Yes, that’s right. Here in the state of Maine, we may now hold our beloved Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes once again. There is one caveat though. We can’t touch one another. Which has thrown a monkey wrench into the entire thing, I’d say. Not that anyone in particular wants to touch anyone else, but still. What’s a Jiu-Jitsu class without physical contact? It kind of defeats the purpose. It’s sort of like telling someone that they’re once again allowed to eat, but will need to have their mouth sewn shut.
Since we’re clever folks though, we’ve developed a rather exciting workaround. Instead of teaching and practicing Jiu-Jitsu per se, we’ll be introducing some aspects of Muay Thai, which is a killer stand up martial art. I’ve taken classes in this particular fighting style for about a year and a half, approximately eight years ago, so while I sort of know what I’m doing, I could definitely use some refresher drills. I was never an expert, even when I was fully involved in the sport. I like to say that I was a coward because the moment I’d get punched in the face while sparring, I’d run away. I mean, I’m not stupid. I am very good at the technique portion of stand up fighting though and since I’ll be one of the instructors for this chapter of our training, I’m confident that I’ll convey some critical knowledge to my classmates.
Since we can’t go inside, we’ll be holding our training in the parking lot outside our club. We’ve got everything we need to keep our distance from one another and to stay safe. The owner of our club has gone above and beyond to make all of this happen, so my hat is off to her. Each student will get their own 3’x6′ mat, mask, boxing gloves, training tools, and whatever else they need to make all of this work out. We’ve got hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies too, so when it comes time to clean up at the end of the evening, we’ll literally clean up. Literally. Which today, apparently means, “really.”
Tonight, I plan on covering the very basic of basics. We’ll go over the proper stance, which there’s more to than you’d think. I’m going to explain why one stance may be more beneficial than another. What are the risks of each and what are the benefits? Back when I learned Muay Thai, it was told to me, “This is the stance. Do it.” The more I study, the more I learn that not many fighters actually use the stance I was initially taught. Upon discovering this, I asked myself, “Why is my stance so unpopular?” That’s when I developed the segment of tonight’s class in my mind. Why not teach these newcomers to Muay Thai some reasoning as opposed to simple proper stance? There’s actually a lot to it and I guess my goal for the beginning portion of tonight’s class is to see the wheels turning in the students’ minds.
We’ll also go over movement, meaning, how to get from one place to another on the mat. So, if you’re fighting someone, how would you get to the left? Right? Forward? Backward? I’ll teach the proper technique for the jab and the cross and then we’ll practice using what we learned to move around on the mats while jabbing and crossing. We’ve got some very handy tools to aid us in our endeavor. If you’ve ever seen those swimming “noodles,” you know what we’ll be using. I’m going to take advantage of rubber bands to secure three noodles together at a time, so the students have something to punch at. One partner will hold the noodles at a distance from their partner and the partner will punch at the end of them. I hope it works out because it’ll be a lot of fun if it does.
One more thing. My students are going to hate me for doing this to them, but I also plan on introducing the jumprope tonight. I’ve gotten fairly good at jumproping through the years, but I’m not sure anyone else has. And if you’ve never jumproped, let me tell you that it’s an exercise and a half. If you want to get in shape, there’s only one exercise you’ll need to do and that’s jumprope.
I guess that about covers it. I’ll have to let you know how tonight turns out. I’ve got my fingers crossed because these guys have been itching to get back to doing something.
UPDATE: I just got back from class and I am happy to report that it went awesomely. It felt so good to be back with the crew. I’m not sure I realized how much I missed them and the banter we engage in. We all chatted from a distance and then got down to business. One of my favorite parts of tonight’s class was the warm-up. As I alluded to above, I incorporated some jumping rope and I think it was a hit. Some students don’t have a lot of experience with it, but they’ll get it eventually. I also enjoyed verbalizing some of what I know about Muay Thai. There’s a lot involved, but as long as we take baby steps, I think it’ll be beneficial for everyone. Until next time! As I say down there, “Tuesday’s where it’s at!”
By the way, for you who aren’t familiar with Muay Thai, here’s a quick sparring video for you.