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Tim Macias

Muay Lertrit Diaries - Coming to Thailand To Train in Traditional Military Muay Thai

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4 hours ago, guyver4 said:

Maybe try just tracking your hip with your elbow, to give yourself a feel for the movement . . .

Also, the footwork, and change in guard you were doing through the first video was beautiful. I noticed you getting frustrated at times, but just give it time, it's something that will come with practice . . .

Awesome start to the project. Looking forward to more.

 

Thank you for your comments, notes and encouragement! I told the General yesterday, maybe in a few thousand reps all I'll get one correct. Then I'll need another thousand before the next one comes. I'm not looking to just get it right, I want to get to a point where I can't do it wrong. 

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There is a saying from Bruce Lee which we have in our Dojo "I am not afraid of a man who has practiced ten thousand kicks 1 time, I'm afraid of the man who had practiced 1 kick, ten thousand times" which is beautiful in in its self, but at the core of it he is saying the one who had practiced the one kick ten thousand times may only have the one kick in his arsenal, but it can come from anywhere, or from nothing at all. It is so finely tuned that no matter the situation, that kick can come with just as much technique and force from an offensive, defensive or neutral position.

Basically, what I'm saying (before I start rambling), it isn't a matter of doing a technique right or not being able to do it wrong, it's more a point of being able to use that technique out of nothing, or it being so automatic you practically don't know you're doing it until you've already thrown it.

In essence, your body reacting automatically to a trigger rather than you thinking "I'm going to throw this particular technique"

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2 hours ago, guyver4 said:

Basically, what I'm saying (before I start rambling), it isn't a matter of doing a technique right or not being able to do it wrong, it's more a point of being able to use that technique out of nothing, or it being so automatic you practically don't know you're doing it until you've already thrown it.

I think it's totally great to be offering support, but maybe, because Timothy is brave enough to be sharing video which will record things he feels are failures, by which we all can learn, it's best to not be giving too much "advice support" from the crowd. These kinds of comments are super well-meaning, but they very often don't help someone who already knows they aren't hitting the mark they want to hit, and putting it out there. Very few people post video of development. Sylvie gets lots of these on YouTube. We are all cheering Timothy on. Hey, just my two cents coming from my own perspective.

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8 minutes ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

I think it's totally great to be offering support, but maybe, because Timothy is brave enough to be sharing video which will record things he feels are failures, by which we all can learn, it's best to not be giving too much "advice" from the crowd. These kinds of comments are super well-meaning, but they really don't help someone who already knows they aren't hitting the mark they want to hit, and putting it out there. Very few people post video of development. Sylvie gets lots of these on YouTube. We are all cheering Timothy on.

I apologise for going a bit overboard in my responses. I'll tone them down a bit. I only mean to encourage and empower Tim to get as much out of this as possible.

What he is doing is above and beyond the expectations set out by this project, and he is doing an amazing job.

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1 minute ago, guyver4 said:

I apologise for going a bit overboard in my responses. I'll tone them down a bit. I only mean to encourage and empower Tim to get as much out of this as possible

Hey, totally. I run into it all the time myself! I want to encourage and support, but then don't even know what is helpful. But yes, the project is above and beyond, and Tim is incredible for diving in. Nobody really posts this kind of raw footage and comment. Making history.

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18 hours ago, guyver4 said:

it's something that will come with practice, and probably from having to un-learn old habits.

After re-watching the videos a couple of times I cannot say enough how much of this we are doing and how much of it doesn't really shine through in the videos! There are so many tiny adjustments that we are both having to make that are completely contrary to things we have been training for years. Literally everything from balance points, wrist alignment, hand rotation, weight transfer/foot rotation, rhythm of breathing, stopping points of a strike, and more are completely reversed from everything I have been taught over the last few years. I spent nearly the entire first day just trying to walk in a straight line correctly while breathing lol. It is a lot to focus on at one time. I've been training out here for a few years and never had to focus on so many aspects at one time. On top of that there is a bit of the "trying to drink from a fire-hose" effect going on just from the amount of technique we have been shown (at least for me personally) since General Tunkawom is trying to show Tim as much as possible in three weeks. The General's aide has come in a few times to watch and has mentioned how quickly General Tunkawom is moving us through different techniques. It is insanely mentally exhausting even though it is a total blast! 

Kevin has talked a few times about "hacking" Muay Thai, and to be honest and completely shameless, I'm pretty good at that lol. This is totally different though. There is no way to hack this, it is SOOOO much more precise than any of the stadium fighting styles. Exact and measured repetition of the fundamentals is the only way to make progress. That is part of the mentality of the style though. If you overextend or get off balance in the ring, you risk losing by KO. If you do that in actual hand to hand combat which this style is designed for, you are going home in a bag. Everything must be perfect EVERY time. 

Also, just for future, I don't mind if anyone comments on my technique (maybe PM me so we'll keep things from getting clusterfucked on the main forum). I like to analyze that kind of stuff. Fifty percent chance that I will either listen objectively or I'll tell you to shut your face lol. Either way though, I'll definitely take a look 🤣 oftentimes people catch stuff that I don't and maybe it will help nail down some of the finer points of this style through discussion. 

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I've been meaning to ask if that was you in the video lol.

Even though you're going through it all at an intensive rate, you are both doing great! I have no issues with inboxing you bits if I see you getting frustrated with yourself at anything. From what I've seen though, it's that "generating power from the hips" and the elbow tracking the hips which each person on the video struggled with.

Practice practice practice 😉

keep up the good work guys !!

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On 6/30/2019 at 3:55 PM, Tim Macias said:

He usually prefaces with asking me if I know what he showing me. This is my least favorite question, in any art. I don’t think I KNOW anything. I’ve seen a lot, and I’ve practiced a lot, but knowing is something different.

Absolute best attitude anyone can have in martial arts. Everyone has their approach to techniques and they all think that their way is the right way. I really like that you recognise that. 🙂 

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8 hours ago, Tyler Byers said:

I cannot say enough how much of this we are doing and how much of it doesn't really shine through in the videos! There are so many tiny adjustments that we are both having to make . . .

It is insanely mentally exhausting even though it is a total blast! 

There is no way to hack this, it is SOOOO much more precise than any of the stadium fighting styles. Exact and measured repetition of the fundamentals is the only way to make progress. That is part of the mentality of the style though.

Said perfectly.

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8 hours ago, guyver4 said:

From what I've seen though, it's that "generating power from the hips" and the elbow tracking the hips which each person on the video struggled with.

For me the difficult part of the straight punch is to not turning/corkscrewing my hand as I punch, not lifting my shoulders/chest, and also to not rotate my back foot when punching with the rear hand. Usually I would do about a 1/4 turn going from guard to full extension, but he wants us to have zero rotation on the hand/arm. None. And the fist needs to still end up in a traditional boxing position instead of what you would see in Karate or Taekwando with the thumb facing the ceiling. Everything comes from the hips so that there is literally a perfectly straight (and therefore efficient) movement. If done correctly the hips will move the fist into the correct position but also causes the elbow to flare a bit (remember it isn't stadium style so we aren't worried about losing on points due to being mid-kicked; he's also got some nasty counters for this that we just haven't got into yet). We're also stopping at the target (which from a scientific standpoint should cause a ripple effect as the energy disperses on the target and will cause a flash KO) and purposely not fully extending our arms to avoid potential arm locks. These small change ends up changing the angle of everything else and how weight transfers. On top of that, we've got to consider defensive positioning at the same time. It's MUCH harder than it sounds lol. I feel like I am reworking everything from day one like I've never thrown a punch before. And then also being asked to transition and do it from the opposite stance all in one streamlined movement. The amount of small details is seriously overwhelming but also really cool when you can see how effective it is. I spent a ton of time both in the gym and at home just looking at the movement of my fist while slowly trying to weight transfer and turn my waist. 

Overall I guess what I am trying to say is that what we are doing/showing in these videos isn't really "complete" yet as he doesn't really break things down into individual techniques as we would in Western boxing or Muay Thai (i.e. a jab, a hook, a teep, etc.) where you work off a specific technique or stance and then feel things out while trading attacks. It is more a complete system with a few fundamentals that flows one movement directly into another without a specific stance and must be perfected to maintain balance and power. With stadium Muay Thai you use strikes to pick apart your opponent, but typically you would throw at max 4-6 strikes in one combination. This style just keeps going. It is complete and utter domination of your opponent regardless of your current stance and situation. The first day he asked us "if you were fighting five opponents right now, who would you disable or kill first and who would you finish last?", and he was quite serious about that. He wanted us to walk him through the mental process of how that fight would play out and how we would survive that kind of encounter. The style is built around making sure you are never knocked to the ground and to injure your opponent with every movement whether defensive or offensive. 90% of it seems to be geared towards having a super strong defensive base to maintain balance as well as a clear sight picture of the fight, and then counterattacking whatever area is open (T-line of the face, sternum, groin, armpits, organs, joints, etc.). As a combat vet who has actually used hand to hand combat during hundreds of raids (I did over 600 raids my last deployment alone) I am actually really impressed with how well thought out the entire system is and how lethal its potential is. I'm really looking forward to perfecting the small stuff so it all feels smooth and can we worked into larger chains of attack. Slow is smooth, smooth is fast 😀 so much of this is reminiscent of learning to shoot from a supported base, then moving to individual 25m flat range, then to individual KD range, then to team movement drills, then to CQB/shoot houses, then to full scenarios with sim rounds, and eventually culminating in actual combat operations.

Hahaha sorry that was a bit of a memory dump, I hope it makes sense. I did a bunch of mid-sentence editing so some of it may be incoherent. I enjoy this kind of discourse though, I wish we had time to do some commentary over the top of the video. It would be fun to explain what is going on mentally during some of this training so we can point out some of the small stuff we are working on or that he explains to us.

Edited by Tyler Byers
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@Tim Macias From the vlog above, I find this really interesting.

"inhales before he strikes...then exhales on the recoil"

I know nothing of kung fu and other traditional martial arts, but always got the sense that the exhale on the strike point was a moment of "release", that in some sense, even emotionally, when the breath comes out, energy is "coming out" or being transferred. To move from this basic pattern of storing energy (inhaling), and then releasing energy (on contact) would be profound, like learning an entirely different body map and rhythm, a very different music. On the other hand though, I wonder if this alternate breathing really points to the fundamentally profound difference in the General's art. In Boran styles, commonly, you will hear how important defense is, that the core of the art is somehow defensive, or at least "not offensive". It makes sense for a truly martial art to be oriented first towards self preservation.

This is the compelling point. If "release" is on the point of attack, or is on the point of maybe we can call it "gathering". This seems like a very powerful emotional mapping difference. The release (exhale) is on return, because for the General everything is rooted in the return, never falling outside the frame -- if I can wager that thought.

I also wonder if the development of breathing patterns on impact, of traditional martial arts, may have been guided by their gradual removal from live fighting and combat. A focus on delivering the blow, rather than within the gathering of the human forum <<< prospective thinking here

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8 minutes ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

then exhales on the recoil

I really like the way Tim put this, it is absolutely perfect. Recoil is the right word in so many ways. Each strike is like the bolt of a rifle sliding back as gas (breath) is expelled and then slamming forward again as another round is chambered.

In regards to comparisons between Kung Fu and Muay Lertrit, I'd be curious to know what @Tim Macias thinks about your comment regarding breathing in the Muay Lertrit and the style being more defensive at its core. For example, is Kung Fu more aggressive in its roots due to the opposite breathing pattern, or as you mentioned, did the traditional martial arts simply move away from that as they were removed from combat settings? I also have no experience with traditional martial arts so I would like to know what Tim thinks. I also wonder if the breathing is simply rooted in a response to a sudden attack, similar to how we inhale sharply when startled or are about to be in a car accident?

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Exhaling on striking is physiologically normal. Or actually you do it with any exertion. It has nothing to do with traditional martial arts moving away from actual combat. So no wonder you guys are struggling with it. It's not a natural thing to do. Just to clarify my thoughts here, I would like you to bear in my mind the exhalation on striking isn't just a release it also is defensive in nature, so you don't get winded in a counter strike scenario. We all know how much that hurts.

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2 hours ago, Jeremy Stewart said:

Exhaling on striking is physiologically normal.

I'm really not sure that this is the case. Or, I am very hesitant to apply "normal" or "natural" to certain reactions. We become highly conditioned. For instance, lots of people might hold their breath during exertion, and exhale afterwards. And in thinking about the animal kingdom I can't even picture an animal exhaling strongly on exertion or attack. Maybe??? But I think it's far from believing that exhalation on a strike is "normal". When a child hits you they aren't making a "Hiiii-yahh!" If I had to guess it is probably more "normal" to just hold your breath?

2 hours ago, Jeremy Stewart said:

I would like you to bear in my mind the exhalation on striking isn't just a release it also is defensive in nature, so you don't get winded in a counter strike scenario. We all know how much that hurts.

I'm not sure about that either. If you are breathing IN (after your strike) you are actually extremely vulnerable to counter strike blows to the body. You hit someone on the inhale and they go down. Just being armchair here, it seems that the exhale right when you might be counterstruck, would be more ideal defensively. Maybe I'm just spinning things, but at first blush that is what it looks like to me.

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3 hours ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

I know nothing of kung fu and other traditional martial arts, but always got the sense that the exhale on the strike point was a moment of "release", that in some sense, even emotionally, when the breath comes out, energy is "coming out" or being transferred. To move from this basic pattern of storing energy (inhaling), and then releasing energy (on contact) would be profound, like learning an entirely different body map and rhythm, a very different music.

That's always how I've taken it as well. I think that's where the idea of qi comes from that you hear a lot about, especially in Shaolin. When you hear them talking about the flow of qi at first you're like 'huh, okay qi isn't real' but then when you get past the apparent wizardry they are usually meaning the flow of kinetic energy.

So when the punch comes and you hear that grunt and exhalation it's tensing the core and allowing that power to go through you and into the target. That's why styles with iron body/iron shirt conditioning are big on exhaling as you get punched to harden up and protect the organs.

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3 minutes ago, AndyMaBobs said:

That's why styles with iron body/iron shirt conditioning are big on exhaling as you get punched to harden up and protect the organs.

This would suggest that the General's exhale on recoil is much more in keeping with defensive priorities, as this is when you would be most likely counter struck. If you exhale on the offensive then you would be more vulnerable to counters (on the inhale).

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I wish I could contribute to this breathing conversation in the manner which I think you all want me to. But, one: there are sweeping generalizations being made, and two: I have no idea.

A thing I’ve noticed about training, is the vague generalization of all other arts, except the one being engaged in. For example, in just being in Thailand, there is an insistence of the endless styles of Muay Thai, but when discussing other arts, there is the reduction of all other styles into one, generalized practice. As if there is only one Karate, Taekwondo or Kung Fu. My style of Kung Fu is an obscure sub-branch of another sub-branch, both of which have few similarities to what was portrayed in Kung Fu movies popularized in the 60’s and 70’s. I can not speak for all of Kung Fu, just my horse hair thin piece of it.

And really I have no idea why the breathing patterns occur the way they do. I accept all the above notions. There are considerations for protecting ones organs, as well as energetically moving through a technique. Truth be told, I breath the way I do, because it’s what I was instructed to do. I have only been practicing for 13 years. This is only a small fraction of the lifetime others have been practicing. My instructor for example has been training longer than Bruce Lee was even alive; and the General has been practicing for longer then my instructor as been alive! I have not yet reached the understanding of any one concept to be able to question it. My job at this adolescent stage in my martial arts study, is to do what I am told. Maybe in 40 or 50 years, I'll be able to question things.

What all of this makes me thing about is this idea that a black belt is one’s culmination of training and learning. Rather, I support the idea from a Jiujitsu black belt; a black belt is your qualification to begin learning. Similarly, Jimmy H Woo, who is the head of my San Soo lineage, said, a Master of Kung Fu is two things: a master of themselves and a master of covering their mistakes. I see this this last point in the General every now and then. Not often, but one or twice in a session, the General losses his balance ever so slightly. What the General, or any Master for that matter, is the best at, is not letting you know. And what the General has consistently talked about as a strength of Lertrit, is it’s ability to recover. If you miss a strike, or an opponent moves on you first, you can recover and make the best out of a situation. 

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1 hour ago, Tim Macias said:

For example, in just being in Thailand, there is an insistence of the endless styles of Muay Thai, but when discussing other arts, there is the reduction of all other styles into one, generalized practice. As if there is only one Karate, Taekwondo or Kung Fu.

Well, there is one point of divergence in at least most Thailand Muay Thai. In a single gym you will often find intensely diverse styles, and sometimes even contradictory technique instructions - you aren't experiencing this with the General who is really teaching in a much more traditional martial art style. Put your foot here, someone says. Then another kru will tell you to put it in another place. Swing your arm this way. No swing it that way. The variety in Thailand Muay Thai is incredible, even in a single gym. But I assume everyone in your Kung Fu tradition is taught to all do things the same way, moving towards an ideal form. One reason why one generalizes about traditional martial arts is that they tend to be passed down in a generalizing, or maybe, a uniformizing way, that is quite different than say the Muay Thai of Thailand or in maybe western boxing gyms. 

But, what would be interesting is if any of the Karate, TKD and Kung Fu styles, as branching as they may be, possessed breathing patterns you are learning, the breath on the recoil.

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40 minutes ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

Put your foot here, someone says. Then another kru will tell you to put it in another place. Swing your arm this way. No swing it that way.

Hahaha this makes things so nutty in a Thai gym. Things can get real awkward real fast when you've got two trainers with opposing styles. Everything you do becomes wrong and everyone involved gets frustrated. Something I really like about the General is that he is big on talking about everything. While he definitely believes how he does things is the "correct" way, we always have discussion and bring different stuff to the table. Its really fun to have discourse about the training and helps break things down a bit easier.

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22 hours ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

really not sure that this is the case. Or, I am very hesitant to apply "normal" or "natural" to certain reactions. We become highly conditioned. For instance, lots of people might hold their breath during exertion, and exhale afterwards. And in thinking about the animal kingdom I can't even picture an animal exhaling strongly on exertion or attack. Maybe??? But I think it's far from believing that exhalation on a strike is "normal". When a child hits you they aren't making a "Hiiii-yahh!" If I had to guess it is probably more "normal" to just hold your breath

A lot of people do hold their breath when under exertion and exhale afterwards. This maybe is okay for single repetitions of heavy exertion. I will contend to be efficient at something one has to breathe (obviously😂😂😂), my point above was to agree with Tyler. No wonder they had trouble as inhaling on the strike is very different. You may be right and we are conditioned to exhale in whatever we're doing, be it boxing, weights or kicking a footy.

 

22 hours ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

not sure about that either. If you are breathing IN (after your strike) you are actually extremely vulnerable to counter strike blows to the body. You hit someone on the inhale and they go down. Just being armchair here, it seems that the exhale right when you might be counterstruck, would be more ideal defensively. Maybe I'm just spinning things, but at first blush that is what it looks like to me.

I guess, I was trying to get across a different idea and that idea was getting hit whilst hitting. Leading to getting winded which like you said can get you dropped. I wasn't attempting to say the general's idea was incorrect.

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So here is my theory on the breathing thing... I think it doesn't matter if you are inhaling or exhaling as a defensive mechanism, either way you are essentially holding your breath on the pause (either inward or outward) to contract your core and protect your organs.

Where I think things differ with the sharp inhale just prior to being struck is that it allows you to keep your core steady like a barrel full of water which helps with balance upon contact. Think about how power-lifters inhale and hold just prior to doing a heavy squat. It helps protect your core and keeps everything contracted. Also according to them it allows you to lift more weight because of that stability or in our scenario exert more force on the counter strike which is really what you are waiting for. This style heavily relies on defensive counter striking and ideally you aren't doing five three minute rounds, so long term endurance isn't really that big of an issue from a conceptual standpoint. 

It really is a case of same same but different. I think it is dependent on the situation. I'm actually finding that a lot of this training is taking me back to my old style (which I am quite happy about), and to be honest I didn't really have any endurance issues with it back then even though it was constant movement and counter attacking. I think your body just gets used to it all and becomes more efficient at using energy.

I kind of think of the inhale vs exhale thing in a similar manner to aerobic vs anaerobic training. They are just different. For example you wouldn't train all aerobic activity if you were planning on swimming competitively. You would still likely be in great shape, but you are going to get tired more quickly because your breathing rhythm has to change while swimming and your body isn't used to it. 

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