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"Deep Grooves"


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While I was listening to a MTB podcast an idea came up that I thought was very interesting and that I thought warranted further discussion. Sylvie was talking about ways to implement something into her game and she spoke about how her brother said she should pick 3 things to work at developing during fighting and training. Sylvie and Kevin then said that she just couldn't do this, this wasn't her style. Eventually there was this moment where Kevin mentioned Dieselnoi and how he would train super hard and at the very end when he was tired he would then practice standing tall and smiling (ruup I believe) so he could better ingrain that into his system creating what Kevin called a "deep groove". 

Of course this got me thinking about records and while I'm not from that era I've seen one, heard one, and to some degree understand how they work lol (just barely though haha). So the idea is generally that the more something is played, or in the case of Muay Thai, the more a technique is practiced the more ingrained it will become thus creating this "deep groove" which you're more likely to fall back to in the times of stress or pressure like in a fight for instance. 

So I guess I'm just curious as to how aside from repetition alone can we develop these "deep grooves"? Also how do you work on something you're interested in working on in sparring or fighting when you're like Sylvie in that you kind of just forget the 3 things you were going to try/work on?  

Sorry if this sounds crazy and honestly I don't totally know where I was going with this, it just feels like there are some nuggets of wisdom that could be mined from this particular topic and I'd like a deeper dive into it. So even if you can't answer the questions that I've posed (because they're not the best questions lol) I'd still be curious to hear everyone's feedback regarding this topic and would maybe like to follow you down the rabbit hole with whatever you come up with. Thanks. 

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On 9/12/2020 at 3:43 PM, Jeffo said:

So I guess I'm just curious as to how aside from repetition alone can we develop these "deep grooves"? Also how do you work on something you're interested in working on in sparring or fighting when you're like Sylvie in that you kind of just forget the 3 things you were going to try/work on?  

One of the things we think about is the idea that when you train something when you are fatigued, you wear a deeper groove than if you trained it over and over again when relaxed and fresh. This is only an intuition, and could be totally wrong (Science!), but the sense is that when you are fatigued it's like heating up a metal that is to be re-worked. All the constituent parts are floating more freely, subject to change. The things you do in fatigue seem to get locked in more, more associated with stuff you'll do when stressed in a fight or in life. Some of these thinking comes from an analogy of annealing, and simulated annealing, for me.

But, there is definitely a sense of deeper grooves being hard to change. When you begin creating habits you have to respect that you ALREADY have habits, even if they are just instinctual responses.

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2 hours ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

One of the things we think about is the idea that when you train something when you are fatigued, you wear a deeper groove than if you trained it over and over again when relaxed and fresh. This is only an intuition, and could be totally wrong (Science!), but the sense is that when you are fatigued it's like heating up a metal that is to be re-worked. All the constituent parts are floating more freely, subject to change. The things you do in fatigue seem to get locked in more, more associated with stuff you'll do when stressed in a fight or in life. Some of these thinking comes from an analogy of annealing, and simulated annealing, for me.

But, there is definitely a sense of deeper grooves being hard to change. When you begin creating habits you have to respect that you ALREADY have habits, even if they are just instinctual responses.

Yep i feel this way too, although after listening to a recent ask me anything episode with firas zahabi I'm not sure that it's the best even if it feels right intuitively, his thinking is that we can also create poor habits in our state of fatigue that can actually have a worse effect. I'm sure there's a balance though. Thanks for the response, I thought the discussion about this was just fascinating and wanted to explore it further. 

Something I've recently realized is a big factor for me in creating these grooves is the idea of how we as people hold on to more negative things that have happened in our lives, this is weird to explain but let me break it down as to how I'm trying to apply it in muay thai at least in some sense. 

So I've heard that people in general are far more likely to be able to accurately recall events and details surrounding those events if the memory had some sort of negative connotation linked to it. Like if you went to the beach and were stung by a jellyfish and it was painful and thus created a somewhat negative memory. Well this is far more likely to stick in your brain (at least in greater clarity) than say a good day at the beach, because we're wired this way to avoid danger and pain essentially. 

Anyway the other day in sparring I'm making the same mistake over and over and getting punished for it, nothing too bad, but enough for it to bring about enough pain that in the moment it became a negative thing for my brain to remember I guess, and I've created this association between throwing a crap body jab and getting hit with a cross in the face. Now before i jab at the body i remember the pain and either think about a way to feint so i can then go to the body or find some way to defend the incoming shot so i can throw the jab and in the meantime I stopped dropping my hand and don't get beat up. 

It's funny but in a weird way a quick lesson in pain can be just the thing I need to fix a mistake I'm making and it also creates this kind of deep groove in a way. 

sometimes failure is our best training tool (i fall into this camp a lot lol I gotta make all the mistakes i'm warned about lol). Hope that make sense, not sure if I don't know how to ramble lol. 

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1 hour ago, Jeffo said:

with firas zahabi I'm not sure that it's the best even if it feels right intuitively, his thinking is that we can also create poor habits in our state of fatigue that can actually have a worse effect. I'm sure there's a balance though.

I've heard his theories, the one you mention, and his "you should never get sore in working out" idea. I think he, though praised endlessly in western internet media, is (intelligently) full of it. He's all about making the "coach" the fulcrum of training, and also in building up a gym's clientele. In my mind his business model has seriously shaped his "theory". It certainly is quite opposed to many things in Thailand's traditional Muay Thai.

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5 hours ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

I've heard his theories, the one you mention, and his "you should never get sore in working out" idea. I think he, though praised endlessly in western internet media, is (intelligently) full of it. He's all about making the "coach" the fulcrum of training, and also in building up a gym's clientele. In my mind his business model has seriously shaped his "theory". It certainly is quite opposed to many things in Thailand's traditional Muay Thai.

I do agree that at times Firas can get a little ridiculous with this idea of "not getting sore while working out", I'm personally under the belief that some days have to be hard and you should be feeling it the next day, I believe in max days days from time to time. But being a guy who has personally and consistently done this fight sport stuff for the last I don't know 10-15 years  (maybe more) both as a fighter and a coach ( to some pretty good fighters I might add) he seems to have a good idea what he's talking about and I don't think it's just a bunch of malarkey. That being said he's not the end all be all either. I'm sure like everyone else he has his biases and as a business owner I'm sure some of his beliefs perhaps get formed around theories that can be better for business rather than a theory that is perhaps better for the real fighter. Everyone has to pay the bills. I personally love what he does, and also love what the traditional Thais do, and as evident believe there's room for both. Thanks for the input Kevin, really enjoy the discussions. 

By the way when are we going to see you in one of these privates, I think it would be interesting to see a training session from your perspective. How long have you been training? from what I can gather it sounds like you've trained a good deal along with Sylvie, but I've never really heard much, maybe I missed it. 

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On 9/16/2020 at 8:33 AM, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

One of the things we think about is the idea that when you train something when you are fatigued, you wear a deeper groove than if you trained it over and over again when relaxed and fresh. This is only an intuition, and could be totally wrong (Science!), but the sense is that when you are fatigued it's like heating up a metal that is to be re-worked. All the constituent parts are floating more freely, subject to change. The things you do in fatigue seem to get locked in more, more associated with stuff you'll do when stressed in a fight or in life. Some of these thinking comes from an analogy of annealing, and simulated annealing, for me.

But, there is definitely a sense of deeper grooves being hard to change. When you begin creating habits you have to respect that you ALREADY have habits, even if they are just instinctual responses.

I had a crossfit coach once who told me  to work on gymnastics technique when I am tired. Easier to get it right because the body is exhausted and will naturally use the best technique for the movement to waste as little energy as possible. And you are too tired to overthink stuff. 

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1 hour ago, LengLeng said:

work on gymnastics technique when I am tired. Easier to get it right because the body is exhausted and will naturally use the best technique for the movement to waste as little energy as possible. And you are too tired to overthink stuff. 

I think there is a lot to that. Yes, you can pick up bad habits like "dropping your hands" etc, but a little correction, and a continuous emphasis on ruup and defense, goes a long way. The Thais talk a lot about "tamachat" (be natural). When tired lots of the path of least resistance movements come out, I believe.

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21 hours ago, Jeffo said:

By the way when are we going to see you in one of these privates, I think it would be interesting to see a training session from your perspective. How long have you been training? from what I can gather it sounds like you've trained a good deal along with Sylvie, but I've never really heard much, maybe I missed it. 

I have trained very little actually, but rather have become - kind of like - Sylvie's antennae, watching as she is shaped by literally 100 krus plus. I weigh all the input and see how it impacts her, and try to find the way she can go forward. I also watch carefully the methodology of others around her, seeing where it succeeds and falls short. Maybe I'm a kind of ethnologist of Muay Thai, the (largely silent) eye who has been watching the entire time. 

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On 9/17/2020 at 1:52 AM, LengLeng said:

I had a crossfit coach once who told me  to work on gymnastics technique when I am tired. Easier to get it right because the body is exhausted and will naturally use the best technique for the movement to waste as little energy as possible. And you are too tired to overthink stuff. 

Like I said I think there's a balance. I don't always think that the body finds the best technique when it's tired (not that it can't), but I think it can also look for the easiest technique which as I'm sure we can agree easy doesn't always mean better. Also sometimes when I'm tired I overthink things too, sometimes I even develop a progressively worse attitude which results in worse and worse quality in the things I'm practicing. 

Thanks for your input, I'm sure it's going to sound like I disagree with everything you said, just to be clear I don't. I don't have all the answers and I think there's a lot of grey area, I just like to argue the other side to as a means to explore this idea in greater depth. I think discussions such as this will someday lead to real fact and hopefully a more optimal and efficient way of training/improving, not just in muay thai, but in all things. Thanks again for your input.

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On 9/17/2020 at 3:34 AM, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

I have trained very little actually, but rather have become - kind of like - Sylvie's antennae, watching as she is shaped by literally 100 krus plus. I weigh all the input and see how it impacts her, and try to find the way she can go forward. I also watch carefully the methodology of others around her, seeing where it succeeds and falls short. Maybe I'm a kind of ethnologist of Muay Thai, the (largely silent) eye who has been watching the entire time. 

That's to bad you don't train that much, it's fun lol. I get it though, Sylvie's lucky she's got you, I think you help her in her growth just as much as some of these krus. In some kind of weird way your perspective lends itself to her development. Don't know if that makes sense, but I think it sounds good lol. 

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10 hours ago, Jeffo said:

Like I said I think there's a balance. I don't always think that the body finds the best technique when it's tired (not that it can't), but I think it can also look for the easiest technique which as I'm sure we can agree easy doesn't always mean better. Also sometimes when I'm tired I overthink things too, sometimes I even develop a progressively worse attitude which results in worse and worse quality in the things I'm practicing. I think discussions such as this will someday lead to real fact and hopefully a more optimal and efficient way of training/improving, not just in muay thai, but in all things. Thanks again for your input.

I think this is more a rule of thumb thing than a fact. Learning new things while fatigued might help. When you tired you also expose your weaknesses. Fifth round on pads will tell you more about yourself than first round. 

I think you can create systems for better learning, but I don't think there are any bulletproof ways that will always work.

I don't believe physical movements can be taught by over-intellectualizing them which I see a lot of in this forum. 

You want fluidity? Stop thinking go dancing. 

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It's like clinching, some gyms you do it at the start of training but most of them do it at the end, right? My gym we do it at the start, which is cool and everything. The upsides are evident. But kinda prefer doing it at the end, after pads, after bag work etc, when you're damn well exhausted. Because that's how it will be in the fight, clinching when you already tired. 

Which one helps you learn more, when fresh or when tired? Honestly don't know. Feels pretty much same same personally. Just prefer clinching when tired - also the body feels more loose and supple.

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Oh and Firas? Guy has never fought. MMA, that is. Apparently he has BJJ and Thai experience, am not 100%. But all his shit sounds like the bro science guys who learn their stuff on YouTube, then slut it up with classy words and sciencey language. You can tell because it's so obvious from the way some coaches speak that their concrete beliefs about fighting and training aren't rooted in any real fight experience. 

I'd rather suck a dick than take fight advice from somebody who never fought.

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On 9/18/2020 at 9:08 PM, Oliver said:

Oh and Firas? Guy has never fought. MMA, that is. Apparently he has BJJ and Thai experience, am not 100%. But all his shit sounds like the bro science guys who learn their stuff on YouTube, then slut it up with classy words and sciencey language. You can tell because it's so obvious from the way some coaches speak that their concrete beliefs about fighting and training aren't rooted in any real fight experience. 

I'd rather suck a dick than take fight advice from somebody who never fought.

Yeah I think you're right about him not have any mma fights, I think I might have misspoken about him having fights in a earlier reply, so that's my bad. I'm pretty sure he has amateur experience but I'm not totally sure, if you can find out that would be cool, but for now I'll just say he has no competition experience of any kind just for arguments sake. 

The next bit "his shit sounds like bro science. " Okay fair enough, it sure can, but just because something sounds like bro science doesn't make it so. As it is though I don't have all the answers and neither does any one else. Like I said in a earlier reply though the man's been around this game a long time, and in that time I'm sure he picked up a few things. 

As for the "classy words and sciencey language", the man's a philosophy major and I'm sure this is just how he talks. Personally I'm pretty dumb but I feel like I can follow along reasonably well. But okay, I can still follow you here, and believe you can have your opinion to dislike him. Just understand that disliking him because how he talks doesn't mean he doesn't have valuable fight advice lol. 

"beliefs about fighting and training aren't rooted in any real fight experience." Okay fair enough as I've said before I concede the fact he doesn't have any real competition experience. One thing though, I know that the man sparred regularly with GSP during his career. This might be a bit of a stretch but I'm betting that during some of these rounds the sparring ramped up to say 70/80% if not more at times. Now we will probably disagree here but in my opinion sparring GSP regularly during his prime world champ years at 70/80% is probably very similar to low or maybe even mid level pros going 100%, which is a fight. Personally I'd call this fight experience. This is generally why in my opinion dutch style fighters with fewer pro fights can still do well against thais with hundreds of fights, take Jonathan Haggerty for instance with 20 fights or so under his belt he beat Sam A who has more that 400 hundred and been in the game like 30 years. Why because Jon more than likely has 400 really hard spars that are like fights and I think Firas has had the same during his tenure. Like I said though this could be wrong but it's my opinion and I'll continue to have it until I'm proven wrong. 

In conclusion, you don't have to like this man, and as I've said earlier he's not the end all be all in my opinion but to act like this man has nothing to offer in terms of fight advice is just silly ( "Silly" in Joe Rogan's voice lol). You ever heard the saying you are the five people you surround yourself with, well this man surrounds himself with some pretty high level talent. What about this one, the best fighters don't always make the best coaches and the best coaches aren't always the best fighters. I didn't want this discussion to turn into a defense of Firas Zahabi but whatever, I like him (admittedly bias), and I think he has something to offer the fight world. As always thanks for the input. 

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  • 3 months later...

I came to that conclusion on my own through training - that you can ingrain technique more easily when you are fatigued. It has to do with the body being warm, muscles being loose, your weaknesses being made more obvious, and your mind going on autopilot without distracting thoughts so that your muscle memory can be the main focus.

You can see it in fights where a guy looks like he has awesome technique in the first round, but then he starts looking more and more sloppy as the fight goes on. Theres a difference between looking sloppy and looking fatigued. Train your technique when you're tired, so when you are tired in the fight, your technique is still good.

 

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