I continued to build the two teenage brothers’ Muay Thai weapons with the addition of the Thai hook punch and a mid-section round kick.
We warmed up with some shadow work, reviewing footwork and layering in all the defences (cover, shield blocks, body blocks, parries, slipping and shin-checks) as well as all the techniques they had so far learnt (jab, rear straight, teep and low round kick). I then had them both do some one-for-one sparring without any safety equipment. This is a great way to train better technique placement and control.
I used Damien Trainer’s excellent little drill for better developing the low kick. This involves placing the lead leg over the knee before putting it down and throwing the kick. The action teaches two vital elements. Firstly, the angled step becomes more pronounced, opening the fighter’s hips. Secondly, it puts emphasis on making the power step that creates better acceleration in the kick.
This provided a good opportunity to introduce the midsection round kick. Here the supporting foot must do a 180 degree step in order to better open the the hips and aim the shin. Unlike the low round kick, the supporting foot also involves going up on the balls of the feet. Again, we coordinated the striking side arm swinging back whilst the other hand covered the face.
Next, we moved onto the Thai hook. Key things to remember here is that the hook punch in Muay Thai is mainly thrown at long-range as the mid-range and close range are usually the domain of elbows and clinching. This means the punch is better thrown with a horizontal fist to avoid striking with the inside of the glove. I encourage an outside step in Muay Thai and encourage a pivot off the back foot with an optional pivot off the front. Most nak muays pivot off the front but there is always the risk of the thigh being vulnerable to low round kicks. Keeping the hips straight is a regular problem too.
These were put into a number 3 combination – jab/cross/hook/midsection round kick. This was practised on the focus mitts and then in some 3-for-3 sparring with full safety equipment.