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  1. We were practising kicks the other day and my trainer said something among the lines: "If you step outside/pivot on your standing foot enough there's no need to lower/straighten the kicking leg arm, it's better to keep your guard up when kicking than risking a counterhit". What is your kicking leg hand/arm position in kicks? Does it changes with different kicks? Have you noticed different outcomes with different positions?
  2. I train muay thai for 2 years. This year I started fighting, and this means more training, more sparring, running, etc. Before MT, I was a kung fu competitor so the hard training is not a new thing for me. But... in recent months, I don't feel I become stronger, faster or better in technics after all this training. I feel I become weaker, slower. I was a hard-kicker, but now, I don't know, why, but I just can't kick hard, or strong. At my last fight my punches were so weak, they didn't hurt my opponent. I tried my favourite low kicks, but.. no power. Since February I'm not allowed to take any vitamins or protein shake (because of an laser eye surgery). But there are so many fighters who don't take supplements.. So do you ever feel this "losing strenght" ? Should I do more conditional training, crossfit, etc? I'm so frustrated now...
  3. What kind a gym are you training at? Big ,small? Many members? Are there child classes?Do they have many training day? Is there any gear for sale in the gym? Things like that... First I'll tell about the gym I train at: We are located on the outskirts of Antwerp,we train Thai boxing on monday,tuesday,thursday and friday evening, saturday at midday and also on tuesday and thursday morning with our adult group. On monday,wednesday and saturday we have kids training. On monday and wednesday we also have classic boxing class. We work with 2 head trainers and 5 or 6 fighters who also teach classes in the gym. Because we have various training hours we have about 300 members who train at the gym.We welcome all levels of experience,long or short stay. Average class consist of 20 advanced students and fighters and about 25 students in starter class. In our gym we have about 25 active fighters in various weight and class both woman and men and also kids who fight.Our gym is not small but when its a busy training it feels very crowded...its fully floor covered, we have a ring,4 heavybags,weight area. We also sell all fight gear at the gym; brands are : Booster,Twins,King,Queen. I think training at our gym isnt cheap but neither too expensive, because all student get appropriate guidance. Love to hear about your gym. Nick
  4. Hi Sylvie, I have two questions for you and if you have time, it would be great to hear your opinion on my situation. Firstly, I am currently training at a gym in Chiang Mai area and my original plan was only to train here for 1 month and then go to Bangkok to a gym owned by a famous fighter in October for 1 month, however, after checking out that gym for a morning session I really did not like the area that it is located in (I'm not sure that I would feel safe going for a run there by myself), and I am questioning if I would be taken seriously there, whether I would get the kind of training that would help me get to the next level rather than treating me like a beginner, so I am now contemplating whether I should extend my stay at my current gym to two months or should I still go to another gym so that I get some variety of technique...To be honest, I like how detailed oriented the trainers at my current gym are and that they are picking up on the small things that I didn't know I was doing wrong (although everything I thought I knew has been corrected so many times that it left me wondering if I actually know anything at all and what it was that I was learning/doing for the last 2.5 years, lol), but I feel like I am not learning any new techniques and only get corrected on the techniques that I already have, so I started paying for private sessions (I've done 2 so far and don't know if I should keep going with that) so that I can learn some clinch, since the group clinch sessions are pretty short (maybe 15 minutes at the end of the afternoon session), and to also do some sparring since there doesn't seem to be much sparring happening and the one session that they called boxing sparring was pretty short too and I got put in a ring with a bunch of complete beginners who didn't know how to control their punches and so it was just me trying to avoid any of the wild haymaker punches, while the trainer that was in our ring was jus watching and not saying anything, so I don't know if this is the norm in Thai gyms and this is how they conduct their sparring sessions so would going to another gym be really that different? Do you think it would be a good idea for me to train at another gym after my 1 month at my current gym or do you think I would be making it worse since the other gym would spend time to teach me "their way" of doing things and I would be basically unlearning again what I thought I knew? Or should I stay here at my current gym so that I can put in enough time to learn one style the right way and continue to do private sessions to fill in the gaps from the group sessions? Secondly, I also wanted to try fighting in Thailand but I have never been in a fight that had the use of elbows allowed (I've only done 2 in house fights so I doubt that it counts for much) and I am wondering if these kind of basic sparring sessions at my current gym would prepare me for the use of elbows in a real fight, or would actually help me prepare for any fight at all. When you do sparring at the gym where you train, do you ever practice throwing elbows (in a controlled way) during sparring or is it something that only gets practiced on the pads? I also don't know if I should bring up the fact that I was hoping to be able to get a fight towards the end of my training at this gym or if I am expected to wait to be asked whether it is something I want to do? I feel almost embarrassed now to ask for a fight after having received so many corrections of my technique which up until now I thought was decent (I certainly didn't think that it was perfect but I didn't think that I needed so many corrections), and it actually left me feeling pretty disappointed in myself since I work hard when I train back home, but it almost now seems like it was all wasted effort and that the training that I was getting at home and thought of as being quiet good is not good enough. Do you think if I mention that I want to fight I would get better/different training or would I be laughed at for even asking? Also, do you know if you might be getting any fights in Chiang Mai? I would love to come and watch at least one of your fights Cheers
  5. This was my answer to someone on Reddit who messaged me and asked what I do for mental training. I'm posting it here in case others have had success or experience, or if there are questions people have an would like to raise. This is what I said: Thanks for listening to the whole interview and I’m happy it resonated with you. I’m still working a lot of this out myself and there’s a LOT of trial and error, just like with physical training. It’s also so much easier to slack off of mental training than it is getting physical work in. So whatever routine you figure out for yourself, really set a schedule and stick to it. Break it up into a 5-20 minutes various times throughout the day. Hey, not selling this, it’s expensive. But it was an investment and it worked for me I used this program for myself and found it really helpful: 14 Steps to Mental Toughness. He walks you through some visualizations, using imaginary waves to match rhythms to your breathing for relaxation. Something my brother taught me, also, is that you can practice and teach yourself how to visualize using more mundane things than your training or fight. I found it SO HARD to visualize fighting in a concrete way. So John asked me to describe in strong detail just walking around my apartment. Picking things up, where everything is, how it smells, the lighting, etc. Stuff I see literally every day. That way I see how to visualize with all that detail and can slowly start applying it to being in the ring. A fight is an “event,” but what you’re visualizing isn’t. You’re kind of exploring a space and possibilities – like playing GTA in your brain. Something that really helped me from the tapes was writing down my thoughts before, during and after training, every day. So I’d get to the gym and immediately sit down and just write whatever I was feeling: “tired,” “sleepy,” “unmotivated but ready to work,” “strong,” “I”m going to kill my trainer on the pads,” etc. Then I’d check in and do some more mid-training, then again after everything but before going home. It showed me a few things: 1) My thoughts were really negative a lot of the time, for really no reason. I actually ended up naturally adjusting for this by writing the negative feeling but immediately countering it with “but…” and whatever good could come of it. I wasn’t forcing myself to be positive, I actually just started feeling like “I’m tired but I can focus on being relaxed in my movements” was better at driving me. 2) It showed me that my thoughts change over time in practice. I can come in feeling negative and end up feeling great at the end. Or I can come in rearing to go and then something that happens in training gets me down. Which leads to 3) I have control over how I respond to things. I just have to be aware of it – mindful of what I’m thinking and whether or not I want to keep thinking those things. More recently I’m working on connecting relaxing breaths to active movements. So instead of holding my breath when I’m being hit or blocking or striking, I pay attention to breathe out and in with a rhythm to my movements. The point is to get my heart rate down under pressure, but it’s conditioning myself to do it automatically through movements I’m going to be using without being able to think about breathing. If you breathe while trying to drink water you choke. But you don’t think about “don’t breathe” in order to drink water – you do it automatically. So I’m trying to get my body to do those automatic things to stay relaxed under pressure. As for a schedule, figure out where you need to focus your attention: how you talk to yourself, how you respond under pressure, visualizing, etc. and work out a plan to work on these things several times every day. I visualize when I lie down for a nap or sleep. I write when I’m at the gym. I breathe when I’m actually training.
  6. Hi, Im struggling a lot over self-confidence and being emotional run down. For most parts of my life Im a really self-confident person. I travelled all over the world and never had anyone telling me what I can or can't do. I just went my own way and if things didn't add up any more I quit, moved somewhere else or tried to work it out. It was never in particular running away, but probably a little. When I took up training I did it for the sake of fun, never with the intention to start fighting. I have never been a sporty person in particulary, though I always did all sorts of outdoor sports, Im just too heavy to be athletic by nature. My will to fight changed when I started training in a professional gym n whcih I got pushed hard and I started believing in myself. My coaches would never praise me, but they would train you in a way that you trust yourself. Though I always went through daily emtional highs and lows, usually crying after training coz I felt so bad. However I always felt safe with my coach, if he would say run, I run, if he would say jump out that window I would have jumped, that much I trusted him. After I left that gym I put matters in my own hands, training in different places, training a lot for myself additionally. I felt good and quite self-confident, as long as my fitness was up and running. However lately I started doubting myself again heavily. Last summer I trained with a different coach (due to yet another move) and he is quite technical coming from a boxing background, I was never good enough for anything and it slowly got myself down again. Before entering the ring before a fight he would tell ne how slow I am and that I needed to twist this and that anymore, than I started thinking about it, because I want to please and make it right, thats when I lost. again again, but always in my mind first, because I wanted to get my technique right, he completely tried to changed my fight style. I did take a lot out of it, but it is not the way I fight. It all led to cancelling a fight 2 weeks ago because I didnt get all the training in I wanted, though deep down I know I could have easily stepped into the ring even without having worked on the bags or did any sparring. My fitness was ok and I could have done it. Only my head led me down. After my last loss in February I took up mental training, one Emma recommended in one of her blog posts, but this is a much deeper issue. I always needed someone in my back to trust in me, not to necessarily to tell me, but to cover up my back. I adore people who dont need that, who can just jump into a fight without the preperation Im used to. are there more people out there like this?
  7. I'm curious to see what everyone says as it seems there are a lot of members who are in/have been to Thailand. My gym supplies speed ropes, but after stopping in at a few other gyms over the years I'd come to prefer the heavy ones and have since purchased my own. I feel like it helps work my upper body and gets it warmed up a lot better than a speed rope.
  8. I wanted to post my guest post here: Broken Tusk: Breaking the Body and the Art of Fighting because I think this is a really deep topic and possibly there is a lot to be talked about here. The idea is that the fighting arts compose a kind of graphic system that can be used to express an inherent beauty in violence, and that the pursuit of fighting arts, in that they are arts, and in that they verge towards a real violence, can be used to restore bodies and spirits that have been broken. In fact, through fighting the body can be built as a "higher" body, and higher house, a higher vehicle, by analogy. An excerpt: ...Sylvie’s “house of the spirit” doesn’t really exist any longer, not in any sense that we often assume someone to have one. Her house of the spirit, her body, was broken that day of multiple violations. Her spirit has no dependable house, no real protective shell. Since she was 11 she has been living in the ruins of her body-house, and as the human spirit is both beautiful and adaptable she has learned to live in those ruins. She can hide in them, in the broken pieces, use the shadows, the crevices, the places people don’t think to look. She learned since that young age to be in the ruins, of a kind. What Sylvie is doing in Thailand – for all those who don’t get (or worse, approve of) what she is doing – is building a higher house, or one can just as easily say, a higher body to replace the broken house/body she has had for all these years. This is why she strains and breaks herself over and over and over, reaching up to the promise of calm in the onslaught of violence. And like Genesha she cannot stop until the epic is written. This is why the Art of Muay Thai is a salvation and even a duty, the calm she sees in the bodies and faces of so many Thais that have fought since a young age – the poise, the balance, the grace, the ease – it calls her. This attempt is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I'd love to hear the experiences and thoughts of others. So many focus on the violence of the real fighting arts and imagine a motive of something between aggression and rage. But to me the fighting arts, when pursued, are something so different. They compose a base language, and a writing system that uses the broken edges of the body as its instrument. In the article I draw the analogy of the myth of Ganesha, and his broken tusk:
  9. I'm posting this article by Aaron Jahn here because it is a great breakdown of the science behind the Thai (and western boxing) focus on running. There are arguments out there against the importance and efficacy of running for fighting, but the Thais believe in it whole-heartedly, and I've embraced it despite a really heavy work load. It just makes you better. Better both physically and psychologically. I've seen the arguments for HIIT and sprints replacing longer runs for equal cardio benefit, but I've always believed that running was at the crossroads of physical and mental in a way that short "hacks" aren't. I don't always share Aaron John's stuff because he puts some pretty sexist, and to my ear anti-female content, but this article is definitely worth reading: Don't Run, Don't Fight - The Science Behind the Thai Obsession with Running Some parts that I liked include: The other benefit of having a lower resting heart rate is that it will take you longer to reach your anaerobic threshold – the point you switch from producing the majority of your energy aerobically to anaerobically. As Mike Robertson puts it, athletes need to increase the gap between their resting heart rate and anaerobic threshold – the aerobic window. The aerobic window is worked out like this; Anaerobic threshold – resting heart rate = aerobic window For example, if Thai boxer “A” has a resting heart rate of 70bpm and his anaerobic threshold is 150bpm, then his aerobic window is 80bpm. Thai boxer “B” has a resting heart rate of 55bpm and his anaerobic threshold is 180bpm, giving him an aerobic window of 125bpm. Clearly, Thai boxer “B” has the largest window in which to primarily utilise aerobic energy and won’t tax the fatiguing anaerobic systems as quickly as Thai boxer “A”. The cardiac output method is very efficient in reducing our resting and working heart rate and improving one side of the aerobic window spectrum. With regards to raising the anaerobic threshold, there are more specific methods we can use, such as threshold training." And I’ve also learnt that shunning a particular training method which has been implemented by hundreds of thousands of fighters that has served them extremely well over decades of practice because of a few misinterpreted studies is arrogant. Not only is it arrogant, but it is detrimental to the growth of the sport, not to mention the potential counter-productivity its affects will have on fighters. Obviously there are considerable roadblocks to running for many people: shin splints, bad knees, heel spurs, etc. These very common running injuries are largely absent from any of the Thai fighters I've known and/or trained with. A number of these typical injuries are due to a "too much, too soon" approach when westerners touch down in Thailand. Build up gradually - I recommend people get their mileage up before getting to Thailand for their trips. In the article the author suggests there are other cardio options for building up aerobic capacity, but doesn't explicitly give any examples or suggestions. For those who cannot run, Joel Jamieson, who Aaron Jahn sites does suggest a regime of non-running exercises that may give you what running does. Check those out. In that article, Running 2.0, there are some good summations on the weakness of an interval-only approach: Another of the arguments often used to support the exclusive use of interval methods instead of steady-state training is that combat sports are explosive and therefore anaerobic in nature. The biggest problem with this argument is simply that it’s not true. On the contrary, combat sorts require high levels of both aerobic and anaerobic fitness, but the overall majority, i.e. greater than 50% of the energy necessary to fight, comes from the aerobic energy system. How do we know this is the case? Well, for one thing, performance in sports that really are highly anaerobic, sports like like weightlifting, Olympic lifting, 100m sprinting, field events, etc. cannot be repeated without very long rest periods. Try asking a sprinter to run 100m at full speed and then run another one 20 seconds later and see what happens – I guarantee he or she will look at you like you’re crazy! In combat sports, the skills are certainly explosive, but they’re also highly repetitive and sub- maximal. You aren’t throwing every single punch or kick as hard as you possibly could. You aren’t putting every ounce of strength and power into every single movement because everyone knows that if you did that, you’d quickly gas out. The bottom line is that all combat sports require a balance of both aerobic and anaerobic energy development. Writing off methods like roadwork that have been proven for years to effectively increase aerobic fitness simply because they may appear slower than the skills of the sport is like saying there is no reason to do anything but spar because that’s the closet speed to an actual fight. A lot of proponents for the “nothing but intervals” approach also argue that even if roadwork is effective, it simply takes too much time and you can get the same results with less time using higher intensity training. The truth is that roadwork does take more time than doing an interval workout, there is no doubt, but this also is part of why it’s able to deliver more long-term results. As discussed previously, higher intensity methods often lead to greater progress in the short run, but this comes at the expense of plateaus and stagnation. Lower intensity methods may not work as fast, but they produce much more long-term consistent increases in aerobic fitness and when it comes right down to it, improving conditioning and performance requires time and hard work. As much as it might sound good to say you can achieve better results in 4 minutes than you can in 40 minutes, the real world has proven this idea to be nothing more than wishful thinking.
  10. (I hope this is the right section) Today a friend of mine accused me of being a fitness junkie because I train four times a week. I suspect it was because I said I couldn't do something with her because I had training. My question is: are we all endorphine junkies or people who don't train regularly perceive us as such because we have different priorities? Is there an actual addiction to endorphine problem when you train almost every day? What is the reaction of the people around you (family/friends) to your training schedule?
  11. Today I was having a private training session and something interesting happened. It's happened once or twice before but this is the first time I've really thought about it. During the last round of pad work today I was exhausted and my power and technique was dropping and flying out the window. My trainer kept yelling at me to go harder, and as I was pushing myself there was a point where I had a burst of emotion. It was a combination of frustration at myself for not being able to strike harder, anger at myself and also anger where my body was going "I'M KICKING HARD WHY IS THIS NOT HARD ENOUGH". I also felt myself get angry at my trainer at points in the last round where I think I was just transferring my frustrations. By that point for no reason I also thought I might start crying or something. Its odd because I started off the session feeling quite good and I finished it feeling relatively calm as well, it was just that point where I had this huge burst of emotion. I know being calm and controlled is important but this just came out of nowhere. I almost started punching the heavy bags afterwards just to vent but it disappeared really rapidly. Have any of you guys had something similar happen in training or fighting?
  12. In case you work and train for fights- how do you balance out work and training? In my case I find it easy to train twice a day around work when I work away from home. I tend to move around a lot and live in different places, at those times training is my social life and keeps me sane. ( I work in tourism so I work 7 days a week during summer time and a little less in off season) At the moment I'm working home and I have friends who tend to be pissed of I don't say hallo from time to time, I have a house to take care of and my gym is 40k away, plus work finishes late so I miss class and have to train for myself. I find all of that hard in order to get enough sparring and partner work in. Fitness is not a problem, just the rest is. How do you balance it out?
  13. Hello everyone, not sure if any of you have ever noticed anything similar in your training, but lately I've been experiencing the following situation in my training and I'm not sure if this is simply a normal part of trying to learn something new or if perhaps I may be having issues with some mental block or whether I'm experiencing a bit of burnout from training too much/not enough rest: I'm usually training 5-6 days a week, with the sparring sessions being later at night, usually the last class of the evening at 8:30pm, and those are the only sessions that I can go to since I work during the day time (wake up at 5am, finish work at 4:30 in the afternoon, start training at 6:15 in the evening). I've been trying to force myself to stay for the sparring classes even when I'm already tired since I would like to get more practice before my trip to Thailand in 4 months, however, I find that I'm becoming slower, more hesitant, and have difficulty incorporating new techniques into my sparring, instead end up using the same techniques over and over, it's almost like I can't beat my reflex in favor of a different technique; I practice different techniques in shadowboxing but it doesn't seem to be translating into practical application...I'm not really sure if this is simply because of not enough sparring practice, or if there's some kind of mental training that I could be doing that would make it easier for me to apply what I know, or am I simply doing more harm than good by forcing myself to stay for sparring when I'm already tired. If you have ever noticed any of those things in your training and if you have any suggestions for my issue it would be much appreciated. Thank you
  14. Hi Sylvie, I want to start with saying how inspirational you have been to my girlfriend and me. We came across your Youtube page 3 or 4 months ago and we have both been following your muay thai journey diligently ever since. We often ask each other if we have read Sylvie's post in the morning as "it is a good one!" We are coming to Thailand to train, in 9 days, and I want to fight 2-3 times during my two month stay. I have never fought before but have been training various martial arts off and on for 8-9 years. I made the decision to fight and have been training with consistency for the first time ever, running lots, going from 180 lbs to 150 in the last 4 months. I am planning on travelling during the first month to check out 5-6 different camps around Thailand and decide where I want to spend the last month training at. My girlfriend is with me the first month and then just me for the last month. I would like to fight at least once before she leaves, but will be gym hopping. From your posts it sounds like Chiang Mai is the easiest place to get fights, is that correct? If I show up in good shape, will I be able to get a fight right away? Do you have any recommendations on camps to go check out? We are flying into Bangkok and are flexible from there. On the list right now is Master Toddy's, 13 coins, Sinbi, Lanna and the gyms you are training out of in Pattaya. The main objective is training and fighting. We are not going to be there to party or vacation, but if a beach is nearby that would be a bonus. We would love to come train with you and watch you fight. Do you have any scheduled fights between April 25 and May 11? Any advice is greatly appreciated. Again thank you for the inspiration that you provide us both on a daily basis. This trip might not be happening if it wasn't for you! Cheers, Matt
  15. I am travelling to Thailand in one week to train and fight and have increased my conditioning for months in preparation, but am wondering if there is anything I can do in the next week to make the transition to full time training smoother? Things to focus on? Anything that I should avoid?
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