above, my short Sylvie’s Tips on how I’m practicing Long Guard on the bag lately
Everything little thing we do on the bag is repetition, even unconscious things can be “trained” into you. Simply taking a time out and walking back from the bag to reset during your rounds is that kind of small element. The further I get in my Muay Thai journey, the more I’m examining my bagwork (and shadow) for unconscious elements that I’m accidentally, or even non-efficiently training. It’s about awareness, so that I can figure out how to get my training into the ring with me for fights – the parts of my training that I want in the ring for my fights.
The Long Guard
About a year ago I started concentrating on new guard, which I called the Dracula Guard. My old coach Pi Daeng at Lanna taught it to me and I really liked it because it involved both tight protection and also automatic entry into clinch. You can see that video here:
My own trainer, Pi Nu at Petchrungruang in Pattaya also likes the Long Guard – although the arm position is different and not Dracula – so I’ve been working on this for the better part of a year, sometimes in the Dracula variation, sometimes in Pi Nu’s Long Guard variation (with the arm vertical), and sometimes in a variation shown to me by clinch genius Yodwicha, with the arm diagonal over the face/forehead, like a bar. Three positions, all of them a pretty similar guard.
There are really two components of the Long Guard. There is the rear arm which is the guard itself, and there is the lead arm which is a controlling stiff arm. They work together. I can’t say that I’m proficient with the stiff arm yet (if you want to see it in perfection, watch Dieselnoi), but I have recently noticed that all the bagwork I’ve been doing for a year now was entirely focused on the lead arm. I was again and again getting the feeling of that jolt to the stiff arm. But, despite all of this, it really isn’t something I do at all in fights. And the reason I suspect is that there’s a disconnect between what it feels like to “stop” a bag with the lead arm, and what actually is happening in fights which is that I’m closing in and that front arm isn’t coming into contact at all. So I need to have greater belief in that rear arm, because it’s the one that is truly the “guard” element and it’s the part that’s lacking a bit. So, because training that does not lead to performance change in fights should be addressed, I’ve changed up my bagwork so I can feel the bag collision in my guard, the back arm. It’s a huge difference. Already I’m starting to move towards the firmness that I need in that rear arm.
So this tips is not just about this small difference in how I’m training the Long Guard on the bag, it is also about how you should think about your own bagwork, and how each of the things you are doing translate to the ring. And if you are not a fighter, that’s okay too. Just think about how you would want them to translate to the ring, under pressure, or even just sparring. It makes bagwork more fun, more meaningful. And we all want more meaningful work if we’re going to put that much time and effort into it. Remember, no two people are the same and or in the same place in their overall path, so while this adjustment makes really good sense for me, something else might be good for you. Mess with it, figure it out yourself and do what feels good and works for you.
An Introduction to Sylvie’s Tips
You can read about the Sylvie’s Tips feature focusing on small techniques I’ve picked up here in my first post: Sylvie’s Tips – Muay Thai Tips, Techniques & Helps from Thailand
Read all my Sylvie’s Tips articles one by one here.
The Full Sylvie’s Tips YouTube Video Playlist
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