Welcome back to my online diary documenting my very amateur experience training in Muay Thai. If you missed the previous entries on Bloody Elbow, read them here.
Last time here, I talked about a rough day of sparring and working on some issues of predictability. As always, the community here was full of helpful tips, many of which I applied this week when I stepped back into the ring to spar, and I have to say - it helped.
The #1 lesson I have taken away from these last two weeks is that I need to do a better job incorporating kicks into my combos. I have a tough time flowing from punches to kicks within a combo, and I think it's that issue more than anything else that is leading to my predictability. As I continue to work on my range, kicks just aren't nearly as natural to me. I'm also not perfect on my balance, so feel somewhat exposed when kicking. But I can complain and make excuses all I want - they key is to fix it. This week, I started really focusing on punch/kick combos in both bag work and shadowboxing, and plan to keep that my primary focus when doing drills. I think it will make a real positive impact.
Also this week, I had a chance to spend a big chunk of time with just my sparring partner and one of the trainers, and it was tremendously helpful. A few of his miscellaneous tips that I walk away with:
- For a leg kick, a great set-up is a quick hop to the outside, lining my lead foot up with my opponent's lead foot.
- End a combo with either a jab or a kick - one of your strikes with the longest range so as to allow yourself to avoid the counter.
- Move. Keep circling. If I stand dead center and trade, I don't yet have the power to keep up, and I'll lose. Use my movement to create angles and utilize my reach.
- Keep the lead left hand forward and active and use it more to block incoming shots.
- When jabbing, use my left arm and right hand to help protect my chin.
- Seriously, circle a LOT more.
Relatively simple tips all, but very, very helpful. True, it's more material to keep in my head, but as I did bagwork afterwards, I had a moment of feeling all of these things coming together without thinking. I got out of my head, let the combos flow, and trusted in my technique. And it felt great. Yes, it only lasted briefly, but it was a helpful glimpse of where I am headed, and was a good reminder of how far I've come.
Question: What's the one tip you most love to give to someone sparring, or the one tip that best helped you when sparring?