I can remember when in my early days of Muay Thai, I was so ambitious…so driven…to be like those Muay Thai fighters I saw in Youtube Videos. I’d watch them all…Fighters like Yodsanklai smashing pads with machine like precision. They were superheroes to me. I badly wanted to be like them…Hell..I wanted to BE them!
After years of Muay Thai training, I learned a large set of techniques and strategies. Yet, no matter how many hours I trained, I still didn’t feel that FLOW…that total control and effortless wielding of Muay Thai like I had seen…and it literally drove me mad.
It wasn’t until I identified my biggest physical weakness – the strength and flexibility of my feet -….. and started focusing on it like a laser beam, did I start to feel the flow and control that I wanted. The feet are an integral part of every strike in Muay Thai. So this weakness showed up in every movement I made on the training floor and in the ring. After trained specifically to develop strength in my feet, I made more progress in Muay Thai a month than I had in years.
But Can’t I Just Train Without Focusing On That Weakness? Won’t It Just Strengthen That Way?
Short answer..No. Muay Thai is a sport that utilizes the movement of the entire body to create viciously powerful strikes to take down grown men. So any sort of weaknesses, inflexibilities, or lack of proprioception (it’s a nerd term ‘awareness’ of a part of the body), will affect all of your movements. And the worst part about it is, if you don’t focus on it specifically, you’ll actually get worse at Muay Thai during training.
For example, you don’t have the flexibility to rotate your leg into a kick, but you decide to train over it to try to develop more power in your kick. You might start doing reps of kicks on a bag. To kick harder, you end up leaning over to the side to get that leg higher for the kick. This might make you kick harder in the short term, but in the long term, your training yourself with the wrong technique and will never get to mastery of the kick. And whatever you train, becomes habit, and bad habits are crazy hard to break.
How our Weaknesses Masks Itself From You and What to Do About It
The hardest part of it all, is that we aren’t aware of these physical weaknesses even though they are operating in our bodies all of the time. Chances are, if you’ve been on this planet for some time, you’re body has found a way to overcompensate these weaknesses in the body by strengthening other parts of the body. After a while, it just becomes a way of moving around, and you won’t even notice it, and you lose your natural ability to move around efficiently. It’s the same reason that a person being a complete dick, probably thinks they’re right…they can’t see what they’re doing!
How to Correct Weaknesses in Muay Thai in 2 Weeks to Double Your Results in Training
Instead, if you had discovered that your hip was rotating easily, you could focus your entire training on developing it into a strength so that you can start developing your Muay Thai skills, the correct way. Without a doubt, these are the highest leverage things you can be focusing on in your training because they affect EVERY move.
Here’s how to correct it
- Identify the problem area – check in with yourself during training and find areas within a particular movement that give you trouble or struggle with. Remember, when you see Buakaw strategically picking his opponent apart, you can be sure it’s because he’s confident all of these weak spots have been vetted out beforehand. Here’s a sign that it’s a weakspot – if you find yourself grimacing everytime you do a movement, chances are there’s something to be learned there.
- Next, take that move, find some training footage of a great Muay Thai fighter on Youtube. Buakaw, Yodsanklai, Saenchai are great starts but there’s many more.
- Study every movement and see how they are doing it…
- Are they on the balls of the feet or flat?
- What Direction is the foot pointed?
- Is there knee extended?
- How far the hip is turning over?
- How far the shoulder is turning over?
- Is their head tilted or level to the ground? (hint: It should be level to the ground)
- Are they making a Grimace or is their face calm?
- Next, focus on that one particular thing in training until it becomes a strength. Start out slower then move progressively faster. If you do it fast from the get go, you won’t feel yourself doing it right and you might just be finding another way to overcompensate by over-tensing other muscles. Slow training will force you to stabilize your body and do the strike correctly.
That’s it. Now go out and try it out. True learning is always in the doing, and I guarantee you this…if you try this out on any technique you’re struggling with, not only will you develop strength in that area and improve your whole game…but learn some deeper wisdom and understanding of the art that you literally never imagined… And even more beautifully, help others identify what they’re struggling with too.