Sunday, December 12, 2010

Don’t Ask the Learned Ask the Experienced

I remember when I was going to high school we had a teacher who coached the swim team. Now the strange thing about it was he didn’t know how to swim! How crazy was that?

But as crazy as that was there are martial arts students who are learning how to defend themselves from people who haven’t a clue about whether what they are teaching works or not. Not only is this crazy but it’s also downright dangerous. Learning from the experienced instead of the learned tends to help cut through a lot of the B.S. As masters of mayhem and violence they tend to flesh out and put a face on violence. They help fill in the gaps between the what ifs and the what is.

It helps you to view violence from a correct point of view; you get a lifetime of learning if you pay attention to what they have to say. And if you’re lucky enough you’ll learn the differences between being experienced and having wisdom. It’s been said “Experience is what man calls his mistakes” and “wisdom is learning from others experience”. In reality there are things a book or a DVD can’t explain, teach, or show you. Such as seeing the fear in your enemies’ eyes or the moment you take his spirit and gain the advantage. Or the sound a head makes as it hits the pavement or slams against the wall in a dark alley. Or what it feels like to be stabbed or shot, these things can be best explained by those who have been through it first hand.

I have had students ask me for advice based on my experiences on various situations. Things like dealing with bullies, multiple opponents, guns, knives, fights at parties or bars etc. I tell them the ugly truth about each situation, not the politically correct version. It's important that know what they’re getting themselves into and the options that they have to get themselves out of it, if need be. Much of the advice comes from what I would call the “Grey side of the law”. I have learned from experience that this was the quickest way to get out of a dangerous situation. After all are you going to wait around for the police to show up to save the day, especially when you have two or three dudes kicking and stomping you into the ground? It's faster and easier to pick up a brick or a bottle to even the odds and get to safety. The learned can only guess as to what to do in a dangerous situation, while the experienced can tell you exactly what to do to survive and prevail.

While I don’t have any letters before or after my name such as PHD. or DR., I do have those that do, come to me to teach them how to defend themselves. And why is that? Because you don’t ask the learned you ask the experienced!

Daniel Sambrano

Friday, November 26, 2010

Dead Man Fighting

In a streetfight you must be able to move smoothly and quickly without hesitation on your part.

You must be explosive with your punches and put your weight behind each strike for maximum power output. You don’t want to be spending all night kicking someone’s ass; you want to get it done as quickly as possible.

So the worst thing you can do to hinder your survival in a streetfight is fight from a “Dead Stance”. A dead stance is one that lacks explosive power and is weak in movement and intent.

A streetfight can be very chaotic, dangerous and unpredictable, so when you need to move, you need to do it instantly. Your fighting stance needs to be spring loaded and ready to explode into action. If your fighting stance can’t produce this for you then you’ll be fighting and moving like you’re stuck in mud.

Now being explosive and spring loaded doesn’t mean that you should be dancing or bouncing around your adversary, never do that in a streetfight unless you have a death wish. What I am saying is learn to spring load your stance so that you only move when you need to. And that means training to “Load” your stance to make it explosive and powerful. Here are some ways to load your stance to make you more explosive when you fight.

· Squeeze your inner thighs slightly. These are the muscles that help drive power into your punch.

· Sit on your punch. Bend your knees slightly to give your legs more spring and lower your center of gravity.

· Squeeze your butt cheeks and anal sphincter slightly. This will engage your posterior chain of muscles which will help drive your body forward.

· Grab the ground with your feet. Paw the ground with your toes to help drive the body explosively.

· Push off with the big toe of your foot. This powerful muscle will help get you moving.

· Drive from the hips. Explode from your center to bring your whole body into the movement.

· Raise the rear foot slightly off the ground. This will help to propel you forward more quickly. Just make sure you push off the ground as you move.

Use this information to load your stance and become a more explosive fighter. But a word of warning; while being explosive in your movement is very important, so is being able to control it. But that’s a subject for another time, just be aware of it.

In closing I’ve given you enough information to resurrect your dead stance and make it more dynamic and explosive. It’s up to you now, add these skills to your streetfighting arsenal and don’t ever get caught being a dead man fighting.

Daniel Sambrano

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Confusion of Punching Naked

Every time I teach a new student the martial concepts and principles of fist fighting, they are very surprised at how much information they are given and how much power they are able to generate so quickly. But the students that are the most surprised are those that know how to box. Most have never heard or seen any of the techniques or concepts that I teach on fist fighting.

There are two reasons for this; first what I teach is almost 100 years old if not older, and has been forgotten, not taught or abandoned. Second, most fighters learn the sport of boxing in its modern form due to reason number one. One important thing I want you to consider is that bare knuckle boxing and modern boxing are two different animals. It’s like comparing apples and oranges, they are both fruit but they are different types of fruit. Both types of punching have different goals in mind; therefore have different ways of striking and finishing a fight. So trying to compare the two will just confuse and keep you in the dark, they are both separate and different entities.

Bare-knuckle boxing has been tried and tested in both combat and street-fighting and has stood the test of time. This is why I chose to teach the bare-knuckle form of fighting as opposed to the gloved modern form. It just makes more sense to teach a form of fighting that doesn’t use hand protection to defend itself from attack. Especially, since you won’t be walking around town with gloves on ready to fight. There are concepts and techniques from modern boxing I wouldn’t think of using in a street-fight to defend myself with. For example, I wouldn’t throw jabs or hooks to the head, also I wouldn’t come at my opponent like they do at the beginning of each round. I won’t dance around on my toes against my opponent or hold my hands in a typical boxers guard.

But then again in modern boxing I wouldn’t use many techniques or concepts of bare-knuckle boxing such as head butting, eye gouging, holding, hitting below the belt, rabbit punching, biting, tripping or throwing my opponent to the ground on his head, shoulder or neck. Although both styles of punching may seem similar on the surface, they are miles apart in their tactics, techniques and strategies when it comes to fighting. And those differences make each style both unique and important to pursue separately; that is until you can understand and appreciate each one. “The way you train is the way you will fight” is a saying that holds much truth in both styles of striking.

So if you are training for sport choose the modern form of boxing and if you are training for the self protection aspect choose the bare-knuckle version. I’m sure you will be pleased with the results if you heed my advice and train accordingly. And always remember “The right tool for the right job”, definitely applies here.

Stay safe and train hard.

Daniel Sambrano

Monday, November 15, 2010

My next muay thai video - elbow knee combos

The poll results are in and your voice has been heard. According to your votes, I'll shoot a 2 part series on elbow & knee striking combo drills, and I'll also begin to shoot basic multiple opponent tactics drills. The multiple opponents concepts goes pretty deep with a wide number of factors to consider - but we can at least get it started, right?

If you are a subscriber to my blog I'll email you a training and drill regimen PDF as a holiday gift for being a loyal reader.. If you want to be included in this offer, simply subscribe to the blog.

Folks, this is my blog, and by know you know that I could care less about training for sport or MMA. But this is also your blog. So, I encourage you to reply to posts, or send me a message with your own thoughts and ideas about muay thai, street fighting, self defense, and yes, spicy food.

I'm humbled and thankful that you take your time to read my rants, so let me return the favor - don't be shy about posting your rants!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Ballerina Fighting

Why Fighting on Your Toes is Not Combat Effective

The Art of Movement
Whatever style of stand-up fighting you train in, you have been taught footwork; the art of how to move. The majority of time you’re taught to stay on your toes or the balls of your feet. The reason being it makes you quicker and lighter on your feet. Watch any boxer or mma fighter with great footwork do his thing and he’ll make his opponent look like he’s standing still or moving in slow motion.

The Crutch
But the thing you need to pay close attention to is the surface on which he’s moving on. More than likely that surface will tend to be flat, firm and tight, whether on canvas or vinyl. This is the best type of surface when it comes to fighting for sport competition. While it does have its advantages it can become a crutch and liability when it comes to street-fighting on surfaces that aren’t so smooth and flat.

My Story
Many years ago I use to train in an alley behind my home and sparred and fought with many different styles of martial artists, boxers and street-fighters. I was fortunate to be able to train on different surfaces in that alley, as spartan as it was. You see one area was very gravely, while another side was grassy, still another area was thick asphalt that was sticky.

Then there was an area that was missing chunks of asphalt and it had gravel and dirt in the holes and cracks. There was also a cement slab that was flat and smooth but had a lot of dust on it which made it very slippery. And finally there was an area that was uneven and sandy. I would go out to that alley and train my footwork on all those different surfaces.

I would shadow fight, pivot, and kick figuring out what worked and what didn’t work on those surfaces. I got so good that when I would spar with someone I would watch how he moved and based on that I would guide him to the area that would nullify his footwork and style. For instance if he was a kicker I would fight him on the gravel or the dusty cement floor. If he was a shuffler I would fight him on the sticky asphalt or gravel. And if he fought on his toes or the balls of his feet, I would fight him on the uneven sandy surface or the area with the missing chunks of asphalt. Opponents with wider stances, I would fight on the smooth flat dusty cement slab. Opponents with a more narrow stance I would fight on the sand or uneven area.

Wow! I just gave you a lot of information on fighting on different surfaces.

Go back and re-read this last section, there is so much to learn from my alley fighting days.
By the way the best footwork pattern I used on all these surfaces was…

Change Up
Before I spill the beans, I just want to make sure that you understand that if you are accustomed to fighting on smooth flat surfaces, you'd better change up.

Fighting on the street or fighting for your life is a lot different than fighting to win a round or trophy. So is the surface you'll find yourself fighting on. I suggest that you start training seriously on different surfaces and find out what works and doesn’t because the worse time to figure it out is in the middle of a fight. Experience is the worst teacher, because it gives you the test before you learn the lesson.

Get Outside

So go outside your gym, pick a surface and start working on your footwork and fighting style.
Then find a different surface you haven’t trained on and practice on it. Learn to get comfortable on uncomfortable surfaces with your fighting skills.

Partner Training

Find a workout partner and have him slowly attack you like as if it were a real fight and see how you adapt to your environment. Once you get use to it have him go harder and faster, look for the flaws in your fighting and fix it. Throw your punches, knees, elbows, and kicks, try everything you would do in a real fight on these surfaces.

Learn what it is that will keep you alive, if and when the need arises.

What Worked for Me
Now, the footwork pattern that worked best for me was a more flat footed, stomping type of movement. Also a slightly raised heel footwork pattern worked. These two types of footwork worked for me based on how I fought.

I encourage you to stop dancing like a ballerina and train your footwork for combat, and learn what works best for you.

Now step to it.

Daniel Sambrano

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fist Fighting Basics

People seem to think they know about something simply because they have seen, read, or have participated in a similar thing.

In fist fighting many seem to think they know how to do it simply because they have boxed before or have seen it.

You see the problem arises because many equate boxing with fist fighting, now while they may look the same there is a vast difference between the two.

In this article I’m going to go over some of the basics of fist fighting.

I will explain the why of fist fighting and not just the how to, because once armed with this information you will not only know what the difference is.

But why there is a difference.

Because whether you know it or not, know one ever gets into a street-fight wearing boxing gloves and wraps.

First Things First

The first thing you need to learn is how to make a fist.

You must roll a fist as opposed to clenching a fist, rolling causes your fist to be rock hard.

And when you roll a fist your back knuckles tend to stick out further then if you just clenched your fist.
This will cause more damage to your opponent when you strike him.

The Angle of The Dangle

Next is the angle of the fist, there is basically three ways to throw a fist: Horizontal, Vertical and Diagonal.

If you throw a horizontal punch to the head like a boxer you will have a bigger chance of breaking or injuring your fist.

Striking with a vertical or diagonal fist position is the better way, both are anatomically stronger than the horizontal position.

But for close range punching use the diagonal fist position it is the most dangerous position in fist fighting.

Both the vertical and the diagonal positions fit the contours of the face, not so with a horizontal fist.

The horizontal fist works best striking anywhere below the clavicles and not to the face or head.

Knuckle Up

The next thing to learn is which knuckles to strike with.

Basically there are three ways to do it: First Two Knuckles, Last Three Knuckles and All Four Knuckles of the fist.

The one most used by bare-knuckle boxers was the last three knuckle version.

This was the most anatomically correct position to punch from and the strongest, not to mention the most natural
position to strike from.

On Guard!

Now lets adjust the guard position, you need to keep your fists away from your face.

The lead fist should be about a foot and a half away from the face.

The rear fist is about half a foot away from the face below the chin level.

If you hold your fists to close to your face like a boxer it makes it easier to get hit in the face since you’re not wearing big bulky gloves to hide behind.

The only time you should bring your hands closer to your face is when in close to your opponent.

Chin Up

Next don’t tuck your chin too deeply into your chest, you won’t be able to rotate your shoulders very quickly, which in turn will slow your punches up.

You’ll be putting the breaks on your punches and your power.

Just keep the chin lightly tucked and learn how to slip, duck, and bob ‘n weave in other words move the head!

Final Thoughts

Other things to consider are pointing the knuckles in the direction you want to hit.

This will make you strike faster and with more power plus it will hide your intentions from your opponent.

Strike with the back knuckles of the fist, this will cause more damage to your opponent.

Learn to breathe from the belly, this will help keep you from hyperventilating and train you to keep your mouth shut.

Keep your shoulders rolled down, not raised up.

This keeps the shoulder girdle connected to the torso for increased power in your punches.


I hope you’re starting to understand that there is a lot to fist fighting than just putting up your dukes and boxing.

You need to separate the glove from the fist, the sport from combat, and boxing from pugilism.

These are just some of the basics that you need to know for fist fighting.

Hopefully this will spur you on to research how the bare-knuckle fighters of the past fought and what tactics and tricks they used to defeat their adversaries.

But more importantly that this information will be used by you to make you a better and more dangerous fist fighter.

After all I’ve never been attacked by someone wearing boxing gloves in the streets, have you?

Daniel Sambrano

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Warrior Stick

Do you have a hard time with your footwork or body movement when you clinch, punch, elbow, knee, kick or throw?

Do you gas out easily from countering takedowns or clinches?

Does it take you longer to recover from having to continuously use bursts of energy while sparring or training hard?

In a street-fight all of these things can cost you if you’re not conditioned for it.

The drill I’m going to teach you will help you in all these areas plus so much more.

It will develop your footwork, body movement, balance, stability, agility, aggressiveness, strength and endurance.

Not bad for a piece of equipment that costs around 10 bucks to make.

Stick Grappling

Stick grappling is a drill that mimics the movements of a fight and the energy expenditure.

You can adjust the intensity of the drill depending on your state of conditioning.

What makes the drill work is that your training partner will go as hard as you do and visa-versa.

Just like in a street-fight were your adversary will be going at 100% to take you out.

While the drill can be tough it still is very safe for the two participants.

How To Make One

Go to your local hardware store and purchase a wooden dowel rod or thick PVC tubing about 3 feet long and 1½ inches in diameter.

Sand down any rough edges if needed, be careful about using thinner dowel rods, they will cut into fingers and palms due to the force exerted in the drill.

Better to use thicker dowel rods which will help build up fingers, wrists, grip and forearm strength.

How To Drill It

To do the drill, have each participant grab the ends of the stick in an offset hand position.

Then set a timer for 1-3 minutes and go as hard as you can, pushing and pulling your partner forward, back, side to side, circling and pivoting.

If one partner falls down or ends up on his knees he loses.

You can raise the stick up and down, side to side as you move, this drill mimics how it feels to get into a street-fight and get pulled and pushed around as you fight.

You will get stronger from head to toe in a short amount time, do 1-3 rounds, once or twice a week.

Added Benefits

One excellent thing stick grappling does is it teaches you to pay close attention to your center of gravity.

If it’s too high you’ll be thrown around like a rag doll.

In a street-fight if your center is high and you get hit with a powerful haymaker even if you block it, it will unbalance you.

Especially if the guy throwing it is bigger or weighs more than you do.

It also enhances your anaerobic endurance by the constant bursts of energy used in the drill, just like in a street-fight.

And it will train you to recover quickly and stay focused.

In Conclusion

This drill works great for Boxers, Muay Thai Fighters, Grapplers, Judo and Jiu-Jitsu Stylists.

And if you’re a street-fighter or self defense specialist this drill will enhance your tactical skillset.

So try it and see how the warrior stick betters your fight game.

Daniel Sambrano

Taking muay show on the road, old style muay thai seminar in FL

Man, I love puns.  I just wanted to give my readers a heads up. I will be hitting the road and conducting a seminar in Orlando, Florida on Saturday December 4, 2010.

 My focus will be on leveraging muay thai for street combat.  We'll cover the basics of old style muay thai and how it differs from modern sport muay thai. I'll go over the bio mechanics of specific muay chau cherk and lerd rit strikes, and how to take advantage of physics to maximize your power. I'll also cover defense tactics, pad holding techniques, combinations, and multiple opponent tactics. And knowing me we'll probably end up geeking out and go over weapons disarms, CQC tactics, and delve into combat / operator mindset theory. My goal: provide you with some basic tools to help you protect yourself in the street, and to help you recognize the rules that apply to fighting in the ring or the cage do not apply in combat.

 If you're in the Orlando / Central Florida area I encourage you to check it out. I promise you'll learn something you won't see at the MMA gym. No prior experience in muay thai or any martial art required. Here's the dirty details:

Date: December 4, 2010
From: 12:30pm to 5:00pm
Cost: USD$50.00
Location: Martial Arts World
6606 Old Winter Garden Road
Orlando, FL 32835

Register online or contact me via email for more info or if you have any questions.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Amaizing Bag

Today I’m going to teach you about how to use a piece of boxing equipment that has all but been forgotten by most western style fighters.

Back in the day this piece of equipment was used before the heavy bag, and was thought to be the number one tool to train with.

Bare knuckle fighters swore by it, as it would routinely create savage strikers who could take you out with either hand.

Have I got your attention yet? Good, then it means you’re interested in this information.

Hopefully it will become a part of your training and not be discarded on the junk pile of history.

With this one single piece of boxing equipment you will be able to develop:

· Timing
· Range
· Punching
· Footwork
· Body Movement
· Head Movement
· Distancing
· Pivots
· Blocks
· Bobbing and Weaving
· Slips

And condition your fists for impact and accuracy.

If you’re training for self protection purposes then this is the right tool for you, it will turn you into a very dangerous street fighter.

The Maize Bag
And that powerful piece of boxing equipment was called the “Maize Bag”.

Some today call it the “slip bag”, but if you think that’s all it’s good for, then you’re making a terrible mistake.

This one misconception is what made it almost disappear from the fight game in the first place.

More than any other boxer, when you think of the maize or slip bag you picture Mike Tyson using it to develop his head movement.

It made him a very elusive and dangerous fighter, but this is just one aspect of the maize bag.

How to Make a Maize Bag
To make a maize bag simply use an old large leather speed bag and fill it with corn, beans or sand.

If you don’t have a speed bag get yourself a canvas coin bag, the kind the banks use to transfer coins in.

If you ask politely your bank teller may give you the used ones for free.

Then all you need to do is fill a zip-lock freezer bag with sand and seal it with duct tape and slip it into another zip-lock bag seal it with duct tape then slip it into the canvas coin bag.

The bag will weigh about 15lbs. which is all you will need, but you can fill it with beans or corn instead which will have more give than the sand.

You can also use an old Swiss ball by cutting it in half and putting about 15 to 16 pounds of sand in it, then gather it up and use two to three plastic wire ties to zip tie it, then use duct tape to keep the excess material wrapped together.

You’ll be able to make two maize bags with one Swiss ball.

Next take your maize bag and hang it by some nylon cord so that it hangs no lower than the level of your chin.

Try to hang it from a high ceiling, the higher it is the more it will swing, just make sure that it hangs at about chin height.

How to Use the Maize Bag
Okay, now you’re ready to use your maize bag, but how do you use it? Good question.

Start by swinging the bag and avoid getting hit by it using footwork to get out of the way of the swinging bag.

You or your training partner can push the bag to keep it swinging as you train your footwork, just make sure to stay as close to the bag as you can.

In a real fight if you move too far from your opponents strike you may get set up for a knock out shot, also you won’t be able to counter his strikes as you’ll be too far away.

Practice your shuffle steps, lateral steps, pivots, drop steps or body shifts as you avoid the maize bag.

Bob and weave, slip left and right, duck and parry the bag as you move around.

Do this for a few rounds to develop your footwork and body movement.

We call this dancing with the bag.

Blocks and Shrugs
Next add your blocks, shrugs and deflections to your movements.

And finally start punching it, elbowing it, using your forearms, palm heel strikes, hammer fists and even try head butting and shoulder butting the bag.

All the while making sure you are moving around as you strike, block and avoid the maize bag.

You will find in a few training sessions that your footwork and movement will improve dramatically, not to mention your striking ability.

If you strike the bag bare fisted, which I recommend, you will find that the best way to strike it is with a vertical or diagonal fist.

No hooks or horizontal punches they don’t work to well bareknuckled and can cause serious damage to your hands in a street fight.

Better to use arc punches instead of hooks, striking with the back knuckles of the fist.

Striking the maize bag barefisted will teach you what wearing wraps and gloves wont, and that is which punches work best and are safest for your hands to strike with.

So start using this valuable piece of boxing equipment and you’ll be a-maize-d at how well it teaches you to become a dangerous fighter, whether in the street or in the ring.

Hit and move with purpose using the maize bag, you’ll be glad you did.

Daniel Sambrano

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Speed kills... the other guy in the world of muay thai

"The stronger swordsman does not necessarily win. It is speed! Speed of hand, speed of mind."

That's one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite stories, The Count of Monte Cristo. It is a common belief that power and size go hand in hand. Well that's bad news for a guy like me. See, I'm  5 foot six, a hundred and forty-something pounds - a self professed little guy.  I'm certainly not big, and I don't want to be big. I never had big muscles. In fact, growing up I had the metabolism of a squirrel. I tried bulking up, but my body just burned off every type of protein muscle-max weight gain product I could blow my allowance on. When I started training muay thai, I was hoping that this high impact martial art would get me yolked.


But us little guys have a strength that a lot of the bigger guys disregard - speed. I think speed is a defense mechanism that you develop when you're being chased by bullies as a little kid. When that speed is used for fight instead of flight, bullies become a non-issue

I've noticed that during the course of their training a lot of western muay thai and MMA practitioners tend to develop the mind set that the more weight one can push the harder one can strike. Not necessarily so. Strength gives you the ability to move mass, but does it enable you to cause more damage to that mass than a person 2/3 your size?

When it comes to striking, speed is king. Developing the ability to throw with explosive speed can give a person a small as myself the ability to generate devastating power. Its simple bio-mechanics, nothing mystical. When you understand that the faster you can throw a strike in a smaller period of time, and get your body into it, your opponent is in a world of hurt.

Here's a couple quick tips to help you develop explosive power with your strikes:

1. Basic physics - your mass x acceleration = force. Don't throw punches with your arm, throw it with your body. Drive forward with your strikes, punch through your target.

2. Pivot in, pivot out - The pivot is one of the most important aspects of the muay thai round kick. If you throw a kick at 20mph, bring your leg back at 25mph, and bring it back with that pivot.

3. The faster you can pivot, the harder you can strike - this applies to elbows, round kicks, hooks.

4. Commit 100% to the strike at that moment, don't worry about counter strikes because if you're training right, you wouldn't depend on a one-shot knock out. You throw at least 3-5 in a single combo.

5. If you're like me you don't train muay thai for sport, but for protection. You can't get disqualified from a street fight, so when you strike you aim for soft targets, and you attack with everything behind it.

6. Most important tip ever! When you're learning a technique, throw it slow until you are comfortable with moving your body that way. Build the speed at your own pace, the power will increase as your speed increases. You aren't going to impress anyone firing off a half ass technique with no power.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Does MMA help or hurt muay thai?

I think I've made my opinion on the use of muay thai in mixed martial arts abundantly clear, but I want to hear from you, my readers.

Perhaps I'm a purest, or perhaps its the blatant lack of actual muay thai technique used in UFC fights that has forged my opinion. Perhaps its because I believe that combat sports is an oxymoron and every time I see a TapOut t-shirt I equate it to little penis syndrome.

Most MMA fights bore me with their predictable series of half ass leg kick, a couple of wild punches, someone shoots in and it goes to the ground, hooray. Yes, there are effective stand up fighters like Anderson Silva who are proficient at muay thai, but fighters like him are few and far between.

I want your opinion. Take the poll to the right of this article or leave your comment and elaborate on what you think. Has MMA, UFC, modern StrikeForce (they used to use ISKA rules) helped bring credibility to muay thai, or is it misrepresenting a martial art with watered down techniques or lack of focus on its training? You decide.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Where can you train old style muay thai in the U.S.?

"Is there a gym that teaches old style muay thai in _____ (insert city)?" I receive emails almost everyday that asks me that question. And I more often times than not have a very hard time answering that very question myself.

When someone asks me this I do leg work. I'll go online and research the area that my reader is from. I've researched muay thai gyms from Philadelphia, to Tampa, to Austin to Spokane. Yet, there are really only a handful of individuals in North America (I know of) who have training in the older systems of muay thai.

Since Tony Jaa brought muay boran into the mainstream with his movies Ong Bak, and the Protector, I've seen a huge spike in interest in the older systems. But what I've seen, at least here in the U.S. is the same techniques from the same choreographed muay boran demo that's been on YouTube for years. And trust me, you'll begin to see the mega gyms like Fairtex, Tiger Muay Thai, and probably even UFC gym cash in with muay boran programs where you'll learn to "fight like Tony Jaa."  Join now and receive a FREE TapOut t-shirt for only $35.00 - no, sir, you get the shirt for free when you pay me $35 dollars. But wait, there's more!

My readers, who I appreciate so damn much,  I need your help. If you have encountered, or trained at a gym that uses muay thai as its base, but trains for the street, or a school that trains specifically in muay boran, muay chaiya, muay chao cherk, lerdrit, or krabi krabong - and does not offer MMA or BJJ classes as well - let me know! Even if you know a hidden gem that's old school in how they train, where they don't have walls covered with pictures of the school owner hobnobbing with celebrities, where they don't try to sell you a  120cc bottle of Thai liniment for $30. Those are the schools I'm looking for. Let's find 'em, and give them the publicity they probably hate, but deserve!

Either leave a comment on this post, or send me a note at donnie (at) oldstylemuaythai dot com.  Let's help each other find the dream gyms we know are out there.

I'll start with the gym I teach at - Muay Thai Academy International - Santa Clara, CA - no nonsense combat training based on the older styles of muay thai.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Power Solves Problems Fast : Especially in a Streetfight

In a streetfight you have about a three to eight second window of opportunity to finish your opponent and get away before it becomes more dangerous for you.

After the window of opportunity is closed anything can happen and it’s usually not very good.

You can both end up on the ground, more than one adversary can appear, weapons can be drawn against you, and your energy will be severely drained.

So why would you be throwing love taps at your attacker when he is totally
committed to ripping your head from your shoulders and kicking it down the street.

There is no reason why anybody should be sparring with their adversary when in a streetfight.

That’s why I tell people to have intent when they train in the gym or dojo, spar like you’re in a streetfight, and not like you’re in a cardio boxing class.

Hit the heavy bag, and focus mitts like you mean it, don’t just go through the motions, fight!

Don’t stand there in front of the heavy bag or whatever you’re striking and throw punches at it, move!!! Put some reality into your training.

You think your attacker is just going to stand there and take your best shot and not do anything about it until you’re done throwing your ultimate knock out punching combination.


One thing you need to start doing is increase the power of your strikes when you hit.

You need to start putting your weight behind your punches to deliver true power punches.

Don’t get caught up throwing jab after jab thinking that will keep your attacker at bay while you set him up with your cross to knock him out, cause it ain’t gonna happen.

Hard stiff power punches will win you the day and keep you safe in a fight.

You won’t have time to throw those light fluffy set up punches you’re use to throwing in the gym.

You’ve got to come in hard with both fists and moving thru your opponent with your strikes.

You must be unrelenting as you fight your adversary.

With power you can dictate how the fight is going to go. With power your punches can literally knock the fight right out of your adversary.

You will be able to anchor your opponent in place with your power shots long enough to hit him with another punch with your other fist.

Another thing you’ll be able to do with your power punch is keep him off balanced and unable to retaliate as you continue to deliver your strikes.

Also with power you can demoralize a multiple opponent attack by taking out one or two attackers quickly.

After that the rest just might not want to be the next one to go down hard and fast on the pavement.

If you fight someone who has a weapon, he may not be able to deploy it quick enough before you catch him with a power strike.

And if he does deploy it, your strikes may be more than enough to knock it out of his hands or knock him out or both.

So now you have plenty of reasons to fight with power both in the street and in the gym.

Train to unleash your power with either hand and from whatever position or angle you find yourself in and don’t settle for anything less.

Striking powerfully with every punch you throw in a streetfight starts in the gym or dojo, the way you train is the way you will fight so you better have power in abundance.

I hope I have opened your eyes as to why you need to work on developing your power for a serious streetfight.

So train hard with intensity, power and reality, and never forget a streetfight is not a sparring match.

And remember if you find yourself in a serious street confrontation, power can solve that problem quickly.

13 Reasons Why Batman is the Greatest of Super Heroes

1. Batman is human and has the same weaknesses as we do, so he must be vigilant at all times and never let up his guard.
2. Batman has no “Super Powers” so he must rely on his martial skills and physical conditioning.
3. Batman uses technology to help him in his crusade against crime.
4. Batman uses his mind and his instincts to out smart his adversaries.
5. Batman’s true strength lies within himself.
6. The name of the Dark Avenger sends chills down the spines of his adversaries. He is to be feared by those that do evil.
7. He does not give up!
8. He is relentless!
9. He learns from his mistakes and does not repeat them.
10. He knows his strengths and limitations and also his enemy’s.
11. He is confident and sure under pressure.
12. He has fear but is in control of it and does not show it.
13. He is a man who is mortal, and both he and his enemies know this.

Many will read this and say that Superman is the Greatest Super Hero of all times.

I would strongly disagree for you see Superman is invincible his only weakness is kryptonite, he has Super Powers, he can fly, move at the speed of light, has inhuman strength, super hearing and heat vision.

He has no fear of death for he is not of this world, but put him back on his world and things would change very quickly.

He would be average stripped of his powers, nothing special just an “Average Joe”.

His strength would be normal, he wouldn’t be able to fly or move at the speed of light.

His hearing and his vision would be like everyone else on his planet. And most importantly he would be mortal and vulnerable to injury and death.

What Superman takes for granted on earth would be a detriment on his planet.

Batman on the other hand became a Super Hero the hard way he trained himself to be one.

And this is why Batman makes it to the top of the list every time.

So the next time you find yourself in deep trouble, don’t just pray for a Super Hero, become one just like Batman.

Daniel Sambrano

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What's your martial arts motivation?

I've been pondering that question a lot lately. What motivates me to continue training and teaching? What keeps me coming into the gym 3 to 4 times a week to teach muay thai to people, many I hardly know.

With 10 years of marketing experience you'd think I'd have been monetizing the crap out of the current MMA / muay thai craze, but I haven't. The google ad revenue from this blog covers the hosting fees for my domains. I haven't tried to sell DVD courses, and I haven't tried to start a clothing line like a lot of other people. Maybe I should.

Logically, money should be major motivator. However, every week I keep coming back to the Muay Thai Academy International where all of us instructors teach for free. Muay thai is a part of who I am, the school is my Cheers, and I'm it's Norm.

I love the feeling of satisfaction when a concept 'clicks' for a student whose been struggling with a certain technique, or the beam in a new student's eye when I show him something he's never seen before.

I love sharing what I've learned from my experiences with others. If I can find a way to make a living off of it, bonus. But my passion for the unique style of combat oriented muay thai is what truly motivates me to give what I can to who I can, without hesitation.

Boiled down: Enabling people to protect themselves and their loved ones from multiple assailants without reservation, efficiently, through overwhelming, destructive force is my motivation - and perhaps my mission statement.

Enough self-serving banter from me. I challenge you to examine your training and explore the internal drivers that motivate you. I encourage you to look beyond the ego and really be honest with yourself as to why you're doing what you're doing. You may be surprised with what you find out about yourself.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Thai Pad Drills Train Offensive and Defensive Skills

Training with thai pads isn't just for the person striking, it benefits the pad holder as well. It works your timing, range, footwork, and defensive bio mechanics. This concept is universal whether you're training muay thai, MMA or even boxing. The videos below will do all the talking for me.

Free drills allow the striker to throw any technique he/she chooses. This trains the thai pad holder's reaction skills. More importantly, it'll help improve your ability to read body language, to learn to trust your own abilities and face the reality that in a fight, you won't be able to expect your opponent to throw a prescribed set of combos at you. Strikes are gonna come from different angles at different times. Oh, and you're going to get hit in the process of learning,  but that's why you signed up for muay thai, right?

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Hand wraps for muay thai, boxing, and way.

Everyone has their own way to put on hand wraps. Hell, most fighters have their own favorite type of hand wrap, it all depends on the style they practice. I used to train with boxers who swore by old school gauze hand wraps. There are Mexican hand wraps, standard boxing hand wraps, and muay thai hand wraps (which are longer than the typical Everlast wraps you'd find at Sports Authority). Muay thai hand wraps usually come in lengths of 180 inches, where are western boxing wraps come 107 - 110 inches in length.

A lot of people use hand wraps to protect the knuckles, I prefer to use my hand wraps as wrist protection. Since I train for street combat, my emphasis is on wrist protection, as I'll most likely never wear boxing gloves for a night out on the town.

There isn't really any one single "silver bullet" method, but there are some best practices in regards to protection. Here are some things to consider when it comes to wrapping your hands:

  1. Keep the wrap tight, but not so tight to where you're cutting off circulation to your hands.
  2. Make sure you maintain good wrist coverage. Wrist injuries have longer lasting effects than knuckle injuries.
  3. Listen to your instructor, but it's alright to try different methods of wrapping.
  4. MMA gloves do not provide better wrist protection than well wrapped hands. If you're going to do more than a couple rounds of striking on the heavy bag, wrap up!
  5. Hand wraps, like boxing gloves are for protecting you during training, and there's a huge difference between striking wrapped up and striking bare knuckled.
  6. If/when you ever get into a fight out there in the real world, remember this: if you throw punches, don't aim for the face - it's the best way to break your hand. Hard weapon to soft tissue.
In the video below I goof up. I think I said that I use 107 inch wraps. WRONG! I use muay thai wraps in order to get extra wrist protection. Whoops-a-daisy.

Here's another way to wrap up, however, I do not in any way approve of those lame, seriously lame shorts.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Getting murdered in the forums

I just stumbled upon an old post on the popular blog MyMuayThai, which is almost entirely focused on covering the world of sport muay thai. And the guy does a good job at keeping up with fighters, tournaments, etc. I highly suggest subscribing to it if you're into ringstyle muay thai. I myself am a subscriber.

I don't view MyMuayThai as a competitor, actually, I think his content compliments what we're trying to do here at Beyond the Ring. One of his articles piqued my interest as it covered the opening of a UFC branded gym in the San Francisco Bay Area. I put in my two cents, quoted below:

"I teach & train in Santa Clara at Muay Thai Academy International – word on the street is that UFC doled out a ton of money into that facility. They supposedly brought over a Lumpinee champion to head up the muay thai training program there (there’s no bearing on if the training quality will be any good since MMA waters down everything it touches).

Additionally, I also heard that the pricing is going to be cheap, like 24Hour Fitness cheap. I drove past it, it’s huge, set up for high volume. My guess is that they’re gunning for the 24Hour fitness crowd while undercutting the local MT schools like Fairtex and Team USA in the city. Take a bite out of Fairtex (imho, the first wave of McMuay Thai schools) = good, but overall for the integrity of the style = bad. It’s gonna end up franchised & diluted like krav maga."

From there it was open season on Donnie. I appreciate that a lot of people will watch my videos and say that it's not muay thai, its a joke. Our opinions are formed by what we see day after day. The muay thai I've trained is not made for the ring, nor the cage. It is a blend of lerdrit, muay chao cherk, bando, and muay boran - and its designed to end a fight as quickly as possible - whether you're fighting a noob or a seasoned fighter. I'm not restricted by rules, or traditional names for each technique. My instructor trained under masters in Thailand, the Royal Thai Military, and various counter-terrorist tactical teams throughout the world. A major influence on my view of why one would fight.

So, I guess I don't fit the mold as a purest because I don't see the practical value of a ram muay. Sport techniques belong in the ring. I understand that that most of those poor opinions of me are based upon someone viewing my technique being used in the context of a competition.

Oh well, I don't drive a big truck, I refuse to wear TapOut clothing, I like my hair where it is (on my head), my baseball caps are well broken in, and my instructor certification came by way of years of hard work, not weeks at a seminar.

My apologies for the rant. I really appreciate the niche we've carved out. What we're doing here is outside of the status quo in the sports combat world, and I'm sure to step on some toes on the way. Oh well! Here's the link to the original thread. Flame on!

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Major Purpose of Fistic Instruction

The Arm of Jack Dempsey
The purpose of learning to box is to teach a person to defend himself with his fists.

This is what Jack Dempsey said back in 1950 and wrote about in his classic book “Championship Fighting”. This is one book I read again and again and always come away with something new with each reading.

Today boxing coaches, trainers, and martial arts instructors have all but forgotten the purpose of using the fists to protect and defend one’s self. You see you don’t start with the premise of learning to box for sport or competition, but for self preservation. You learn how to strike powerfully for one purpose and one purpose only, to knock out any assailant that would try to hurt you, by causing enough trauma by way of your fists to their body and head.

Forget about the jab being used as a set up for your more powerful cross, you don’t have the luxury of time for this in a street fight.

And having a strong side and weak side stance just won’t cut it either.

And don’t even dance around your assailant throwing light punches to score points because that ain’t happening.

And whatever you do, don’t throw your punches the way a boxer does you’ll most likely break your hand, because you won't be wearing any gloves or wraps.

What you need to know is how to make a proper fist with your bareknuckles, and how to throw it for maximum power. You also need to know what angles are best to punch from, and what footwork is the most useful in a streetfight. You must develop non-telegraphing strikes that are so dangerous you could permanently damage your attacker instantly.

Learn to fist fight like the champions of old and develop explosive punching power with both fists and learn to be a true pugilist.

Daniel Sambrano

Friday, March 12, 2010

Why You Need to Fight Flat Footed

Life and Death Considerations

In combat or a life and death street-fight, you will be moving in a linear manner.

This is due to the adrenaline rush that shoots through your body when faced with this type of situation.

Your vision will narrow forcing you to only see what is immediately in front of you.

This is what is called “Tunnel Vision” you will also develop “Auditory Narrowing” which means your hearing will be limited.

You will be moving in gross motor patterns due to lack of blood in your limbs from the adrenaline rush.

Being human not only will it happen to you but also to your assailant.

Tactically speaking moving in a linear manner makes sense, moving forward and back, side to side or diagonal is still moving linearly.

Typical martial arts or boxing footwork like shuffling, pivoting, bouncing on the balls of the feet are all complex movements that take skill and time to master.

And this means that they are not going to be there to use when the brain goes reptilian on you.

Fight or flight is what will come to mind instead of dancing around your adversary like you’re at prom night.

Power Generation

What about power generation? Fighting flat footed increases this important element.

It puts your weight behind each punch, balances and stabilizes your movement, and also strengthens your linear movement.

It also develops explosive shifts and drop steps which adds to the power of your punches.

And finally, it helps to root the body to the ground to deliver the force through your body and into theirs.

When in Rome

In ancient times warriors in Greece and Rome would fight flat footed in combat just like they do today in the armed forces.

Can you just picture a Spartan warrior dancing around on the balls of his feet fighting his enemy?

Not likely, after all it was life and death that was at stake on the battlefield.

Staying closer to the ground gave them more of an advantage at close range.

So if you found yourself in a life and death situation wouldn’t you want to fight the same way and have the same tactical advantage?

The Flat Footed Advantage

When you stay on the balls of your feet to fight you lose power.

Although you’ll have speed and quickness you won’t have the force to take someone out in a street-fight.

Staying on the balls of your feet will only engage the front quads of your legs and the calf muscles of the lower legs.

This may be fine when boxing or sparring in the ring to score points and win rounds, but it can be a bad tactic in a street-fight.

By having your feet flat on the ground you distribute the weight evenly across them.

Your glutes and hamstrings along with your quads and calfs get activated and engage your whole posterior chain giving you more power in your punch.

Fighting flat footed helps to root you to the ground, and makes you more stable and balanced.

You’ll be able to generate more ground force which translates to more powerful punches.

Also you’ll be able to shift and change direction very quickly and solidly.

And one more thing, you’ll be able to absorb more impact from your adversary.

Something to Think About

How much force can you produce on your toes? I bet not as much as you can flat footed.

Don’t believe me, here is a way to find out:

Dead lift your full bodyweight flat footed on an Olympic bar, now do the same on your toes or the balls of your feet.

Which one was easier to do?

Which one was more stable?

Which one was able to generate more force?

Now walk around with that same weight across your shoulders flat footed and then on your toes, which one feels stronger?

And finally squat with that same weight again flat footed and then on your toes, which one produces more ground force?

You’ll instantly see why being flat footed produces more force, more muscles are being used.

And let’s not forget, better balance, coordination and stability when moving and striking.

This all translates as an advantage in a street-fight.


I hope I have provoked some outside the box thinking on your part.

Now am I saying that you should always fight flat footed? No! Of course not.

I just believe that too much emphasis has been placed on fighting on the toes or ball of the foot and not enough has been given to flat footed fighting.

There should be a balance of both and knowledge of when to use each one.

After all there are times when being on the balls of your feet has its advantages, like running away from a dangerous situation.

Until next time, train hard, stay safe.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Turning the Fist into Sword and Shield

The Greeks added boxing to the Olympics in 688 B.C. in honor of Patroklos the slain friend of Achilles.

All the Olympic games of the ancient past had their origins in the need for combat training and thus closely connected to actual battle.

The ability to box and wrestle were both battle preparation activities, and so athletes were restricted to the standing battle related positions of combat.

Boxing ( Pugilism) is one of the oldest combative activities in history.

Carvings and paintings show people fighting with their fists over 5,000 years ago in ancient Sumeria and over 3,000 years ago in ancient Egypt.

The word “Punch” comes from the Roman (Latin) word meaning to “Stab”.

The ancient Greeks considered boxing (pugilism) more dangerous than pankration due to the more severe injuries caused by boxing.

It was widely believed in ancient times that boxing began as a way for warriors who used shield and spear/sword to grow accustomed to the movements of fighting in combat.

The complex stepping movements of the legs; the strikes and parries of the arms holding the weapon and shield would help train a warrior for battle.

It should not be forgotten that the stance and tactics of sword and shield play were identical to those of boxing (pugilism).

The shield held in the left hand was used to jab, slam, bash, pummel or block and the sword in the right hand delivered the killing blow by stabbing or slashing.

The left lead foot was kept in front so the shield would be better positioned to protect the holder, while the unshielded right side was held back away from the enemy.

Boxing was also a way to develop the physical and mental toughness needed to face adversaries in combat on the battlefield.

The Spartans were pugilists as were the Romans and other warrior cultures.

Today by participating in boxing (pugilism), you are taking part in a great and legendary tradition stretching back to the beginning of time.
So when you train in boxing don’t just dance around throwing light jabs as you shuffle and slide with your footwork.

This just doesn’t mimic combat at all or train you for the real thing.

This was not how the warriors of the past trained; they would step, shift, and strike with power, purpose and intent.

They never wasted any movement because in combat it could cost them their lives.

To them it was a matter of life or death, and this is how you should approach your training if you want to use it for self defense in the street.

So when you train think of your fists as shield and sword/spear deadly weapons to use against your adversaries.

When you punch your opponent don’t just hit him; stab him with your fist, smash him with your shield (arm) and finish him with your sword/spear (fist).

Get ancient on his ass when fighting, after all this is how it was done in combat on the battlefield.

And this is how it needs to be done on the streets today.

So train accordingly.

Daniel Sambrano

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Drinkng and knife fighting doesn't mix

A recent article in the Telgraph reported that knives, and yes, swords were used in 58 per cent of all homicides in Scotland for the period 2008-2009. What more, the article ties Scotland's drinking culture to the marked increase in murders by blade. This correlation between the murder rate increase and alcohol consumption certainly put to rest my curiosity concerning sword-related deaths.

Here are a couple key take aways from the story:

- More than 80 per cent of victims were killed by someone they knew and 41 per cent of those accused were drunk or on drugs at the time of the crime.

- Hitting and kicking someone to death was the method used against 10 per cent of victims, with eight per cent poisoned and a further eight per cent struck with a blunt instrument.

- Five people were strangled, three were killed by fire, two were shot and one was drowned.

- The profile of victims and those accused of killing them showed men in the prime of their life most likely to be killed by another male fitting this description.

- The statistics also revealed that 30 per cent of those accused of committing homicide were drunk and six per cent were on drink and drugs.

Knives, straight blade razors, and other improvised blades are easy to conceal and can be carried into most social establishments (bars, pubs, night clubs). A guy with a knife doesn't have to be a kali expert to inflict severe injuries, and no amount of testosterone can shield you from a knife attack. My advice, based on my own experience, is to check your ego at the door when you head out for a night with the guys. Ignore the impulse to puff out your chest and bump shoulders with random guys that you pass on the street. It's not worth it. You certainly don't want to piss off a drunk, sword weidling Scotsman!


Monday, March 01, 2010

RUMOR ALERT: California to Allow Elbows in Amateur Muay Thai Bouts

Last week California Muay Thai blog let it out that elbows will soon be allowed in amateur muay thai fights. The California Athletic Commission currently allows elbows only in sanctioned professional muay thai fights. Unfortunately, most pro muay thai fighters in the US rarely use their elbows in fights, and it shows. The elbows I've seen in fights stateside, they're usually thrown from way outside their effective range.

If this alleged easing of the regulations does come to pass then I'm optimistic about American muay thai fighters' and the overall improved quality of elbow use in future fights. This should also create a ripple effect in how muay thai camps and MMA schools throughout the Golden State treat the elbow as part of a fighter's arsenal. My hope is that there will be a widespread improvement in regards to attention paid to technique and an increase in time spent training & instructing the elbow strike and all of its variant angles and applications.

Please comment if you have any news on this subject.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Don't Take Away My Muay Thai Round Kick!

There's a lot of dogma surrounding muay thai's most fearsome technique - the round kick. Krus and ajarns, and fighter/instructors teach us that in muay thai the round kick is thrown one way, and one way only (their way). He throws the kick as his instructor before him, and the master before him. The shin bone is a miniature baseball bat; K-1 morphed into a muay thai tournament due to the style's domination; MMA fighters have adopted it as their primary leg strike; it is arguably the most feared technique in modern martial arts. The round kick is steeped in this mystique of indomitable aggression. There just isn't any room for improvement, is there?

I say yes, but not improvement through evolution, but improvement through digression - taking the muay thai round kick back to where it was first used: on the battlefield. Over the past 100 years or so - since Westerners introduced gloves and fighter promotions to muay thai (muay boran) around the turn on the 20th century - fighters and their trainers begin to modify their offense and defense to better protect themselves. Certain techniques that were known to cause severe damage were removed. Fighters' careers begin to last longer and everyone involved made money. Hence, muay boran was relegated to become a sort of sideshow demonstration for tourists. Over time safety techniques were perfected, and that's what we have today in modern ring style muay thai. The widespread popularity of MMA has further degraded muay thai techniques due partly to their trainers, partly due to the "crash course' style training a lot of MMA schools practice. But I digress.

Back to my point. - I'm getting there - We've got to go back to explore what the purpose of the muay thai round kick was originally used for. It wasn't used to score points or wear down an opponent. The target was the side of the knee - it was used for incapacitation. If the warrior lost his sword, his elbows and legs became the replacement weapon until he could rearm himself. Muay Chao Cherk is Krabi Krabong without swords. The kick would have to be thrown quickly, without a windup. And chances are slim that the desperate warrior had the time and opportunity to throw that kick from the "appropriate" distance. He could have been uncomfortably close, or out of reach, they may have had to throw it from a run.

So what I'm saying, and can prove is that the popular muay thai round kick that 99% of the martial arts schools in North America teach is not the 'end-all-be-all' kick. It can be further modified to generate up to 40% more force. It can be thrown from inside of elbow range - lerd rit CQC kick; from 5 feet away, from a walk, a run. The muay chao cherk kick was thrown with a drive from a standard range. With just a little bit of bio-mechanics knowledge and simple application of basic physics (f=ma, torque) you can modify your cookie cutter muay thai round kick into a strike that can end a fight when it counts (outside of the ring). Oh, and inside the ring or cage, your opponent will only block the first few strikes before having to resort to an evasion strategy.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Muay Thai Elbow Strikes Adapted for the Street, Still Useful in the Ring

The elbow strike in both muay thai and in MMA has been taught/trained as a close quarter strike, usually employed only in the clinch. I say, that's not entirely so. Adding drive to en elbow strike can not only be thrown from a longer distance, but can actually replace the heavy handed cross punch.

In the context of a street fight or close quarter combat situation (which is the main focus of my teaching) this driving elbow is a very important weapon in my arsenal. Here's my top 3 reasons why this technique is so important to know:

1. Power. The added force from your drive makes this elbow strike harder than a stationary round elbow by at least 70%

2. Dynamics. Unless your on the movie set, its a bad idea to believe that a single hit will end a fight. The driving elbow allows you to move while you strike, at an angle, moving you away from your opponent's center line. Since you drive in at an angle, you remain close enough to the bad guy to continue using elbows and knees while staying deep inside his range. Always throw multiple strikes (at least 3-5), then move and repeat.

3. For muay thai and MMA practitioners the drive elbow can help you blast through your opponent's cover, or at least the barrage will make him rethink how he needs to defend your upper body attacks. It's also a great technique to integrate in to combinations.

Here's a combo to try the next time you're in the gym:
Jab > Cross > Left Driving Elbow > Right Driving Elbow > Right Knee > Left Elbow
These strikes should force your partner to move backwards as you throw this combo. Note how your weight shifts as you strike with the driving elbows, and the last elbow should be thrown as you're coming down from the knee (no movement wasted). Let me know how it goes.

Tehcnorati - 2P6ZEU7EZD6E what a pain.