Student: I just can’t get it, I don’t like this technique!
Me: Maybe so, but you should still learn it.
Student: Why? It’s stupid, and I can’t figure out how to do it.
Me: That’s why you need to keep practicing it, because it’s hard, because you think it’s stupid. It’s always better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it.
Today, I want to talk to you about training as a whole. There are many different techniques in Muay Thai, and many different ways to execute them.
Something that occurred to me when I was in Thailand training was how different the gyms and their styles are. All gyms teach you how to kick, all gyms teach you how to punch, all gyms teach you how to clinch… However, what separates the gyms is what their philosophy is and their main style of fighting.
I am naturally a Muay Mat fighter. Muay Mat is the heavy-handed fighter with a powerful low kick. This is usually the most entertaining style of Muay Thai as the fighters are more willing to stand in the middle of the ring and slug it out.
Okay, what’s your point? Well, because there are many different fighters and styles in Muay Thai, there are different techniques that will apply at different times. Depending on what style of fighter you are will determine which technique you will execute in any given situation.
For example, let’s say we have a Muay Khao, a knee fighter, and he is matched up with a Muay Tae, a kick fighter. While both of these fighters know how to punch, kick, knee and elbow, the Muay Khao is going to constantly be trying to move forward with a lot of pressure and trying to land knees because they are big scores and do a lot of damage to the body. Meanwhile, the Muay Tae will probably use a lot of teeps and body kicks to keep his distance.
If you don’t have a good teep defense and you find yourself matched up in this situation, you are probably going to become a victim of your own ignorance. You can box to help mitigate the situation, however if the Muay Khao is great at arm locks, then again, he has now taken two weapons from you and you will find yourself in a bad situation.
This is where we come back full circle… You don’t need to master everything ( and you should really perfect what you are good at) but you must also practice what you are not good at so you become a more well-rounded fighter.
Want to know more? Below is a list of the various Muay Thai styles I mentioned:
Muay Tae –The Muay Tae is a fighter who is especially adept in the kicking game. The kick is the strongest weapon in a Muay Tae’s arsenal and is used as a battering ram. The aim of this fighter is to pulverize each and every important part of the body in order to wear it down. Expect heavy shots to the arms and torso before the time comes to end the bout.
Muay Khao – The most devastating style in Muay Thai is the Muay Khao (knee fighter). Those who exhibit the finer points of this style can strike genuine fear into the hearts of opponents. This fighter will stalk forward, looking to clinch into a fighter in order to brutalize them from inside the clinch. While the knees are the weapon of choice for the Muay Khao, you can also expect other close-quarter attacks with elbows and fists, too.
Muay Mat – The Muay Mat is the heavy-handed fighter with a powerful low kick. Some of the most entertaining fighters in the history of our sport have fought in the Muay Mat style. They are as close to the “stand and bang” style as you will find in Muay Thai. With big gas tanks and a propensity to take a lot of damage, Muay Mat fighters are loved by spectators in Thailand. Think of the type of fighter who doesn’t mind taking two shots to dish out four.
Muay Femur – Last but not least is the Muay Femur, which is known in Thailand as the “King’s Discipline.” This style is the most exemplary in the “Art of the Eight Limbs,” and is regarded by those within the sport as the most difficult to master. If the Muay Khao and Muay Mat are wrecking balls or maces in the battlefield, the Muay Femur is the beautiful yet deadly arrow which kills without being seen. The Muay Femur understands when he must attack or defend. He adapts to the style of his opponent and tries to use his techniques against him. In order to get the opponent’s tactics, the Muay Femur fighter will often keep distance with long jabs, kicks and teeps. Practitioners of this style are among the most technically gifted of fighters in the sport for this reason.
As always, train hard, be a beast!