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The Breaking Of Ruup: Intensity Must Match Load


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This is something we will probably be discussing in the next Muay Bones Podcast, but it is seriously interesting. It comes from an article on load management in the NBA. I'm not so much interested in any conclusions in the article (that is a more pampered recovery orientation, maybe we can call it Wagu Training, is perhaps aimed at a different aesthetic, and even spiritual goal), so much as the basic diagnostic framework used by longtime Laker trainer Gary Vitti, and how that intersects with the Thai concept of Ruup (basic bodily form, not just physically, but as an expression of state). In fights you basically try to break your opponent's Ruup, and maintain your own. Vitti, when watching players looking for warning signs essentially look for the breaking of what Thais call Ruup:

Screenshot_20191225-095115_Google News.jpg

What is super interesting is that this dovetails into Sylvie's recent re-understanding of the common Thai trainer's admonition "Mai me lang" (You have no power [today]). She had always taken this to mean "You aren't hitting the pads as hard as usual", but really came to recently see it more as "Your Ruup is breaking". The overly form of your expression, everything about you, visually. The Thais, ridiculed in the pro-science dudes as dumb and uneducated are right on it. It's all about Ruup, first. When the Ruup is breaking, something needs to change.

The other key is further in the article. Intensity must meet load. Thais are famous for their very intense training, but what is missing from the stereotype is a) the micro-rests and relaxation that are constantly occurring in even the most pushed Thai training, the little downshifts are there everywhere if you learn to see them, and b) Thais are not training just Load. They are training Intensity during Load.

This is the NBA way of rationalizing this relationship for data capture:

Screenshot_20191225-095025_Google News.jpg

What the Thais understand, perhaps even better than Gary Vitti, and this comes from the performative dimension of Muay Thai in Thailand, is that you are first and always training your Ruup, the compensive dignity, the integrity of the movement, and the emotional expression of the Self. The reason for this is that the Thai load is high, very high, and thus the Intensity, the focus has to match that load. Training is like this, fighting is like this. Westerners like to flip themselves onto the ropes, or bellow out in a groan after a brutal round of padwork, maybe even throw themselves on the ground. I've seen the impacts of westerners on Thais in the gym even, as if it's a disease of expression, caught like a contagion from the west. The truth is that if you are rigorously training Ruup in all things you create a carefully calibrated, extremely sensitive diagnostic tool for a Thai trainer. If your Ruup starts to break in even small ways (ie, not thrownly yourself on the ropes, heaving how hard you worked), they can see they something is wrong, or needs to be adjusted, perhaps. And training the intensity of Ruup (composure), is the Golden Key to understanding why Muay Thai is like no other fighting art in the world.

 

Selected from: The Ringer: How Kawhi Leonard Turned Load Management Into a Style of Play.
https://www.theringer.com/nba/2019/12/24/21036024/kawhi-leonard-clippers-load-management

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    • Just very briefly I want to take up one of the most interesting aspects of the fighting art of Thailand's traditional Muay Thai, an aspect that really cues for me how I watch fights and weigh the skills of fighters. Managing distance. Many people watch "strikes" and look for "points", but there is an under-fabric to strikes, a kind of landscape of them, no less than how a topography will influence how a battle is fought between armies. Even the most practiced strikes rise and fall to opportunity, and in Muay Thai a significant determination of opportunity is distance. Above is a quick edit of Sylvie's last fight up in Buriram, bringing out all the significant moments of engagement, telling the story in about a minute. (The full fight should be up in a few weeks with Sylvie's commentary, as usual.) I'm going to start with Entertainment Muay Thai as presenting an negative can often be the best way to bring out a positive. Entertainment Muay Thai (and there are many versions of it, so we have to be very broad here), is largely principled by eliminating the importance of distance. What is sought, again being very broad, is a more or less continuous trading in the pocket. The quest is for an easy to follow, by the casual eye, "action". Everything is about the distance of the pocket. Setting up outside of the pocket can be regarded as anti-action (so, if you do, you should regularly charge into the pocket...and trade). And fighting through the pocket, to clinch range, is also devalued by very quick clinch breaks, scoring biases (changing traditional aesthetics). Clinch, which historically is featured in some of the most technical fighting of the sport, in Entertainment Muay Thai is more and more understood as a stall of the main goal. Pocket trading. 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