In Muay Thai….Talent…..is OVERRATED!
…..and another person…not gifted…not talented…but who possess the ability to think deeply…
And, time and time again…the person with the ability to think will trump the person with talent because of hardwork…patience…dedication…and persistence.
Natural ability can only take a person so far….without the wisdom of the ages…they can’t turn their talent into strength…and eventually fizzle out.
You’ve heard about it time and time again…child prodigies…who had it so easy from the beginning…that when the road started getting tough..they simply gave up.
And you also hear stories of people who rose up against their lack of natural ability…and through patience and perserverence…and thought….rose to greatness.
Look at other fields of study….take Stephen Hawking….genius who was afflicted with a debilitating disease. Limited to a wheel chair and a voice box for life…he used his disability and turned it into strength…
At the limits of physical ability…bound to explore the world through his mind…he has become one of the greatest thought leaders on theoretical physics and cosmology.
And it all started with the right kind of thinking.
You’ve Been Given The Knife…It’s time to learn how to Sharpen it
We’ve spent plenty of time now ingraining the principles of Muay Thai into your brains so that you conceptually understand how the game is played.
Strong footwork….learning to relax the body….and coordinating the body in specific ways.
What I’ve given you are the basic tools….the foundation. This week….we will explore the thinking process behind honing your craft which will be the #1 determining factor on how far you can take this thing.
My instructor in Thailand trained me for months…and the one gift he gave to me….above all else…was not only the basic tools as I’ve given to you…but the thinking process to take those tools and sharpen them on my own.
And that’s what I want to focus on today. Because above all else…as a teacher…as great of a teacher as a person could possibly be…he can only show the door…but you need to experience the truths of the art for yourself to truly own them.
“If you don’t feel it…You Don’t Own it”
The teacher’s purpose is to show the way….but only until it sinks in deep..beyond the conscious brain…and into the body….can you truly own the art…and this is a process of mastery…continuously striving for perfection…knowing that you can never truly be perfect….ohh the dichotomy.
Training at Home and On Your Own
I’ve gotten some comments from students that they find training at home kind of boring and lackluster. This is due to a lack of purpose and achieving a tangible result that’s within reach.
So here’s a quick guide to training on your own
The first step to training is knowing where you want to go…with exact specificity. Without it…you’ll be heading no where like a ship without a rudder.
What areas do you want to work on? What areas give you trouble? If there’s a lot…pick one…pick one that resonates most with your heart to work on.
Then focus on that one thing. Say for example…I wanted to improve the power of my kick…well I know that by rotating the foot…I generate more torque through the hips…so that will certainly increase my power…So I look down at my feet as I kick and see that I haven’t been rotating my feet much and that’s why the kick is not powered up.
So…today…I’m going to focus on getting my foot to rotate at a minimum to 90 degrees….just focusing on that one mechanic…until it gets installed in the nervous system.
Again, it’s specific…measurable…(I can see how far the foot rotates) and achievable. We’re not looking to perfect the kick in one training session..but make small measurable improvements.
Just like going to a fitness club for the first time and trying to life 300 lbs seems daunting…we have to keep our goals small and achievable.
Going off the last step…I’d say to myself…hmmm…maybe 100 kicks will be enough to really get this into the system.
So I start training…focusing on watching the foot rotation as I kick to see how close I’m getting to my goal.
So…you’re half way through and still not seeing the result..It’s time to THINK! What’s holding me back? Am I not pressing down hard enough on the nugget? Is my weight distribution off?
And like a scientist…you begin to test out different things…maybe gripping the toes into the ground for added grip to the floor…or relaxing the right leg to let the body rotate easier….whatever it takes until you calibrate.
Now is the time to pick up the speed and power….it’s at this last step that we can start to unload because we’ve strengthened that neural connection that it starts to happen…now is where the rote repetition comes into place…with the goal of driving it DEEPER and DEEPER into our nervous system.
And that’s essentially it! The key is to always be aware of 1) what the outcome is 2) what you’re doing to achieve it 3) what feedback your body is giving to you whether your getting closer or not.
Two Fundamental Tools Used to Master Muay Thai
Essentially, when I started really making huge progress in Muay Thai…it was when I really started to embrace this sort of thinking….this inquisitive mind….I started being able to do more…achieve more results with less effort because I was RAZOR focused on what small goal I wanted to achieve.
This week, we’ll be going over how to use the bag and shadowboxing on your own (the two things I used to really achieve greater skill after coming back from Thailand)..and turn them into tools to sharpen the knife.
On a final note…it’s been over a year since I’ve been to Thailand…and I continue to train and improve my craft….and it’s because my instructor showed me how to think about the art…so I could go and explore my body as a human weapon on my own and be the shaper of my destiny.
And that’s what I want for all of you!
See y’all in class!
I was thinking about posting a workout for the week but then decided it’d be best to get through this week on home training before resuming. We’ll be picking those back up next week!
A Little Bonus – Muay Thai Techniques Explored….THROUGH KNOCKOUTS!
I figured this would be a great way to do some analysis and apply some of our knowledge to analyzing some fights from the highest level of Muay Thai – Lumpinee Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand…..to the lyrics of none other than LL Cool J himself….ohh yea….throw back!
Below the vids are my comments on what elapsed in each reel.
0:08 – When entering the clinch…it’s critical to secure the arms so that the opponent doesn’t sneak the elbow in. Here red gets his arm free and goes over the top with the elbow
0:39 – Saenchai (Red) throws two jabs…and on his way back secures blues arm…pulling it down…notice how at the pace of the fight…by pulling that arm down it drops the guard on the other side…allowing Saenchai to pull him into the elbow.
1:30 – Blue was getting pummeled before this reel….obviously…look at the blood smeared face. Knowing he’s getting pummeled…he swings for the fences, throwing a weak knee, marching straight forward into the forward elbow
1:47 – Blue engages the clinch securing the arms and throwing that lead knee…and continues to smash away at the body. Really it was the first knee that set up this whole sequence. Again, notice how blue keeps his head against reds. This diffuses the elbow in the clinch.
2:20 – Again..this shows the importance of turning those hips over on the kicks. Watch blues left arm, it swings over to the left for a cross catch of the kick to the body. The kick from red is deceptive as it turns over and goes to the head.
2:49 – Didn’t see before the reel…but I’m assuming red was going hard with the body kicks..watch how blue thinks the kick is coming again…and instead red comes over the top with the lead hook. Red… sneaky sneaky!
3:30 – This one was weird…but basically blue fakes the kick…the check comes up from red…blue switches up and goes down the middle with an uppercut. The kick at the end was the finisher
4:11 – Blue using his size in the clinch. When they go to engage the clinch again..blue fakes the engagement and shoots the forward elbow down the middle
4:35 – We went over this in class and here’s a prime example why you don’t over extend your strikes over the centerline…blue swings for the fences, shooting his hook way over the centerline…leaving his head exposed for the counter.
5:18 – Blue thinks the attack is coming. Instead Red grabs the arm and uses it to pull blue into his elbow. Again a fake into the clinch.
5:30 – Same thing…in that clinch range…those elbows are deadly..and if you don’t secure the arms…the elbows coming
6:28 – One last nasty elbow …red again gets his arm free in the clinch and comes over the top with the elbow…naaassty.