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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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.

 

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.

Conditioning for the Muay Thai Fighter

Muay Thai is fast paced and action packed, so the majority of your staying power in a bout comes down to the level of your cardio. Improve your cardio and your endurance and win ratio is going to go through the roof. Don’t just go for a run though, it may sound strange but there are different exercises to fine-tune your cardio to the task at hand. Muay Thai uses energy explosively, so training for endurance by running marathons or swimming miles isn’t going to help as much as a dedicated cardio program to help you improve. Here we detail some ways to help improve your cardio specifically, and help you stay in the fight!

Sparring and Pad Work

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Good old fashioned sparring and pad work are awesome ways to improve your endurance in Muay Thai.. If you add a slight twist to the sessions, by fighting for a longer time than you would do in a competition, when you compress it back down, you’ll smash your opponent in the time period as you’ll feel completely charged. When sparring or playing with combos on the pads you can be working new moves or perfecting old ones, so it is one of the best ways to see rapid improvement.

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

HIIT is switching quickly between very low and very high intensity exercise. This closely simulates a BJJ Roll or Muay Thai Sparring session and also provides a very efficient workout. It takes very little time, which is great for when you’re trying to fit it into a busy schedule with your mat time.

HIIT can be worked into any of your staple cardio activities – running, swimming, biking, rowing etc. The most common way to organize it is 30/30, which is to say 30 seconds of very light activity and then 30 seconds of very intense activity. This is usually repeated for 10-20 minutes, sandwiched between warm-up and cool-down periods of about five minutes each.

 

Weight Training

Technical Practice for Safety and Performance

Weight training often gets a bad rap in martial arts circles due to the unfounded claim that it will build big, heavy muscles and make you slower when the truth is just the opposite. Speed is strength expressed quickly, so basic weight training to increase your strength is a great way to develop explosive, powerful strikes to end fights. For best results, stick to functional, multi-joint movements like squats, deadlifts, bench press, shoulder press and dumbbell rows.

Fb 30 day trial profileIf you‘re interested in learning Muay Thai in Edmonton or St. Albert, 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.

 

What is the Difference between Muay Thai and Kickboxing?

A lot of people think Muay Thai and Kickboxing are the same, which is not true. They do have some similarities but there are some major differences between these two martial arts. If you’re looking to learn one of these martial arts then first you need to know what Muay Thai and Kickboxing actually are.

What is Muay Thai?

Muay Thai, as its name suggests, originates in Thailand and dates back over a thousand years. The techniques used in Muay Thai have their roots in Muay Boran, a form of ancient boxing taught to soldiers so they could fight when disarmed. Muay Thai grew as a sport and a form of combat. There is evidence suggesting that Muay Thai competitions have been taking place for hundreds of years. Thai citizens and soldiers alike learned this ancient martial art for self-defense.

It was during the late 18th and 19th century that Muay Thai was modernized in the ways in which it was taught and how the competitions took place.

What Is Kickboxing?

Kickboxing brings us to the 20th century, during the 1960s and 1970s. It was during this time that kickboxing was first developed. It is more of a western term used for combat styles such as Muay Thai, Karate and Kyokushin.

The people of the Indochinese region call it full-contact karate, kickboxing evolved from Japanese martial artists learning the ways of Muay Thai and related systems in the 1960s.

Differences between Muay Thai & Kickboxing

  • Muay Thai fighters can use both their elbows, knees, feet and fists. Kickboxers only use fists and feet.
  • When it comes to clinching and grappling during a fight, Muay Thai fighters are allowed to grapple their opponents for close combat knee and elbow strikes. Kickboxers are not allowed to grapple their rivals and any clinching will be broken up by the referee.
  • In Muay Thai, fighters are allowed kicks to the legs, essentially anywhere below the waist with the exception of the groin region. Kickboxers are not typically allowed to strike below the waist, though it can change depending on style and Country.
  • Muay Thai fights start out slow as both fighters get the feel of each other, building up momentum with each passing round. In kickboxing, both fighters start out strong, trying to go for a KO as early in the fight as possible.
  • Muay Thai fighters perform rituals, prayers and ceremonial dances before a fight. They wear armbands, boxing gloves and shorts during a fight. Kickboxers have different variations depending on the region from where they come from.

Conclusion

Both Muay Thai and Kickboxing are great martial arts, deserving respect. Fighters of both disciplines train hard to compete in their tournaments as both are full-contact martial arts. These require the utmost focus and commitment from their practitioner as only the best get to compete for glory and honor.

Fb 30 day trial profileIf you‘re interested in learning Muay Thai in Edmonton or St. Albert, 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.

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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What to Look for In Boxing Gloves and Shin Pads

learn muay thai 2Throughout your training of Muay Thai, you’re going to end up acquiring a lot of equipment. You’ll constantly change between what you need and what’s right for the situation you’re training for. There are literally hundreds of brands and styles to choose from, so getting the right equipment for you can be a bit of a minefield. You want to get the right equipment before your wardrobe turns into an equipment warehouse, so here we’ll highlight some key features to look for before purchasing your next set of gloves or shin pads.

Gloves

Muay Thai in EdmontonWhen you’re starting out, you’ll need a pair of basic gloves to protect your hands when working an opponent or just a hanging bag. To be perfectly honest, you can get away with a standard pair of boxing gloves. You don’t want to splash out on anything expensive just because you don’t know if Muay Thai is going to be for you, as it’s not for everyone. As you start to get in to it, and begin to improve, you can invest in a solid pair of Muay Thai gloves. The difference being that Muay Thai gloves offer protection for both wrists as well as the hands, where as boxing gloves only cover the hands.

Once you’ve found a design you like, appearance is half the battle after all, its about finding the right weight. The weight of your gloves can be directly related to your weight category in terms of competition. Your glove weights range from 8 to 20 oz.


8 oz & 10 oz – Light and Agile for Competitive Boxers

12 oz – Gloves for women or people with small hands for Muay Thai Training

14 oz & 16 oz – Your average sized gloves for your average sized trainee

18 oz & 20 oz – Larger weight classes training gloves.

The weight of your glove is important as it will have some influence on the speed and power of your strikes. The majority of the UFC pros use 8 to 10 ounce gloves to stay agile and nimble in the fight. As we aren’t pros though, there’s a little more scope for choice.

The most desirable characteristic we are after is comfort. You’re going to be spending thousands of hours in these gloves so they need to fit snugly, to prevent your hands moving in the glove and causing injury. Eventually, you will beat the gloves into shape, so you can take a glove that feels a little too tight as in time it will become perfectly fitting for you. Don’t forget to try the gloves on over your hand wraps as that is going to add size.

Shin Pads

Muay Thai Gear EdmontonShin pads come in a variety of types, defined by the amount of protection that they offer. The types are Cotton Foamed, Synthetic/Leather, Synthetic/leather special prints, Synthetic/Leather Double In-Step. The cotton foamed pads are usually the cheapest so may be the best choice if you are starting out, however they do offer the least protection. They do offer some advantages of being lightweight and easy to slip on or off, but often slip around when they are in use.

The most commonly used are the Synthetic Leather standard options. They are the best seller and there are reasons for that. They slip around much less than the cotton foamed pads. These are however designed for tournament usage so may not be the best ideal for your regular training.

The other types vary in design but offer much of the same protection, other than the double in-step pads. They offer a little more protection and as well as that they are around 30% lighter letting you train harder and faster.

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Where it can be a tough choice to make, as long as you chose the right pad for your needs you can’t go too far wrong. Give the equipment time though, as they will mold to your body and become more comfortable as time goes on.

Arashi Do not only offers a good variety of training gear but Awesome classes too.

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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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