Strength, Preparation, and Muay Thai

(this is sparked by a colleague’s LJ post — it’s locked, or I would share).

I think just about everyone should take classes in Muay Thai — particularly anyone who believes they are weak, or helpless. MT is a dynamic, strength-building, flexibility-enhancing sport that builds mental and physical capability. Participants end up with the cardio workout of an aerobics or high-energy dance class and the strength-building of lifting weights. Moreover, you learn what fighting feels like in a safe environment. Bruised knuckles, aching jaw, sore elbows, and aching muscles all over — sounds like a typical post-MT feeling, even if you’re using pads and protection. It just happens.

Before Muay Thai, I would flinch when something came at my face — not because I’d ever been beaten, but because sports with balls tended to end up hitting me there and I just learned a bad habit. When you’re fighting someone you simply cannot flinch when they feint towards your face, they’ll take advantage of that quickly and a bad habit can cost you the fight. My trainer desensitized me to the sight of a fist (gloved or not) and then other objects coming towards my face until I stopped flinching. Breakthrough came when I got hit by a fist — in the nose, by accident — and I just made the correct counterattack until the bout was over. (And then whined and got ice — that HURT dammnit.)

Muay Thai gives you a feeling of being incredibly prepared and confident.

Another story: friend (who was also in MT class) and I were having a drink at a semi open air bar one day. Some guy at the table next to ours got loud and physical, slamming his fists down to make his points and generally getting obnoxious. We both kept talking but found ourselves shifting slightly in our chairs to have  a better view of potential trouble. Sure enough, right after the waitress refused to serve him anymore beer, he stood up and made as if to flip the table over (it was a solid wood picnic bench). My friend and I immediately stood, grabbed our beers, moved one zone away, put the beer down, and stood calmly watching. Only after the bouncers had cleared the area did we relax — and then laughed because we were both in a loose fighting stance, arms at ready to shift and deflect. And we’d never stopped talking while we did it.

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