I haven’t mentioned it on this blog yet, but about four months ago, I joined a Muay Thai and Krav Maga school a few towns over. It’s been quite worthwhile.
Here’s what happened – One day after Jiu Jitsu class, I was talking to one of the guys I train with. Unfortunately, this fella is no longer training with us. That’s a shame because I really liked him and he had a lot of potential. Anyway, as we were talking, I mentioned that I still have a lot of energy throughout the week and while Jiu Jitsu is the love of my life, I would really like to punch things. I told him that I wanted some stand up skills to use if need be. He said, “You want Muay Thai dude.” Muay Thai? I never heard of that.
I left class that day and did a little research. I found that Muay Thai “is a hard martial art from Thailand that uses stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques.” It’s basically some really awesome kick boxing and regular boxing all in one. Throw in some knees and elbows and you have Muay Thai. With many martial arts, you have four points of contact; your hands and your feet. With Muay Thai, you use eight points of contact; your hands, feet, knees and elbows. It’s some serious stuff.
After I did my research and discovered that Muay Thai is a huge part of MMA, I was pretty much sold. What better way to round out my Jiu Jitsu (that’s coming up on two years)? I started looking for schools and found a good one not too far away.
The school I joined specializes in Muay Thai and Krav Maga. Since I already explained what Muay Thai is, I will fill you in on Krav Maga. Krav Maga “is an eclectic hand-to-hand combat system developed in Israel that involves wrestling, grappling and striking techniques, mostly known for its extremely efficient and brutal counter-attacks, as it is also taught to elite special forces around the world.” This was a bonus. It’s one of those things I wasn’t looking for, but am now glad I am learning.
As I mentioned above, I have been doing this for about four months. The workout is intense and I am actually surprised that I am able to do it. The first class was pretty rough, but as time went on, I became better and better at keeping up. Now, I have absolutely no problem. It’s awesome and I love it. I love the striking. I really love the way I can punch and kick as hard as I want. I like the cardio and feel so good when I leave.
So, between the Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai, I work out 5-6 times a week. It’s so much better of a workout than going to a gym too. Not only do I keep lean and mean, I don’t get bored and I learn really effective skills.
Here are some videos of Muay Thai and Krav Maga. The first video is some serious action brought to us by Ramon Dekkers.The second video is instruction on Muay Thai kicks. I am posting this because we went over some kicks this week. The third video is full of action packed Krav Maga. If you watch just one video, make sure it’s the Krav Maga one.
Muay Thai training – Kicks
The Best Krav Maga Trainer! – Roy Elghanayan
Orange Belt in Muay Thai
After a fairly exhausting week of classes, I earned my orange belt in Muay Thai.
It’s funny, just yesterday I noticed the belts ranks hanging on the wall right above the clock in the gym. I have looked at that clock more times than I care to discuss. Strange how I never noticed those belts before. Anyway, there are ten belts at our school. I hold the third one up. It won’t be long before I hold the black belt…true, it’ll be a few years, but that’s nothing compared to Jiu Jitsu where it’s pretty much guaranteed to be more than ten years for the black belt. I can’t even imagine being a black belt in Jiu Jitsu.
Up next, purple.
Guest Instructor For Muay Thai
Today is Thursday. That means my body can take a day off before Saturday.
When I wake up on Thursday mornings and realize that it is, in fact, Thursday, I give myself a little, “yes.” That means Muay Thai class is today and it also means that it’s over today. Don’t get me wrong, I love both Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai, it’s just that they take a lot out of me. My days off are Friday and Sunday. The rest of the week I sit here and wonder why it’s so hard to get out of bed.
We had a guest instructor in Muay Thai class today. My instructor’s instructor came in to teach. I acted like I usually act when there is someone in the room that I am unfamiliar with. I tone down my rhetoric just a tad and absorb what’s happening around me. After about 15 minutes or so, when we are all used to each other, I go back to my yelling and exaggerated style. In case you aren’t familiar with a dojo, you are allowed to yell as loud as you want and no one will yell back. It’s nice.
Anyway, we had a great class. It was good to get a different style for an hour or so. Different emphasis and slightly different technique. Both instructors are awesome, so I take in what I can.
After class, both instructors like to have us sit down so they can chat with us for a minute or two. We get the news for the week and usually some reinforcement on why we have all chosen to wake up and assemble where we are and do what we do. They hit the nail on the head when they say things like, “You know, there are a lot of people out there who want to do what we are doing, but we are the ones doing it.” It reminds us of how much effort it takes to keep in shape and learn new things.
Something struck me today during our chat after class. Our guest instructor mentioned something to us along the lines of:
“We are all getting older. It’s almost guaranteed that each one of us will spend some time in a hospital. Throughout life, we need to choose whether that visit will be the result of an active lifestyle or an inactive one.”
I don’t know, it kind of hit home because it’s not something I think of often. Day in and day out, I do what I do. I do it because it’s fun and aggressive, but oftentimes I forget about the health benefits of all this. Our instructor talked about the choices we have. We can spend time in the hospital to repair worn out parts because of activity or we can get operated on because our sedentary lifestyle caught up with us. He also mentioned that eating poorly isn’t going to bring you poor health overnight. It takes years of small bad choices to get you to a place you don’t want to be. Just like going to the gym once isn’t going to put you in shape. It’s a lifestyle.
I think about who I work out with a lot. It’s a huge motivating factor. It would be one thing if I trained with a bunch of thugs who were all in great shape, but I don’t. In both classes, we have people of all shapes and sizes and of all ages. In particular, three people motivate me tremendously. They are:
– A buddy of mine in Jiu Jitsu class who will turn 60 in December. He’s the kind of fellow who would say something like, “You know how you train BJJ after you break your leg? You don’t use that leg.” It’s true, you just work through it. This particular fellow has had two knee surgeries, a finger surgery and most recently a shoulder surgery. He’s back and training with the rest of us. He’s an inspiration and I can only hope to be in his shape when I’m 60. I also hope to be a black belt by that time. Joke. If I’m not, someone please smack me.
– Two women who are in my Muay Thai class. Both are mothers with children who are in their 30s. I haven’t asked their ages and they haven’t volunteered them. Every class, these woman never cease to amaze me. I was working with one of them today and she was throwing punches, elbows, knees and kicks. As I am looking at her do her thing, I thought to myself, “This is someone’s mom. This is someone who chose to wake up and come to class to practice her Muay Thai kick. I love it. The other woman…she’s a trip. The last time I looked at her, she was beating me at push ups. I’ll have to talk to her about that.
Who knows. I guess I think about this stuff more and more as I get older. I had a conversation with someone the other day where I said, “I remember a time when I thought someone who was 40 was old. I thought that being a strong 18 year old, I could beat them in a fight.” Now I know better. That’s not true. Oh how not true that is.
Muay Thai Training – Hardcore
Muay Thai Blue Belt and Live Sparring
I had to wait a bit to post something about getting my blue belt in Muay Thai. The old “getting the belt” posts are somewhat light on content, so I figured that if I waited for something else to happen, there would actually be something to read.
There is a short story that goes along with the blue belt test though. I know this sounds terrible, but for the first time in my life, I thought I was going to “lose it” from over overexertion. You know what I mean. I didn’t though, so you can get that look off your face.
For the few weeks prior to the test, I trained too much. My old body wants to stay young and my brain hasn’t yet figured out how to handle that. I went to extra classes and did too many things. I don’t even know why. It may be because I was a class short to test and I had to make up for it mentally by overdoing it. I kept telling myself that I don’t care about belts, but something went haywire inside and I acted erratically. Truth be told, I was a little annoyed at the whole situation.
Whatever. I made up a class and took the test. Now I have the blue belt and feel better about it. The left half of my brain says belts don’t matter, but the right half says that I should take something if someone is handing it to me. Plus, one never knows when one may need a black belt in Muay Thai.
The test was a simple ten minute round of multiple Muay Thai combinations. Easy enough. I thought I was just going to do the round and leave. That is until I threw my first punch and realized that I didn’t have an ounce of energy. You should have seen my partner’s face. Such disappointment. He kept yelling at me to pick up the pace, but I don’t think he understood how I was feeling inside. I had nothing. I did make it through somehow and like I said above, I got the belt.
In other news, today was my first live sparring session in Muay Thai. Let me tell you, this is what I have been waiting a year and a half for.
The other day, I was just talking about how I am getting tired of learning technique. I want to apply it. Well, now that my school offers sparring sessions after class for a half-hour, I get to.
Today was awesome. There were four of us and we did about ten minutes of sparring drills, then ten more minutes of faster pace sparring drills mixing things up a bit and then for the last ten minutes, it was just free sparring. Believe it or not, all that technique actually worked. I was blocking, throwing punches and kicks like it was nobody’s business. Of course I couldn’t go all out, but it was enough to realize that this is my calling. It’s a special day when you realize that your calling is to avoid getting punched in the head.
There was one thing our instructor emphasized at the end and that was for us to go slow when sparring. There is a strong tendency for beginners to get hit and then react badly with an all-out assault on our partners. As you can guess, that’s not good for anyone. I need to stay aware of this because I have a little problem with things like this.
To get an idea of the pace of good sparring, take a look at the video below. Please note that this is not me in the video.
Muay Thai Sparring
Muay Thai Leg Kick Block
Muay Thai Sparring – Round #2
Okay, this one was a little different than the last. Just my previous sparring session, there were only four of us and we were fairly new at the game. This time, two additional people decided to stay and they weren’t so new. While I did fine and had a lot of fun, I am having some trouble putting pressure on my right leg.
Let me tell you what I did…in Muay Thai, there is something called the leg kick. It’s basically what it sounds like, you know, when someone kicks your leg. Leg kicks are very popular in Muay Thai because after you kick someone in the leg a few times (in the correct location), they can’t stand anymore. It’s very effective to say the least. Never before have I realized how painful a kick in the leg could be.
Anyway, to block the leg kick, your opponent needs to lift his leg and turn the knee towards the oncoming shin. It’s important that the blocking leg is turned, because if it’s not, it gets kicked in a tender area and causes extreme discomfort.
Let’s just say that I learned that the hard way. Either I blocked the wrong way or I was just too slow at getting my leg up – either way, the outer shin area on my right leg is simply killing me. It’s getting better now, but for a while there it took way too long to walk down a flight of stairs. I suppose this is why we spar, to learn these lessons. Learning the hard way sure helps speed the process up, I’ll tell ya…
Muay Thai Leg Kick Block and Counter Attack Demo
Guillotine Choke Defense With Krav Maga
Until the end of the year, we’ll be working on stand up self defense in our Jiu-Jitsu class. The Gracies have a section dedicated to self defense in their curriculum, so we’ll need to cover that in order to progress with Jiu-Jitsu.
I have some thoughts on self defense when it comes to survival. And my thoughts are this: fix the problem. I’ll explain what I mean later.
Jeff is very good when it comes to having an open mind during this type of training. Since defending oneself comes in many shapes and sizes, it’s rare to find someone who knows everything. That’s where the experience of the entire class comes in. Just last week, we had input from a few students who contributed their knowledge.
I’ll be honest with you, when it comes to taking care of myself when on my feet, I prefer Krav Maga. It’s a fierce way to diffuse most situations. Krav isn’t a flashy system. It’s, from what I’ve seen during my year and a half of training, very straight to the point.
The difference between Krav Maga and many other systems of self defense is that there aren’t many moving parts. Many of the techniques rely on just a few things; groin shots, elbows and knees. If you forget one, just start doing another. It’s that simple. In general and in many cases, you’ll be able to pull off a groin shot or an elbow to the head. Usually after you’re finished with those, a few knees to the chest will do the trick.
I think I’m going to start refreshing my defense techniques, so I’ll have at least one to show each class. This stuff is important and I enjoy teaching it.
First up, the Guillotine Choke Defense. Hopefully tomorrow morning’s class will be receptive to what I have to say.
Ricky Manetta- Guillotine choke defence- MMA KRAV MAGA
By the way, when I mentioned fixing the problem above, I meant incapacitating your opponent from inflicting further damage upon you. When someone puts their hands on you, they have earned themselves a swift kick between the legs. After that, a smooth finish of knees and elbows. That’s where Krav Maga really shines.
Krav Maga Guillotine Choke Defense
Peet Boot Dryer For Wet Boxing Gloves
We’ve been having a small issue in our after-hours Muay Thai training. The problem is called stinky boxing gloves.
Think about it – you train for about an hour, an hour and a half and you get pretty sweaty. While wearing your boxing gloves, your arms sweat and your hands sweat. You squeeze and punch and do all sorts of stuff. Then, when the night is over, you throw your gloves and other gear into your huge gym bag and toss everything into the back of your car. It sits until the next time you reach for it.
It’s nasty and it stinks. Wet boxing gloves that have been sitting for a few days in the back of a car don’t dry. All they do is sit and ferment until the next time you push your hand into one of them and say, “Eeeewwww.”
I’ve been doing this for about a year and a half now and every time I put my gloves on, I say, “I really have to do something about this.” I’ve tried the whole “Spray Lysol until the gloves are dripping” thing and all that does is create fresh smelling wet stinky boxing gloves. I needed a solution, not a cover up.
I did some research online and concluded that the only way to fix this was to dry the gloves out. Various people out there have opted to create their own glove dryers by putting together pieces of PVC pipe and hooking up a fan. I learned my lesson with making homemade contraptions a long time ago. I once tried to make a breadboard that ended up costing about $75. A few days after I was finished, I saw a similar looking one in a store that cost only $12. I was peeved because once I started the breadboard project, it was difficult to stop it until I was done.
I didn’t want to fall into that trap again, so I looked through Amazon for the best boot dryer available. From what I gathered, people generally gravitated towards the “Peet Dryer.” So I got one.
I received the dryer today and already hooked it up down on the kitchen counter. I attached the two extension tubes and slid the gloves over them. Then, I plugged the unit in and waited. I listened for a noise or a fan and heard nothing. I took one glove off and put my hand over the end of the open tube and felt nothing.
After a few minutes, I put my hand over the open tube again and began to feel heat. The unit uses very little energy and dries by convection, not forced air.
After about a half hour, I checked on the gloves again and believe it or not, they are warm and are actually beginning to dry. The outer edges anyway. I am pretty excited.
Muay Thai Unleashed
I remember telling you that I had recruited a few friends from my Jiu Jitsu class to spar Muay Thai with me. That was a while ago, so I feel it’s time for an update.
Well, I’m here to report that it’s going extremely well. So well, in fact, we now have six guys who meet every Tuesday and Thursday night for about an hour right after Jiu Jitsu class.
I would say we began this whole thing about two months ago. At first, I put the idea out there that I wanted to train Muay Thai – two guys bit. We practiced a few times and I showed them the basics from my very limited knowledge. After that, two more guys started showing some interest. Then, one more. Fairly consistently, we’ve been training with six guys and I have a feeling that more are on the way. There’s no better way to describe it than the way my Jiu Jitsu instructor did…”This is something these guys put together by themselves and it’s been growing completely organically.” I love that.
I think I’ve been doing a fairly decent job at keeping people in line. Although, we are beginning to migrate towards a place many men find themselves once they put on sparring gear – a place where punches are thrown and where adrenaline takes over. I’ve been seeing this creep in a bit here and a bit there, and if you’ve ever trained in any type of sparring, you know that it’s a very natural tendency.
So, I told the guys I have a plan to deal with this. Since I didn’t really give all too much instruction on technique and since my memory fails quite easily, I decided to buy a book to remind me of what’s going on. It’s going to give me a clear plan for each class, so I can actually help these guys out and in turn, help myself out. We have a few new guys and we are going to start back at the beginning. Each class, I’ll cover some technique and then we’ll spar. It’ll be fun.
So, what did I buy? “Muay Thai Unleashed – Learn Technique and Strategy From Thailand’s Warrior Elite” by Erich Krauss and Glen Cordoza. The book ranked pretty well on Amazon and it was like $12. Not bad
From what I’ve seen from just quickly flipping through the book, I’d say it really good. It covers footwork, stance, kicks, punches, combos, etc… It’s going to help immensely.
Muay Thai Unleashed – Learn Technique and Strategy From Thailand’s Warrior Elite by Erich Krauss and Glen Cordoza
Muay Thai No More
Well, that’s not entirely true. While there will be no more “official” Muay Thai classes, I have managed to recruit some friends from Jiu Jitsu to spar with me.
I have been wondering recently when my year long contract would be up. After Thursday’s sparring match, my Muay Thai instructor sat next to me to inform me that my contract was, indeed, up on the sixteenth of this month. He wanted to get together with me to sign the paperwork to renew.
I don’t know about you, but I have an allergy to contracts. I don’t like them and I don’t understand why so many people incorporate them into their businesses. I am from the school of, “let’s leave things open-ended and the student – renter – customer will love our service so much that they’ll stay with us forever.” In my humble opinion, contracts are merely another reminder that when its term is up, it’s time to start looking for alternatives. They also take away that voluntary aspect of the whole thing.
So I didn’t renew. Not because of the contract…
The school was awesome, I learned a lot and appreciate all the help. I would recommend them in a minute. But…like I told the guys last night, I feel as though I learned what I needed to learn. Now, I just want to use that knowledge to spar for the rest of my life.
People look at me funny when I explain my philosophy on this kind of stuff. “What??? You’re going to cut the cord and venture off on your own? Unbelievable.”
I have told them time and time again, there’s always going to be some kid on the playground who has absolutely no training and can still kick your butt. The over-confidence that martial arts gives people can get them in trouble. It doesn’t matter how many combos and routines you have done over the years. I prefer to learn the basic techniques and then move on to more reality type exercises, such as sparring. In this case, I’ll use the year and four months of training I received to gather more and more people together. I’ll pass on the basic techniques, so they can get up to speed and then we’ll train together.
That’s my plan.