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My Muay Thai Training Diary: Distance And Speed In Muay Thai

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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 lessons learned early in training is: technique first, speed and power later. I mentioned this a bit last week in talking about my work on the switch kick, and it's excellent advice. When starting off, there's a strong inclination to just throw everything as hard and as fast as you can, but if you're not throwing it correctly, it's not benefiting you. Technique comes first, and then the speed and power are easy to add.

This week in training, we talked a little Muay Thai philosophy that relates to this idea. As my instructor explained it - Muay Thai differs from other stand-up martial arts in that it does not rely on distance and wind-up to strike. In Muay Thai, the strikes come quickly and with heavy power. The idea is that, with just one mistake from your opponent, you can come back with an immediate heavy counter.

With this in mind, we started working not just the technique, but the speed and power. I've naturally increased those elements over the course of my training, but this was the first time they were truly the focus. And I have to say, it felt good. I've come to a point where, while there are always things to fix, the basic techniques come naturally enough to me that I can indeed bring that speed, bring that power, and capitalize on those little openings.

It got my wondering about this idea of Muay Thai being somewhat different in this regard. I know some about other disciplines, but not nearly as much as I do about Muay Thai, and I know there are plenty of martial artists reading. So, I turn to you to get your opinion. How important is distance and set-up in other martial arts? Is Muay Thai better suited to fast inside counter striking?

Video of the week: More from Muay Thai Minute in the full entry. Here, a nice reverse elbow that's a follow up to your opponent avoiding your headkick. I'm a fan of this idea of having a plan for what to do should your strike not land, and this one is especially nice.

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