Mastering The Basics First
Written By: Bob “The General” Perez
A few weeks ago I had the privilege of teaching at a Muay Thai seminar along side Michael Corley, Kevin Ross, and Cyrus Washington. As a coach, it was a great opportunity to study the teaching techniques of world class Muay Thai fighters. For the students in attendance, it was a platform to learn and have their skill levels evaluated. The four hour seminar covered combinations, set ups, defensive maneuvers, counters, and flow drills. Needless to say, the attendees were able to take away some very effective and practical techniques. However, the most valuable lesson was not taught during the seminar, but rather during a Q and A session at the end of the day.
A student asked Kevin Ross, “Can you demonstrate how to set up and throw a flying knee?”
Kevin smiled, and politely replied, “No.”
After a brief pause, he elaborated, “You don’t need to learn a flying knee if your fundamentals aren’t there. When you’re deep into a fight and your body is exhausted, you won’t need to know how to throw a flying knee. You will need to know how to throw a good jab… because it’s the jab that will save you.”
Understanding the basics in striking is a must if you want to evolve as a practitioner/fighter. Whether it’s your first day or tenth year of training, working on the fundamentals should be a part of your daily regimen. I realize the constant drilling and implementation of basic techniques can become boring and monotonous. However, it is the continual repetition of these techniques that will make your striking improve and allow you to progress into advanced techniques with ease. It is only after you achieve a solid foundation of the basics that you should ever consider learning more advanced techniques. More importantly, it should be at your coaches discretion.
Advanced techniques such as the flying knee, spinning back fist, or even the Superman punch are high risk, carry a relatively low landing percentage, and work most effectively when coupled with basic movements. Thus, without the knowledge of the basic movements that lead you into the advanced techniques correctly, the probability of landing it becomes ever lower. Don’t get me wrong, I think these techniques are great, and I teach them to my fighters. However, I truly feel that it is the mastering of the fundamentals that make a fighter great. So, focus on the things that are the building blocks of your stand up game: stance, footwork, basic punches, kicks, knees, simple elbows, and defensive movements.
The advanced stuff will come with time. Remember you don’t always have to make a highlight reel…BUT MAN IT’S AWESOME WHEN YOU DO!
To close, I would like to say that I wish all of you and your families a great holiday season, and the best of luck in the new year. Let’s all do big things in 2012!