Monday, December 12, 2011

2011 Holiday gift guide for the muay thai enthusiast

It's been a couple years since I posted a muay thai holiday gift guide...whoops.  I'm back at it, and that's all that matters, right?

So, you want to get a gift for someone in your life who either trains muay thai, or is a fan of the combat sport, but what the hell is muay thai, and where do you start looking? Perhaps you train, and you want to give your girlfriend or grandma some ideas of what you want for Christmas. My grandma Baker would get me corduroy pants every year without fail. Let's avoid that happening to you.

Muay Thai Hoodie

Its hard to go wrong with this gift that can be worn year-round. carries a fairly good selection of muay thai logo hoodies and crew neck sweatshirts. This yellow hoodie is a little pricey at USD49.99. I found a version in black for USD21.90 and and I love it. You can find the yellow sucker here.

Twins Pro Boxing Gloves

I've been training and teaching muay thai for half my life. I've used pretty much every brand of boxing and muay thai  gear imaginable, and when it comes to boxing gloves nobody, and I mean nobody, beats Twins. The prices are fair, especially when you compare them to brands like Everlast. 

For North American shoppers I recommend going through - you'll pay around USD60.00 for them. Twins can be found for about half the price on sites like, but chances are slim you'll get them by  Christmas as all orders ship from Thailand and take minimum 3 weeks to get to the USA.

The Ong Bak  DVD Set (Kinda like the Stars Wars trilogy for muay thai fans)

If you're not sure exactly what to get the muay thai fan in your life, this is easily your safest bet. There is no way you can go wrong with the box set of all three Ong Bak films that delivers the best demonstration of the older muay thai systems (except for Ong Bak 2 where Tony Jaa tries to cover practically every martial art in existence). But seriously, you're guaranteed to make the recipient of this gift happy (I'll take a copy please).  This link is for my readers in the UK, I really appreciate your loyalty :)

 Namman Thai Boxing Liniment

Thai boxing liniment is a great stocking stuffer, and is the fastest way into a muay thai practitioner's heart. It's true value is known only to those who've been initiated, but once you understand it's benefits it becomes a general cure all for all aches and pains. You have to be careful from who you buy Thai liniment as it is largely overpriced, considering a 120cc bottle sells in Thailand for less than 2 dollars, however online merchants will mark up the price to as much as $15 for the same product that may be past it's expiration date. Here's a site that offers decent prices, and their online store is protected by Thawte SSL, so you can be sure your data is secure.

Competitive Ace is the official North American dealer for Namman.  This liniment is about as fresh as you can get it, however, the prices are little higher than other resources, so you'll have to weigh the benefits for yourself.

Thai Pads - A must for muay thai trainers

Alright now, among muay thai purists, there are really 3 camps of opinion as to which brand manufactures the best thai pads:  Twins, Windy and Fairtex. Pretty much everything Twins makes is of very good quality, their thai pads are no exception.

What makes a good thai pad a good thai pad? Density, thickness, material quality, and restraint assembly. I love Twins with exception of the thai pad line which uses Velcro strips, which eventually fray and can come undone during intense pad work sessions.

You want leather pads with a thickness of at least 4 inches of padding thickness with a buckle restraint system. In my experience, the most durable brand, the thai pads that last for 10+ years of extensive training has been Windy. Ladies, this is a sure bet way to make your man incredibly happy this holiday.

Muay Thai: The Most Distinguished Art of Fighting

If you ever get one book on the subject of muay thai, this one is it. The hardcover book is viewed by many as the textbook on muay thai. Transcribed from the bedside of aging Master Ket Sriyapai in 1978, this book is humble in layout. I swear most of the book was photocopied from notes, but don't let that fool you. This book is filled with incredibly usefull information, tips on training for a fight, techniques, and serves as an enlightening history of the transformation of the modern sport muay thai in the twentieth century.  Due to the dry reading, I suggest holding off on purchasing this for any muay thai student under the age of 18.  I'm generalizing here, but most teenagers won't want a book for Christmas. You can find it here.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, and I'm sure I missed a few other 'must haves'. There are a number of online resources for muay thai training gear and accessories across the Internet. The common brands for muay thai gear include Twins, Windy, Thaismai, Kombat Gear, and Fairtex.

 What do you think should be on this year's list? Add it in your comments!

Happy holidays!

Donnie Baker-

Saturday, December 10, 2011

As muay thai gets more popular, what will happen to the older muay thai systems?

For me, it started with a bootleg VHS tape of fights at Lumpinee Stadium in 1992. Then, a couple weeks later I caught Paulo Tocha in Bloodsport on HBO, and in my teenage mind I was convinced. I didn't know what they called it, but whatever this fighting system was two things were certain: i. the style looked both brutal and at the same time elegant, and ii. those shorts with the writing on the front looked really, really comfortable.  Hence begun my search to learn what was to be introduced to me as muay thai.

For the better part of the 1990's (and even today to a large extent) I'd get blank stares if/when I tell people that I train muay thai. Top three typical responses are "What's that?", "Mai tai?", or "Is that like kickboxing?". The system has been on the outside of the stable of popular martial arts until MMA came along and has made the name muay thai more common (I would largely disagree with the application of muay thai being used in MMA as an accurate representation of muay thai). K-1 popularized muay thai in Europe and Asia in the early part of the twenty-first century, but the USA has football and the NBA, oh well, call us late adopters.

Outside of the occasional episode of Human Weapon on the History Channel, or the occasional documentary about the exploitation of children through muay thai in Thailand (which I agree and yet, disagree with), mainstream media never covers the Thai national sport, and its official martial art.

This is beginning to change, however. CNN  recently did a little spot on the growth in popularity of muay thai on the international stage. It's good to see this kind of exposure for the sport version of muay thai. Watch the short segment below.

The History Channel produced the series, Human Weapon where the two hosts traveled around the world receiving crash courses in martial arts from various masters or well known practitioners.What I did like about this episode is that they touched on a few of the various branches of muay thai. They trained for modern ring style muay thai, the covered lerd rit, the militarized application of muay thai, and they also went up north and got some exposure to one of the older system, Muay Chaiya.

Here's the full episode, but the commercials can get annoying.

 I'd still like to see more exposure of the older systems such as muay chao cherk, lerd rit, and chaiya  - which BTW, are lumped under the umbrella of muay boran. If someone opens up a muay boran school in your area and markets it as a single martial art, they're simply marketing it to you. Tony Jaa has done a great job of including the various subsets of muay thai in his Ong Bak and The Protector movies.

If you're lucky enough to find and train at a school that covers one of the older systems, be prepared to have others in the outside world (retail thai boxing gyms) say that your techniques are wrong. Not to worry, I've been training and teaching muay chao cherk, lerd rit and a subset of the Burmese system (boar bando) for 18 years (half my life, ugh I'm old). Just know that what's taught at the typical modern muay thai gym is a watered down version of what only scratches the surface of what a muay thai practitioner would have learned over a hundred years ago. You are among the lucky few burdened with the responsibility of continuing a dying tradition.

Hopefully the continued growth in muay thai's popularity will bring about a renaissance for the older systems used for the purposes of combat instead of sport.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Black Friday & holiday shopping safety tips with a tactical twist

So Black Friday has come and gone with some unsurprising violent outcomes across the United States. A woman in Southern California had the bright idea to discourage other shoppers from vying for an Xbox360 by using pepper spray, injuring 10 people in the process. I give her points for ingenuity, but she sort went against some social mores, such as that little known 'do unto others' rule that keeps us from eating each other. In San Leandro, CA (East Bay)  shoppers were robbed in a Walmart parking lot as they left a 1:30 am shopping spree, leaving one shopper critically injured by a bullet wound. And  this trend towards consumer-on consumer & opportunistic predatory behavior echoed across the country over the past 24 hours.

We still have a month of shopping and that means a month of somewhat higher risk for robbery or assault given the current economic state and the fact that we're all distracted with the obligatory holiday distractions.

Below is the standard list of basic safety tips issued every year for the clueless holiday shopper. I've added what I think have been missing from this list  as well. My tips are in italic.
  • Park in well-lit areas, and always lock the car, close the  windows, and hide shopping bags and gifts in the trunk even if you only  plan to be gone for a few minutes. Do not leave valuables in plain view  inside your vehicle. Out of sight, out of mind!
  • DB- If possible, back your car into the spot. Many attackers will approach victims from behind after they've they approached their car. If you pull head on into your spot,that open door funnels you into a corner With your car backed in, an open car door can serve as a barrier between you and your would be attacker.
  • If possible, shop before dark. Coordinate shopping trips with a friend if you plan to be out late.
  • Stay alert and be aware of what’s going on around you. If you see  people “hanging around” parking garages, parking lots, or the outside of  stores, avoid the area. Notify the police or security department.  
  • DB - Situational awareness is huge! Keep an eye out for familiar faces, and ask yourself why you keep crossing paths that person or group of people. Are you being sized up for a potential robbery or worse?
  • DB - consolidate your purchases into as few bags as possible, and make that bag the lowest end store in the mall. For example, if you buy your girlfriend a Coach purse, place it in a JC Penny shopping bag. Perception is key. If you try to appear wealthy, you're a prized pig.
  • Avoid carrying large amount of cash; pay with check or credit card whenever possible.
  • Limit the amount of jewelry you wear.
  • Be extra careful with purses and wallets. Carry a purse close to  your body, not dangling by the straps. Don’t leave purses unattended in  shopping carts even for a moment.  
  • DB- Keep your wallet in your front pants pocket.
  • Deter pickpockets and purse-snatchers. Don’t overburden yourself  with packages. Have your purchases delivered whenever practical.
  • DB - Thieves often work in teams: one with distract you while the other picks your pocket. If someone bumps into you in the mall, don't stop to turn around and pardon yourself or confront the individual, keep moving.
  • Have your keys in hand when you return to your car. Always check the interior of your car before you unlock the door to get in.  
  • DB- Don't be on your mobile phone while walking to your car, scan your sector (look around by visually sweeping the field in front of you and to your sides) keep your posture erect and look pissed off. Make yourself a hard target through your body language. 
  • DB - I don't particularly condone carrying a blade if you aren't trained on basic weapon retention and use simply because introducing a weapon instantly escalates a situation in which a simple robbery turns potentially fatal. If  someone really wants you dead, they'll kill you. If they want your stuff, they'll threaten harm. Sometimes it's simply not worth the risk, and handing over your bags is the safest option. It sucks, it's better to spend the holidays with your family than in a  hospital bed.

Most importantly, if you find yourself in the midst of some crazed Walmart mob killing each other over a $2 waffle iron, maintain a wide, low stance, and remember that nice, clean, tight elbow points strategically used on soft mid sections can help move you through the crowd. Get yourself and your family/friend/partner away from the mob as quickly as possible. Look for ways out such as a nearby aisle or a gap in the crowd. That, and keep your hands on your pockets!

Happy hunting!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Muay thai front leg round kick round up

Front leg kicks are usually used as set up strikes, whether you're in the cage, in the ring, or in the street. The right use of body mechanics can make it powerful, but its rare that a front leg kick would drop a guy and keep him down.

There are a number of ways to throw it - with the reigning method has the fighter stepping out before throwing the kick. Technique aside, a key difference in how a front round kick is used in differing scenarios is the follow up. Do you follow up with a right cross? Do you shoot in on the guy? Do you throw elbows? Do you run cause he has 3 friends closing in?

The context in which I use a front leg round kick is for street or combat. If, in theory, its a set up strike and often offers the element of surprise, I don't want to be (or perhaps I can't be) in a fighting stance. If you're training in order to defend yourself in the street, or a club, or a parking lot, you really need to be able to execute all of your techniques from a neutral, casual stance. If you're military or law enforcement, your gear, weapon, or a number of other environmental factors may prevent you from getting into a proper conventional fighting stance.

Here are two examples of a similar technique modified for use in two completely different contexts.

The guy in the video below, obviously, is using the front leg round kick technique for MMA. The camouflage shorts gave him away. It's a rather long video, so if you want to see the technique thrown full speed scrub ahead to about 4:30 into the clip. I myself am also guilty of getting chatty from time to time in my videos.

What I see in this, and many other instructional videos on this topic is that the striker steps out with the rear leg in order to load his kick. It also gets him out of the way of a straight counter. I don't believe that you have to waste a step in order to throw a loaded front leg round kick. Exploding the kick out with an angled forward drive can do the trick, and it keeps you in your native stance. Although I cannot stress the importance of becoming ambidextrous when it comes to your training.

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Truck and Car Pushing

Conditioning Secrets Finally Revealed

Back in the late 90’s there was a T.V. show called “Breaking the Magician’s Code: Magic’s Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed”.

A masked magician would expose the methods behind large scale magic tricks and illusions by explaining how they were done and showing you how they were performed.

His reason for doing this was because he was tired of seeing magician after magician perform the same tricks and illusions over and over again.

By exposing these secrets it would force magicians to come up with new tricks and illusions to entertain us.

Today I’m going to uncover a conditioning exercise that needs to be exposed and updated.

And that lowly exercise is truck and car pushing.

For years I have read articles and have watched videos from coaches, trainers, athletes, MMA fighters on pushing vehicles for conditioning.

If you go to YouTube you’ll find a large amount of videos on car or truck pushing.

For years I have watched and waited for someone else besides myself to come up with a new way to push a vehicle for conditioning.

But sadly it’s been the same way year in and year out, video to video.

Put your arms about shoulder width apart on the back of a vehicle, feet spread about shoulder width and start pushing forward for distance or time.

Then get in front of the hood and push it back, while this works well for conditioning, man is this ever boring!

If you had a barbell and all you ever did was bench press or squat with it, you’d get pretty bored very quickly.

Recently to my excitement I found one, one person who has come up with a new way to push a vehicle.

Getting into a push up position this person put his feet on the back bumper of his truck and pushed the truck with his hands on the ground.

That was awesome, but unfortunately after 35 plus years all I have found are two ways to push a vehicle.

Come on people where is the creativity or out side the box thinking when it comes to pushing a car or truck.

Did you know that one of the favorite exercises of the ancient Greeks was pushing large columns and round boulders on soft sand.

They learned this by watching how their slaves developed strong bodies by moving these types of objects on their properties.

And since slaves were forbidden to train at the local gymnasiums in the city, they reasoned that this was a great way to develop the body.

So to all you experts, trainers and coaches out there, I challenge you to come up with new exercises for pushing a vehicle.

If you can come up with variations for bodyweight exercises, sand bags, kettlebells, dumbbells, barbells, clubbells, medicine balls, suspension trainers etc…

Then way can’t you come up with a single variation when it comes to pushing a vehicle for conditioning?

In my next article I will get your mental juices flowing by teaching you five new exercises with variations to get you started.

So now that I have exposed this conditioning exercise, it’s your turn to create the magic!

Until next time, train safely and creatively.

Daniel Sambrano

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Attacked by Twenty:True Multiple Opponent Realities

After fighting and dealing with three, I had to deal with twenty more who swarmed and encircled me. Didn’t see that coming.

Punches, elbows, forearms, hammer fists and chops worked. Knocked out a few but knocked down a lot more of them.

Kicks and knees wouldn’t work. There was just too many of them and they swarmed too fast.

I wasn’t tired until I stopped fighting. Must have been the adrenaline working.

Didn’t see very much, because it was too dark to see. I could only see the asphalt as my face was heading towards it from being hit in the back of the head and shoulders by a bat or two by four. And shoes kicking and stomping me, everywhere at once.

Every time I moved my arms I hit someone, whether moving my arms forward or back. My fists and elbows were both swollen from hitting people, talk about close quarter fighting.

You had to fight offensively and move quickly. Even your defense had to be offensive in nature.

Trying to grapple or ground fight would have killed me. Too many attackers.

Striking and moving was the best way to fight. Didn’t extend the arms too far, too many fists coming at you to block or parry. The further you extended your arms out the more you got hit; you opened yourself up too much.

Being explosive first, having endurance second and finally having isometric strength last seems to be the best way to train for this.

Nobody came to help only to fight me. My two friends were pinned to the wall by others.

You can take a lot of pain and keep fighting. Fear of death tends to keep pain at bay.

Never give up! Keep fighting till the end! Or it will be the end of you!

Use the environment. Walls and cars work well, so do edges of buildings.

Strength and skill won’t keep you alive; God, luck and tenacity are the things that will! Believe me I know first hand.

Running is a 50/50 chance at best. They may catch up to you and drag you down. Where will you run to? Where will you go? How much of your precious energy will you use up?

I later found out these same punks chased down another guy for four blocks and surrounded him at the top of a four story parking garage and beat him into a coma. So much for running.

Nothing good ever happens after midnight. Just ask Cinderella or me about that.

The police never showed up, never! You only had yourself to rely on.

Make sure you get checked for any cuts, holes or cracks. You don’t want to be dying slowly and not know it.

Let the adrenaline go! You don’t want to hold it in, get rid of it as soon as possible.

Don’t wrestle, hit and move, that’s all the time you have for! Don’t waste your energy, forget submissions or chokes.

Don’t go to the ground on purpose! You’re only going to get kicked and stomped on.

Kill the head, kill the body. Take out the leader, the mouth; this can stop the assault very quickly. That’s what I did!

Spread the attackers out, linearly if possible. Less will want to fight you; some will step out of the fight. You’ll have more space to move and fight.

When you decide to make a stand, make sure that there is a wall, fence or car behind you, so that they can’t get behind you. Stand a few feet away from it so you can move explosively.

If you go down to the ground get up as fast as you can, don’t even hesitate for a second, get up!!! Don’t lay there and die!

Don’t listen to your internal dialog, unless it’s yelling at you to get up or fight! Otherwise you won’t be all there; you’ll be somewhere else. Stay focused!

My fists were swollen but not broken and I know I was hitting them hard and powerfully. Just goes to show what happens when you condition your fists and know how to hit bare-knuckle.
You’ll be swollen, in pain, bloody and your clothes will be torn, don’t worry all these things can be fixed. Just be glad you’re alive.

Learn from the experience. The school of hard knocks is the only place where the test is given before the lesson is learned.

And finally no matter how badass you think you are, there is always someone or multiples of someone who will prove you wrong. So be careful out there.

I hope you learned a few things from this multiple assault, I know I did. This was just a glimpse of a multiple attack and what I learned from it. My hope is that you never have to experience this type of violence in your lifetime. But if you do, learn from my experience and train to be ready for it or at the very least to know what to expect before it happens.

And lastly train as realistically as possible and get rid of all the myths and fantasies about multiple attacks.

Until next time, be safe and take care.

Daniel Sambrano

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Three Dimensional Knowledge

How It Really Goes Down in a Multiple Attack

If you get on the internet, you’ll find a large amount of information on multiple opponent fighting. A large percentage of it is crap, but not because it isn’t any good. In fact a large amount of it is very well thought out and logical, but unfortunately it’s just conjecture and theory. In other words it’s just an educated guess.

My friend Richard Demitri has a saying on his website at, “Ask the experienced not the learned”. Now why is that? It’s because they’ve been there and done that. They can tell you things that books and theory can’t. They have what I call “Three Dimensional Knowledge”. They’ve been through the wringer, they have studied and understood it, and they can explain it.

Most theories have a one dimensional or maybe a two dimensional knowledge of a subject at best. They lack the third dimension, the physical, where the rubber meets the rode. Unless your theories, tactics and techniques have been tested, you won’t truly know if they work or not. The third dimension is the proving ground; it lets you know what is and what isn’t. It gets rid of the illusion and shows you the reality, there is no bias it just gives you the plain truth. Then it’s up to you whether to accept it or reject it to your peril.

In the next installment I’m going to teach you about a multiple opponent attack that happened to me. I’m going to try and explain to you what happened and what worked and what didn’t. It took me some time to piece together what happened that night and what I could have done to have avoided the situation. My reason to tell you this story is to help you understand the truth of this type of assault and not the fantasy that you might believe happens in this type of attack. My hope is that you learn from my experience and become the wiser for it.

And always remember three dimensional knowledge is always the best teacher when it comes to life and death.

Take care,
Daniel Sambrano

Monday, May 30, 2011

Remembering the silent warriors of intelligence

We typically use this day to remember those soldiers who died in the course of serving their country in battle: our grandfathers, uncles, brothers, friends. But please also remember the men and women who are all too often overlooked: the members of our intelligence community who silently sacrificed everything for us - names we'll never know, who's passing will never be memorialized other than on a wall at Langley.
To my American readers, I urge you to take a moment to simply recognize that covert operators and members of clandestine services that have fallen in the line of duty.  Even if you're not American,  remember the men and women who gave their lives to protect your current way of life.
Happy Memorial Day

Friday, April 22, 2011

Celebrate Earth Day with muay thai

Happy Earth Day folks! Just a reminder to get out there and do your part for Mother Nature. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Save a tree

2. Recycle old tires

3. Conserve water

Last but not least, love your fellow man. Give the gift of blood.

Happy Earth Day from Donnie

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Being mugged not what its cracked up to be

Over this last weekend I received an email from one of my YouTube subscribers who had a hell of a story to tell.

Friday night, this young man, only 15 years old, was robbed at knife point in the street. The mugger demanded money and his cell phone. He did the right thing in this situation: he complied.

It's really easy, after training martial arts or having fought in the ring / octagon, to get stuck in that macho fantasy of kicking the living crap out of any bad guy foolish enough to try to rob you. But in reality, if/when you're ever thrust into that singular moment, and a wave of fear and adrenaline are coursing through your veins, all those well planned out, kick ass moves - the wrist lock-groin kick-arm bar-rear naked choke for the win - suddenly run screaming from your memory; all you're left with is your reptilian, caveman brain to handle this delicate situation. Our viewer did the correct thing. If someone mugs you with a weapon and they're demanding money, wallets, jewelry, etc. the safest option is to comply because more often than not, he's only brandishing the weapon to incite fear, and compliance. If someone really, really wants you dead, there would be no confrontation, he'd walk up to you and stab you/slit a major artery, etc.  BTW, I'm going to contradict myself here... just sayin'.

Back to my story. So, he gives the mugger his phone and money, but the mugger decides that that's not enough and attacks the kid with his knife. The young man was able to evade the knife, grab and control the attacker's arm , and then the kid threw a relentless barrage of elbows to the mugger's head, effectively dropping him. From there our hero made his escape.  (Lesson here: just because you give up your valuables means you're out of the woods. That's the unpredictability of human nature, and street crime). I told you I'd contradict myself.

The crazy thing for me is that this young man sent me a message thanking me. He said that he had been watching my muay thai videos and practicing what he'd seen, and was able to apply some of these concepts in  that high stress situation. It's amazing that he would think of thanking me, and personally, he gets all the credit for handling the situation the way he did. But on the other hand, what an awesome feeling it was for me to think that perhaps, in some way, those silly YouTube videos I shoot actually helped somebody survive a potentially lethal situation.

What are the take ways from this?
1. The safest bet is to comply with the demands of an armed robber.
2. When real violence hits you, its an adrenaline rush like you've never had before. Gross motor function is pretty much all you've got.
3. If all other options fail and you can't avoid confrontation, it's best to apply overwhelming force. Think cornered cat holding a baseball bat.
4. No matter how insignificant you think your actions are, you can still hold influence over others, good and bad. Set a good example.

Alright, moral lesson is done for the day. Get back to hitting the bags, or each other :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Giron escrima seminar at Muay Thai Academy

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, or Northern California for that matter, this is a very rare opportunity to get exposed to a fairly closed system of escrima, the dominant Filipino style of fighting. Giron Escrima maintains a pretty small community of practitioners, most of them based in the Bay Area and central valley regions of California. Bahala Na Original Grion Escrima Federation is the governing body that works to strictly maintain this system in its purest form.

The system's founder, Master Michael Giron learned from his father, Leo Giron, who had proven this style of escrima through his experiences fighting the Japanese during World War II. Leo passed on his real world lessons of jungle warfare to his son, Michael, who carries on the tradition.

The seminar will be held on April 30th at the Muay Thai Academy International in Santa Clara, CA. This also happens to be where Daniel Sambrano and I both teach. And, no, we do not make ANY money off of these seminars. We rarely, rarely bring in outsiders to instruct clinics at the Muay Thai Academy for a number of reasons: quality control is probably at the top of that list. If you're into escrima or arnis, or if you're just interested in exploring other martial arts, this is a great opportunity. Here are the grizzly details:

Date: Saturday April 30, 2011
Time: 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm please arrive at least 15 minutes early. Late arrivals will be beaten.

Location: Muay Thai Academy International
1500 Norman Ave
Santa Clara, CA

What will be covered:
- Practical application of blade concepts
- Close quarter combat knife techniques
- Defense against knife attack (armed & open hand)
- Vital disabling, striking targets
- Practical daily training exercises

$55 for early registraion
$65 for walk-ins

There are only 35 spots available for this seminar. RSVP with Jacob Ragsdale

You can also RSVP on Facebook if you're too lazy to open up your email client. But you'd have to be rediculously lazy...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Contour Kettlebells

Hey everyone just wanted to inform you about a new piece of training equipment that works great for strengthening your striking muscles. It’s called the “Contour Kettlebell” and it works great at mimicking your strikes without getting in the way of your movement. They are made by GoFit and Bob Harper from the Hit TV Show "The Biggest Loser" for people that didn’t like hitting their forearms when performing kettlebell exercises.
So they flattened the sides of a kettlebell and contoured it slightly so as not to hurt the forearm. But if you know me; I’m always thinking out side the box and I realized that they didn’t know what they really created. You see this is shaped just like a Padlock or Keylock as they’re called in China to develop the body for fighting and exercising. The Contoured Kettlebell is like a modernized version of the Chinese Keylock.

I bought two pair of these Contour Kettlebells and tried them out. I went to youtube and found a few videos on how to workout with keylocks and I just copied some of their movements.  Let me tell you they worked great, I used them with my punching movements and elbows, they have a different feel then regular kettlebells. You can bring them closer to the sides of your head and move freely with them. By being able to bring them closer to your body you can really mimic the way you fight and keep them tight to the body.
The price ranges from $29.00 - $85.00 dollars and they come in 7, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 35lbs. They come with a plastic cover around the bell and the handle is bare metal. I’ve priced keylocks and they can cost over a hundred dollars for a twenty pound one and a 35 pounder will set you back $299.95. So as you can see they are a bargain when compared to a real keylock.  You can purchase them at Target or on Amazon. So all you Martial Artists, Boxers, and Muay Thai Fighters should try them out and see what you think.

About the only thing I don’t like is that the handle on the lighter contour kettlebells are a bit thinner but if you add some tape or put a pair of fat gripz on the handles they’ll be fine. My fists, wrists, forearms and elbows have benefitted greatly from using them and I know they will benefit you also.

By the way, the two pair I bought were 10 and 15 pounders, they really work great for punching. And as a bonus you can also do any kettlebell exercise you can think of with them.
So get yourself a pair and start striking.
Take Care

Daniel Sambrano

P.S. Don’t be like me and freak out the shoppers and the workers at Target by doing a quick workout with them in the aisle, trust me when I say they work great!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

MyMuayThai asks if MMA is bad for muay thai

Muay thai blogger, and a leading resource for news on ring style mauy thai, posted a contributed article  earlier this month arguing that MMA actually hurts muay thai. I, for one, am stoked that other muay thai bloggers are waking up to this reality.  I've made this point in previous posts, and received a fair amount of flack from the TapOut crowd. Thank you Mai for keeping the discussion going.

Here's a link to the article on It's fairly short and worth a read.



Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Law of Impact, Street Fight vs Sport Fight

When it comes to accidents on the highway streets, the law of physics always favor the larger, heavier vehicles. Even though smaller compact vehicles are better on gas and can get you around town much easier.

But what these “Politically Correct” “Kumba Yah” type of vehicles seem to forget is that they can’t take too much impact especially when hit by a larger vehicle. It’s just the way it is, sorry. That’s why I drive a big powerful Dodge Truck with a Hemi Engine, it keeps me safe on the streets. And it’s the same way when it comes to striking someone in a vicious street- fight.

You better not have small weak, soft punches that are just meant to score points and look pretty moving fast. Or you’ll most likely find yourself laid out on the filthy ground wallowing in your own bloody self delusions, spitt’n teeth out. You need to have impact crushing, power generating fists that can hit with such brutal viciousness that it’s scarey to think what kind of damage you’ll cause to any fool who chooses to tangle with you.

You need to know what the majority of strikers don’t about how to generate maximum power in your punches. You need to be hitting like the fighters of old, legends like Dempsey, Marciano, Fitzsimmons, Choynski, Jeffries just to name a few. After all boxing was once upon a time taught for self protection, it was the martial art of the west.

Now it’s become a watered down version of it’s once powerful self, due to the way it’s being taught in the gyms across the country today. In WWI and WWII boxing was taught to the soldiers to teach them to have aggressive footwork and power in their fists but not to strike the enemy with but to use in bayonet trench fighting. That’s how important boxing was. It taught you how to prevail in a life and death situation.

Todays boxing only works well in the ring with a referee and with rules and let’s not forget boxing gloves. They tell you don’t hit with your barefists you’ll break your hands so you
don’t but you get into a streetfight and you end up with a broken nose, jaw or ribs, what a trade off! You're taught combinations that will win you the day in the ring but mess you up in a streetfight. You're taught rules that will make you a fair fighter and a sportsman but get your ass handed to you by some scum in the street who follows no rules, save one “the law of the jungle”.

Wake up! And pull your head out off your coaches ass and think for yourself for once. Fighting with rules and restraints, and using safety equipment is only going to get you hurt when reality hits you upside the jaw. So get some street smarts and learn to fight dirty using proven fighting methods that will teach you to be merciless to your enemy.
And be ready to answer the call of violence when it gives you a ring.

Daniel Sambrano

Friday, March 18, 2011

Thank you readers - OSMT enters Alexa's Top 1 million

Hey folks, a quick bit of news here. This blog, Muay Thai Beyond the Ring, has officially broken into the top 1 million visited websites on the Internet, as ranked by Alexa! Alexa is like the Nielsen Ratings of the web. I'm certainly stoked!

For the past two years, Daniel and I have been providing truly unique content on the subject of muay thai, peppered with a whole lot of street fighting theories, dirty boxing techniques, and simple methods to develop strength and speed without spending a ton of money on equipment.

We don't wear the thai shorts in our videos, and I'm a farang who lives, trains, and teaches in California. We believe in ending a fight as fast as possible through the use of older muay thai systems that we've been (seriously) lucky enough to have learned. Thanks for appreciating the simplicity and  efficiency that this system provides.

So I wanted to take a moment to thank you, the readers, those of you who participate with comments, the votes of confidence, even the rants from that one guy who was really, really upset regarding my opinions on the Fairtex franchise.

On behalf of myself, Daniel Sambrano, and my dog Bando - who is chewing on my arm as I type - THANK YOU!!!

Donnie Baker-

Monday, February 28, 2011

Change up your muay thai with the lost art of 'shifting'

Here's a post that Daniel drafted but hasn't posted yet. I've been busy with a move this week, and didn't have time to write a post from scratch. I went through this, added my own ideas & tips, so you're stuck with some really great advice, and a few of my snarky comments thrown in for good measure.
Definition: Changing foot position and stance in order to make your punches more powerful.

Shifting allows a fighter to remain in constant motion. You can attack, evade, and change leads while remaining rooted, centered, balanced and stable. You'll will be able to change sides and increase speed without sacrificing power. You be able to move faster without bobbing up and down. That bobbing is actually a drain of vital energy. You can change sides so that by the time your opponent realizes what has happened he has been hit many times.

Whether you're boxing, training MMA, or fighting muay thai, you can still switch sides easily and continue fighting without upsetting your  flow. It actually serves to confuse your opponent, throwing both his timing and balance off.

So, you want to throw strikes with significantly more power, eh? Shift your weight as you throw punches and elbows. Energy travels from the ground through every joint of the body and finally into the fists. If you're pivoting your hip while you strike, you're generating toque. If you're shifting your weight, which includes that whole 'mass x acceleration' bit, you're generating more force. If you add that torque to the drive and the shift you're got a little something called compound momentum. But I digress. I mean, what do a couple of muay thai instructors know about physics anyway? We'll save the compound momentum theory for another post.

By never having to re chamber or telegraph an attack, your punches come at you like a rattlesnake strike. Shifting is especially effective in a street fight, or multiple opponent situations, where continuous movement is an imperative. Also, think of this: in the ring, muay thai matches are a sort of gentleman's agreement. Both fighters square off and exchange blows back and forth. I don't care how conditioned I am, I hate getting hit. The less you get hit the odds f you winning and/or surviving go way up. If you shift or drive while you strike you move as you throw - meaning that after you've thrown that punch, you are not in the same place as you were when you started the technique.

Here's a litany of benefits that will improve your fighting abilities when you integrate shifting into your training regimen:

  • Trains you to “hit off your move” with either fist, from any direction with power and stability
  • Helps you develop “controlled aggression” in your power punching (another post for us to cover)
  • Will confuse and frustrate opponents that know how to box or fight. Really effective in muay thai
  • Allows you to hit from any position at any angle with either fist powerfully
  • Shifting is a lost art that most have forgotten how to do or have never seen or heard of
  • Teaches you to stay relaxed as you strike and move without telegraphing your intentions
  • Brings your whole body weight explosively into your strikes as you fight
  •  Teaches you to fight up close without worrying about what your opponent’s counter will be
  •  Trains you to step with your punches instead of dancing around like a ballerina
  •  Helps you become comfortable hitting while moving backwards, forward, laterally or diagonally without missing a beat
Shifting will make you a very dangerous fighter with no equal (at least at your gym).  It really will add a completely new dimension to your combinations and fight game. Combinations will flow more easily, and transitions from punches to knees to elbow to kicks will feel much more natural. Shifting trains you to become an ambidextrous fighter, which I cannot evangelize enough. You do not want to be a one-sided fighter.

I'll let Daniel's words send us off here. But as you read this, imagine a large, somewhat scary Hispanic man yelling at no one in particular, with an extra bit of emphasis in the 'And' that start each sentence. If you know Daniel, you understand.

"And finally if you’re not shifting, you’re not fighting as well as you could be, in other words your fighting sucks! And that will make you twice the fighter you are right now! So start shifting when you train; cause you don’t ever wanna meet a fighter who does."

Monday, February 21, 2011

Muay Thai Elbow Strike Instructional

Elbows have a reputation for being a dirty, but highly effective technique used to end a fight. Inherently, they're powerful strikes, but a common misconception in the MMA and mauy thai communities equate the size of the muscle to the power of the elbow. On the contrary, muscle mass has little to do with contributing to the overall power behind the elbow strike.

Instead of throwing your elbows as if you would a ball, concentrating you power in the upper arms and shoulders, think of the throwing the elbow strike with your entire body. Think rotational force, so instead of relying on arm strength alone, you're levering the rotation of your entire body, from the pivot on your feet, to the drive of your hips, and your entire upper body. The key is to learn to throw your muay thai elbow strikes with your entire body moving as one. Take a look at the little instructional video I did on the basic mechanics of the muay thai round elbow for your own training purposes.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Learn muay thai at home? Yeah, right.

I receive many emails from a lot of people from around the world who have the same problem - either they don't live anywhere near a gym, or local martial arts schools don't offer muay thai. In the face of this challenge, many turn to the Internet to learn from home.

I certainly sympathize with those of you who've reached out to me asking for advice on how you can train from home, however, I have a hard time subscribing to the theory that one can learn a martial art from a book or a video. It's pretty hard to find a video online that really breaks down the muay thai techniques for the purpose of actual instruction. I myself am guilty of throwing up videos in which I speak fast, I throw fast, and I don't lay out the mechanics of a given technique.

But recently, a YouTube subscriber of mine sent me a video of himself throwing shadow kicks that he had learned by watching my videos. And I was impressed. Maybe there is something to this whole idea of learning through video. Sure you don't get the feedback, and there is no way to tell what you're doing right and what you're doing wrong, but by allowing me to watch his technique, I was able to provide him with detailed critiques and tips to help him improve.

So with that in mind, let's try an experiment, shall we? I posted a video that covers the basic mechanics in the old style muay thai round kick. It lacks the cool sound effects, and bag bashing, and the graphics, but it has the meat and potatoes that go into successfully knowing this technique.

If you choose to try it out, here's a few other tips to consider:

1. Open up your hips by turning your heel inward.
2. The pivot is the most important part of the kick.
3. Go slowly, it's harder that way, but you'll build the muscle and you'll develop better habits than rushing.
4. Spin all the way through. Go with the momentum.
5. It's alright if you feel off balance, you're actually supposed to be off your center.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Are you fighting, or just sparring?

If you're more than three feet apart in a street fight then your just sparring with each other, no if and's or buts about it. The funniest fights I would see where always when two so-called martial artists got into it in a street fight. They would be jumping up and down, moving all over the place, yelling and “kia-ing” all over the place. They pretty much never really hit each other, it always looked like a typical dojo sparring match.

The most lopsided fights would always be when one fighter knew some type of martial art and the other guy had some street fighting experience.
Inevitably the martial artist would get into a fighting stance and the other guy would just hit him from where he stood. He then would proceed to beat the snot out of the “Bruce Lee’ wanna be.

The best fights on the other hand would always be when two good street fighters would go at each other. They would attack each other like two rabid dogs trying to kill each other. The one who would prevail would usually be the one who would hit first and keep on punching the hardest and had the best conditioning. This is why sprinting is an important aspect your training, also blitzing on the heavy bag for 3-8 rounds of five to twenty seconds with a ten second rest.

Anaerobic endurance is a must when street fighting as you will be moving fast and viciously trying to take the other guy out! You need to be ballistic and have your wind to be able to knock out your adversary with power. This is why you need to be close enough to your opponent to finish him, otherwise your wasting your energy and putting yourself in more danger.

One drill you can do to help you mimmick a street fight is to get a piece of rope and tie it around your waist and around your partners waist with about three feet between you, then go at it for five to ten seconds for two to three rounds. This drill works great because it forces you to fight close and see what your made of and it trains you to take impact. When you move your partner moves with you and visa-versa, when you hit him he will be hitting you. And you’ll both be going all out on each other, in a very primal way.

And remember if your close enough to hit him, he’s close enough to hit you, so don't forget to keep your guard up. So get with your training partners and practice this drill and learn the difference between sparring and fighting.

Take care, train hard and don’t spar on the street, fight!

Monday, January 31, 2011

How your brain impedes your muay thai training

In the process of learning muay thai the most difficult part for us Westerners is our natural inclination to over analyze everything. And if you're an American, forget about it. Our society is driven by instant gratification. I mean, isn't there a cheat code or cliffs notes? Anything?

Muay thai is inherently foreign to the Westerner. The techniques require you to purposely put your self off balance, and the ultra aggressive nature of the system goes against what society has taught us growing up. For example, think about your personal space and how uncomfortable it was for you the first time you did a clinching drill with a fellow student who you didn't really know.

The techniques, from round kicks to elbow strikes are made up of many moving parts all working in unison, and it takes a while to get comfortable with moving your body in that somewhat awkward way. For example, they say it takes 10,000 reps of the muay thai round kick before you get to the point where you can throw the kick without thinking about the technique.

It's very easy to get frustrated with yourself over the course of your training (it usually kicks in around the 3rd month in). But it's that over analyzing, trying to break down every component of a technique is what throws you off track. Ideally, you while training techniques, you're thinking about anything other than the technique that your practicing. If you find yourself getting frustrated with yourself, here's a couple pointers that I've found works:

1. Don't spend too much time focusing on a trouble spot. For example, you aren't pivoting on a round kick. Work on it but spending too much time on one issue will likely leave you neglecting the other parts of the technique.

2. Don't rush it! Throwing a crappy kick really fast will in no way clean up your technique. It's easier to throw poor technique quickly than clean technique slowly. Take your time, you aren't in a race.

3. Hitting bags and pads is fun, it feels good - but shadowing the technique is where you really make strides in cleaning up your form. Never neglect your shadow training.

4. This is the hardest part. Once you've practiced enough to where your body can physically throw a technique correctly (you understand the mechanics), then stop thinking about the technique while you're training. The ultimate goal is for you to be able to execute any muay thai strikes, whether it be kicks, knees, elbows, body movement - without thinking. It just becomes a natural part of how your body moves. Thinking, and over-thinking your technique will actually impede this. So think about anything else other than the technique - girls, work, school, does Taco Bell really use fake beef?

5. Step one in transitioning from muscle memory to subconscious reaction is to train thai pad drills where your partner calls out combinations at a pace that tires you out. And after you've reached the point of exhaustion, you keep going - s/he increases the intensity/complexity of the combos. Its meant to push you beyond the point where your brain cannot process the incoming orders, and its your reptilian brain & your body simply moving on instinct and muscle memory. That's where the real learning takes place.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Are we all closet Fairtex mauy thai haters?

I'm a marketer by day, a chew toy for my dog by night, and a few evenings every week, I share my experience in muay thai with others. In marketing, I've learned that if your competitor mentions you (usually not in a nice way) in a press release, you've done your job.

So I'm about to make sure that someone at Fairtex has earned their paycheck. Someone out there has been going through my posts and pointing out on how I frequently rail against Fairtex, in particular. His/her name - Anonymous. So, Anonymous, here you go.

I agree with Anonymous on a number of points: I think that the popularity of muay thai is a great thing, I agree that 12 rounds of boxing isn't very efficient, and 2 guys grappling for extended periods of time in an MMA match isn't exactly the ideal way to handle a fight in the street.  I also understand that in Thailand, you grow up to either be a poor agrarian, get pulled into the sex trade, or, the only way out of poverty, train to become a muay thai fighter. Muay thai is the national sport and deep  rooted aspect of Thai culture, of which I have profound respect for. Otherwise I wouldn't have dedicated my entire adult life to learning and sharing muay thai.

My rationale is based on the the fear that mass commercialization of muay thai by profit driven enterprises such as Fairtex, Master Toddy, Tiger, MMA gyms etc., however much widespread attention it brings to the (sport, style, art, what have you), will have an effect similar to what the McDojo model did to TKD and Karate during the 1980's and 1990's. The retail muay thai gym business model is this: bring in 100 students: perhaps 3-5 of those 100 will become a champion fighter. Those fighters will bring in another 200 students, of which, another 3-5% will go on to be champion fighters. This stable of fighters will bring prestige to the gym, which will drive larger numbers of students - driving revenue, credibility and opportunity for expansion. This model is scalable in a business context, however, it makes it very difficult to maintain the quality of instruction over time. We can see this happening right now with Krav Maga. It's explosive popularity has made Krav THE system to learn for self defense. The path to instructor certification is fairly short, because the more paying certified instructors you have, the stronger the system (as an entity) will become. 

But popularity does not mean quality.

Here's a prime example: Master Toddy's instructor training program states "In 5 days you will learn what it normally takes 5 years to learn". The 5-day program comes with a price tag of $3,000. To me, Toddy's entire muay thai instructor / kru / ajarn program is entirely based on driving revenue. What can you really expect to absorb and how do you achieve long term retention over 5 days? Dude, proper elbow technique can't even be achieved in 5 days.

I'm just as passionate about muay thai as  you, Anonymous, but I'd say my passion has a different focus. That's all. Just like Ajarn Lek who works to preserve mauy chaiya, Tony Jaa who's done wonders to bring muay boran to a worldwide audience,  I work to spread the word about the older battlefield forms of muay thai (muay chao cherk) and demonstrate how muay thai can be integrated into effective close quarter combat. BTW - in no way am I putting myself on the same level as Tony Jaa and Ajarn Lek, however, I bet I'm taller than both of them.

There are a few others, like Daniel Sambrano who are willing to share for free...sort of. The price you pay - you have to listen to our rants about the bastardization of an ancient and inherently efficient fighting system.

 We all drink the muay thai kool-aid, just different flavors. As far as the fate of muay thai as a sport / martial art, all we can do is hope for  the best. And thanks, Anonymous for your comments.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hit’em with the Ground or a Wall

Due to the popularity of MMA Fighting and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu many who get into streetfights today try to take their adversaries to the ground to subdue or finish them from there.

To me it just doesn’t make much sense to take someone down to the ground when you don’t have to.

Most will do it out of training habits, the way you train is the way you will fight, and others will do it because their opponent is getting the best of them.

And still others will do it because of getting into a clinch and not knowing how to fight at close quarters. But whatever the reason, you need to stay off the ground to have a better chance of surviving. Even if you don’t know how to punch and kick like a pro, you can still fight standing up and defeat your attacker in a vicious streetfight.

So how do you go about accomplishing this feat without getting yourself into more trouble?

Simple, learn to use your environment as a third arm or a fighting partner in a streetfight. Instead of punching your attacker in the face, grab his face with an open hand and slam the back of his head into a wall, or grab him by the back of the neck and slam his face into the wall. Use a light post, fence post, and street sign post to drive his shoulder or clavicle into it. Or corners of buildings, using stairs, cars, or maybe even the edges of tables to cause damage with. And speaking of damaging them, how about throwing the ground at them, by tripping them, slamming them or throwing them into the ground on their head, neck or shoulder.

All these suggestions can help keep you staying off the ground while at the same time putting them on it, hard. Learning to use the environment will give you a great advantage over your adversary in a streetfight. You will have an element of surprise on your side if you need to use it. As you train yourself to use the wall, buildings, cars, fences and the ground, you will find that it doesn’t take much on your part to use these structures and solid objects. You will find that there is allot of hurt you can cause before you need to flop on the ground.

While many will look at these tactics and call them dirty or cheating, just remember there are no rules in a street fight, so do what you need to do to get home to safety.

In a street fight there are usually multiple opponents you’ll have to contend with and some will have weapons, so even the odds by slamming one or two of them into a wall or car bumper and lower their numbers. If one of your limbs gets injured or broken your environment can come to your aid to help you prevail. If you slam them hard enough into a structure, it might be just enough to knock the fight right out of them.

So the next time you’re attacked and think you’re at a disadvantage think again the whole environment is just waiting to help you. You no longer have any excuses when it comes to your safety in a violent encounter. But remember environmental weapons are available to whoever is smart enough to use them; either it’s you or your adversary. Training in a well lit, cushioned training center will not prepare you for fighting in a dark and cold alley. Prepare yourself both mentally and physically by using environmental simulations in your training. Train yourself in confined and open environments, look for the advantages in these areas and learn to use them effectively.

Also learn how to counter your opponent if he uses the environment on you, be ready for this reality.

In conclusion street fighting is a lot more than using your fists, knees, head, elbows or kicks. Fighting dirty by using the environment will go along way in giving you the edge in a violent situation. So when the need arises don’t even hesitate for a second, hit’em with the ground or a wall and finish it quick.

Daniel Sambrano

Why You Don’t Hit With Intention

One thing people find hard to understand is the relationship of the mind -body connection.

The state of the mind affects the state of the body, and visa versa. It is important for you to understand just how much your mind goes into your strikes when you’re fighting. You cannot hit someone or something unless you first think about doing it in your mind; your fist just doesn’t shoot out and hit someone on its own. And the more intention you put into hitting harder the more of your mind goes into the strike.

So in all actuality when you hit someone with your fist, you are really hitting them with your mind. As strange and mystical as it sounds, this is the way it is. You punch with your mind first, not your fist. When you go to the gym and start mindlessly striking the focus mitts or heavy bag you do yourself a great disservice. You need to realize the capacity for the mind to react decreases in proportion to its intent to attack.

So the way you train is truly the way you will fight.

You need to learn to have that all important mind-body connection in your training, so that you will be able to move as one unit against your adversary with focus and intention. Because if you don’t, when you need to protect yourself against an attacker you won’t be able to coordinate your mind and your body effectively. Due to the rush of adrenaline coursing through your body and brain, you will be at best about as good as your worst performance in the gym. When you train focus on what you are doing, learn to put intention into your strikes and don’t just go through the motions as you throw your strikes. Be all there when you train, stay focused on what you’re doing and don’t get complacent with your training. Start to develop focused intention whenever you train, make it a habit and in time you will be doing it without much effort on your part.

You will be able to instantly “turn on” when the need arises and strike as one unit without much wasted effort and hit harder with full intention and commitment. Remember it all starts in the mind and translates through the body and out the fist into your adversary. So learn to be one with your punches and have hardcore intention with every strike you throw and let them feel what you’re thinking!

Daniel Sambrano

Saturday, January 08, 2011

How to Increase Your Striking Power Using Stairs

Question what’s easier, climbing up a flight of stairs or coming down them?

Obviously coming down the stairs is easier than going up them.

Now why is that? Because coming down the stairs uses less energy due to gravity.

Also the majority of your weight comes forward as you step down and it takes less muscular force to do it with.

In boxing one of the lost arts of the sweet science is “Drop Stepping” with your punches, particularly the lead left, it has become a weak version of its once powerful self.

Sure many will argue, but I step with my jabs all the time when I punch or others will say but if I step with my jab it just slows me down.

Now while all these are legitimate arguments, if you are just stepping you’re only using a fraction of your potential power.

Now there is a big difference between stepping and drop stepping and that difference is like night and day.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a street fighter, amateur/pro boxer or MMA fighter if you don’t understand how to drop step you’re leaving a large amount of knock out power on the table.

So let me teach you a drill that will help you find that long lost power potential in your strike.

And it all starts with finding a set of stairs to step off of to develop this power.

Drop Step Drill #1

The first thing you’ll need to do is find a platform to stand on, it should be about 6-12 inches high.

A set of books, phone books, mats or stairs will do.

Next stand on the platform, feet parallel to each other, shoulder width apart.

Take a long step (3-4 feet) and slap the ground flat footed with your left foot.

Hold the position for about 5 seconds to stabilize yourself.

You should have the left foot flat on the ground and the right foot still on the platform with the heel raised.

Repeat the drill 5-10 more times before switching to the right foot.

Do this drill everyday for 2 weeks or until it feels natural to you.

Extra Tips

· As you do the drill make sure as you step down you don’t raise your knee upward, just drop forward as if you tripped over something.
· Shift all your weight forward as you step and slap the ground flat footed.
· Breathe out forcefully as you drop step thru your pursed lips, this will brace the abs and lower your center of gravity.
· Stay as relaxed as you can through out the drill.
· Make sure to practice the drill equally with both feet.

Drop Step Drill #2

Once it becomes easy to do the first drill it’s time to move on.

Stand on the flat ground feet parallel to each other, shoulder width apart.

Have a training partner stand behind you, now while staying as relaxed as possible with your eyes closed, and have him push you on the back of your lead or right shoulder.

As you did on the platform, take a long step and slap the ground flat footed with the lead foot.

Hold for a few seconds and repeat, do this for 10 repetitions, then do the other foot.

Extra Tips

· Remember to shift your weight forward as you step.
· Don’t raise your knee; you’re using your hip to step with not your knee.
· When you land bend your knees slightly; you want to feel springy.
· Stay relaxed, the more relaxed you are the quicker your drop step will be.
· Once it starts to feel easy to do start shortening the step to 2-3 feet or less.

Adding the Pow!

Once you get used to drop stepping start adding your straight punches.

The jab, cross and overhand right all work well with the drop step.

Just make sure your strike lands a split second before your foot slaps the ground or you’ll lessen the force of the strike.

Yes the hook and uppercut work well with the drop step, just make sure you learn to shift your weight as you strike.

Use a heavy bag, focus mitts, maize bag, and leather medicine ball to strike on.

Take your time with these pieces of equipment as your fists and body will be striking harder than they ever have.

So they must get used to the impact and concussive shock of your power.

To All The Naysayers Listen Up!

Now while some will say this style of striking is slow, don’t pay attention to them because they’ve never been hit like this before.

You see the force of a drop step punch is so powerful that it can stun and unbalance a person to the point that it freezes them in place like a statue.

They will be literally anchored to the ground and won’t be able counter the punch as easily as they think they can.

Even if they take the hit, they will be so unbalanced and de-stabilized by the strike that their timing and distancing will be off.

I’ve seen people go into a standing fetal position or just stand there frozen in time after being hit by a drop step straight left.

This is something a jab can never do because it wasn’t designed to have any knock out power.

So keep practicing this drill to improve the power of your strikes.

In Conclusion

The drop step drills will help you become a more powerful and dangerous striker just like the great power punches of the past.

Now there is no excuse for you to have a weak punch and not be able to generate enough force to knock someone out.

So find some stairs and get to stepping!

Daniel Sambrano