of training for weeks, hence the very light nature of Thai technical sparring. However, as I explained above basic knees aren’t really being used to their full effect in most MMA bouts I’ve watched as they don’t turn and then extend their hip to push through the target as a typical MT fighter would do. This is repeated with almost every technique including kicks. MT dynamics are a twin of their western brother boxing, power is all in the hips.
A lot of guys underestimate how crucial flexibility is to the basic function of performing simple Muay Thai techniques. Guy’s really need to work on flexibility in the hip area, just to pull off basic knee and kicking techniques with any sense of good form, control and most importantly maximum power. If your flexibility is good, your body doesn’t impede the fluidity good technique brings which leads to leads to that holy grail of power. This is the one slight difference between the development of good boxing technique and good MT technique….. the role flexibility plays. I realise good flexibility is necessary to throw punches with a full range of motion, but developing fluidity through good technique bought about good flexibility is a basic requirement to perform effective MT at even a basic level. Good hip flexibility is crucial to the power, strength and speed of your knees and kicks.
In the west when a lot of guys start learning MT particularly MMA guys they are aware of its rep as a powerful style and hence when kicking the pads they really go for it and try whack the **** out of the pads and hence try too hard, tense up and never really unleash their full power. Without an experienced eye this is how bad habits are formed and this happens frequently. Guys really you need to relax into their kicks, the real power is in natural rotation and full commitment to possible over swing. Many guys in those initial learning stages also try to make contact with the pads via the foot and the bottom part of the shin, this is a mistake. Really they shouldn’t even be thinking about the foot. To develop good pure form you need to focus on throwing only the hip with relaxed speed, if you do this the shin and foot automatically follow the hip round, this is good Muay Thai technique. As with boxing, guys know to always hit through the target, and the same applies in Muay Thai. Commit those hips, swing them hard and fast past the pad and your shin becomes a baseball bat, a one limb wrecking machine. This is the difference between all the other kicking Martial arts and Muay Thai, the natural “over” rotation of the hip, the secret is commit, commit, commit and very often in MMA I don’t see that. There may be a reason for this, maybe a potential take down if they miss, but I can’t help thinking if you’re gonna throw you’re better of throwing a nuke than a water bomb…..