My Muay Thai Training Diary: Year One

Welcome back to my online diary documenting my very amateur experience training in Muay Thai. If you missed the first entry on Bloody Elbow, read it here.

One year ago, I started down an exciting path of personal growth - I began training in Muay Thai. Now, with year one down, I thought it was a good chance to step back, share some of my experiences, and look forward to the coming year.

First up, and I can not stress this enough, if you have ever considered exploring any martial arts training, do it. Training helps me feel considerably better, both physically and mentally, and it has added so much to my appreciation of MMA and kickboxing. There is just something about trying these techniques out yourself that really helps you see the details in every fight. Really, dive in and give it a shot.

As for that extra appreciation for MMA, the Muay Thai training has definitely opened my eyes to a lot of MMA striking. It's helped me to see the good as well as the bad. And there are plenty of examples of both. But one thing that sticks out is the way MMA striking has not always kept up with the advances in other disciplines. Think of wrestling, where fighters like Georges St. Pierre have demonstrated how to take the best wrestling has to offer, adapt that for MMA, and use it to such great successes. You don't see as much of that with Muay Thai, and that's a shame. I'd like to see more fighters utilizing Muay Thai elbows and knees, or really committing to leg kicks.

Now, the counter argument here is obvious - in Muay Thai, fighters don't have to worry about being taken down (well, being taken down and having the fight continue - contrary to some beliefs, takedowns are a part of Muay Thai, it's just that the fight does not continue on the mat). And that is true. But you could also say that in wrestling, a wrestler doesn't have to worry about being punched, or in grappling matches, there's no fear of the ground and pound. Both of those disciplines have been adapted to MMA, with changes made to protect against this new element. Muay Thai and other striking arts are making progress in this area, but are not there just yet, though Lyoto Machida showed that a specific striking style can have great success in MMA. We'll see what the future holds for Muay Thai and other specific striking arts in our sport.

Enough pontificating. I'll wrap it up with a few personal goals for year two and my continuing work in Muay Thai:

  1. Improve my cardio. This speaks for itself.
  2. Get consistency on my kicks. I can land a solid kick that is vastly improved from where I was a few months ago, but after about 10 in a row, they start to get weaker. Need to build those up. Also need to improve the left leg overall.
  3. Keep the jab stiff. I use it as a pawing punch too often - need to send it out with power and take advantage of my height and reach.
  4. Get new gear. Specifically headgear, new gloves and wraps, Muay Thai shorts, and a better mouthpiece and bag. Any suggestions on those? And if any companies out there have equipment they are itching to get reviewed, get in touch.

Thanks for reading, and happy new year to all.

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