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Mastery of Inertia

I try to figure out concepts when I train, to give my brain a "big picture" of what I'm trying to accomplish.  Today's muay thai lesson was all about mastering inertia.  In all fighting if you have absolute control of your position and direction of movement you are probably going to win.  Ian is attempting to show me how each piece of movement, offense, defense, and footwork are discrete packets that are seamlessly woven together.  If this were calculus, movement is the derivate, the completed action the integral.  For them to be seamless, I must retain my posture and balance.  No chasing, no lunging, no moment where I can't change direction.  It makes perfect sense, but is difficult to implement.  Rather than committing to a combination, you perform the first packet of your offense or defense and then based on what happens the next.  Your plan is open concept, able to change with the conditions of the fight.

  • Relax
  • Keep fight posture, that is shoulder rounded, chin tucked, with a scaphoid abdomen, while punching.  This makes it easier to twist, i.e. throwing hooks, and allows for more hip thrust, as they travel from back to front, during knees and kicks.
  • Small steps, you can always take another step if you need to get closer.
  • The jab needs to extend fully and lands simultaneously with your lead foot.  You don't need to lunge with cross, if they are out of range after the jab, reconsider your action, i.e. kick.
  • And, oh yeah, relax
The absolute control of my inertia extends to kicking.  The kick is delivered like a whip, the knee pointed at the target before turning over, allowing the lower leg to strike with the knee flexed or extended depending on the range.  The base foot pivots on the ball of the foot, and as it rotates back rolls to the floor, like the stepping drill last week.  This allows the kicking foot to be placed, loaded for movement or striking, rather than falling to the floor.  Remember as you kick that your body elongates, your shoulders rotate in a plane parallel with the floor and your hips.

Lastly, I learned how to turn perpendicularly: Step the rear foot laterally and pointed medially, about a shoulder span, then pivot to the opposite lead.  Check your balance by your ability to strike, defend, and move.  Shuffle backwards and repeat on the opposite (new rear leg side), returning to the same facing and lead as you started.  Don't lean your head past your knee and keep your shoulders parallel with the floor.

We used this to work a drill on the heavy bag, the "Jab-1-2": Close distance-jab-(1) lead foot lateral step and slap-(2) pivot to the same lead, perpendicular to your original position, rear kick.  Open distance and close with the jab-(1) rear foot 90° lateral step and slap-(2) pivot to your opposite lead, rear kick.  It helps to say Jab-1-2. Really.

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