Muay Thai – no shin pads

Posted: March 4, 2015 in fitness, work out
Tags: , ,

I wrote previously about Muay Thai training in HK and for visitors to visit Hanuman in Hung Hom as they employ ex-champions.

The private gyms do a great job of attracting clients that pay a pretty penny for personalized service.  A one hr training session consists of a light warm up (skip rope or circuit), pad work and sparring.  Pad work is great when you have your own coach to fine tune your technique.  Sparring is perfect to put the technique to the test.  There are also a good number of Muay Thai gyms in Hong Kong that operate on the fringe.  As with my blog, my goal is to seek out these ventures.  I find the best instructors are generally of the variety where they no longer accept new students so I cannot pay to play and they have a loyal following among their students.  It’s very similar to food, if you charge a lot you better be good but there are also many gyms that don’t charge much with the tutelage world class.

Most gyms in HK want you to sign a contract right away.  30 days is the minimum and one year would be ideal.  To entice you, a one year membership is significantly discounted.  This doesn’t work for a host of reasons but the main point would be commitment issues.  It’s hard to burn fat and turn it into muscle.  In their mindset, too much exercise would make them too muscular.  You’re joking right?  The body doesn’t immediately eject fat stores and convert it to muscle, it’s a long arduous process that takes months if you have the right diet.

One thing you quickly come to realize while training in HK is the fact people here love to work on techniques that are quite flashy: spinning back fists, spinning back kick, the type of things you only see on TV.  Akin to the goalkeeper using the scorpion kick to save the ball and the footballer with the falling backwards over the head  kick to score the winning goal in extra time.  They love that stuff here.  I watched another amateur tournament in December and notice the refs stopping fights early.  Best decision ever for amateurs.  Live to fight another day.  No egos.  I am still waiting for the day the white-collar fights take place without shin-pads.

My favorite MT instructor, getting KO’ed (end of the 3 min mark) and resuscitated to continue the beating to eek out a win.  Gyms should really go out of their way to provide post career training for their fighters so they no longer have to ply their trade into their 40s.  If there is one thing to take away from the video is the effective use of body shots to which not a lot of people devote time to training.  Body shots sting and add up through the later rounds.  You can shake out the constant jabs to the head but body shots wear you down.  I love Hansuk.  I remember sparring with the guy to the point I can’t remember the class.  He was the only instructor willing to go bare knuckle for one round.  If I were ever to start a Muay Thai school, he would lead it.  As is typical of prize fighters, they love the glory and fight on.

I now train at Andy Muay Thai in Sai Wan’s Sun Yat Sen Sports Complex.  $400/month.  Class times for Mondays and Wednesdays from 8-10pm.  The guys that compete do so in real amateur bouts without shinpads.  Real competition.  Shin pads get in the way of real technique masking bad form while offering protection, akin to being the dummy for the police dog; it may hurt but not so much that you won’t do it again.  Andy is the head instructor at the gym.  His students love him.  He runs a nice set up and he has been doing it for over 20 years.  Class starts with a stationary warm up, 3 rounds of 3 min skip rope, 3-4 rounds of shadow boxing and technique then it’s a free for all.  It’s a great class if you know what you are doing and for the absolute beginner.  You will not receive the hand holding found at other gyms but you are also not paying $200/class.  You take away exactly what you put in.  Show up, listen and put in the time and effort.

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