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!