In the late eighteenth century, during one of the many wars between the Kingdom of Burma and the Siamese kingdom of Ayutthaya (in modern-day Thailand), a famed Thai boxer named Nai Khanomtom and several of his comrades were captured and held in Burma. After seven years of captivity, the Burmese king organized a festival. He wanted to see his Burmese boxers fared against the Thai boxers. Nai Khanomtom was chosen to represent the Thais against the Burmese champion. As is custom, Khanomtom opened the fight with his Wai Kru dance—this mystified the Burmese, who had never seen one before. He then brutally knocked out the Burmese champion. The Burmese thought the Wai Kru was some sort of black magic which had aided him, and the king ordered that he face more Burmese boxers. Man after man fell. The tenth Burmese boxer to face Khanomtom was a champion, but was mangled by Khanomtom’s kicks and was knocked out just as the previous nine had been. After seeing this, no Burmese fighter dared step into the ring with him. The Burmese king was impressed with Nai Khanomtom, and is believed to have said, “Every part of the Siamese is blessed with venom. Even with his bare hands, he can fell nine or ten opponents. But his Lord was incompetent and lost the country to the enemy. If he had been any good, there was no way the City of Ayutthaya would ever have fallen.” The Burmese king granted Nai Khanomtom his freedom along and his triumph is celebrated every year on March 17 in Thailand as National Muay Thai Day. However, the martial art that Khanomtom used was not called Muay Boran. There are several old styles that were developed in various regions of Thailand that are now lumped into the term Muay Boran (literally “Ancient Boxing”), such as Muay Chaiya, Muay Thasao, Muay Lopburi, and Muay Korat. But regardless on which regional variant it was, both have been driven to near-extinction due to the popularity of the stand up only ring sport we now know as Muay Thai (or, “Thai Boxing”).
The jab is one of the most essential punches a fighter can have, and is one of the core elements of basic training. It is a basic hand tool. We’re going to look at how to develop your jab using this simple methodology.
We start with footwork. The jab is often used as an entering strike. Footwork is an often neglected segment of training, but is possibly the most essential concept to focus on in order to progress in Muay Thai & K1. Developing your footwork is absolutely necessary if you want to be able to control the distance between you and your opponent and the timing between you. Without this ability, you will never be able to learn how to intercept your opponent.
To develop your jab, develop your step and slide footwork. A simple way to remember how to move using step and slide is that the foot that steps will match the direction you are going. From your fighting stance, step forward with your lead foot, and slide the rear foot along back into your balanced stance. To move backward, step your rear foot back, and slide the front foot into place. To step right, step with your right foot, and then slide the left into place. To step left, step with the left foot and then slide the left foot into place. Thus, we call it step and slide. Practice moving all four directions to develop your step and slide.
Now that you’ve developed your footwork, get with your training partner to begin some pad drills. Start in the same lead. From your fighting stance, you’re going to hit across their body. So, if you’re in right lead, you’re going to throw your jab at the pad on their right hand. This is important, because you want to emphasize turning your hip into your jab as you strike.
For your first set, stand within arm’s reach of your partner. We won’t bring in your step and slide footwork just yet. Practice throwing your jab while turning your hip into the punch. Start throwing one jab at a time, breathing with each strike and turning your hip.
After a round of this, practice throwing a repeating jab. Throw a jab out with your hip turn, and quickly retract it back, making sure you pull your jab back to your guard and not dropping it. You do not want to leave your chin open to a counter punch. As soon as your jab has come back, fire it out once more, again snapping your hip into the motion.
Now, having done one round standing and jabbing, and a second round standing and repeating jabbing, we’re going to add in your footwork. In order to strike an opponent, you must move to them, but if you just step into range, your opponent can intercept and counter strike you. So, we use our jab as cover. For this third round, you’re going to practice stepping and jabbing at the same time. Move outside of arm’s reach of your partner. Now, using your forward step and slide footwork, step in and jab, timing your jab and your hip twist with your forward step. Once your jab lands, immediately step and slide back while retracting the jab to your chin. This will help you develop the ability to move in and out of range with your opponent.
For your next round, you’re going to expand on your footwork. Have your partner bring his pads close to his body rather than holding them out for you to strike. Begin circling and moving around each other, working on your step and slide footwork in all directions. Try and remain out of arm’s reach of your partner to develop a sense of distance. While moving, have your partner feed the pad out spontaneously. When he does, step and slide in with your jab, and then step and slide back out.
Be sure always to exhale on your jab. Breathing is the most important aspect of all combat and indeed all life. If we aren’t breathing, we aren’t moving!
Bruce Lee applied these tenets to martial arts, but also to everyday life. Shannon shares the story of the pivotal fight that led Bruce Lee to develop his own martial arts philosophy and way: Jeet Kune Do.
“The art of Jeet Kune Do is simply to simplify. Jeet Kune Do avoids the superficial, penetrates the complex, goes to the heart of the problem and pinpoints the key factors. Jeet Kune Do does not beat around the bush. It does not take winding detours. It follows a straight line to the objective. Simplicity is the shortest distance between two points. Jeet Kune Do favors formlessness so that it can assume all forms and since Jeet Kune Do has no style, it can fit in with all styles. As a result, Jeet Kune Do utilizes all ways and is bound by none and, likewise, uses any techniques or means which serve its end.”
Taking what is useful and rejecting what is useless. You have to know the rules to rewrite the rules. The problem is never apart from the solution, the solution is within the problem, if you’re willing to confront and face the problem.
“To realize freedom, the mind has to learn to look at life without the bondage of time. For freedom lies beyond the field of consciousness, don’t stop and interpret “Hey I’m free” then you’re living in a memory of something that has now gone.”
If we, in our own lives, start to hack away at the unnecessary, take out everything we don’t need or that we thought we needed but don’t, that will give us the space to explore what it’s like to be free from ego, free from form, free to express our true selves.
The mark of genius is to see and express what is simple, simply.
True freedom relies on the balance of structure and formlessness.
“Learning Jeet Kune Do is not a matter of seeking knowledge or accumulating stylized pattern, but is discovering the cause of ignorance.”
“If you follow the classical pattern, you’re understanding the routine, the tradition, the shadow, you are not understanding yourself.”
What you can do to practice this philosophy:
Look around your own life and ask how can I be more direct? How can I simplify? What can I let go of? What is cluttering up my life right now?
Pick a space (physical space or they way we do something) and ask what is the most useful part of this? And strip away the useless.
In a study, each participant drank a measured cup of either regular or decaffeinated coffee. Afterward, there finger blood flow was measured to find out how well the body’s smaller blood vessels work.
Those who drank caffeinated coffee experienced a 30% increase in blood flow over a 75-minute period, compared to those who drank decaf. As your muscles need oxygen, better circulation equals a better workout.
Consuming the caffeine equivalent of two to three cups of coffee one hour before a 30-minute high-intensity exercise reduces muscle pain. Caffeine helps you push harder during strength-training workouts, improving muscle strength and endurance.
In tests researchers gave people who did not regularly consume caffeine either a placebo, or 200 mg of caffeine five minutes after studying a series of images. The next day, both groups were asked to remember the images, and the caffeinated group scored significantly better. A brain boost is a real benefit during workouts, especially when they entail needing to recallspecific routines and combinations.
Caffeine is found to help offset the loss ofmuscle strength that occurs with aging. The results indicate that in moderation, caffeine may help preserve overall fitness and reduce the risk of age-related injuries.
More muscle fuel
A little caffeine post-exercise may also be beneficial, particularly for endurance athletes who perform day after day. The research found that compared to consuming carbohydrates alone, a caffeine/carb combo resulted in a 66% increase in muscle glycogen four hours after intense, glycogen-depleting exercise. Glycogen, the form of carbohydrate that gets stockpiled in muscle, serves as a vital energy during exercise, to power strength moves, and fuel endurance.
- The maximum amount of caffeine recommended for enhancing performance with minimal side effects is about 16 ounces of coffee.
- Doctor up coffee with almond milk and cinnamon instead of cream and sugar, or whip coffee or tea into a fruit smoothie, along with other nutrient-rich ingredients like almond butter and oats or quinoa.
- Research shows that when your caffeine intake is steady, your body adjusts, which counters dehydration, even though caffeine is a natural diuretic.
- Keep drinking water.