I began Saturday with my first client reaching the five and a half hour mark of his course on Stand-up Striking. Last week we worked a lot on Western Boxing with a particular emphasis on the high guard and a transition to what might be considered its polar opposite, the Philly Shell. This lesson we focused on Muay Thai but also brought a mix of guards – peek-a-boo, long guard, helmet guard and Thai peek-a-boo. The high guard is remaining the default position, which works well in Muay Thai.
We began with a warm-up of gentle callisthenics and trained one-for-one kicking. This type of partner training encourages more flow and a more aggressive response to strikes. The fighter is constantly prompted to return fire once he has received a kick and look for immediate openings revealed by an opponent’s kick.
A logical variation on the high guard is the helmet or elbeow guard whereby the elbows are raised to impale incoming strikes. This works well for an aggressive use of the high guard and is also good for setting up the rear hook counter. We then switched to the peek-a-boo guard, which is rarely seen in kickboxing. Nevertheless, it served as a useful transitional tool for client getting in close. Here he attacked the body, head and then clinched for knee strikes. The aim of this exercise was to blending the constant head movement of peek-a-boo’s slipping and weaving into the footwork of the Thai clinch. By keeping an opponent re-adjusting to get their strikes on target, the fighter has an opportunity to cause an imbalance and to surprise with a quick change in ranges. I then introduced a Thai style peek-a-boo, which is specifically designed to make use of the slap-down parry and to create more clinching opportunities. Next we explored the long guard. This guard makes strong use of what Western Boxing would consider to be a pawing jab tactic. Rather than just using the lead hand to block a person’s vision or as a sensor tentacle of sorts, the nak muay pushes their palm into the head of an opponent to create distance or as a framing device to set up for kicks and knee strikes.
The lesson finished with two rounds of Muay Thai sparring.