Sparring is the most beneficial type of training that you can do because it is the closest thing to a fight that you can experience before actually stepping into the ring or cage.
"But I'm left wondering: is there a specific approach I should be taking towards sparring?"
Sparring as a whole can be mighty intimidating to a new nak muay without some kind of guidance about which style is best. So let's get to that question right now!
BLENDING BOTH STYLES OF SPARRING
So what's the verdict: hard sparring or light sparring?
Well, as you could tell from the video, the answer, like the answer to most things, is in the middle. They’re both good depending on the circumstances.
Let’s first examine the benefits of each, the downsides of each, and then talk about some alternatives.
Sparring is meant to simulate a fight. Hard sparring is really just fighting, which means that it is the...
Let’s answer the first and most important question:
Why not study boxing? Why not savate? Why not Dutch-style kickboxing? Why not Kyokushin karate?
Here's your answer:
It's because Muay Thai, specifically Thai Muay Thai, is easily the most complete and effective striking art on the planet.
Muay Thai is also known as The Art of Eight Limbs, and the Thais are absolute masters of each and every limb. Thais are also the masters of the clinch, which feels like an entire martial art on its own.
You’ve no doubt seen Anderson Silva’s execution of Rich Franklin using the “Thai clinch,” more accurately called the “double collar tie.” That clinch is actually only one small part of and is really a beginner’s technique in the vast ocean of Muay Thai clinching. But what have the Thais done to earn such a reputation?
THE MOST FEARSOME THAI KICKBOXER EVER
This is an older episode of The Muay Thai Guys podcast coming at you right now, but it feels like it fits. The world’s chaotic right now, so it’s difficult for anyone to train like they want to, BUT you can still work on your Muay Thai skills and continue to get better and better.
Everyone talks about working smart. Well, right now we have to do that. It’s time to build even more knowledge than ever so we can get back to training knowing so much more.
With that being said, one of the best ways to improve your knowledge of the sport of Muay Thai and in combat sports in general is to learn from other people. It’s tougher in Muay Thai where there’s a language barrier since the majority of the best Muay Thai fighters in the world only speak Thai, but there are still lots of amazing resources out there from amazing fighters.
I think one of the most important tools in learning from other people is knowing how...
Imagine getting coached by Michael Jordan in basketball or getting taught to swim by Michael Phelps.
Well, Sean Fagan got a pretty nice private lesson with their equivalents - one of the greatest Muay Thai fighters of all time, Saenchai.
The man himself needs no introduction, but I will give him one anyway. Saenchai has an overall record of 299 wins, 42 losses, and 5 draws. He is a Lumpinee champion in four different divisions, and is widely considered to be the greatest active Muay Thai fighter on the planet.
He has also not lost since 2014 and is currently riding a 53-fight winning streak. He’s a beast. And you can see the beast in action with Sean Fagan right here:
HOW TO ANALYZE & FIGHT LIKE A FIGHTER
Sean was fortunate enough to train with Saenchai, however, most of us are decidedly not fortunate enough to be in a position like this. Luckily for us, we can...
Ognjen Topic is one of the best farang Muay Thai fighters today - handsomeness aside (I'm not jealous). So what happens when two super talented, super handsome (not jealous) farang nak muay like Ognjen and Sean "Muay Thai Guy" Fagan" clash in the gym?
There's a high potential for HANDSOMENESS-- I mean... EPIC SPARRING!
(Still not jealous.)
There is no better way to test your skills than facing the best fighters in the game. Couple of pointers, though: if you find yourself getting the better of your much more experienced opponent, understand that they may be purposefully handicapping themselves so they can focus on working a specific aspect of their skill set. And if you do happen to find yourself sparring a known fighter, let them set the pace and, most importantly, don’t be a dick.
Now that I got that PSA out of the way, let me talk about an important point there. When a fight is being hyped up, it’s not...
It’s a fairly common thing for Muay Thai practitioners to have a sense of superiority when it comes to other martial arts. There's a fair amount of reasoning behind this, due to Muay Thai’s practicality in the real world and how, nowadays, Muay Thai fighters usually beat other styles.
The downside to this mentality (aside from just being pretty lame and annoying) is that it makes a lot of people think that other martial arts, like Taekwondo, have nothing to offer.
This is nowhere near the case. Even if Taekwondo is not all well rounded and all-encompassing as Muay Thai, there are still a lot of things to learn from it, especially in its kicks.
(Side note: Why is Taekwondo considered a "traditional martial art" but Muay Thai isn’t? Muay Thai is older than Taekwondo and most Karate styles by literally every measurement! Rant over.)
We all know that the roundhouse kicks in Muay Thai...
Getting the chance to watch a legend do what they do best is really quite something.
Now imagine getting to spar with such a legend.
Then imagine getting kicked in the face with that man’s signature techniques.
Embarrassed by a smaller man! Humiliated with technique and tactics Sean's seen a million times before!
But you know what the best part is? I think Sean absolutely fucking loved it.
THE BRILLIANT 'SAMENESS' OF SAENCHAI
Saenchai is one of the greatest Muay Thai fighters of all time, and he is widely considered to be the greatest Muay Thai fighter of today. And it’s easy to see why.
If you’ve seen highlights of the man, you’ll notice that he’s an extremely defensively sound fighter. He is, after all, undefeated since 2014, riding a 53-fight winning streak, and has not been knocked out or even seriously hurt since he was 15 and fighting against Thongchai, who is...
We’re living in some crazy times right now. What sucks the most in my opinion is having your passions stolen from you. There are so many things that you can't do right now, particularly if you're an athlete.
Fortunately for us nak muays, this does not have to be the case. Training right now is a very difficult thing to do. However, you can still improve your skills and be an even better nak muay than ever!
I'm not being delusional either. Think about it. Doing things like padwork and sparring are all very important, but they're not the only ways to improve your Muay Thai skills.
One of the best ways to get better at Muay Thai, and one of the things that I’ve really enjoyed doing is breaking down fights. Everyone knows that “knowledge is power,” right? We have to live those words now!
We are living in unprecedented times but remember that we’re also living in a time where...
Most of the people in the world are right-handed. If you're a southpaw Muay Thai fighter, things can get kind of lonely.
Most people you fight will be fighting out of the orthodox stance. Same goes for your sparring partners. Odds are, too, that your coaches are orthodox fighters, as well as the most popular fighters at any given time.
So what’s a southpaw to do when there are so few teachers out there from which to learn?
Fighting southpaws and specifically fighting in the open stance (orthodox vs southpaw) is significantly different to fighting in the closed stance (orthodox vs orthodox or southpaw vs southpaw). The openings that are available are completely different, so you need the proper techniques, tactics, and strategies to cope with that difference.
Here are 3 southpaw KO combos to aid you in the gym and in a fight:
BECOMING A 'DOUBLE THREAT' IN...
Dutch Kickboxing is a martial art with a complicated history. It’s an approach to kickboxing firmly rooted in stereotyping the style of an entire nation of kickboxers, and as a result, we have access to a lot of misinformation on the fighting style.
Today, we will be looking into the history and formation of the Dutch style of kickboxing, and examining kickboxing's relationship with not only Muay Thai but also Japanese kickboxing and the style of karate which influenced it.
1 THE 1960s: STYLE VS. STYLE FIGHTING
To start this journey of re-education, we actually have to look to Japan and the horrifically misrepresentative cross-style competitions held in 1964 between Mas Oyama’s Kyokushin karatekas and three Muay Thai fighters, under a modified rule set that permitted karate throws that were otherwise banned in Muay Thai competition. The bout was encouraged by Osamu Noguchi, a former boxer and now...