Arashi-Do Out in Force at Dekada!

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Dekada Contender is the next upcoming event on September 8 hosted by Calgary’s premier Boxing and Kickboxing promotion, featuring two of Arashi-Do’s biggest talents – Stephanie Essensa and Chris McMillan! Tickets available by calling 1-403-804-5277.

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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.

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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.

 

Blocking versus Evading

Whether it’s Muay Thai or any other martial art, most beginners are taught to emphasize defense and survival skills. It makes sense, as when you are just starting out it’s more important to be able to stay in the fight until you can get away or help arrives than to “win the fight” which becomes the mindset with more skill and experience.

However, defensive techniques aren’t all the same, and some are more difficult than others in different ways. They can be divided a variety of ways but the two basic categories are blocking and evading.

Blocking: Any technique where you’re putting something between the opponent and the target, usually something hard and durable like a shin or forearm. The advantage of blocks is that they are usually subtle movements that require less speed and reflexes than evading. Beginners usually learn blocks first before they learn evading techniques. The disadvantage is that it’s difficult to attack and block at the same time, so if the opponent can keep the pressure on and keep you blocking they can build momentum. Also, seasoned opponents will still do damage even if their strikes are blocked – even a shin or forearm can only take so much punishment.

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Evading: Evading is usually taught a little further down the line after a beginner has learned the fundamentals of blocking. Evading has several advantages over blocks. First, making an opponent miss with their strikes will tire them out more quickly. Second, if you can evade well then you’ll sustain much less damage overall. The disadvantage is that evading oftern has a much higher “cost of failure” than blocking. If you’re slow to block and only partially shield yourself, you’ll still reduce the damage done. If you try to evade and fail, you’re more likely to take the full force of the blow. Evading techniques must be done quickly and with excellent timing.

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There are always exceptions to the rules and in some cases blocking or evading may be the best way to defend against a given technique whether you are a beginner or not. It is important to always come back to the basics and then work on what style suits you best later on.

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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.

3 Reasons to Master the Jab

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The jab is the most common arm strike thrown in combat sports, despite being (in most cases) the least powerful. If the intent is to do damage, you’re better off throwing crosses, hooks and uppercuts. So why do most striking coaches emphasize the jab as the most important punch for beginners to work on?

1: The Set-Up

The reason jabs aren’t as powerful as other punches is that you can’t rotate the hips into the strike as much since the lead hip is already rotated forward. However, being that much closer to the target does mean it can be snapped out quickly without warning, and that makes it a great way to open a combo. As Kru Yai Chris teaches, “Lead with speed, devour with power!”

2: The Range Finder

It’s easy to gauge how far away from an opponent you are if you just stand in one spot and hammer on each other, but that isn’t common at the higher level. High level strikers often use a combination of feints and footwork to move in and out of combative range quickly and deceptively. You can’t always trust your eyes, but you can always trust your jab. If you work on keeping a consistent jab out, you’ll always have an idea of how far away the opponent actually is, and what strikes to throw at any given time. For example, I personally know that if my jab is not quite fully extended when it hits the opponent’s defense then a rear cut kick to the thigh will land well, but if I’m just out of jab range entirely it’s the perfect time for a lead head kick!

3: The Deterrent

Generating power in Muay Thai is all about hip rotation to bring more weight into the strike, which is why the short range hooks and uppercuts are generally the hardest hits – they’re the punches that are most directly linked in to the hip rotation. The heavier the opponent, the more dangerous those short range punches become. If you have a stiff jab and throw it out often, you make it much harder for those heavy hitters to close the distance without a good set-up. Without the jab, they can cross the no-mans-land between you at will, and you’ll be in trouble!

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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:

be-focused

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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Plus, you get a 30 DAY FREE TRIAL!  

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 Anatomy of Leg Kicks

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For people that do striking martial arts where kicks below the waist are not allowed, it’s difficult to imagine the pain of a series of leg kicks from someone that knows what they’re doing. That’s why one of the most important skills to develop early on in your Muay Thai training is checking (blocking) against leg kicks and footwork to help avoid them.

Typically, the leg kick is performed using the shin as the weapon of choice. Shins are much harder than the bones of the feet, and are more durable as well. This means if you end up running into knees or other shins instead of your intended target, you’re less likely to get injured. In Muay Thai, the feet are usually reserved for softer precision targets like the face. For recreational students and for fighters in training, shin guards are used to soften the blow so that techniques can be developed without getting hurt.

Illustration of sciatic nerve shows the L4-S3 spinal nerves, the sciatic notch, piriformis muscle, common fibular and tibial nerves. Description of sciatica and common causes of sciatica.

The target is most often the outer thigh, a muscle called Vastus Lateralis. Many fighters report that while the first few leg kicks might hurt a bit, the pain of leg kicks is more of a cumulative effect as the fight wears on. This is because when the VL’s and other muscles have been hit a few times, they become inflamed. This puts pressure on the sciatic nerve, which runs through the area and provides all the major muscle groups of the leg with sensation. That’s where the pain comes from, and how quickly it happens depends on the conditioning of the muscles to take the blows, how hard the kicks were and other factors. Once in a while in sparring you might have a particularly tough time blocking kicks and be sore afterwards, and that’s a good time to stretch and ice the affected muscle to bring down the inflammation and take the pressure off the nerve. Beginner to Intermediate students are introduced slowly to sparring on purpose to build up the conditioning of the legs to take kicks so that they can enjoy the challenge of full-contact sparring later on if they choose.

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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.