Complete Straight Knee Progression

Straight Knee Progression
1. Jab + left stomp into right knee
2. Jab + cross + right stomp into left knee
3. Jab + cross + hook + left step out into power right knee
4. Jab + cross + hook + cross + switch-step, left back then right forward, into left knee

Reminder from Kru Joe:
-The timing of your knee strikes should follow the same timing as a “jab, cross.”

I’ve realized that I still have a lot of work to do in order to be ready for the next evaluation. Now that I know the sequence of strikes for, say, the straight knee progression, the point that I need the most work on is conditioning and coordination, meaning that I need to be able to perform the strikes with proper form, and more than just several times in a row. Have to push harder.

Homework from Kru Joe was to practice standing on one foot in front of something you can hit, other foot held behind you with your hand from the same side, then push that knee forward while leaning back, chin down, until the knee touches the surface in front of you. You should be rising up on the ball of your base foot when you thrust your knee forward. Perform this exercise 100 times for both the right and left knees, and practice this every day.

Level 1 Combo Review and Last KRU Combatives Trial Class

Level 1 Combo Review
-drilled Level 1 combo

-jab + cross lightly while maintaining form. When Kru Joe says “go”, start punching with power, maintaining good form.

-This burnout was pretty tiring, meaning it was effective. I’ll have to try practicing it on the side with some training buddies more often to get us used to the feeling of barely being able to punch or hold pads up.

KRU Combatives Class
-hubud drilling to warm up

Inside stop of number 1 strike:
1. Start with hubud drill and initiate this maneuver during an opponent’s number 1 strike.
2. Step in with right foot and jamming opponent’s strike using palms of both hands, left hand close to opponent’s wrist and right hand on opponent’s bicep to control their upper arm.
3. Left hand grabs opponent’s wrist and blade of right palm slides down the opponent’s bicep, turning right hand from facing down to up as it ends in crook of opponent’s elbow. Your left hand is pulling your opponent’s wrist toward your own pocket while your right hand is making a “J”-like motion, and you perform this all in one movement by sinking your weight down as you pull. If done correctly, your opponent’s head should jerk forward and/or their other foot should step forward to absorb shock.

Outside stop of number 1 strike:
1. Start with hubud drill and initiate this maneuver during the “pass” part of your hubud drill.
2. As you pass the opponent’s striking hand over your head, step out with left foot to get close. As you’re stepping, grab the opponent’s wrist with your right hand and then perform the same downward jerk, with your right hand on opponent’s right wrist and left hand raking down their bicep to end in the crook of their elbow.

Transitioning from outside to inside stopping of number 1 strike:
1. Opponent strikes with number 1 strike.
2. Immediately step in with right foot for the inside jam, then pass their striking hand under.
3. As soon as opponent’s hand is free, the opponent attacks with a number 2 strike.
4. As opponent strikes, step in with left foot to the opponent’s outside, keeping your body facing theirs, and block right hand facing inward (protecting veins in case of knife) at their wrist level, and left hand on opponent’s bicep.
5. Repeat this drill several times, maintaining good form.
-The footwork for the above is the same as the rompido footwork from side to side.

Flipping enemy after jamming their strike:
1. Opponent strikes with number 1 strike.
2. Step in with right foot for the inside jam, making sure to strike hard and fast.
3. Transition immediately into the pull-down–if this is done correctly, not only should you jerk your opponent’s head down, but they’ll also step forward, setting you up for the next step.
4. For the drill, the right arm will be coming up to the opponent’s chest/neck level as the left hand pulls the opponent’s right (if right leg is lead) towards you while you drive forwards towards their weakest point.
5. If the opponent’s right leg is not close to you, you can immediately switch tactics by switching the positioning of your arms–your left arm goes high to opponent’s neck, right arm aiming to grab their leg, and driving forwards towards the opponent’s weak point.

Tips from Master:
-The important practice here is to develop recognition, that the number 1 strike you are blocking can be a knife strike, a wide punch, a cross, a kick, or whatever–with recognition, you can train the same kind of response to deal with the incoming strike.

8-count Footwork, complete


1 – 4: see earlier post.
5: Left foot steps out (stepping away from center), right foot slides back with quarter turn to face the right. Lift left foot and stomp into right straight knee, saying “tang”.
6: Right foot steps out, left foot slides back with quarter turn leftward (ending up facing original direction) so right leg is in front. Lift right leg and stomp into left high knee, saying “tang” again.
7: Take one step forward with left foot to resume fighting stance, then throw a push kick with right leg, saying “tip” (teep).
8: Draw step and extend hands forward, chin down, then step forward with right foot, step out with left foot and throw a body kick, spinning around.

-When throwing the left high knee, you don’t need to lean back as much.
-When throwing the right straight knee, remember to still keep chin tucked.

packed weekend

This is one of those increasingly rare “general” posts…but a lot happened over the weekend.

First and foremost was the first KRU Expo, held at the Doubletree in Mahwah. I would like to write at length about the amazing speakers who presented (including Sensei Nick Dougherty, Dan Greene, Ken Andes, Master Ramirez), but I haven’t even had a chance to review my notes and digest the information. Despite not being a martial arts school owner, I learned a lot about several facets about managing a martial arts business, especially one that falls under the KRU banner.

Congrats again to the new Kru Joe! His dedication and expertise were two of the reasons I always enjoyed the classes, and though I haven’t known him long or well, I believe his promotion was well-deserved. Now I’ll just have to remember calling him “Kru” instead of “Instructor”.

To-dos for the next few days:
-Revamp Google+ profile and layout per Sensei Nick’s presentation
-Revise and complete LinkedIN profile, again per Sensei Nick and also Dan Greene
-Review all notes from the Expo
-Find more about Steve Kardian–publicize among my friends and groups to spread awareness
-Practice deep breathing drill advised by Ken Andes, L.Ac.
-Find recommend readings such as “The Primal Blueprint” by Mark Sisson
-More that I don’t yet remember

Muay Thai Level 1 Evaluation

-Clarification on #4 of leg kick setup series: while #4 is “jab + lead hand uppercut, then leg kick”, the striker should turn their right shoulder inward (as if slipping past a strike) before throwing the uppercut.
-Fight Team members do the same 2mi run as warm-up, and only some of them get the 17min time. Faster runners get 13 or 14min–this gives me an idea of the times I should be aiming for.

General observations:
-Increased appreciation for instructors, coaches, and assistants–I wonder if this is exactly the same thing as how hazing works haha. Still, psychological tricks aside, I was reminded of why I so liked KRU in the first place–the atmosphere and people are friendly, receptive to questions, and really love what they do. I like interacting with passionate people–passion is contagious!
-The most difficult part of the test for me was the conditioning–staying consistent with my strikes and keeping my energy level high as I tried to balance my energy expenditure per combo.
-Once I got “in the zone”, I wasn’t worrying about most of the test–again, the most difficult part of the test for me was continuing to perform the strikes despite being out of breath. I think the caveat to this is that I had to be confident that I knew everything that would be thrown at us.
-While all the coaches/assistants are capable, I think I may have been fortunate to have paired with the ones I did, as good/aware partners make any practicing “easier”–our expectations of where the pads should be and where we should be are in sync.

-The purpose of our first evaluation is to establish a baseline for ourselves and our instructors, so that we have something to build off of. Knowing that, we have to keep pushing for more and better in any future examinations.
-I’ve noticed a clear difference in my fitness levels before beginning Muay Thai and a few months afterward. It’s not a stretch to say that this martial art has been good for me, and with luck and caution, will continue to be so.

Having pushed myself harder on this test than I ever have yet, I found my limits–and now I can work to surpass them.

Congrats, classmates, on a test well-done. There’s no slowing down–onto the next ones 🙂

Muay Thai: Test Prep with Instructor Joe

For this post I’m just going to include tips, clarifications or anything that I did not know before this test preparation session.

Properly wrapping your hands (Instructor Joe’s preferred method)
1. Begin with your wraps already rolled up, the loop on the outside with the inseam facing inward.
2. Loop the thumb and pull the wrap around the back of the hand.
3. Wrap the wrist 3 times, keeping the fingers of your hand spread wide.
4. Bringing the wrap back towards you (if palm down), bring the wrap up and around your thumb, then back around your wrist.
5. Bring the wrap up towards your pinky, and then wrap around your knuckles 3 times, keeping your fingers spread.
6. After wrapping 3 times around your hand, begin the 4th wrap-around but pull the wrap down across the back of your hand and towards the far side of your wrist, making a diagonal line across the back of your hand.
7. Wrap around the wrist once, then bring the hand wrap up and between your pinky and ring finger, going from the back of your hand towards the front of it.
8. After you’ve threaded the wrap through the pinky and ring finger, pull the wrap across straight towards your index finger, wrap around your knuckles once, then pull the diagonally across the back of your hand and towards the far wrist, again crossing the back of your hand.
9. Repeat the above step but threading through the gap between ring finger and middle finger. This time when pulling across, you can go either towards index or pinky before wrapping around knuckles and pulling the wrap back across the back of your hand.
10. When threading between middle and index fingers, this time pull the wrap towards your pinky, wrap your knuckles once, and then pull the wrap back to your wrist again.
11. Finish by wrapping the remaining wrap around your wrist.

Short Leg Kick Progression (Rainbow Kick)
1. Jab + rainbow kick
2. Jab + cross + rainbow kick
3. Jab + fake cross (emphasize this with shoulder turn and pivot) + hook + rainbow kick
4. Jab into lead hand uppercut + rainbow kick
-For number 4, don’t fully retract your jab before the uppercut.
-Treat the uppercut motion as if you were tossing a tennis ball in the air.

Jab Progression Drill tips:
-When initiator throws the “uppercut, leg kick” part of the drill, the uppercut is with the lead hand (left hand)

Level 1 Combo tips:
-When pad-holding and striking for the attacker to practice covering, we only have 2 strikes: either lead hand hook or overhand right.
-When pad-holding and striking for the attacker to practice covering, make sure to hit with the flat of the pad.

General Test Tips:
-we will have 3 minutes to wrap both hands, after which our hands will be checked and the time we took taken. If we have wrapped improperly, we’ll have to unwrap our hands and start over again, from that point in time.
-as Level 1 students are supposed to have focused on Offensive Development and Conditioning, so that is what the instructors will be looking for.

First KRU Combative Class

Self-defense Class taught by Master Ramirez

What do we associate with self-defense?
-Environment–what’s around you–and your options.
-Awareness of the surroundings
-Coordination–being able to do more than one thing at once, especially under stress

Drill 1:
1. With a partner, touch the other person’s shoulders with either hand. This gives you four options.
2. Once your hand has been placed, your partner’s task is to remove your hand with a windshield wiper movement–always sweeping outwards.

Drill 2:
1. Reach out with left hand for partner’s opposite shoulder.
2. Partner will make contact with your reaching hand three times: first at your wrist with their far hand, second sweeping up to their forearm with your closer hand, and third with your original hand at their shoulder as you step past them and away.

Drill 3:
1. Throw a wide punch at your partner.
2. Partner steps in, their hand cupping the back of their head so their elbow is pointed at you and their head tucked close to their elbow, cutting off your punch.
3. Immediately after meeting your strike with their elbow, partner touches your shoulder with their free hand.
4. Practice this drill by throwing both right and left punches at your partner.

Drill 4:
1. Same as above drill, but this time after the partner steps in with their elbow and touches your shoulder, the hand of their blocking elbow comes down to grab your wrist, and then rev the wrist like a motorcycle (turning it away from you) as your right hand slides down their bicep, turning face-up as it does, and then perform a quarter-step and throw your partner down.

Drill 5:
1. Place left hand on partner’s opposite shoulder.
2. Partner parries first with left hand (windshield-wiper), right hand, and their left again, ending up with left hand close to your neck.
3. Partner can then press downwards on your neck, block your foot and then step away while pulling your foot.

Drill 6:
1. Using the earlier drills, reach at your partner’s shoulder either directly for their shoulder or across. Make sure to telegraph which strike you are performing, for practice purposes.
2. Your partner will respond appropriately, either tapping your hands aside and pushing you away, or by stepping into your wide punch with their elbow and then grabbing and throwing you.

Group practice:
-Class stands in circle, one person is put into center and anyone may “attack” after signaling their presence as well as the angle of their strike.
-The defender’s job is to always make distance from the attackers even if their counter didn’t work perfectly.
-The point with self-defense and all these strikes is not to engage your attacker but to make room for you to disengage

The first KRU Combative Self-Defense class was great. Turnout was good–mostly current students but a few new faces–and everyone was, naturally, attentive and receptive.

I’ll be looking forward both to more classes–which are free for the month of January, by the way, to all students and non-students–as well as to practicing the above drills. As Master always says, ‘Practice makes habit’, and good habits are what I’m aiming for.

Muay Thai: Offensive Push Kick

Drill 1:
1. Both partners put on gloves, receiver places gloved right hand over abdomen area palm facing in.
2. Kicker practices rear leg push kick making contact with flat of foot (instead of the usual ball of the foot) in order to get a feel for their optimal kicking range.

Drill 2:
1. One person puts on gloves, the other gets Thai pads. The receiver holds for push kick.
2. Kicker throws a rear leg push kick.
3. After the kicker retracts their leg, the receiver returns with their own rear leg push kick.
4. Original kicker tries to catch the leg and then practice one of two counters: either catching, throwing, stepping in and pushing the receiver’s back, or catching, throwing slightly longer, and throwing a push kick at the receiver’s back.

Drill 3:
1. Facing your partner, raise your knee with toes up, keeping your balance, then extend your leg and straighten the knee
2. The point is to practice your push kick form–leaning back with your upper body will help you raise your leg.

Drill 4:
1. Each person takes a spot inside the ring facing the ropes.
2. First practice right leg push kicks through the ropes, using force but also keeping posture and technique.
3. Practice left leg push kicks with the same force, keeping posture and technique.

From Master:
-Even though we call them ‘push’ kicks (or also ‘teep’), the kicks are more like your jab or cross–a strike that quickly makes contact and then quickly returns. Your push kick should thrust out quickly and retract quickly.
-When catching the kick, remember to protect your neck with your other hand and also leaning back with hips thrust forward.
-The point behind the counters to the push kick is to be in a position to throw your own strike, or at the very least put your opponent off balance. If you are able to catch your opponent’s kick and toss it aside, then you can position yourself optimally for a counter attack.

I’ve thought many times, every time Master teaches, I feel like my memory leaks those nuggets of wisdom like a sieve.

One week left until testing–let’s see how this goes.