Tuesday Muay Thai: Clinch Knees

1. Step + step + raise rear knee high, pivot on front ball of foot to bring that rear leg forward
2. Repeat with right leg lead.
-When raising rear leg, lead with knee, point toe downward, keep body straight

1. Facing backward, step back + step back + raise front (left) knee high, pivot on back ball of foot to bring front leg to the back.
2. Repeat with right leg lead.
-same form as with previous drill: raise knee as high as possible, keeping toe pointed down, and body straight and balanced when pivoting.

1. Facing forward, step + step + raise rear leg and bring to front (ending with right leg lead).
2. Step + step + raise rear leg and bring to front (ending with left leg lead).
3. As you land from the previous step, pivot on your feet to face backward, then step backward + step back + raise front leg high and bring to back.
4. Repeat previous step, but after landing pivot to face front.
5. Repeat drill.

1. Jab + right knee
2. Cross + left knee
3. Jab + right body kick
4. Cross + left body kick

Entering for a clinch knee
Both arms extended: high hand out in front, elbow bent, forearm toward partner; low hand close to stomach
-this signals partner to clear the high hand with their closest hand, use other hand to grab back of opponent’s neck, and step in for a straight knee
-this knee strike should also push the opponent backward, setting the attacker up for a follow-up
-when clearing the opponent’s high hand, clear it in the best way, which is to move it away from their body so as to allow you to knee unimpeded.
1. Jab + right knee + (right step into) left body kick
2. Cross + left knee + (left step into) right body kick

-never throw a knee in isolation now–always execute a follow-up

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.

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.

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.

Muay Thai: Straight Knee Drills

Straight knee drill (posture and accuracy):
1. Partner A begins in fighting stance, extending left arm straight in the direction of their partner’s opposite shoulder, keeping their right hand turns palm-out and placed against abdomen
2. Partner A then calls either “1” for right knee or “2” for left knee.
3. For right knee, attacker stomps left foot when advancing and then leans back and thrusts right knee in a forward knee strike to touch partner’s palm WITHOUT touching partner’s outstretched arm.
4. For left knee, the starting distance between partners is increased. First step is with the right leg, lifting the knee high to feign a strike, then stomp forward and thrust the left knee straight while leaning back, again aiming to touch the partner’s palm without being touched by the partner’s outstretched arm.

-This drill should be practiced slowly at first to practice accuracy and technique
-Strikers must remember to use their own hands as well, bringing their hands down toward the direction of their knee strike

Straight knee progression drill (see last class for more detail)
1: Jab + straight rear knee
2: Jab + cross + straight lead knee
3: Jab + cross + hook + straight rear knee

Burnout (see last class–same):
-Striker begins running in place with high knees. Pad-holder calls either 1 or 2. Again, being able to switch feet rapidly is key.
1: right knee.
2: left knee.

From Instructor Joe:
-One big problem is that some people, when shifting their hands, twist too much to either side and so throw off their balance and strike.
-A good way to practice is against a wall: start with your knee thrust forward against the wall, balancing on the ball of your foot, then retract the strike, and repeat. This is also a good way to fine-tune your striking range.

Observations from Sean:
-when throwing left knee, I tend to twist too much to the left when I try to remember moving my hands

Muay Thai: Straight Knee Progression Drill

Drill to practice hand motions for straight knee:
A) Lace hands with your partner, arms a little bent. One person initiates the drill by pushing forward and the other person pulls to the right and slightly downwards.
B) Like the above drill, but this time when pulling, stomp your left foot and throw a straight right knee, pulling your partner into and towards the knee.

From Instructor Joe:
-This drill simulates, say, pulling your opponent’s cross right into your knee.

Straight Knee Progression Drill
1: Jab + right knee
2: Jab + cross + step & left knee
3: Jab + cross + hook + right knee
4: Jab + cross + hook + cross + jab & switch feet into left knee

From Instructor Joe:
-Remember to turn your hands like the drill from before.
-For #4, you can also grab your opponent’s head with your extended left hand after the jab and pull them into your knee.
-The basics of the straight knee progression drill are the same as the body kick progression.

From Coach Kris:
-During the last past of #4, when jabbing and switching feet, make sure to extend the jab.

1) Pad holder stands in place holding Thai pads to receive knee, other person runs in place, pumping arms.
2) Pad holder can call out “1” or “2”: “1” for right knee, “2” for left. Person drilling must quickly transition from running to stomping into a knee strike

From Instructor Joe:
-Being able to quickly switch into a knee from the other side is a useful technique if your first knee is blocked

Note to self:
-fix punching form: don’t let elbows flare out, especially when throwing cross

8-count Footwork

1: step, step+jab
2: retreat, step+cross
3: side-step left, step+hook
4: sidestep right, uppercut
5: left step forward, quarter turn
6: right step forward, quarter turn
7: left step forward into ready stance
8: draw step–retract the lead left leg, extending arms, hips thrown back–then step forward, right foot then left foot into fighting stance

Footwork mirror drill
-one person leads with a step in any direction, the partner then mirrors them

From Instructor Joe:
-Maintain fighting measure by keeping the same distance from opponent
-Extend punches more, don’t need to snap as much when shadow boxing

From Kru Chris:
-extend punches by slightly leaning in: with jab, lean forward slightly–not to the point of imbalance–to get extra reach; with uppercut, make sure right shoulder turns forward during strike both for reach and power

-practiced Jab Return drill and progression with Rafael after class