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.

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.

 

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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Want to learn more about how to get in great shape with a heavy bag? 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.

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.