My Muay Thai Training Diary: Muay Thai Homework

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.

One of the big advantages of training at the same place for awhile is that your instructor really gets to know you. He knows the particulars of your style - what you're good at, how to play to your strengths, and what still needs work. As of late, I've been having more conversations with my instructor, and so decided to check in with him after class to get some specific pointers on what I should be working on at the moment. His response was, well, homework.

Here's my three part assignment, from my instructor, designed to make me a better fighter.

#1 - Shadow box in front of a mirror holding small weights. The idea here is to watch my technique and stay crisp on everything, while also building up my arm strength. I've started this by doing 3 x 3 minute rounds with 30 second breaks in between, and I have to say, it's exhausting. I tend to do it after already having class, which means I'm tired but also warmed up, but I've been surprised at how much the weights make it difficult. They do however force you to keep your elbows in and make you painfully aware every time you let your hands drop. This is draining, but most definitely a good exercise.

#2 - Jump rope. I admit, I have not started this yet. Why? Well, time for a confession - I never learned how to jump rope. Yeah, yeah, you just jump over it, but as a kid, I never did, and I suspect it's one of those things that is actually kind of easier to learn as a kid. But I need to get over it and just start. This is obviously to build up footwork and balance.

#3 - Watch old fights from Sakmongkol. This was my favorite assignment, partly because it just involves watching classic Muay Thai fights, but also because of the way my instructor thought about it and chose Sakmongkol specifically, noting that his style would fit mine. He described Sakmongkol as being "light, but heavy" which sounds like nonsense at first, but when you watch him, you totally get what that means. As a student of the fight game, I like this idea of using other fighters to help develop my own style - I've watched Semmy Schilt (reach) and Remy Bonjasky (defense) for this in the past, but it's nice to have someone new who is chosen by my instructor. If you've never seen any Sakmongkol, check out his great fight with Ramon Dekkers here.

So that's it - my three step homework plan. So far, so good, and as I keep at it, I'll let you know how it goes.

Random aside - Hey, Demian Maia was wearing the exact Bad Boy trunks I recently reviewed in his UFC 148 fight with Dong Hyun Kim. Cool.

Question of the week: Have you ever watched any fighters to help create your style? If so, who, and how did it work out for you? If not, why not?

Video of the week: Interesting technique here where you counter a kick by stepping in with a hook. I like the fact that it goes against what your opponent anticipates by moving in, but you have to make sure your defenses on that kick are tight. Check it out in the full entry.

I train under Andre Madiz at Conviction Martial Arts, 4430 N. Western Ave., Chicago, IL. www.convictionfitness.com. If you are in the Chicago area, come join us, and be sure to say hello.

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