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Play or play not, do not try

Having finally foiled the conspiracies of the holidays, work, and aberrant weather I made it back to a muay thai private.  Ian has been trying to teach me to relax.  One of the concepts he uses is that of play, like tag, don’t try the technique, play it.

We reviewed and warmed up with shadowboxing, looking at my movement and striking.  On the thai kick, I need to keep my weight evenly distributed so that after I throw it and miss I land with my weight evenly balanced between my feet.  This way I can push off my rear (kicking) leg and land on the ball of my lead leg to pivot back toward my opponent.

We then worked on flowing into kicks, using a jab-cross-hook combination to close, then stepping away and going either left or right to the kick:

  • Jab-cross-hook, shuffle back (rear leg moves first), flow step in the lead direction around the bag pushing/checking with the lead hand twice and then without changing tempo or range, throwing the rear kick.
  • Jab-cross-hook, roll step to the opposite lead, flow step in the new lead (former rear) direction around the bag.  Again push/check with the new lead hand twice and then, also without change in tempo or range throw the rear kick.

This, of course, uncloaked an inadequacy in my hook: I slap like a prepubescent girl.  So Ian made me increase my range to the bag, I tend to shorten punches rather than extending them, I can reach the bag with more power on the hook, by snapping the hip rotation, driving the hook a few inches by arm, but a few feet by this rotation.  The 90° frame of the hook remains intact, it is the quick synchronous, rotation of the hips and shoulders, that delivers power through speed.

Ian also pointed out a good way to work on the very balanced style he teaches is by alternating leads and doing the same combinations in shadowboxing, transition from lead to lead by pivoting and roll stepping.

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