1. #1
    pslieber
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    Muay Thai Noob - Australia to Louisiana

    Greetings from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and thanks for having me.

    Discovered Muay Thai in 2010 covering a UFC game (of which I knew nothing about the sport at the time) for a Web site, graciously received an intro to it at TUF gym via some very patient UFC fighters and trainers. Muay Thai was the only thing I didn't completely embarrass myself in during that day. By 'completely,' I'm referring to wondering if my limbs were still attached post-training.

    Moved to Australia, had two terrific years of very Thai-style training at a gym there. Big emphasis on traditional Muay Thai, lots of clinch/knees/elbows plus footwork/counter-strike. Excellent fitness routines as well. Yes, I miss that gym.

    Find myself back in the US- in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Gym and training is very Dutch heavy...strong BJJ/MMA emphasis as well.
    Let's just say that Thai and Dutch don't always mix well when concluding 'fundamentals.' :)

    As all fight gyms I've walked into, current place is filled with wonderful, respectful fighters and sparring partners. Being constructively critical, however, huge talent differentials between individuals...discrepancies that stare you in the face during partner work. As the Australia gym had 30+ intermediate level Muay Thai strikers (being so close to Asia), the current gym barely makes 10.

    Full-on sparring is the obvious best training option, but I admittedly can't take the damage from the Fight Team going full-force (versus the more controlled stuff over in Oz).

    I also confess to having Crohn's Disease, meaning I can't heal well enough and/or take such damage without consequence. Even more so being 6'2'', ~165 pounds. I've adapted to my limits, being highest level fit, fast, and a strong counter-striker. I also make a mean cup of coffee.

    Always looking for respectful, fellow Muay Thai folks locally to train with, learn from...maybe share some tricks from this end.

    Apologies for the long first post, but you get out of a community only what you put into it....?

  2. #2
    slamdunc's Avatar
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    Welcome to Bullshido.




    Quote Originally Posted by Devil View Post
    You can not intellectualize your way to being a competent fighter.

  3. #3
    pslieber
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    Thanks, Slam...and likewise for your service.

  4. #4

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    Welcome to Bullshido, pslieber.

    Sounds like you've found a solid gym; but if I were you I wouldn't be quick to give up on your traditional Thai fundamentals. If they're training muay thai for MMA, there's going to be some small differences, as I noticed when I switched from an MMA gym to a more traditional one.

    In a way, you're probably doing things more "right", at least for a purely stand-up fight.

  5. #5
    pslieber
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    Thanks, Like Water.

    I thank you for the compliment...and affirmation on technique. This is very kind of you!

    As an example - and perhaps some of you straight stand up folks can share experience: I'm very big on tighter guard, unorthodox but semi-constant movement, piston work and height change, likewise jab-centric leads with my arms fully extended. All are a bit foreign to many I'm training with as these movements are heavy Thai.

    The current place also does not allow clinch/light, 'touch' elbow/takedowns in sparring, a big disadvantage for a tall guy like me (as I'm a sitting duck for people coming in tight, doing body-centric punching).

    I'm trying to mesh more Dutch as its taught (turning over punches, more step aways, back leg attack, duck and rotate)...but sometimes the two aren't compatible unless shooting for takedown.

    I always believe one can learn great things by meshing styles done right. My trainer is very patient and skilled. Still, I'm losing something in translation (especially sans more controlled sparring to practice).

    Thoughts?

  6. #6

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    As an example - and perhaps some of you straight stand up folks can share experience: I'm very big on tighter guard, unorthodox but semi-constant movement, piston work and height change, likewise jab-centric leads with my arms fully extended. All are a bit foreign to many I'm training with as these movements are heavy Thai.

    Try not to get so hung up on what's "real" Thai and what's not. I've been training at a few different camps here, and none of what you mentioned is consistent from one camp to another. Some of them like a longer, more open guard that's good for elbows and getting the clinch, but will get your nose smashed in by a decent boxer. Some of them teach a more closed, western boxing-style guard because they deal with punchers a lot. There's a few common bits, but there's really no single "Thai style" that you should be making checkmarks against when you go to a new place.

    Don't forget, you're paying them to teach you what they know. Don't waste your money and their time by shrugging and figuring you'll just do it your way. It sounds like you're trying to pick up on what they're doing, which is good. Not really liking the fact that their fight team goes balls out in sparring, though.

  7. #7
    pslieber
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    Thank you for the very reasonable perspective, Neo.

    You're spot-on, re: different techniques...and the plethora of them! When the occasional Thai trainer would show up at the Oz gym, I was shocked at how a technique I thought I understood quite well was presented in a completely different - and more lethal - format. It was almost breathtaking to see something so different, executed so well.

    I'm doing my best to cut through my own barriers to infuse the new stuff. As you might have gathered based on my limited comments - and while I'm very laid back - I'm also a 'shut up, listen, learn' type of bloke who tries to take everything in. Training staff says I've improved significantly since I showed up, which hopefully equates to my not stepping on toes by being too steadfast to what I learned in the prior setting.

    What is up with the culture of balls out sparring? My gym in Oz devolved into that as well (away from focused sparring with freestyle worked in). Rotating, random partners making it a near-impossibility to avoid getting lit up in the worst of ways (a problem due to my health stuff).

    As my technique (and humility, I hope!) is something I work hard at, I've been asked several times to come back to the sparring. I confessed the health limitations and 'being a bit soft' re: the balls out striking from Fight Team members. They proposed isolating my partners to a select few. This isn't disrespectful on my end, I hope...?

  8. #8

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    What is up with the culture of balls out sparring? My gym in Oz devolved into that as well (away from focused sparring with freestyle worked in). Rotating, random partners making it a near-impossibility to avoid getting lit up in the worst of ways (a problem due to my health stuff).

    As my technique (and humility, I hope!) is something I work hard at, I've been asked several times to come back to the sparring. I confessed the health limitations and 'being a bit soft' re: the balls out striking from Fight Team members. They proposed isolating my partners to a select few. This isn't disrespectful on my end, I hope...?
    Don't get me wrong, there's definitely times where you should be banging it out. It's just not ALL the time. Although I'm wondering if your Crohn's is making you feel it worse than you ordinarily would, as opposed to them going hard all the time. Have you asked anyone else what their feeling on the level of contact is? I'm not trying to call you a wuss, just that your condition might just be screwing you over regarding pain tolerance. But then, the fact that the staff told you to work with a selected few people indicates that they might also notice that some people go too hard. It's difficult to say when we aren't there in your gym to see.

  9. #9
    pslieber
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    Thanks again for the great advice. And no offense taken, re: Crohn's. :)

    Yes, some higher end contact is great when controlled. The head trainer - when sparring with him - does a great job of de/escalating power to match opponents. I don't mind getting rocked...just not intentionally injured.

    I've asked a handful of folks who about their thoughts on the sparring classes (as they've asked me if/when I'm doing it again). Unfortunately, they all agree that it's too full-on. One our fighters actually broke his leg in one of these sessions this week.

    Is it disrespectful to recommend trainers provide more tiered training, separating out fight team members and/or others wanting to go balls out for 12 rounds from the remainder?

  10. #10

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    I've asked a handful of folks who about their thoughts on the sparring classes (as they've asked me if/when I'm doing it again). Unfortunately, they all agree that it's too full-on. One our fighters actually broke his leg in one of these sessions this week.

    Is it disrespectful to recommend trainers provide more tiered training, separating out fight team members and/or others wanting to go balls out for 12 rounds from the remainder?
    A guy broke his leg? That is fucked right the **** up. When we went hard at my gym at home, there would be black eyes and bloody noses to go around, but nobody ever broke anything. What the hell. And your instructor should already be doing what you're suggesting, if someone got hurt that badly and it wasn't a freak accident. It shouldn't be that hard to present to him, if a bunch of you are uncomfortable with the regular contact level. Just get everyone together and go talk to him about it. Make sure you emphasize the concerns for safety(GUY BROKE HIS FREAKING LEG WHAT THE ****).

    Although, I have to tell you, if I were in your shoes, I might be thinking about finding a new gym, at least if the trainer doesn't do something about it. Sorry man, but even pros don't get hurt as often as it sounds like people at your place do.

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