Anyone who has done a lesson at The Jungle would be familiar with Coach Henry or any other Jungle coach instructing them to do 3 minutes of skipping rope as a warmup followed by some shadow boxing, kicks conditioning, techniques and finally abs conditioning ( which our members love btw because it symbolizes the end of this workout hell). However, our coaches would not instruct our members to do something that only tortures them and bring about no benefits right? ( Or maybe they will) In today post, we will be breaking down every different component section in a Muay Thai lesson, asking why we do the things we do , deriving the possible benefits from engaging in the activity and better appreciate
the tough love the coaches show towards us. ( Fun fact : World Coaching Day is on the 6th May and I'm sure the Jungle coaches would not mind a belated gift from the members)
Skipping Ropes – Not One To Be Skipped.
Skipping Rope is a permanent fixture for every Muay Thai class is it rain or shine. It is not uncommon for people to question what exactly the benefit is in skipping ropes when the focus should be on honing our main arsenal for an attack which is our hands and limbs. However, what skipping ropes bring to the table is a comprehensive range of benefits such as helping to build cardio, conditions our calf muscles, improves coordination and strengthens our mental fortitude( which indirectly Moreover, skipping rope serves as an excellent warmup exercise for our body can get the heart pumping up to speed and kickstart the blood circulation and serve to warm up our shoulders and hand. Skipping also aids in improving our coordination and footwork which is important in a fast-paced full-contact sport like Muay Thai where one is required to constantly be on the move and outmaneuver your opponent. Lastly, skipping of ropes help to improves stamina. Studies has shown that 15-20 minutes of moderate pace skipping or 5- 7 minutes of fast skipping on a regular basis can help to increase stamina and muscle endurance which helps you to last longer in the ring.
Shadow Boxing – A moment of serenity
Shadowboxing is an exercise where a boxer moves around throwing punches in the air. Shadowboxing is a popular and basic exercise for boxers to hone their fighting techniques, condition their muscles, warm- up or mentally condition themselves in the lead up to sparring, a boxing session or a fight. At first glance, it might not seem like much more than a simple warm-up. However, if done correctly, shadow boxing can help improve a boxer’s overall fighting abilities that include technique, balance, coordination,
rhythm, strategy, offence, defense, timing and state of mind. Shadowboxing hones our technique and form as it allows us to finetune some of our movement, add combinations and test out the flow of it at a reduced pace which is not possible in a sparring session or a real fight. In addition to that, shadowboxing trains our mind to remind our body to remain calm and balanced through our movement and the actions we take. Shadowboxing has often been described as a meditation session where the individual is
by himself or herself immersed with their movement with no external variables like bags or training partners. This helps to release stress and any pent-up emotions and clear up the mind. Lastly, shadowboxing enhances footwork and as all Muay Thai practitioners would know and can relate to, footwork is paramount in Muay Thai and is essential for not only hitting your opponent but also not getting hit by them. Therefore, shadowboxing is an essential part of every Muay Thai practitioner regardless of you’re a professional or an amateur. So, the next time your coaches direct you to start shadowboxing, take it as a short period of time to work on your form, technique and footwork at your own preferred pace instead of just mindlessly and aimlessly punch the air and questioning the purpose
100 Kicks Drill – Kick it till you make it
As the name suggests, the objective of this drill is to build endurance, power and stamina in the legs and kick through the completion of 100 kicks on both the left and right side. This drill is intended to strengthen our leg strength through the repeated on of the limbs. One might not see how potent kicks can be in knocking out your opponent but many fighters such as Sam-A Gaiyanghadao and Nong-O Gaiyanghadao have this in their arsenal and utilize it often to knock their opponent out just by a swing of their limbs. Kicks are also highly scored in Muay Thai and therefore it is important for individuals to be
able to kick hard and kick accurately even when they are fatigued. This drill also seeks to improve our endurance and stamina which is a simulation of being in a fight where one must still be able to kick hard and strong despite being tired. After all, endurance is one of the most important abilities a Muay Thai fighter wants to have. Endurance determines their ability to last all 3 rounds during a fight. It ensures that a fighter never tires out, even after 15 minutes of intense effort, constantly striking and grappling with his opponents. So, the next time, our coaches instruct you to kick 100 times on both sides, remember! Your coaches have your best interest at heart and want you to be able to build up the
endurance and power to last 3 rounds in a fight and knock your opponent down.
Partner Drills – Teamwork makes the dream work
Partner drills as the name suggests are drills that are executed with a partner. Partner drills usually focus on one party being on the offence and the other party being on the defence. Partner drills is an excellent period for Muay Thai fighters to hone both their offensive and defensive techniques at a comfortable pace. Partner drills are usually better preferred as compared to practicing on the bags as having a
partner to run the drills with allows us to also work on our power and footwork which might not be relevant practicing with a bag. While shadowboxing and partner drills both hone our techniques and is essential in any Muay Thai routine, partner drills simulate a fight and allow us to adjust minor details in our kicks or punches based on our opponent’s reaction to penetrate the opponent guard or strike a killer blow. Over at The Jungle, we believe in unleashing our member’s creativity with moves and would often not assign a fixed combination to be done. Instead, we let members throw whichever combination
they prefer after checking a kick or blocking a punch in the hope of making it as close to any situation in a fight as possible. Partner drills are also important for one to improve as they can offer us feedback based on what is observed and highlight our weaknesses and areas for improvement. I'm sure all our members can agree that you best learn and improve when feedback is given and so a big part of improving is to engage in partner drills where fighters are pitted against another person, not a bag and are offered real-time feedback.
Abs - Abs to keep it apt
Abs. Where do I start? I personally hate abs training and workout at the end of the lesson the most. Although abs training usually signaled coming to the end of the Muay Thai training, I can never understand the purpose of doing sit-ups, crunches and planks and relate to how it can help me be a better fighter in the ring and I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking that way. With that thought in mind, I decided to do a tiny bit of research on the importance of abs and (hopefully) convince myself to be more diligent in abs-related workouts. And what I found blew me away. Abs workouts and core conditioning
for a fighter mean much more than just developing a six-pack. Training of your abs helps improve movement patterns, strength, and overall performance. As a Muay Thai fighter, your core is extremely important. A strong and stable core will lead to more powerful kicks and punches, better footwork, more efficient clinching, and the ability to absorb more punishment. A strong core also means you’ll
have great balance, making it difficult for your opponent to sweep you or off-balance you with a push kick or kick. Moreover, everything we do in Muay Thai is connected to the core. Our core helps you build explosive KO power and use these weapons to their fullest potential. Not only will a strong core make you stronger overall, but it will also help you generate speed for all that dynamic movement you need in the ring. As mentioned earlier, a strong core helps you take the impact of being hit. Instead of going down each time you take a devastating knee or kick to the body, you’d be able to withstand them and push on to the next round.
In conclusion, everything that is done during each Muay Thai session is catered towards making us a comprehensive and well-rounded fighter and we should not skip any part of the training because we are tired or late. Hopefully, this breakdown into the various components in our training can shed some light as to why we do what we do and help everyone understand the sciences behind all the different workouts. With this blog, maybe all of us can start viewing our coaches with a different lens and see their tough love towards us. Maybe thank the coaches after every torturous session. I’m sure they