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."


  1. are there any videos showing the proper shifting techniques, throwing combinations, the flow? Love your blog..

  2. Will do Anonymous. Videos on shifting to come soon!

  3. Great post. I was wondering if it's possible to have a short video accompanying fight tips such as this one. While the authors of the posts are always articulate and eloquent, sometimes it's hard to visualize correctly in my mind.

    Thanks. Keep up the good work.

  4. Hey just wanted to say that your fallstep tip really put alot of power and snap into my jab, so much so that it is almost like I have two right hands. And your explanation of how to throw a kick properly with a diagonal momentum really helped my low kick as well. Just wondering if you could make a video on old school ways of punching because they seem to really help. Your vids are the best though so anything would be great especially a shifting video. Thanks again, I just love how good my jab has gotten thanks to 1 little change of method.

    Check the official photos out for the somruck kamsing fight and poster