(Story written by an anonymous Nak Muay)
I first heard of Muay Thai during the summer of 2004. It was a couple of the months before my senior year of high school, and friends and I were playing Mortal Kombat: Armageddon.
We were creating custom characters and choosing their fighting styles, and as I looked over the various styles my friend urged me to choose Muay Thai.
When I asked why, he said “It’s supposed to be this bad ass martial art from Thailand.”
I had never heard of Muay Thai, and I remember choosing something else to his disappointment. Looking back at this I chuckle because the stances and moves are not like the martial arts they claim to represent, they’re just generic combos that they added to make us believe that the game had a sort of martial arts spirit as opposed to wanton blood lust that the Mortal Kombat series is.
Being raised in a Mexican-American family, I...
One of the big notions of muay thai is that the training is verygrueling.
The day in and day out of running, sparring, bag work, pads, skipping, not to mention all the sit ups, pull ups, and pushups is the norm.
As a community, Nak Muay Nation has developed the reputation of hard training makes you a great fighter. And for the most part, that is 100% true.
Without a doubt, you have to put in the work to reach a level of skill worthy of fighting in the ring. But fitness and cardio will only take you so far. You will reach a point where your opponent is just as “diesel” as you are… or even more. It is at this apex that you will always lose to a more skilled opponent. It wasn’t because you weren’t in great shape, it was you not having the skills to keep up.
Take for example Saenchai. Why is it that he is able to easily defeat his falang opponents?...
By Sean Fagan
“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
“It’s not daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.” – Bruce Lee
Making a mistake means you’ve wasted a portion of your time, or worse still, you’ve set yourself back so far that you must now spend even more time correcting and making up for your mistakes.
We want to minimize tail chasing during your heavy bag training sessions by developing a NOT to-do list, because what you don’t do determines what you can do. Time to save time. Let’s dig in, shall we?
Note: For each mistake listed, there will be a correction that comes with it. If you’re impatient simply read the corrections and the bold.
All the below...
Beginners tend to overthink things. They can’t be blamed – they want to make the most out of their experience and want to be as prepared as possible to learn. Still, there’s nothing like overthinking something to throw a stick in your own spokes and stop you dead in your tracks.
The motivation to learn and become better is great, but the fallacies that come with it can ultimately make beginners their own worst enemy. Here are some of the most common questions beginners tend to overanalyze far too often.
OVERTHINKING IT: How do I do this perfectly?
Some nak muays get so caught up in trying to do something perfectly. Waiting to do something perfectly is not ideal. Many fail to realize that trying to do it, no matter how wrong or “imperfect,” is better than not doing it at all!
People are afraid to “fail” and that itself is a major setback....
Recently, kickboxer “Bazooka” Joe Valtellini and former boxer Paulie Malignaggi got into a spat on Twitter over whether hard or light sparring is the way to go. Joe’s argument was that hard sparring leads to unnecessary brain trauma going into a fight and it’s part of the reason why he had to retire quite young.
Paulie’s counter argument basically amounted to: “Don’t be a pussy.”
It’s a debate that will never really have a clear concrete answer, largely in part because we simply don’t have enough research into brain trauma, especially in regards to Muay Thai fighters, and partly because there are inherent benefits to both.
Sparring The Thai Way
The common argument in favor of sparring light, in the same way that professional fighters in Thailand do, is that less brain trauma sparring means more potential...
Here are a collection of tips demonstrating how to properly fuel and keep running your Muay Thai machine on a steady diet of clean, productive nutrition. . .
Practicing your Muay Thai technique is only half the job done. If you really want to optimize your strength, you need the right diet. Mind you, “diet” here does not mean going on some sort of temporary health regimen to lose weight. Here, it means bringing about solid lifestyle changes that you can stick with for the rest of your life.
Training and practicing Muay Thai demands a lifelong dedication, which means what you eat is directly correlated with how your skills develop. Read on to know all about what sort of nutrition you should be following for effective training:
The most important thing to remember is that if you want to really dedicate yourself to Muay Thai, you need to treat it as an...
Body weight training is the best measure of your pound-for-pound strength.
Georges St. Pierre, one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time, uses Olympic weightlifting, track and field, and gymnastics to prepare for his fights.
St. Pierre and his legendary coach Firas Zihabi both believe that gymnasts are the strongest and best athletes in the world. And what weights do gymnasts use? Their bodies.
Today, Sean Fagan will show you a body weight workout designed to build full-body strength, just like a gymnast. And because you are only using your body weight, the difficulty of the exercises determines your pound-for-pound strength. The easier the exercise, the stronger you are, pound for pound. Now, let’s build that strength.
There may be some of you who are living your dream of training and fighting Muay Thai full-time but for most nak muay, the journey in the art of eight limbs has to contend with another pressing, everyday struggle: the day job.
Some of us have engaging careers that we’re very passionate about and want to continue alongside our training. Others have dreams of fighting and coaching full-time but still need the day job to pay the bills until that dream can become a reality.
Either way, juggling a full-time job and the stressors of rigorous training can take their toll on the body and mind.
While it’s no small feat, managing both a vocational career and a fight career can be done.
Just ask Ognjen Topic: in the earlier days of his fight career (circa 2013), Topic was not only competing professionally at a very high level, but also maintaining his nine-to-five graphic design job....
Footwork is a skill, and like all skills needs to be drilled into you.
Your ability to move your feet becomes your ability to fight. However, it’s not just about bouncing around like Ali. It’s about being able to pivot out of a dangerous position in an instant as someone like Giorgio Petrosyan or Jose Aldo does so often.
These drills aren’t inspired by the workouts of great fighters, they’re straight up taught by great fighters like Tiffany van Soest.
The agility ladder trains both your balance, endurance, and explosiveness. Your ability to step into angles with strong posture will be developed, your ability to fight while moving backward will be strengthened, and your bursts of explosion that help you close the distance instantly and get KOs will be boosted.
Having poor footwork is like having a car without wheels, so try out these drills and get lightning legs.
Although you’ll be in the ring by yourself when you fight, training Muay Thai is anything but a solo sport. This is why we have teams of fighters training together at top-tier Muay Thai gyms, whether it be Diamond Muay Thai on Koh Phangan, Thailand, or King Tiger Muay Thai in San Diego, or a room with some beat-up mats in the middle of nowhere. In this solo sport, co-operative training matters.
As crucial as it is to train with others and a quality instructor, there are many benefits to training solo – and everyone should every now and then. It allows you to focus on yourself, rather than a partner or instructor. In these quiet, retrospective sessions, you can fine-tune the techniques you’ve learned from class and sparring to be better prepared for the real thing.
Here are a slew of tips on how to squeeze the most out of your solo Muay Thai sessions.
WHEN TRAINING SOLO… Slow...