If you’re like me, as a Muay Thai practitioner, you’ve probably watched hours of Muay Thai training videos online. What you’ll most often find if you search ‘Muay Thai Training’ on Youtube are video upon video of great fighters like Buakaw ripping away at the pads. God, how cool would it be to have that kind of power!?! And yet, there’s something missing…just because a fighter can punch, kick, knee or elbow really well doesn’t necessarily make them a great martial artist or competitor.
Muay Thai – It’s About Who Hits Harder, Right?
Wrong! Watching Videos on Youtube will give you the wrong impression that strong, flawless striking techniques is vitally more important than other elements of the game…namely footwork, timing, and a fast set of eyes. Yet, these are more likely the determining factors of a fight over simply power alone. The human body, as strong and durable as some are, is fairly fragile. It doesn’t take much to knock someone out, especially in the game of Muay Thai.
Muay Thai is More than Meets the Eye on Youtube
So why the hours and hours of video on the web showcasing the finest striking techniques with absolute power? Because it’s flashy and marketable and gets a ton of views. Who the hell wants to watch someone practice their footwork? It’s boring, uneventful, and not as engaging as Buakaw demolishing his padholder. From this, it’s easy for your brain to unconsciously conclude that the game of Muay Thai is all about power.
Training Your Footwork is like Investing…Boring as Hell but Pays Damn Good in the Long Run!
With a focus on mastery of footwork, you will start to learn to set-up strikes, evade and counter, and move like the flash, dancing circles around your opponents while they miss aimlessly. It’s something that can’t be rushed, and takes years of practice to truly master. Mastering Muay Thai footwork is a daunting task…..A good Muay Thai trainer in Thailand can probably have you hitting as hard as the pro’s in about 6 weeks, the amount of time it takes to prep for a fight (and no this is not an exaggeration). Good footwork, being able to move seamlessly across the ring as if you were floating with moves like Michael Jackson (RIP) takes years to become proficient. And this is why I most people don’t even seem to start to learn it.
It’s More About Floating Like a Butterfly than Stinging Like a Bee!
If you really want to transform your game, I suggest you start to incorporate footwork, hours of it, every single week, into your training regimen. Make it a consistent habit to continuously become more balanced, more agile, and faster on your feet. Moving around like a tank in Muay Thai with no mobility will leave you in the dust once someone that moves like a fighter jet flies circles around you. Instead of watching fights for just the big hits, observe the footwork of some of the greatest fighters ever in Muay Thai and in Western Boxing (Samart Payakaroon, Muhammad Ali, Manny Pacquiao, Saenchai). Take note of how they dominate their opponents in between the exchanges and you’ll see a world of domination with footwork that the opponent can’t keep up with!