The Power of Negative Training (diary entry)

impact (smaller)



This morning, my client reached the six hour point of his 10 hour course in Basic Muay Thai for Martial Arts Cross Training.  We spent a lot of time looking at fundamental principles of movement and positioning. My aim was to bring in knee strikes, which is a natural choice of short-range techniques to follow on from last lesson’s elbow strikes. However, in order to do this I needed to feel confident my client had a strong delivery method. Thai strikes rely a lot on rhythmic and fluid body mechanics. The teep and the straight knee share many different similarities. Having looked a lot at correct posture alignment and footwork each lesson, I was happy to see my client was able to self-critique and self-correct throughout his training.


We warmed up with footwork, moving off all angles and directions, gradually building on punching and kicking combinations. We revised the teep and the round kick, building height and increasing mobility. These were then take onto the focus mitts and mixed in with the elbow strikes taught last lesson. All basic elbow strikes were revised – horizontal, slashing, uppercut, diagonal, chopping, spear, side, smash-down, backward and spinning.


The knees were then brought into play. Here I made great emphasis on the importance of negative force. Efficient and smooth techniques rely on sending a technique back from its targets down its respective powerline. Techniques often lose force from the moment of execution if the fighter is not disciplined in understanding where the technique will return. This especially seems to come out with short-range techniques. If done correctly, the fighter creates a shockwave in the target area and retains a good defensive position after striking. The negative element of training is an often neglected component. Many strength coaches make this point with understandable frustration. Negative movement greatly improves positive movement. Boxing coaches often cite the problem with not enough boxers paying attention to pulling exercises. The same applies with the execution of a technique. The negative aspect increases impact, strengthens stability and improves recovery. We covered the straight and the diagonal knee strike.

Below please see image of my old Muay Thai kru, Tony Hayes, demonstrating an excellent straight knee technique.


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