Erika is amazing and I kind of love her. It wasn’t until Charlie Jewett – who is the source for info and news on top female Japanese fighters (for us non-speakers of Japanese) – DM’d me a video he’s been working on with translated passages that I realized that Erika speaks in terms of convincing everyone that “watching females is the best,” and about bringing more women to fighting. And so now I love her even more.
She’s got this incredible left hook and just so much power. Watching her training videos is inspiring also – she works. A while ago we brought our tablet to the gym during one of my boxing privates with Neung and showed him Erika’s left hook as an illustration of how it might be utilized by me and then also showed the video to Den, my main trainer, and now he reminds me in the corner before every fight to be like Erika and throw combinations.
video compilation of some of Erika’s lefts
So the video above and the GIFs below are highlights of Erika’s relentless hands, but with an eye on her left hook. I’m not a huge fan or proponent of highlight reels. They make good music videos or whatever – my husband Kevin did put in music because it is weird to watch without sound – but highlight reels are severely lacking in meaning to me. Anyone can look great for 5 second clips pieced together – I mean, my very stubborn, obstinate dog can look like the paragon of obedience for that amount of time – it doesn’t mean these fighters aren’t also amazing. I just means that editing serves limited purposes, and it tends to appeal to the lowest common denominator of thoughts in fight fandom, as if fighters are video game characters rather than athletes. So this highlight video (above) is intended to isolate out moments in a few of Erika’s fights when her hand strikes, but really her left hook, are just overwhelming. There is no disrespect to her opponents (it never feels good to appear in these things, there are two fighters in the ring); the abbreviated clips and slowed footage is to show the technique being used, to absorb and study. Erika is probably the best female Muay Thai fighter near my weight in the world. She is a focus.
In high strike combination:
Look at it, man! The hook in high combination does not come too wide. It has a height that is nearly that of a cross, “hooking” at the end with a snap. It is best when the front foot is forward with a slight knee pivot and the elbow a touch higher than the arm. Watch the whip of the left shoulder slightly down and over. In combination this hip and shoulder twisting action is surreal. Her use of the flex-down of the knees, the right hand body punch as punctuation, her body lean and the shoulder whip is textbook technique, stuff Neung is regularly teaching me.
A few looks at set up:
I’ve only seen limited footage of her fights as a whole – she’s fought 31 fights and I don’t believe I’ve even seen a whole bout yet, so this is not to say that any of this is how Erika fights – but watch her use her lead leg to close her distance and to get her opponent’s hand to start to drop or extend in guard. Eventually with a knee feint she plants her foot firmly for the hook. She shows two hooks I think. The first is her slightly angled hook off the jab (it misses), then she dips her head down with two more overhand hooks.
Here she uses the lead leg knee to close the distance instead, and again to try to drop or extend the opponent’s back hand. She wants to drop that lead foot in close to the target in order to be in perfect position to throw her hook.
Erika has fought 31 fights – about 7 of them of them have been full rules Muay Thai fights, 4 of them Shoot Box rules (source: Charlie Jewett’s educated guess). Her striking coach is Thai, Jomhod Chuwattana (56-22-3), you can really see beautiful Muay Thai in her overall technique. She is going to turn 21 on December 30th this year (2013). She fights at 49 kg I believe, but perhaps if I can stay and fight in Thailand for the next 2 years I can get to the level where I could fight Erika in Japan. We keep that floating as a vision. In the meantime thinking about her left may improve my own left hand.