My first lesson of Tuesday night was a teacher discussion and consultancy on moving forward with Athena Karate’s stand-up striking programme. As is the norm, we also had tangent discussions about the context of different self-defence tactics home invasion vs general assault vs mid/low-level threats.
Stand-up Fighting Programme
We are currently making great progress in the adult/advanced junior class using a series of stand-up striking combinations designed to promote rhythm and flow. A few issues were raised regarding what areas I might put into a specific clinic next lesson. We are looking to better develop tighter and more fluid hand striking skills. Western Boxing offers a highly developed base for setting up and delivering effecient strikes. Using both the Dutch and Thai methods, we can look towards better loading successive strikes. My overall objective here is to create a stand-up striking approach that allows for seamless chaining of disparate techniques. The hands are the most immediate weapon that dictate the fight. Therefore, it follows that both kicking and clinching techniques should follow their lead and be chained on effectively. We will go deeper into this by putting some of the combinations already learned into virtual pad drills as I began doing with my first lesson on Monday. The students will also learn how to coach combinations. We also discussed focusing on individual technique areas like using the jab and the teep effectively in sparring.
Muay Thai Benefits
Nak Muays, like many other Southeast Asian style boxers, have an unbroken lineage of professional development in a stand-up striking (with limited if important clinching) combat sport that uses all four limbs as striking tools since its earliest examples. Punches, kicks, elbow strikes and knee strikes have long been combined together. This is quite different from Savate (French kickboxing), which originally evolved from a form of tough foot-fighting competition in Marseille where kicks in hard shoes or boots were predominantly used and slaps were usually administered rather fists apparently due to the laws of the time. After a series of cross-discipline competitions with British pugilists in the 19th century, boxing techniques were adapted and incorporated. The kickboxing that developed in Japan and North America in the 1960s and early 1970s was a hybrid development of popular open competition “karate” (not kyokushin) and western boxing. Once again, we have merging of two developed sports rather than the building up from ground level that the Southeast Asian styles had enjoyed. Muay Thai, with certain modificiations and developments, has always benefitted from working within closer ranges than the majority of other combat sports that use kicks. Muay Thai’s framing and pushing as well as their long-guards and limb manipulations are great tools for setting up effective kicks.
Dutch Kickboxing Approach
Later developments in Muay Thai has included improved punching. However, traditional Muay Thai still places less importance on punches than it does the other six weapons partly due to the fact that the hands are padded. A clear comparison can be seen in modern Muay Thai variations where MMA gloves are worn or in the Lethwei of Myanmar where the hands are wrapped but not gloved. Dutch Kickboxing began as an experiment in the exportation of Muay Thai to the Netherlands. However, it quickly became its own sport. The Dutch took the fluidity of Muay Thai’s technique chaining and built on it with a stronger emphasis on Western Boxing. Their signature approach superficially resembles what in what Muay Thai would be known as the Muay Mat style. It is a very aggressive approach that typically employs a lot of punching with low kicks. However, the Dutch build in lengthier hand combinations and have developed their kicking variations for speed. The Dutch typically use a flurry of punches to camouflage powerful techniques, such as kicks.