Traditional Muay Thai techniques are equal parts visually engaging and physically demanding. Muay Thai is a traditional combat sport that stems from the Muay martial arts. This form of combat was originally developed in Thailand, and focuses on stand-up striking motions in conjunction with varied clinching techniques, where fighters typically grapple while engaged in a clinch hold. Muay Thai fighting techniques are both a physical and mental discipline, sometimes referred to as “the art of eight limbs” due to the unique combination of force via fists, knees, elbows, shins and feet. This is much different compared to other form of Martial Arts, such as Karate, Judo and Tekwando, which mainly employ only hands and feet during combat. The discipline, which gained widespread popularity during the mid-twentieth century, is governed by an organization known as the World Muay Thai Council.
Muay Thai techniques are typically divided into two sets. Mae Mai is the first group and deals predominately with major techniques, while Luk Mai denotes minor techniques. When fighting, opponents exchange blows with each other utilizing the motion of their entire bodies, rotating among hits, kicks and punches.
Experts suggest that when training in Muay Thai, it takes a bare minimum of 10,000 reps in order to create the adequate muscle memory necessary to correctly execute certain kicking and punching techniques. Constant training is absolutely necessary, and mixing up the different kicks specific to the physical disciple, to include shadow boxing, push kicks, and light sparring, will ward off boredom and ensure accurate timing. Filtering through kicking techniques also has the ability to keep fighters fresh and active. Working with an educated trainer or another fighter is, of course, always helpful.
Regarding punching techniques, fighters are usually instructed to pull their fists back immediately after making contact with an opponent’s body. Under no circumstances is a fighter to leave their fists on the target, as he or she would in turn expose themselves to a dangerous bout of instantaneous counter-punching. Muay Thai fighters are also instructed to always keep in mind that while throwing a punch, the ultimate goal is to unnerve the opponent ‘throwing them off their game’ so to speak. Again bringing up timing, an adequate punch is the result of thousands of reps, perfect timing, and harmonious synchronization, complete with a quick twist of the heels in order to add momentum that ripples up from the hips. Additionally, a fighter’s fists should always be properly clenched in an effort to lessen the chance of a sprained wrist or injury to the hand or fingers.
In order to obtain the very best results from a Muay Thai training regime, experienced trainers suggest that sessions should be conducted on an every other day basis. Experts stress that Muay training sessions should never be conducted on a daily basis because the regime will physically damage the body by exceeding its potential. Training every other day gives the muscles much needed rest and enable the body ample time to recover, warding off painful, and sometimes irreparable, injuries.
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