My Muay Thai Training Diary: Frustration With Leg Kicks

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.

I have always thought of myself as not a particularly graceful person. I'm not some giant oaf or horribly clumsy, but, despite being on the wrestling and tennis teams in high school, athletics don't come naturally to me and require a bit of work. That was one of my goals in starting Muay Thai training - to increase my overall athletic ability. And, to my pleasant surprise, I have found over the past year that I am much more comfortable in these areas than I give myself credit for. But I still have some places where I struggle, like balance, and this week, those difficulties caught up with me.

This week's focus: leg kicks. Which I've actually gotten quite good at in the past year if you ask me. But this time we were working a different style of kick; emphasizing the entire movement on the rotation of the hips, we threw the leg kick much closer to our partner than normal, and instead of fully extending the leg, kept the leg partially bent at the knee when making contact. Picture almost a cross between a knee strike and a leg kick. It's a nice kick to use when fighting close inside and unable to get the full extension on your kick (while also drilling you on hip rotation), but it caused me all kinds of troubles.

Finding my range has always been a bit of an issue for me, and an area I focus on. I'm a tall guy, and want to use that height and reach to my advantage, so make it a point to really extend the jab, the push kick, and the leg kick. But it's hard to find that proper range always. I think that's partly a result of me still being unsure where exactly my ideal range can be found, and partly from working with different partners holding the bag. Many times, I find my partner getting closer to me, so that when I step in to kick and extend, I'm connecting more with the knee than the shin - which is no good. Something to keep working on, and one of my main areas of focus for the past couple months.

Back to this week - the combination of working kicks at a different range, plus a kick that necessitated strong balance threw me for a loop. Throw the kick by itself and I was fine. Add a pair of punches, or block a kick before it, and I could not find my target accurately. The end result? A week marked by frustration.

Ah well. Not every week will be perfect, and I learn from what I do wrong. I'd grown comfortable with a lot of the techniques in my bag, so adding a new one that I am not comfortable with provides a definite challenge - and where would the fun in training be without those challenges? I walked out frustrated and annoyed at myself this week, but also eager to get back in there next week and get that kick down. I'll see how it goes, and report back next time.

My question of the week for everyone: I think I broke my big toe a few weeks ago, or if not broke it, jammed the hell out of it. It is mostly recovered now, but at least once a week I still catch it wrong and jam it again, which hurts quite a lot. Anything to do other than tape that thing up and try to be more careful?

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