On one half of the gym was the junior boxing class where young kids and stocky teenagers pelted boxing bags and sparred with some pretty high level skill. On the mats I stood among the small handful of adults attending the Saturday 10am Muay Thai kickbox class. The other students looked quite serious as we started our timed skipping warm-up. I’ve found my skipping has definitely improved since I started going to the Sweatbox gym and whacking my toes with the plastic rope doesn’t sting nearly as much as it used to.
Skipping done we did some front kicks and knees up and down the mat interspersed with 30 seconds of sprinting. It doesn’t sound much as I type it here but it was definitely enough to tire me out, get the blood pumping and have me gasping for air at the time.
I must say Muay Thai looks cool and it looks like the sparring can get a lot closer to western boxing sparring.
As a kid martial arts meant predominantly karate and judo, boxing in my mind wasn’t a martial art at all and I certainly didn’t give it the respect it deserved then or that it still deserves now. We train boxing to a high level in this country and although many other styles have been embraced I feel boxing is in the blood of a Brit. Muay Thai is more like boxing in that you can get stuck in early on , other styles I have tried take sometime to prepare you and get you moving correctly , but boxing and Muay Thai throw you in the deep end a lot sooner, but that could just be my experience so far.
Next we trained blocking (swiping) front kicks and the counter attack which was some nasty sweeping of the opponents supporting leg , the kind you would want to use to embarrass a drunken twat attacking you in a bar.
To finish the class we did 10 rounds of bag work , the only rule being we had to practice different moves on each bag , me and my flatmate (who had joined me for the morning class) took advantage of the vacant boxing ring and did some sparring , both of us realizing our flaws early on but still managing to pull off the odd cheeky jab to the face or knee to the body.
I also sparred with one of the seniors, an older gent who looked emotionless as we boxed , no flinches or uncontrolled movement. Occasionally he would stop me to give advice and correct my stance which kept slipping toward a boxing stance , but I really appreciated how in the class everyone gives advice then leaves you alone to try and correct your mistakes and practice the moves. I have been in some classes where a senior student will have no off switch for their advice giving, it can be a bit of a killer.
After my last little practice spar the senior gave me a fight summary:
‘ You have good movement , you definitely need to practice your kicks, if you stick with it, with dedication after a few years you could master this , it just takes determination and some pain’ he said with a grin.
10 three minute rounds with 1 minute breaks in between and the sparring damn near killed me but in a good way , that highly sought after endorphin rush was gratefully received and I felt justified. Two hours of evenly paced cardio training and I felt great.
The rest of the day I felt comfortably relaxed , felt like I learnt some things and since found I really want to get back down to the gym for more Muay Thai classes, probably in the week though as there are carnivals and weekend festivals coming up. Have to live a little you know! Atkleast now on a rainy Saturday morning I’ll know where to go rather than sit in and watch terrible morning TV.
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