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ems10

Partner going too hard?

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Hi! New to the forum and very excited to be a part of it :)

 

I'm fairly new to Muay Thai, having joined a gym in NY earlier this month (and did Muay Thai on and off for a few months two years ago). The gym is wonderful-- the kindest instructors and members who are extremely patient and generous with their advice-- and I couldn't have asked for a better environment to train in everyday.

 

In the past week, a new girl has joined the gym, and I was initially really excited to see that a woman has joined. I talked to her pre-training, and she seems like a nice person. As there are fewer girls at the gym and especially at the morning sessions, every time she is comes, we are paired together. Just as a note, she is a few inches taller than me and at least 25 lbs heavier than me, but I often train with the guys so I was not really concerned.

 

We began the last session throwing light punches or kicks to practice blocking. From what I understand, you were not supposed to be throwing these punches and kicks at 100 percent, especially since we were not wearing shin guards. Yet, she keeps kicking and punching extremely hard, even after I stopped and requested that she go a little softer. I continued to kick her semi-softly thinking she would understand that was the strength at which she should kick-- she did not seem to get it. (I am very ashamed to admit that when she didn't stop going hard, I got annoyed and started going as hard and because I'm faster than her, got in a few kicks and punches she could not block. As soon as she requested that I go softer, I felt extremely bad as I wasn't supposed to go hard anyway and definitely toned it down. And the instructor told me to go slower as she's new-- and he is totally right.)

 

Also when doing pad work, she doesn't wait for me to set up between and assumes upcoming combinations. More than once, she has kicked or punched me without being prompted (it is not fun getting kicked in the head when she assumes I'm going to prompt a roundhouse and doesn't seem to notice the pad I have up for a jab!). The instructor came over a few times to correct her form and her not waiting but I don't think he realizes how hard she is kicking and punching when it is her turn to hold pads and I am practicing my blocks. Also, this is just an annoying thing but perhaps because she goes so hard all the time when she's not supposed to, she often gasses out while she's holding pads for me, takes break and I don't feel like I'm getting full rounds of practice. :(

 

I'm not sure if it's just me being inexperienced with pad work but are people supposed to go that hard? I've worked with male training partners before and have never experienced something like this, but now I'm wondering if they were taking it easy on me because I'm a girl. We've been paired up three times now and it's the same thing each time, even after I mentioned the issue to her the third time. I'm not sure how I'm supposed to handle this situation. I'm worried that since I am usually the only girl at morning sessions, whenever she comes to the gym, I will be paired with her. I'm a bit discouraged and would appreciate any advice or feedback!

 

Also, apologies in advance for how whiny this all sounds!

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Hi Ems and welcome to the forum! I find your "whining" totally understandable. It's frustrating when you want to give your best in training, but your partner is not helping...

I have been in similar situations countless of times, but I still have no real adivse to offer.

The thing I did that seemed to work a bit: I talked to the girl that we need to train with different people for our own good (in my situation I was the MUCH bigger one) and she came to understand it and we tried hard to get paired up differently, although it didn't work out a lot of times. Most people in the gym just assume that if there are two (completely mis-matched) girls in the room, they should train together :(

Also, this is just an annoying thing but perhaps because she goes so hard all the time when she's not supposed to, she often gasses out while she's holding pads for me, takes break and I don't feel like I'm getting full rounds of practice. :(
 

Maybe you can try working in longer pauses between combinations while you are holding pads for her. Do some footwork, faint a jab, make her work a little, but also give her time to rest. This will also reduce the numbers of throws you have to get from her and maybe she won't be as gassed when she's holding for you?

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Hi! New to the forum and very excited to be a part of it :)

 

I'm fairly new to Muay Thai, having joined a gym in NY earlier this month (and did Muay Thai on and off for a few months two years ago). The gym is wonderful-- the kindest instructors and members who are extremely patient and generous with their advice-- and I couldn't have asked for a better environment to train in everyday.

 

In the past week, a new girl has joined the gym, and I was initially really excited to see that a woman has joined. I talked to her pre-training, and she seems like a nice person. As there are fewer girls at the gym and especially at the morning sessions, every time she is comes, we are paired together. Just as a note, she is a few inches taller than me and at least 25 lbs heavier than me, but I often train with the guys so I was not really concerned.

 

We began the last session throwing light punches or kicks to practice blocking. From what I understand, you were not supposed to be throwing these punches and kicks at 100 percent, especially since we were not wearing shin guards. Yet, she keeps kicking and punching extremely hard, even after I stopped and requested that she go a little softer. I continued to kick her semi-softly thinking she would understand that was the strength at which she should kick-- she did not seem to get it. (I am very ashamed to admit that when she didn't stop going hard, I got annoyed and started going as hard and because I'm faster than her, got in a few kicks and punches she could not block. As soon as she requested that I go softer, I felt extremely bad as I wasn't supposed to go hard anyway and definitely toned it down. And the instructor told me to go slower as she's new-- and he is totally right.)

 

Also when doing pad work, she doesn't wait for me to set up between and assumes upcoming combinations. More than once, she has kicked or punched me without being prompted (it is not fun getting kicked in the head when she assumes I'm going to prompt a roundhouse and doesn't seem to notice the pad I have up for a jab!). The instructor came over a few times to correct her form and her not waiting but I don't think he realizes how hard she is kicking and punching when it is her turn to hold pads and I am practicing my blocks. Also, this is just an annoying thing but perhaps because she goes so hard all the time when she's not supposed to, she often gasses out while she's holding pads for me, takes break and I don't feel like I'm getting full rounds of practice. :(

 

I'm not sure if it's just me being inexperienced with pad work but are people supposed to go that hard? I've worked with male training partners before and have never experienced something like this, but now I'm wondering if they were taking it easy on me because I'm a girl. We've been paired up three times now and it's the same thing each time, even after I mentioned the issue to her the third time. I'm not sure how I'm supposed to handle this situation. I'm worried that since I am usually the only girl at morning sessions, whenever she comes to the gym, I will be paired with her. I'm a bit discouraged and would appreciate any advice or feedback!

 

Also, apologies in advance for how whiny this all sounds!

Totally agree with Micc that women just get paired together regardless of compatibility because, derrrrr, girls! Working together is good and you can both benefit a lot from each other's differences, but you shouldn't always be partners - same goes for the huge guys in the gym or when kids come in. But, if you don't mention it to your trainer, he may not ever realize it's reasonable for you to switch up partners. And by going with some of the guys sometimes, some of the things that she's doing that are so annoying to you may get worked out by other people with different levels, tolerances, comfort with confrontation, etc. So, I'd say asking your teacher to switch it up (after or before training would be a good time to address this) is a definite step.

As for when you are working with her, you mentioned that she might not know how hard she's going. I see this with my own partners all the time and, honestly, I don't know whether they know or not. I've even considered that maybe I'm going harder than I think I am and that's causing them to go harder, get pissed off or heated, etc. There are studies on this - we honestly might just mis-gauge how hard or soft we're going, as well as how hard we're receiving. Since you've told her straight out that she's going too hard, it might require you to actually have her throw the same strike three times at varying degrees of power to find the right spot. Like that "warmer, colder" game. That way you both know where that level is, and you can do the same to kind of calibrate for her.

With the timing on pads, that sounds so annoying. But my immediate thought was about how everyone in a class has different motivations. If she's gassing out and going 100% on all her strikes, not working on timing, etc., she might just be interested in getting a "workout," not learning techniques or skills. So, you have to figure out a way to balance that out with the actual drill, which involves balance, timing, countering, etc. I'm not entirely sure what that approach is, but maybe verbally calling out the strikes so she can tell that she's "off beat" would help. Like, if she's already kicking when you're calling out the right cross (for example), she might steady herself the way you would try to get on the beat of music. Or, if she's cool, just say "we're off sync here, how do you think we can better work together?"

I don't know. These are all my suggestions from a million miles away. I do hope you can work with her and work some of this stuff out AND that you get more opportunities to work with other people. I have great training partners who I sometimes just need a switch from, just to mix up the experiences.

Let us know how this goes!

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Some other martial arts require full power on pads at all times.  Maybe this is happening with her; has she trained other forms?  Or as Sylvie says (and has written about), she really may not know.  My boxing training partner has absolutely not a clue how incredibly hard she hits - just stone hands.  Its great.  But I had to work hard to get her to back off the power on my head - she just did not understand (other people took some rounds with her and hit her medium power so she'd get a sense of it).  She is a really good person who requires loud, clear, verbal communication (not squints & hints or anything which I would read but not everyone does).  Sorry they keep sticking you with the girl.  I hate that. Not because I hate working with other women but the assumption is just annoying.  It also makes me feel like the guys don't want to work with me, which may be true in some cases but too bad.  I am just an annoying southpaw but I claim my place and hopefully, prepare you for fighting a southpaw :teehee: .

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I think that a female partner sometimes hits too hard because:

A) They think they don't have to hold back because you are both female or

B) They are scared shitless because they assume YOU won't hold back because you are both female.

If she is gassing out, she is probably anxious and tight.  That sounds to me like she isn't just out of shape, but afraid.  People who are afraid tend to hit too hard in a misguided effort at defense...(in the long run it just makes it more dangerous for them since we, as the offended partner, will likely just hit back harder in frustration as you did!)

Perhaps as she gains some confidence, she will mellow out.

I think there was already great advise dispensed for asking her to try hitting a few times to calibrate the power of her striking, asking the coach to intervene or set you up with a different partner...but I think you could also just stand next to someone else and grab a different partner for yourself as soon as the pairing up starts.  It's no fun to get stuck with the same partner for every class...Even when it's a great partner.

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I think that a female partner sometimes hits too hard because:

A) They think they don't have to hold back because you are both female or

B) They are scared shitless because they assume YOU won't hold back because you are both female.

If she is gassing out, she is probably anxious and tight.  That sounds to me like she isn't just out of shape, but afraid.  People who are afraid tend to hit too hard in a misguided effort at defense...(in the long run it just makes it more dangerous for them since we, as the offended partner, will likely just hit back harder in frustration as you did!)

Perhaps as she gains some confidence, she will mellow out.

I think there was already great advise dispensed for asking her to try hitting a few times to calibrate the power of her striking, asking the coach to intervene or set you up with a different partner...but I think you could also just stand next to someone else and grab a different partner for yourself as soon as the pairing up starts.  It's no fun to get stuck with the same partner for every class...Even when it's a great partner.

TOTALLY agree with the note about it being a fear issue.

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Hitting hard to the head in training is a douchebag move. Neurons don't regenerate, it's selfish to purposefully hit harder than necessary. That is hitting to the head.

 

On pads we hit hard (I've had the other girls complain I hit pads too hard, which I take to mean it's difficult for them to hold for, but it's muay thai - get strong). In drills we use light to medium power depending on the move and the pairing. I will drill harder with the boys who are bigger and more experienced. In spar I'll crack in kicks to the leg or throw a hard body shot, but I stay fairly light to the head. I don't need to concuss my partners to know I've got the speed and power to land a move (power is for pads and the bag).

 

Concussions happen in all forms and aren't always the dramatic types.

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I always think someone should design a machine that you could kick and punch and it would kick and punch you back so you can feel what you actually feel like power wise! 

I definitely think you need to talk to your coach and see if they have any suggestions.  Does she do the same when they hold pads for her or other people do?

If you know she gasses out ask her to hold the pads first?  This is what I do then I know they will have most of their energy.  My feeling is it's newbie nerves.  Could you gently suggests she gets a couple of one to one sessions.  I recently moved clubs and at my last club I had a few people I went with happily.  This club has a different feel to it and they are a lot less experienced but over the weeks they are much calmer when kicking me with no pads and can hold for stronger kicks and punches.  They also now know we are not doing the same combo for 3 minutes straight but i will throw in a few kicks, punches, knees etc. Another tip maybe to tell her you will only be holding one move at a time so she slows down. so Jab, put the pads down, cross put the pads down move a bit, right kick, move again, cross. when she has got the idea you can say all together.

Do you get on with her generally? I am now getting to know my new team mates and as I know them more I can joke with them about the pads or kicking or whatever.  At the start I was desperate to fit in and impress and probably went harder than I should.  Try and think kindly of her but equally try and find a solution.

Does your instructor ever do rounds where you hit with everyone for one round? This sometimes is an eye opener to see how she is with other people and see how they react to her.

 

Best of luck :)

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I think there is a time and place for hard sparring, and that's if you're training for an upcoming fight. Light-to-medium intensity is adequate for drills and sparring depending on who you are partnered with. If you're doing conditioning, then it's fine to go harder. If you're on pads or the bag, then sure..go crazy.

There is a lot more to muay thai and fighting than power. I feel like if we're trying to beat the crap out of each other all the time we're not able to work on more important things such as flow, timing, technique, balance etc. 

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I realized today that it's been a LONG time since I've had to ask a guy to go harder with me. Lately it's the opposite, where these huge-ass dudes are going pretty hard, given our size disparity. And my coaches are always watching, but they're all, "it's okay." Really?!

But today I was sparring with a guy who was maybe 70 kg and I wobbled him with a left hook, which made me SO PROUD of myself because I've been working on that technique. Then I wondered if I should take it down a notch, but he recovered and was like, "good shot." Moral of the story: it's hard to tell where those lines are, but verbal communication helps a ton.

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Funny, i had a similar experience a few weeks ago (i was going to write about it on the forum) since then ive realized that alot of people in the gym had some problems with the same person.

To start they missed my glove during the drill and hit me in the face, this was infront of the trainer.. i think the trainer there was an awkward silence before i said i was fine. No apology from the person that socked me though.. then they were complaining about how i was holding my gloves for her to hit and then talking out loud about how the guys down the line were making "weird noises that sounded like sex" .. But i think she was kinda new.. loading up on her shots like nothing else. (we werent holding pads and i was getting tired holding for her shots).. i decided to not lash back about it and was just going for speed and not power.  But then they complained that MY punches were too hard.. i couldnt win. :sleep:

So from what ive read drills on a partners gloves not 100% which is what i already knew.. i feel bad sometimes when im paired with a guy coz i know they have to hold back on me since im absolutely the smallest person in the gym.

 

Say 50-70% the general etiquette for drills etc punching the open glove/wrist of your partner?

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This is one of the reasons why I infinitely prefer one-to-one training (that, and it makes more economical sense for me). Obviously my trainer is streets ahead of me, and therefore can adjust his power/speed/aggression to fit me and my training needs. When we're sparring the trainer can say, "Okay, really light taps and kicks, we're looking at super-neat technique here" or "Right, 80% power from you" or "Going for speed now" etc. Also that way I get exactly the training I want; for example, yesterday I wanted to concentrate on my defence work, so nearly the entire session was him kicking and punching me (soooo hard not to blast back! But that wasn't the point of the exercise!)

But that's no help to you... I would say though that calling out what you want when you're holding pads (right roundhouse, left low, jab, right hook, whatever) will really help, especially if she is new to the sport. I mean, it's easy to get over-excited on pads and bang out before the holder is ready, or hit too hard.

But she really should listen if you're saying "Lighten up/be careful". Perhaps she should have a few rounds with the trainer so she can understand what she's doing wrong. If she's getting knackered too, that won't help, she probably feels embarrassed about that.

Argh, group work! I hate it! :teehee:

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