Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I got up at 6:30 this morning. Its hard for me to wake up so early now. I have a hard time motivating myself. When I was in Thailand, I woke up because I wanted it, because I paid for it, because I wasn't going to back down, not after crossing the ocean, not after having saved for a year. Its really the little choices in life that make you who you are. Its waking up at 6:20am to go to the gym, its pushing yourself harder and harder every day that makes you stronger.

I got up after smashing the snooze button into oblivion. I put in my contacts, tried to wipe the sleep off my face and hopped on my bike. Its been really nice, weather wise, here in Berkeley. The ride down to the gym was pleasant but all I could think about is how the gym is going to move 30 blocks closer to my house.

I got to the gym a little after 7. Joe Lacap was skipping rope and looked at me as I came in. We nodded at each other and I changed my clothes in the locker room. I came out and sat on the bench. I wrapped my hands while hearing the pitter patter of the ropes on the mats. When I got done with my wraps I stretched a little then put on my shin pads and put some thai pads on my arms. When the bell rang I told Joe that we'd start our pad work.

I've been holding pads for people for a while now. I think that I'm getting better at it. I treat it more like a sparring session than holding for certain kicks, punches or sequences. I'm looking for my "opponents' weaknesses" the slow movements, the laziness, the bad technique. While looking for the soft points I'm also looking for the hard. What makes the fighter strong? What are her strong points? Is it her hands, her footwork, her kicking, her kneeing? I try to think, think, think.

We started off slowly with no set combinations. The longest punch combinations was two punches, usually a jab cross. Joe's kicks have gotten stronger even as he's dropped weight. He's still a bit triangularly shaped (having a bigger upper body than his legs) and leans forward a little with his pushing punches.

In the first round I told him not to drop his heel on the ground. Dropping the kicking heel (usually the right) prevents one from kicking twice in a row and impedes upon footwork. Even blocking when the heel is flat on the ground is slightly more difficult. Muay Thai is not an elaborate sport with fancy moves, which means that the moves engaged in must be solid, and efficient.

The end of the round I made Joe do ten kicks on each side. He started off slow. I told him to go; "Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang!" His thirty second break was short and we started again. I made him do five kicks in succession on each side. We worked a little more with the knees in this round. When he kneed he would grab with both arms and when done kneeing he just let go. The great thing about kneeing someone is turning them out, pushing out or dumping/throwing them. You basically get a free shot if you can whip them around a little (what doesn't end a fight like a kick while your opponent is down (after a throw?)).

The third round I focused a little more on knees, making sure that he wasn't backing straight up when punches came in and was either countering with an inside leg kick or wrapping up into a clinch.

After the third round of thai pads I held focus mitts for him. His punches are okay but I feel like they're a little pushy. Its pretty common to push one's punches. Basically this means that one is not recoiling fast enough on the punch. You're exaggerating the punch too much. Power is based on speed times mass. You change your mass via weight lifting (making your muscles bigger) than you change your speed through practice. You want to throw your punch out and bring it back as quck as you can. Its "explosion." I didn't make him do that much defensive work but focused primarily on simple combinations: Jab, cross, or hook cross.

You don't throw long combinations in muay thai as doing so exposes you to elbows or getting wrapped up in the clinch. In K-1, which has no elbows, doing long combinations is a good thing. Its about percentages. The more you throw the more likely you are to land a good clean shot. Whereas in Muay Thai everything is about timing and power. You don't get a ton of chances to throw lots of shots so the chances you do have need to be good clean and hard as fuck.

After we did four rounds we switched and I did pad work with Joe. I think that he's a little too short for me. I'm trying to switch the way in which I kick. I've been taught primarily by Mike how to kick. He is much larger than me and so I kick in a way that a large bodied person should kick--- hard but slow. Coke wants me to kick differently, faster with more spring. Having Joe hold pads for me, I leaned towards Mike's style of kicking. That might be me blaming Joe for my technical insufficiencies.

We sparred for a few rounds after padwork and then knee sparred. During knee sparring I thought of Coke and how he beats me in knee sparring. When he is hitting me in the stomach he says "Tong!" or stomach. He'll talk aloud to himself in thai and won't give us breaks. I kept imaging myself as Coke as I knee sparred with Joe. Certainly part of it was my dominance over him mirroring Coke's dominance over me. I yanked the shit out of his neck and threw him around. I made him continue to knee spar with me even when he wanted a break.

I'm training to keep a better log of my fighting training. I doubt that this will be place in which I will keep it as I don't want the heavy eye of the public on me. "Don't show the enemy your position, the first rule of battleship." I do want to keep writing about training though.

We ended our hour long session and I went home on my bicycle. I came home and cleaned the house and went to work.


Honour said...

hey, just came across your blog after seeing who else out there had "muay thai kickboxing" in their interests ... (a whopping 74 people? or something like that) ... anyway - I've come by before, but just had to comment on this posting -- I really found it helpful - thanks. I know a lot of writers, and a lot of *amateur* kickboxers, but don't know anybody who's a writer AND into kickboxing ... so I just found some of this description very helpful.... thanks. I also liked how you're experimenting with your writing/conversational voice etc. -- talk to you later!

Honour said...

p.s. i've only ever written one posting about kickboxing - but thought you might find it interesting

mlucas said...

This blog is more about writing than it is muay thai. I train a fair amount, 5 or 6 days a week for 2- 2 1/2 hours a day. I'd like to write more about the fighting world but haven't gotten around to it. There's a lot of boxing literature out there though.

matt lucas