The cobra tactic (Muai Ngu Hao) is a combat tactic of the MUAI, which relies on the successful implementation of a specialized technique (the proverbial “venom”) at the right moment.


The fighter first uses simple attack and defense tactics within the framework of the basic techniques (Mae Mai) and tries in suitable moments to specifically injure the opponent by a specialized technical variant (Look Mai) or a combination (Mai Gon) or to hurt him or to put him out of action. The use of such a combat-deciding technique is like the bite of a cobra, which has earned this combat tactic its name.

Most cobra fighters specialize in one or more fighting techniques and have developed “their poison” far enough that failure should not occur too often. The opponent must strengthen his defense more than usual and act very prudently in order not to fall victim to the “bite of the cobra”. Defeating a cobra fighter with his own “venom”, i.e. his own specialization, is considered to be particularly artful.

Historical significance

In earlier times bets were placed on the successful implementation or thwarting of techniques. The outcome of a fight was secondary, because the real fascination was to see whether a fighter could successfully enforce his techniques and tactics or not. It was only through the industrialization of Muay Thai that the focus shifted to points, victories and defeats that were easy for the masses to understand.

The cobra tactic was mostly used by fighters who were very convinced of their techniques and tactics, because a single mistake in the use of their venom could mean defeat. To see if and how a cobra fighter can apply his venom or if he might become a victim of a venomous bite himself must have been a very fascinating and bet-worthy event for connoisseurs of matter.