Muay Thai Cross Training Begins (diary entry)




This was my client’s third lesson in her second course with me, but rather than continuing with general cross training she requested that we begin a course on Muay Thai for Martial Arts Cross Training. Having already covered some basic concepts from Muay Thai in previous lessons we were able to cover a fair amount of ground in this introductory class.


We began with simple punch/kick combination work. Although it is good to use the hands to set the speed and pace for kicking, it is important to note that one of Muay Thai’s strengths is the way punching and kicking are so closely coordinated. South East Asian combat sports have the advantage of a long tradition of working these weapons in close harmony whereas other Kickboxing styles tend to separate the two in some way. American and Japanese Kickboxing began as hybrids in the 1960s and ‘70s combining Western Boxing with a type of kicking that probably owes more to Korean Taekyeun via Korean Karate (Tae Kwon Do and Tang Soo Do) and the open karate tournament circuit than anything thing else. The welded joins of these arts can sometimes be seen in training methods whereas the Southeast Asian martial arts use their kicks in a seamless fashion. Part of this is down to the way Thai boxers stand and move. Their stance is squarer on, generally much higher and they move with a rocking motion.


Although Muay Thai and its cousins in Myanmar, Cambodia and the Philippines, have arguably less efficient footwork than modern Western Boxing they have a distinctive movement that helps in the delivery of fluid combinations from the arms and legs.  Hands dominate in non-Southeast Asian Kickboxing styles. This is due to the infusion of Western Boxing. One of French Savate/Boxe’ Francais’s biggest changes occurred in the mid-19th century when Western Boxing punching was consciously incorporated into the system. After Muay Thai started using boxing gloves rather than knotted bandages the hands became a less prominent weapon. They are more there to set up the kicks and clinch than to deliver telling blows. Typically judges don’t even score punches until the third round of a Muay Thai bout.


I then introduced the teep, making a distinction from my client’s background in JKA Shotokan Karate and ITF Taekwon-Do. The push kick of WTF Taekwondo bears a glancing similarity. However, the teep is very much its own technique or even tactic. It can be utilised in a variety of ways and is just as efficient at knocking an opponent out as it is in being used defensively to create distance. I also find it to be a very effective alternative to the low round kick being more direct.


We finished a brief overview of the Thai clinch. This covered entering into the plum position, straight and diagonal knees as well a horizontal elbow.


This is a very informative piece on the differences between Muay Thai and other Kickboxing styles

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