GJ Muay Thai Chi

Today we started with shadowboxing to warm up. We then started with thai pad work:
  1. Dave Roger's Boxing 9 Count (2 min)
    This round was used to warm-up basic boxing cross-hook technique and get repetitions in on 3, power 3, and reverse power 3. Not to mention slightly different styles of entering into them.
    • Jab
    • Cross
    • Lead Hook
    • Catch (Jab) Cross
    • Lead Hook
    • Cross
    • Slip (Cross) Lead Hook
    • Cross
    • Lead Hook
  2. Joker's Thai Boxing 11 Count (2 min)
    This is my attempt at creating a similar combination set of punch-kick action and reaction drills.
    • Jab
    • Rear Kick
    • Jab
    • Cross
    • Lead Kick
    • Side Cover (Lead Hook)
    • Cross
    • Lead Hook
    • Rear Kick
    • High Cover (Cross)
    • Lead Hook
    • Cross
    • Lead Kick
  3. Kick combination round (3 min)
    This round was used to develop more punch-kick technique and combination, people either practiced four count kick combinations or did tie-ins:
    • "Jab Kick to 2/4" -- Jab-Rear Kick-Lead Hook-Cross-Lead/Rear Kick
    • "Jab Cross Kick to 1/3" -- Jab-Cross-Lead Kick-Cross-Lead Hook-Rear/Lead Kick
    • "High/Side Cover Thai to 2/4" -- High/Side Cover-Cross-Lead Hook-Rear Kick-Lead Hook-Cross-Lead/Rear Kick
    • "High/Side Cover Reverse Thai to 1/3" -- High/Side Cover-Lead Hook-Cross-Lead Kick-Cross-Lead Hook-Rear/Lead Kick
  4. Conditioning (3 min)
    • 30 secs pitterpat
    • Dave Roger's Boxing 9 Count x3
    • 1-3-6-9-12 Kicks each side
    • Joker's Thai Boxing 11 Count x3
    • Repeat if time allows
Next we worked on defense, juniors worked on set pattern:The seniors worked out of this flow, free forming it more. We then put one foot on the wall and worked our evasion. Essentially, since the wall inhibits any posterior movement and we do not step, we can only do two things here:The bob and bob-and-weave mechanics
  1. Bob
    The bob is a 45o anterior-lateral motion used to evade a punch or similar strike. We explode to this dynamically loaded position and then return to our "fighting stance". The objective is to unbalance and tire our opponent by forcing them to throw and miss. This unbalancing makes them open for counter shots, typically to the body and takedowns. Ideally "bob" to the outside line and decrease the number of offense weapons that can be brought to bear.
  2. Bob-and-weave
    Sometimes (lots of times) the "bob" places our head squarely on the inside, leaving it exposed to counterattack. In such cases, perform the "bob-and-weave", that is following the 45o angled cut, swoop your head in a tight half circle from inside to outside. Doing this instinctively rather than reactively can save you from the follow up shot after your "bob" and once gain decreases the number of weapons that can hurt you. Forcing a miss still unbalances and tires your opponent as well as setting up effective counters.
Evasion is very effective defense, however it must be understood within context. First, keep your hands up, unless you are extremely skilled and fiendishly fast eventually you'll get plastered. Next, your body cannot move faster than someone's hands, so proper RATTLE is called for as well as recognizing that you can only evade for so long (a lá the Millennium Falcon flying through the asteroid field in the "Star Wars Episode V: Empire Strikes Back"). Lastly, realize that evasion is part of the defensive game and has a time and a place. Bobbing and weaving underneath kicks is a bad idea (unless your shooting and taking the risk). With knees and kicks be sure your evasive movement from the punches is not setting you up for a devastating lower extremity combination.
We finished with kick defense, using leg cover. In thai boxing the body is essentially divided into three levels, and the kicks are picked up with the nearest limbs:
Low Line
The low line is a pure leg defense using the proximal part of the leg just below the knee to stop kicks. Ideally this hard target is placed on the distal part of your opponent's shin and top of their foot to cause damage, similar to a JKD knee destruction. The front leg is attacked more often so simply pick up your foot, plantar flexing to tighten the shin. Settle your weight and "catch" the kicks as if someone was kicking a soccer ball to you, one that you wanted to stop and control. Point the knee so that the femur (thigh bone) is perpendicular to your opponent's shin, allowing you to pick up both front and rear kicks to the lead leg.
Mid line
For kicks going to the lower abdomen and floating ribs bring your front or rear elbow to your lead knee, creating a shield. The other hand can cross center to increase the buffer created by your arm. Thus attacks to lead side are same side arm to same side knee contraction, while attacks to your rear side are lead leg to rear arm or cross body contraction. The elbow can go outside or inside the knee, outside if you want to hurt your opponent's foot, inside if they kick hard enough to hurt your elbow instead. Keep everything tight, it's easy to snap a pencil its difficult to snap a pencil glued to a brick (thanks again Matt =D). This is basically a mix of the low and high line defense.
High line
For head kicks we use two arms glued to our body to defend. Keep the side being attack closest and use the cross hand to pop over anteriorly to it increasing the surface area that the impact can be distributed to. In no situation do you reach to block, instead ride the kick letting the impact disseminate via your arms through your body. Immediately return your crossing hand to its guard.
In all cases of leg cover we are taking one to give one. This is a bartering exchange, I am accepting one of the kicks and trying to get the better of the bargain by reacting. In covering we hurt the person for trying to hurt us, in evasion we embarrass the person for trying to hurt us. Also do not look at your partner's feet, continue to look at their chest. Thus in practice we worked rounds of leg covering followed by rounds of leg cover with reaction. Those less experienced were encouraged to have their partner let them know which kick was coming.
For tiip defense we talked about using the lead hand to deflect the kick, hard twisting them on their base foot. We followed up with:Lastly we discussed cut kicks. Cut kicks use angling away and in so that we reduce the torque of the kick and attack the plant leg attempting buckle it. The angle is more important the taller you are, otherwise it is difficult to catch the plant leg.
And I almost forgot the title of this blog. Many people have the misconception that muay thai is "hard". Well it is, but not all the time. Training should always be approached intensely but not necessarily hard. Timing and drilling is light, to minimize injuries. If you want to hit hard you do it on the bag or the pads, not at the jeopardy of your fellow fighters during timing or knee play. Having fought a little I know that after competition I'm done for a week or two. Imagine fighting every month, you would train intensively soft to fight intensively hard. So train soft, spar hard

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