Learning Muay Thai is Like Turning Your Body into a Work of Art
Broad Strokes….Then Filling in the Canvas
So last week, we described the mechanism for throwing punches and elbows with power…pulling back on the opposite side shoulder to propel the other. (So for example, if I wanted to throw my cross, I’d pull back the lead shoulder to propel forward the right)
To compliment the lesson…it really helps to look at the human skeleton…YOUR human skeleton. Why?? Because the bones ARE the weapons of your body.
Notice how each side of the shoulder is fixed….kind of like the axles of a car….did you feel that relationship between the right and left shoulder this week?
So the BIGGEST transformation that we created in all of you this week…..
Step 1 – Going from punching using your arm to push with the punches
Step 2 – To Making That Breakthrough that motion in the right arm affects motion in the left arm
Step 3 – Discovering That Link so that can throw our ENTIRE upper body behind every punch and elbow….To using the entire body for every punch and elbow you throw!
Nobody’s Perfect….Even the Pro’s
I’ll give you some real-world examples from boxing to identify good vs. bad technique….even at the PRO level!
Notice in this picture…Bald Guy throws a solid jab….right shoulder pulled back….so the entire weight of the upper body snaps into the punch.
Perfect timing….Look at how the Bald Guy makes contact with the face at the exact time
- The rear elbow is tucked in
- The shoulder and jab hand is lined up with the targets face
- The elbow is fully locked out…creating that STIFF jab
Great power – Guy on the right (with an MRI of this image…couldn’t you just imagine his brain smacking the back of his skull?!?) Ouch.
It’s great to look at what’s good about this boxer’s form…but what could be improved? C’ma Take a Guess!
Well for one…that rear hand could be closer to the chin to defend the head.
And two…I’d like to see that lead shoulder tucked a bit closer to the left side of his chin for even better defense of the head!
Another Critique…This Time with the GOAT!
Ok…one more…with a boxer who tries to haymaker his way out of a fight with the Greatest of All Time (G.O.A.T.)…Muhammad Ali! (on the right)
Looking at Ali’s opponent…he throws a rear hook toward’s Ali’s head missing…really really badly….
…..Again…these are Pros!
(yet then again…it’s Ali…and as the champ…he made pro’s look like amateurs)
Can you guess what’s wrong?
- Head Popped up over the shoulders, exposing his head to a mean counter from Ali
- He extends that punch WAY WAY WAY over the centerline, causing him to lose his balance (note: not only does he have to regain his balance, but he’ll have to bring his arms back a lot further just to protect his head)
I guess the only thing I could say that Ali’s opponent did correctly is pull that shoulder back, rotating the entire shoulder.
I haven’t seen the fight, but can you imagine the counter by Ali that happened after that ugly miss?
The Goal of this week was to get all of you to feel that power generation throughout the entire shoulders for every punch and elbow. But at the end…we want to throw with power WHILE maintaining our defense.
Two simple ways to take what we’ve learned this week about power generation through the shoulders…and sharpen the power of the strike while creating solid defense.
1. Pulling the elbow to the ribs and hand to the face – The hand to the face is obvious…the chin is a weak spot which when hit is prone to a knockout – in the ring and on the street….the elbow tucked in is especially important to Muay Thai… because of the body kicks to the ribs..we want to protect them by pulling that elbow in tight!
What We’ve Covered to Create a Tight Defense While Powering up That Punch
Note: Look how for the very left images…the elbow pulls back and doesn’t tuck into anything…this reduces the power because the back arm is no longer part of the kinetic chain. For the other images…look at how the mass of the arm is being pulled TIGHT into the body…to add the mass of the arm to the strike.
2. Narrowing up your punches and elbows
Another way that we reduce power is flaring out the elbows for our punches and elbows. (Don’t worry if you do this! – I got a simple solution for ya!)
Notice how when we flair out the elbows into our crosses. Flairing out the punches –you take the power off the punch …WHY? Because the body is no longer behind the arm….what exactly does this do?
This BREAKS the ‘kinetic chain’ (fancy word for the sequence of transferring energy through the body) through the arm……So the punch hits with just the weight of the arm instead of being backed behind the full weight of the body.
I have a great way to straighten out those punches…without any equipment…try it out and you’ll feel the difference in punches and elbows that are thrown with your body than winging it by flairing out the elbows
So, the purpose of this blog was NOT to add anything really new…but just to elaborate on the WHY of why the punches are thrown the way they are…pulling the shoulder back to the 6 o clock position….elbow to ribs, hand to chin… It’s a lot to remember..but it’s all common sense…
….as long as you remember your outcome…
Not to get hurt…then hurt someone else…and this specific way of movement supports achieving both of those!
Next week we’re going to be brushing up and putting the final details on what we learned last week
- Landing strikes on the centerline
- Using both hands in every strike and elbow to further strengthen your punches and elbows
- Keeping the eyes and head balanced as we throw powerful shots
- And Just driving this down into our nervous system until it PERMEATES OUR VERY BEING!
This Weeks Lesson – Going Deep for TRUE TRANSFORMATION!
Next we’re going to be applying the same principles to the lower body strikes….the kicks, teeps, knees…
They Follow the same exact principle!
So…if you watched the vid…
…throwing the right kick…if I want to throw a powerful kick…it’s the pull and torque of the left foot..left hip…and left shoulder…basically the entire left side…BACK…to drive the right leg forward!
Profound stuff…not because it’s so complex…but because it’s so simple!!
Muay Thai – Weekly Bag Workout
And for those of you who have a bag…here’s a great training workout to prep for this weeks lesson.
A word about training…many of you have come to me and said that training at home can be kind of boring…and I agree!…if and only if you don’t have an outcome! For each training session…have a specific goal in mind…..for me…when I was in the process of integrating techniques into my body…
I would continue to train the same principle…over and over again…until it just permeated every movement I did…so for strong falcon feet…I wouldn’t just practice the jab…I’d practice EVERY technique…while maintaining my falcon foot =)….and I’d keep forcing myself to do it in different conditions…throwing combo’s in the air…against the bag….even with my eyes closed! Why?
Because the goal is not to be able do it while thinking about it…..
….It’s to be able to do it when you’re NOT thinking about it….that’s true learning…when it’s permeated your BEING!
So…set specific goals and your mind will align to achieve it…
“today I’m going to teach my body to tuck my elbows into all of my punches and elbows”
“today, I’m going to work on my foot endurance….I’m going to be able to move on the balls of my feet for 4, 5 , 6…10 minutes”
It’s those little breakthroughs…those little successes…in Muay Thai (as in life) that has made training for me exciting to this very day, after 8 years.
On a final note…teaching you guys has been a privelege for me….It’s quite a challenge to really create breakthroughs in skill and learning…and your sweat, effort, and HEART is what really fuels me! So…Thank all of you!
See y’all in class!