5 tips on how to sharpen your defense in Muay Thai from the superstar Evolve Muay Thai Instructor Team.
Practice reflex drills.
Reflex drills are exactly as they sound - they are focused on speeding up your reflexes to a given action. The key to a strong defense (blocking or evading attacks) is to build up your reflex to attacks. An example of a reflex drill is to have your partner throw mid level roundhouse kicks (with shin pads) at you over and over. Your objective is to block every single one of them with correct technique. Eventually, you will gain muscle memory and your body will naturally react to the kick. Ask the Evolve Instructors for a set of reflex drills.
Develop your pattern recognition.
The faster you can recognize a pattern, the faster your defense will become. For example, try to see if you can see a "pre-signal" before your partner throws an offensive attack at you. A "pre-signal" is something a person does just before he/she throws a punch, kick, knee, or elbow. Some people might move their shoulders before they wind up to throw a punch. Other people might drop their hands just before throwing a kick. These are all patterns that you can learn to recognize.
Use a mirror.
Try to perfect your defensive technique by using a mirror. Watch how your body moves when you evade a high roundhouse kick to the head. Is it correct technique? (Ask one of our Instructors if you would like to see correct technique). If you randomly do 10 blocks a day in front of a mirror, your muscle memory will start to take place.
Repetition equals perfection.
The more times you repeat a movement (correctly, of course), the more it will become automatic. In Muay Thai, if you have to think while you are sparring or while you are in a fight, then it is too late. All movement in Muay Thai must be automatic and instinctive. Do your best to repeat blocks over and over with a partner.
Watch video footage of the World Champions.
If you watch a technical fight between 2 world-class fighters, do your best to follow what they are doing. It might look like a blur, but there is a ton of hidden technique in Muay Thai. The devil is in the details! If you want to see real action, then you can come visit our Fighters Program. Our World Champions usually spar at that time of the day. Watch and emulate their game!
Take care of your eyes.
The ability to evade an attack is 100% tied to your ability to see. If you blink or flinch every time a strike is executed, then try to train your eyes to stay open and relaxed. The greatest Muay Thai fighters in the world have phenomenal eyes. As they say, the hardest punch is the one that you don't see. So do your best to keep your eyes open. Train them to stay open during all the action!
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