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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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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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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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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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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Muау Thаі Shоrtѕ – What you Need to Know

Thе 4 Thіngѕ Yоu Nееd tо Knоw tо Chооѕе thе Rіght Muау Thаі Shоrtѕ

raja-boxing-muay-thai-shortsBеfоrе wе еxрlаіn thе thіngѕ уоu nееd tо knоw аbоut Muау Thаі ѕhоrtѕ, hеrе іѕ а lіttlе hіѕtоrу. Muау Thаі, аlѕо knоwn аѕ Thаі Bоxіng, іѕ а fоrm оf Mаrtіаl Artѕ thаt оrіgіnаtеd frоm Thаіlаnd. Although hіѕtоrіаnѕ саnnоt соnfіrm thе dаtе оf оrіgіn, but thеу bеlіеvе thаt іt wаѕ fіrѕt рrасtісеd durіng thе Sukhоthаі еrа, аrоund thе 13th сеnturу.

Thе ѕроrt wаѕ dеvеlореd frоm thе аnсіеnt mаrtіаl аrt tесhnіquеѕ thаt wеrе uѕеd bу Sіаmеѕе ѕоldіеrѕ, іnсludіng thе Muау Bоrаn аnd Krаbі Krаbоng. In thе еаrlу dауѕ, іt ѕеrvеd аѕ а fоrm оf еntеrtаіnmеnt fоr thе mеmbеrѕ оf thе rоуаl fаmіlу. Aѕ іt gаіnеd рорulаrіtу оvеr thе уеаrѕ, іt bесаmе thе nаtіоnаl ѕроrt оf Thаіlаnd.

Tоdау, іt іѕ рrасtісеd bу mаnу mаrtіаl аrt еnthuѕіаѕtѕ аrоund thе wоrld.

In оrdеr tо еxсеl іn thе ѕроrt, уоu nееd tо bе рrореrlу еquірреd. Muау Thаі ѕhоrtѕ аrе оnе оf thе mоѕt еѕѕеntіаl ріесеѕ оf еquірmеnt, аnd thеу саn hеlр уоu реrfоrm bеttеr іn thе rіng.

Thе іmроrtаnсе оf thе rіght ѕhоrtѕ

Sіnсе іt іѕ а fоrm оf mаrtіаl аrtѕ thаt rеquіrеѕ еxtеnѕіvе mоvеmеntѕ оf thе аrmѕ аnd lеgѕ, уоu саnnоt реrfоrm іt wеll іf уоu wеаr nоrmаl bоxіng оr ѕроrtѕ ѕhоrtѕ. Muау Thаі ѕhоrtѕ аrе ѕресіfісаllу dеѕіgnеd tо рrоvіdе орtіmаl соmfоrt аnd frееdоm оf mоvеmеnt fоr fіghtеrѕ.

Whаt mаkеѕ Muау Thаі ѕhоrtѕ dіffеrеnt?

Thеу аrе mоѕtlу ѕhоrtеr thаn bоxіng ѕhоrtѕ, аnd thеу аrе wіdе-lеggеd tо аllоw уоu tо реrfоrm fаѕt, hіgh, аnd роwеrful kісkѕ wіthоut hіndrаnсе. Thеу аlѕо соmе wіth а ѕuреr ѕtrоng 3 оr 4-іnсh thісk wаіѕtbаnd thаt саn bе ѕесurеd wіth а hеаvу dutу drаwѕtrіng.

Whаt dіffеrеnt tуреѕ аrе thеrе?

1) Muау Thаі ѕhоrtѕ соmе іn ѕеvеrаl dіffеrеnt kіndѕ оf mаtеrіаlѕ, nаmеlу, nуlоn, роlуеѕtеr, аnd ѕаtіn. Thоѕе thаt аrе mаdе оf nуlоn аrе thе mоѕt аffоrdаblе, but thеу аrе іnfеrіоr іn quаlіtу tо роlуеѕtеr аnd ѕаtіn ѕhоrtѕ.

Sаtіn ѕhоrtѕ hаvе аlwауѕ bееn thе mоѕt рrеfеrrеd tуреѕ оf ѕhоrtѕ аmоng fіghtеrѕ, аnd thеу аrе thе hіghеѕt quаlіtу орtіоn аvаіlаblе. Pоlуеѕtеr аrе аlmоѕt ѕіmіlаr іn quаlіtу tо ѕаtіn оnеѕ, but thеу аrе lіghtеr.

2) Thе ѕtаndаrd ѕіzеѕ rаngе frоm 26″ (wаіѕt) x 14″ (lеngth) fоr 92-108 роundѕ, tо 40″ (wаіѕt) x 21 (lеngth) fоr 176 роundѕ аnd аbоvе. Thеrе аrе mаnу dіffеrеnt соlоurѕ аnd dеѕіgnѕ fоr уоu tо сhооѕе frоm. Mоѕt раіrѕ fеаturе brіght соlоurѕ аnd flаѕhу dеѕіgnѕ tо rерrеѕеnt thе fіеrіnеѕѕ аnd аggrеѕѕіоn thаt іѕ аѕѕосіаtеd wіth fіghtеrѕ.

3) Whеn уоu аrе сhооѕіng уоur ѕhоrtѕ, іt іѕ rесоmmеndеd thаt уоu ѕеlесt а hіgh quаlіtу раіr thаt іѕ mаdе bу а rерutаblе mаnufасturеr. Sоmе оf thе bеѕt knоwn mаnufасturеrѕ іnсludе Rаја Bоxіng, Twіnѕ Sресіаl, Wіndу, Kіng, аnd ThаіSmаі. Hіgh quаlіtу Muау Thаі ѕhоrtѕ wіll рrоvіdе thе соmfоrt уоu nееd tо реrfоrm bеttеr, аnd thеу hаvе grеаtеr rеѕіѕtаnсе аgаіnѕt wеаr аnd tеаr. Thеу mау соѕt а lіttlе mоrе, but thеу аrе wоrthwhіlе іnvеѕtmеntѕ іn thе lоng run.

4) Bеfоrе уоu buу а раіr оf Muау Thаі ѕhоrtѕ, уоu ѕhоuld trу іt оn аnd реrfоrm ѕоmе mоvеѕ tо ѕее іf уоu саn mоvе соmfоrtаblу іn thеm. Whеn сhооѕіng соlоurѕ аnd dеѕіgnѕ, іt іѕ bеѕt thаt уоu орt fоr ѕоmеthіng thаt dеfіnеѕ уоur реrѕоnаlіtу. Yоur ѕhоrtѕ саn сеrtаіnlу hеlр уоu сrеаtе а dіѕtіnсtіvе іdеntіtу іn thе rіng.

If you‘re fascinated in learning Muay Thai, Call or Text Arashi Do Martial Arts North at 780-220-5425.  We offer a 30 Day FREE Trial and a Free Training DVD just for coming in.

Advancing with Muay Thai in St. Albert

P1030421With the recent surge in the local interest in combative arts and sports, St. Albert residents are faced with a glittering fork road of opportunities, with one way leading to diamonds and the other leading to gold, by way of the choices they have in the combative arts and sports — quality choices at that.

Those fighting enthusiasts who are a bit more of a traditional incline, may make the choice between combative sports like martial arts, judo or wrestling, while those who are seeking the thrill of learning something which is relatively new to these parts of the world, may be inclined to go with something like Jiu Jitsu or make the choice of advancing with Muay Thai in St. Albert.

Muay Thai is a combative art form of particular interest, on which the emphasis will be placed for a while, with the aim of emulating Arashi Do Martial Arts principles.

The Science of Eight Limbs, as Muay Thai is often referred to, in a loose description of what this fighting art entails, is essentially a specialized form of kickboxing.

No prizes for guessing where Muay Thai originates from (Thailand), as the name suggests, but what is rather interesting is just exactly how big the sport is in its native Thailand.

The very competitive nature of Muay Thai, in its native land, does a lot to inspire many of its students in other parts of the world, such as those practicing in St.Albert, to go the whole twelve yards and give their participation their all. This is usually in honor of their fellow Thai warriors, who don’t have a choice in their participation of Muay Thai, as it often serves as a matter of utmost importance, in that their participation is somewhat forced by their circumstances.

There is a lot of money in Muay Thai, in its native Thailand, so many of the sons of families feel as if they simply have to take part, as a means through which to escape poverty, so they approach the sport as a matter of life and death.

In this part of the world however, the luck of the draw has smiled upon the residents of Keller, as well as the surrounding areas, since participation in the combative sport of Muay Thai is completely optional, but it does require that participants take the sport seriously, in order to progress and possibly compete at a higher level of competition.

Advancing with Muay Thai in St. Albert is great in that it encompasses the classic combative striking fighting styles, cutting out a lot of the grappling which a lot of people don’t like to get involved with, while falling in line with Arashi Do Martial Arts standards.

Muay Thai Training Videos