If you are unable to train yourself, one of the best things you can do is study the greatest fighters that there have ever been in order to figure out why they were among the greatest of all time.
Or if you’re extremely lucky, you could train with those that are among the greatest of all time so you can get all the information right from the source.
Our very own Sean Fagan is one of these lucky guys.
In this video, he is training with the legendary Namsaknoi, also known as “The Emperor.”
Namsaknoi is a three-time Lumpinee champion across three different weight classes (112 lbs., 130 lbs., and 135 lbs.). He holds a record of 280 wins, and just 15 losses, and 5 draws. He went unbeaten as the 135 lbs. champion for six years.
The Emperor has beaten the likes of Lamnamoon, a legendary clinch fighter; Samkor, a legendary kicker and one of the hardest kickers of all time; and Saenchai, who needs...
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...
It has been three tough rounds now. Round 1: we covered the importance of breaking down your sparring and fight footage. Round 2: why the teep is the "god weapon". And in Round 3: the importance of the clinch and why it is almost a god weapon.
Time to break down the fourth and final round.
To recap very quickly, Sean had a tough first three rounds. His opponent’s teep is laser sharp, and he has very strong punching combinations.
Sean knows that he’s down on the scorecards. He has to go out on his shield or else he’ll likely lose the decision.
For the epic conclusion to this fight, check it out:
Head Kick KO Loss: Analysis
As you saw, unfortunately, this did not go Sean’s way. His opponent, Phetch, was able to rock Sean with punches and eventually land a brutal head kick.
Even though both knockdowns came from head...
What’s the quickest way to become the pariah of an entire gym? Being a terrible sparring partner.
If you’re training Muay Thai, you should be in it for the long haul. Every fighter knows that their time in the sport, like with any athlete, can be limited. And the time you spend in Muay Thai or any sport that involves head trauma can be even further limited if you train it poorly. You do not want to be that guy at the gym who everyone hates.
Think about how the Thais spar. There is no possible way Thais could have hundreds of fights if they sparred hard regularly (though there is a place for hard sparring). And if you’re somehow worried that avoiding hard sparring makes you less tough, remember that you’re in a sport where your job is to step into the ring with another person and try to knock each other out. That’s tough enough already.
However, even if you are sensible, it can still be...
These are the best beginner Muay Thai sparring tips that will help you avoid getting your nose broken and spirits demoralized the first time you decide to step into the ring.
Since I’m the guy who had his nose broken and spirits demoralized his first sparring session, I want to help you avoid that at all costs because it SUCKS!
Check out this 10 step beginner checklist on how to spar during your first session(s):
#1. Make Sure Your Kru/Instructor Approves
Don’t be that asshole who steps into a first sparring session without permission. Chances are you haven’t sparred yet because your instructor feels like you are not ready. And guess what? If your instructor thinks you are not ready, you are NOT ready.
Not only is this for your safety but it’s for your training partners safety too. There has been way too many times I’ve...
No fighter, nak muay or otherwise stands alone against his or her opponent. An army waits at the ready behind them.
It takes a team of coaches, trainers, and (especially) training partners to successfully prepare for a fight.
My coach often repeats this idea before training sessions: “The most important person in this gym today is not you, it’s your partner.”
“Always take care of your partner.”
Let’s take a look at 7 ways to be a great Muay Thai training partner:
Train, don’t coach
At my last gym, there was this guy with whom I avoided sparring at all costs. He would interrupt and stop me after every single strike, trying to educate me on what I could do to improve.
In a three-minute round, I would end up spending 0:30 sparring and 2:30 trying to get him to shut up and work.
You and your partners are in the gym to learn from professionals. You don’t need to...
The bell rings and you touch gloves. Not much is usually exchanged during a round or even between rounds, at least not verbally. Physically, it’s a different story.
Sparring is a part of training and everyone who’s trained for at least a bit should be doing it. For those new to Muay Thai or combat sports in general, though, it’s important to know that there are some common ground rules when it comes to sparring – no matter where you are or who you’re up against.
SPARRING RULE #1: Big gloves are a must.
Perfect for sparring are gloves in the 14-18 ounce range. They have more padding in them so that even if you go hard, it softens the blow a bit. Wearing big gloves promotes a safe environment in which everyone can participate.
Lighter gloves are meant for hitting the bag or hitting pads. Do not crack a fellow teammate with those gloves. They can get seriously hurt (broken nose,...
I feel it every time–wait, scratch that–I feel it every first time.
Whether it’s when they put their mouthpiece in and give me a snarky sideway look, ever so slowly put on their gloves, or just blantantly stare at my tits. Guys don’t particularly enjoy sparring with a girl. Or, at least until they know how much she can take.
Frankly, I can’t say I really blame them for it either. They can’t really go all out on me like they do each other and at 5’2”, I can’t say I’m very much of a challenge. So what’s a boy to do?
One of my favorite sparring partner is 6’3 and around 230 pounds. It’s an understatement to say we do not belong in the same weight class. Yet, he’s one of my best person to get a beating from. How so?
Because he knows not every sparring bout has to be a fight for the finish "I’ll rip...
Some partners will be absolutely wonderful to work with because you’ll be able to sharpen your striking skills and not have to worry about being injured or knocked out. On the other hand, you’ll also run into a variety of sparring partners who will ENRAGE you to the point where your blood starts to boil and you have sick thoughts of knocking them unconscious… it happens!
In the most recent The Muay Thai Guys Podcast, Sean and Paul discuss 10 types of sparring partners that you will most likely run into if you are in the sport long enough. The original post the guys got this idea from comes from their friend Steven Kong of MuayThaiPros.com – you can check out the entire article here – here’s a brief rundown of what they discuss:
Click here or the...
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...