Double Up for Maximum Damage

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Since Muay Thai has eight weapons as opposed to the 2-4 normally utilized by other striking styles, combos are usually heavily varied. This is one of the greatest strengths of Muay Thai, but even though combinations are infinite, traditionally-trained fighters can still fall into certain grooves that can make the next technique easier to see coming. For instance, the majority of the time if a strike was thrown from the lead, the next strike will be thrown from the rear. Even if that strike could be any one of four weapons, having narrowed it down that much is a big help for defending against it.

This opens the door for a very simple strategy to shake up traditional combo structure and catch opponents off guard – simply double up the same strike! A double jab is fairly common, but when was the last time you threw two crosses in a row, two lead hooks in a row, or two power head kicks in a row?

The strikes don’t have to be identical. One of my personal favourites is a short cross (no hip turn) to throw off the opponent’s sense of how far they are from me by just knocking on their defense, followed immediately by a full cross that penetrates the defense fully. You could throw a lead hook to the body followed immediately by a hook to the head, or a lead cut kick to the inside thigh and then go to the head with the same kick. Try mixing doubled-up strikes into your combos, you’ll be surprised at the effectiveness!

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Love to compete, or just want to get in great shape this year? Come and check out our Muay Thai programs in St. Albert for ages 5 and up! E-mail us at tlarone@arashido.com or give us a call at 780-217-0059 for more information.

 

Badr Hari Highlight – Mixed Combo Mastery

Here it is, as promised! I’ve mentioned Badr Hari several times in Muay Thai class lately as we have been working on combos which attack multiple levels of the body in quick succession and Badr Hari may be one of the best of all time at it. In this highlight, you will see him work the legs, body and head in a single finishing combo. While there are many fighters out there that can do this effectively, Badr Hari is special in two major ways:

  1. Power from EVERYWHERE – most fighters have a particular strike that becomes their calling card, and will put combos together specially to funnel the opponent into situations where they can set it up. Badr Hari can end a fight with either leg to the body or head, or either hand to the body or head. No matter what kind of combo he throws, every piece of it is a potential fight-ender!
  2. His opposition – This highlight isn’t a cherry-picked selection of lower level fighters that he went through in the first round of a tournament, virtually every single opponent in this highlight at the time they fought is a past, current or future world K1 Kickboxing champion. It’s one thing to look amazing against B-Level fighters when you’re at the top of the game, this is another.

Enjoy the highlight and get psyched for classes later tonight!

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Love to compete, or just want to get in great shape this year? Come and check out our Muay Thai programs in St. Albert for ages 5 and up! E-mail us at tlarone@arashido.com or give us a call at 780-217-0059 for more information.

 

Shadowboxing for Muay Thai

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Shadow boxing is a tool that is often overlooked by martial arts practitioners. It doesn’t matter which art you practice, you need to include shadowboxing in your training regimen, especially when it comes to Muay Thai. If you want to better your center of balance, reflexes, speed, motion and flexibility, then shadowboxing is the way to go. Just think of your shadow as your opponent and let ’em have it! With proper technique and form of course.

The following guidelines will help you make the most of shadowboxing:

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Focus on Focus

 

In shadowboxing, focus is of the utmost importance. You must not just wave your limbs here and there, if you’re not putting your mind into it then you’re wasting your time. Focus on the form of your punches, kicks, elbow strikes and knee shots.

Start Off Slow

Always start with loosening your shoulders, legs and hips. Be light on your feet and warm up. Once you feel the heat building up inside your body start adding more strength and power to your strikes. It’s actually harder on the body to throw a strike and miss than it is to hit something, so ease into throwing with power.

Practice Foot Movement

Shadowboxing is the best way to practice your foot movement. As a Muay Thai fighter, you know how important it is to stay on your feet, move around and confuse your opponent. Do some head movements and practice your footwork into getting in and out of fighting distance.

Time Your Shadowboxing Sessions

Time yourself as if it were an actual ring fight. If you have an upcoming fight then time yourself accordingly. You can do 3 or 5 rounds with 2 minutes for each round, and a 1-minute break in between. Not only will this get you ready for the real Muay Thai fight, it will boost your stamina as well.

Fight Like You’re in a Real Fight

In the warm-up phase you just need to focus on your form and technique, don’t use too much of your power at that time. Save it for the after-warm-up session. This is where you go all out. Work on your feints, striking combinations and counters; make sure your shadow-self knows you’re the king of the ring!

Visualize & Strategize

Picture yourself in the arena, walking into the ring and taking off your mongkol. Take deep breaths as you prepare to take with your opponent head-on. This can really help to calm your nerves and focus as if the fight was actually happening.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when shadowboxing:

  • Always stay in fighting stance and be aware of your balance
  • Focus your punches at eye level
  • Generate your power through your hips and legs
  • If you want to master a technique, repeat it till it becomes second nature
  • Know why, what and how you are executing your techniques

Shadowboxing is the best time for you to come up with strategies. Do it in front of the mirror in your room, in the park, anywhere you have space for a little maneuverability. At Arashi Do Martial Arts in St. Albert, we teach you the most efficient ways of shadowboxing that improve your mental conditioning and Muay Thai techniques.

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A Few Helpful Tips for New Years Resolutions

It’s that time of year again! On and around January 1st, many peoples’ thoughts will turn to what kind of 2018 they want to have and what positive choices they can make in order to improve their chances. In his article, “The Psychology of New Years’ Resolutions”, Professor of Behavioral Addiction Mark Griffiths lays out the following helpful tips:

Be realistic. You need to begin by making resolutions that you can keep and that are practical. If you want to reduce your alcohol intake because you tend to drink alcohol every day, don’t immediately go teetotal. Try to cut out alcohol every other day or have a drink once every three days. Also, breaking up the longer-term goal into more manageable short-term goals can be beneficial and more rewarding. The same principle can be applied to exercise or eating more healthily.

Do one thing at a time. One of the easiest routes to failure is to have too many resolutions. If you want to be fitter and healthier, do just one thing at a time. Give up drinking. Give up smoking. Join a gym. Eat more healthily. But don’t do them all at once, just choose one and do your best to stick to it. Once you have got one thing under your control, you can begin a second resolution.

Be SMART. Anyone working in a job that includes setting goals will know that goals should be SMART, that is, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. Resolutions shouldn’t be any different. Cutting down alcohol drinking is an admirable goal, but it’s not SMART. Drinking no more than two units of alcohol every other day for one month is a SMART resolution. Connecting the resolution to a specific goal can also be motivating, for example, dropping a dress size or losing two inches off your waistline in time for the next summer holiday.

Tell someone your resolution. Letting family and friends know that you have a New Year’s resolution that you really want to keep will act as both a safety barrier and a face-saver. If you really want to cut down smoking or drinking, real friends won’t put temptation in your way and can help monitor your behaviour. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support from those around you.

Change your behaviour with others. Trying to change habits on your own can be difficult. For instance, if you and your partner both smoke, drink and eat unhealthily, it is really hard for one partner to change their behaviour if the other is still engaged in the same old bad habits. By having the same resolution, such as going on a diet, the chances of success will improve.

The full article can be found at https://theconversation.com/the-psychology-of-new-years-resolutions-51847 .

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Is getting in great shape, or learning a martial art your resolution this year? Come and check out our Muay Thai programs in St. Albert for ages 5 and up! E-mail us at tlarone@arashido.com or give us a call at 780-217-0059 for more information.

The Benefits of Heavy Bag Training

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There are many techniques in Muay Thai, and the most common way to train them is by bundling them in combinations. The combinations themselves are usually arranged specially to develop some kind of skill or simulate a particular situation you may face in combat. For example, the combo Check, Teep, Chase Jab Cross would simulate you having checked a kick that your opponent threw, then quickly throwing a teep to try to catch them on one leg before the kick is withdrawn. While they’re knocked off balance, you close the distance and hit them with the 1-2.

In order to fully understand a combo, it’s best when trained in five ways – Shadowboxing, Heavybag, Thai Pads, Cooperative Partner and Sparring. Each of these training methods will develop different aspects of the combo and altogether combine to produce the finished result, which is a combo usable and effective in full contact under stress. In this article, I’ll focus on the benefits of the heavy bag.

  1. Power – The heavybag is a great tool for developing raw power, since it can’t be hurt and doesn’t require a great deal of accuracy to hit. Striking accuracy will be developed using Thai pads and partners, so it doesn’t need to be as much of a consideration when hitting the bag. That means you can focus entirely on hitting hard. You can think of it like sculpting, where the heavybag work is the initial chiseling of large chunks off the block so that it can be shaved down, styled and smoothed later.
  2. Conditioning – The bag is also great for building cardio, for the aforementioned accuracy not being an issue and also because you can hit a bag anytime without training partners so it’s easier to get in extra workouts.
  3. Toughening – In any striking art, the joints can take a beating. Even if you can throw a punch or kick hard, your fists or shins might not be able to handle the impact over time. The wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees, shins and feet all must be conditioned for health and safety reasons. It might look cool on YouTube to kick banana trees, but almost all top trainers will say the same thing for shin conditioning – kick the heavybag, hard and often.

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Congratulations to Derek “Honey Badger” Jolivette on his victory in Toronto!

This past weekend, Derek “Honey Badger” Jolivette and his coach Kru Ryan Timoffee from Arashi-Do Sherwood Park represented Lom Pa Yu Muay Thai in Toronto at the Canadian Muay Thai nationals tournament. Not only did Derek defeat Jake Mackenzie, he was also awarded the honor of “Best Athlete”. Awesome job, Derek!

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Love to compete, or just want to get in great shape this year? Come and check out our Muay Thai programs in St. Albert for ages 5 and up! E-mail us at tlarone@arashido.com or give us a call at 780-217-0059 for more information.

Muay Thai Culture and History – Wai Kru Rai Ram and Muay Boran Demonstration

In class students often hear Khun Tyson refer to Muay Boran, which is the ancestral martial art of Muay Thai. Indeed, when you watch Muay Thai and Muay Boran side by side it becomes clear that the basics of the style haven’t changed a whole lot, but there are subtle differences. For instance, in a warfare style like Muay Boran elbow strikes to the base of the skull and kicks directly to the knees are commonplace, as these sorts of blows are effective for immobilizing, maiming or killing an opponent quickly. In sport as a general rule, victory without lasting or irreparable damage to the opponent is the best case scenario. These kinds of strikes are illegal so as to allow for fighters to have long and accomplished careers.

This video begins with a demonstration of the Wai Kru Rai Ram, sometimes simply called the Ram Muay. This is a ritual of Muay Thai to this day, where fighters will perform a series of movements mixing fighting techniques and dance to pay respect to their trainers, family and ancestors. While most Ram Muay performances share a basic outline, most will have personal touches that may represent where they come from, where they train or their unique fighting style and personality.

Upon completion of the Ram Muay, they demonstrate some of the techniques of Muay Boran. You will recognize many of them from Muay Thai, but will see some techniques ill-suited to the rule set of modern muay thai as well as some grappling and throws that would be more characteristic of Judo or Jiu-Jitsu.

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4 Ways to Be a Great Training Partner for Muay Thai

All martial arts require good sportsmanship and Muay Thai is no different. If you love Muay Thai then you know how good it makes you feel when you train and spar. This cannot be true for everyone however as some people are not lucky enough to have good partners. Training and sparring with your classmates requires that you have a good personality. A good person always teaches others and in the case of Muay Thai, he/she always does their best to be a good training partner.

Here are four ways to enforce the idea of how to be a good training partner in Muay Thai:

1: Don’t Be a Jerk

No one likes people who are arrogant and display how good they are at something as if they’re the best. If you want the other person to feel comfortable sparring with you, then keep it light hearted. You don’t have to be cracking jokes in the middle of the session, just say something to ease the tension (if any) between you and your partner. This is especially helpful when sparring with a person of opposite sex as being a bit loony can give you two the jolt to spar better rather than keeping your distance. When the time is right, smile and crack a little joke, but make sure that you don’t make someone a target of your joke as it will be very disrespectful.

2: Give Others a Chance by Thinking Positive

As sparring is crucial to Muay Thai training, chances are that you might pair up with a member of the opposite sex. This can make most people nervous, especially if a guy is paired with a girl. Guys will be hesitant to kick or punch a lady and won’t want to be the ones who ‘raised their hands at a woman’. Relax! This is Muay Thai; anyone who takes up Muay Thai knows what they’re getting into. When sparring with a person from the opposite sex, just make sure that you follow the rules of Muay Thai. If you’re more experienced, give them a nudge in the right direction and let them hit you a few times to make them feel comfortable. This will show them that you are a positive person and are giving them a chance to learn.

3: Don’t be a Know it All

When learning Muay Thai at a gym, you are there to learn from the instructor. No matter how many YouTube videos and Muay Thai fights you may have seen, don’t try to be a know-it-all and try to show everyone you know everything there is to know about Muay Thai. Everyone is there to learn from the Muay Thai instructor so instead of trying to show off new techniques, go with the class. In time you will realize how little you actually know, as training and learning from a real instructor is never going to be the same as watching videos on the internet. Flow with your teammates and if you think you can do a technique in a better way then make sure that you consult with your instructor quietly instead of boasting loudly about your immense knowledge.

4: Keep a Cool head

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Martial arts are all about learning patience and discipline. Sparring in Muay Thai is about learning and getting the feel of how a real fight would be like. Don’t lose yourself in the heat of combat and hit your partner with powerful blows to knock them out. Remember, this is not a match, it is a training session and you’re both there to learn. If you hit too hard then the other person will get bruised needlessly and will most likely make a complaint against you. No one will want to spar with you again and you will lose credibility. If you want to hit hard then do it in the ring or on the bags. In such times deep breathing is always helpful and can help calm your nerves.

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The 8 Destructive Weapons of Muay Thai

mt guy 4In finding the real self-defense value and effectiveness of a martial art, it is the type of weapons available in the arsenal that make the difference. In Thai boxing, the fighters are able to use the body’s most destructive weapons to their advantage. In Muay Thai, the 2 feet, 2 fists, 2 elbows and 2 knees are known as the 8 weapons. When put together these weapons are a lethal combination.

The feet are used for long distance striking, the fists and knees for medium distance attacks, while the elbow is used effectively as a devastating short range weapon. An experienced Thai boxer has solid defensive techniques for protection from the 8 weapons. One proven Muay Thai defensive technique often used as a counter move in ring combat, is known as “the wall of defense”, in which the fighter protects himself by lifting a knee to make contact with a lowered elbow to form a protective wall. This human wall has the strength to absorb the attacking strikes coming from any of the 8 weapons. Whether short, medium or long range, any of the 8 weapons, if used correctly, can touch the opponent with lightning speed, precision and accuracy.

Roundhouse Kicks

Lightning quick roundhouse kicks targeted at the head are regarded as the most flashy and effective attacks in a Muay Thai fight and scores high points from the judges. The most effective strike is when the attacker’s shin, not foot, is thrown into the side of an opponent’s head. The roundhouse kick can easily break a tensed up forearm on impact. Therefore, Thai boxers wisely prefer to absorb the roundhouse strike rather than maintain a rigid defensive stance.

Flying Knees Since Muay Thai is a close-quarters combat sport; effective grappling and knee techniques are needed. A good close-quarters fighter can be very effective in taking the wind and the will to fight from an opponent. A knockout strike is almost guaranteed when an opponent’s head is brought down to an upward-thrusting knee. Muay Thai fighters are the masters of kick fighting. But it’s their shins that are the hardest part of their body and used to chop an opponent down. The knees are also used to devastating effect, as are elbow and fist attacks.

Punching

Fighters from Thailand have successfully shown their punching proficiency by producing a number of world WBC and WBA boxing champions. In Muay Thai fights, power punching is seldom seen since it doesn’t score high points. It’s the elbow strike that separates the Muay Thai fighter from other martial artists. A lightning fast elbow strike is the weapon of choice for a fast knockout and held in high regard by the judges and spectators.

Clinch

Aside from being able to effectively strike with your hands, feet, knees and elbows in Thai boxing, being able to grapple and control your opponent in the clinch is necessary. Unlike western boxing where holding the opponent is illegal, Muay Thai allows the fighters to grapple for position and control. When two Thai fighters cling to each other in during the fight, they use their knees, fists and elbows to attack one another. Being in the clinch is hard work and requires a good amount of conditioning to hang on to a fighter who has the defensive techniques to keep his opponent at bay. If two Thai boxers clinch without striking, the referee will separate the two fighters as grappling without action is not allowed in a Muay Thai fight.

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A Brief History of MMA – Muay Thai

buddhas_thailand-t2In spite of the importance of the fists in mixed martial arts competitions, and in spite of the fact that boxing has always been a full-contact event, MMA requires more than just the fists to strike with. Thailand has a tradition of mixed martial arts events going back to the earliest records. While boxing is arguably the national combat sport of the English-speaking world, Muay Thai is without dispute the national sport of Thailand. There is even a Muay Thai Day celebrated on March 17 in honor of the sport and its place in Thailand’s national culture and history. 

Muay Thai is unique among historical full-contact sports due to a combination of several factors: the laxity of its rules, the length of time it has been practiced, and its enormous popularity throughout the millennia since its inception. Unlike the Roman pancratium, Muay Thai did not lose its popularity to other events; it has remained strong right up until today. It is thus the greatest example of a living, full-contact, mixed martial arts tradition. Modern kickboxing and the mixed martial arts style shoot boxing, both originating in Japan in the twentieth century, were inspired by it.

Nearby countries also practice the sport but under different names and sometimes with more extreme rules. The Burmese Lethwei traditionally had no rules at all. Even biting was allowed. A knocked-out competitor was asked upon revival if he wished to continue the fight. Only the acknowledged submission of the adversary enabled a competitor to win. An adversary’s simply refusing to submit no matter what occurred, including death, would result in a draw.

Muay Thai traditionally allowed striking with any part of the body. This meant that fists, elbows, knees, shins, feet, and the head were all used. Grappling was also allowed and was used for holding the opponent to deliver strikes and to slam the opponent to the ground. No part of the body was off-limits to attack, and some fighters specialized in striking the groin with the knee, foot, or other parts. Kicks were often aimed at the knee of the opponent’s supporting leg in order to break it.

As Muay Thai evolved as an art with military application just as wrestling styles did, the prohibition against continuing the fight on the ground is understandable. Fists were often wrapped in sturdy rope, and adding sharp materials to the rope was not unknown. Victory was attained by beating the adversary to such a degree that he could not continue the match. Thus, developing toughness was a key element in training. In more recent times the rules have been altered in favor of protecting the competitors more. Points are now tallied, head butts and groin strikes prohibited, and modern boxing gloves worn.

 

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