Muay Thai Shadow Boxing Series
Introduction to solo training
In this article I'm going to outline some basic Muay Thai program that you can work on solo. Suppose you're by yourself and feel like training a little bit, but there is no class to attend and nobody around to train with.
Well, instead of getting frustrated and go wasting the next couple of hours on YouTube watching martial arts videos, put your Thai shorts on and get down to business.
Remember, working solo is a very fundamental aspect of the training. It helps you to build the right frame of mind in order to really "feel" an art. When you work solo - be it executing forms or shadow boxing - you feel some kind of intimacy between you and the art you are practicing and you'll create a special connection with it. I believe one needs that, at some level.
This applies to all arts, not just Muay Thai, of course. But as I mentioned, this is about Muay Thai solo training, so let's get to it.
A Muay Thai shadow boxing series
I wrote this program for myself, so I thought that you could benefit from it by using it as well. Basically, the program is divided into series. I usually work each series for 2 minutes with 30 seconds break, but you can change that to 3 and 1 minutes if that suit you better.
The art of Muay Thai uses 4 main tools (or areas): Boxing, Kicking, Elbows, Knees. We use this division to define the series.
In the first four series you work just one of the 4 divisions at the time:
- 1) Boxing
- 2) Kicking
- 3) Elbows
- 4) Knees
Than you go on by combining those tools with all the different possibility:
- 5) Boxing + Elbows
- 6) Boxing + Kicking
- 7) Boxing + Knees
- 8) Elbows + Knees
- 9) Kicking + Knees
- 10) Kicking + Elbows
We got 6 other series out of it. This workout is really beneficial because it forces you to use one tool with the other, because otherwise you develop the tendency to use the same combinations over and over again when shadow boxing, and therefor when sparring.
You may think that this is it. 4 areas, single and combined, 10 series in total, checked. Well, don't worry. There is more.
So, moving on, let's get to the clich area. Working the clinch in solo is very hard for some, but like anything else, it is so only if you don't train it enough, right? The clinch-work as shadow boxing is very limited, of course, but still, it improves your balance and posture when knee-striking from that position, and those are fundamental factors in the clich game, aren't they?
So, this is what you can do from the clinching position:
- 11) Straight skip knees
- 12) Curve skip knees
- 13) Combined skip knees (straight and curve)
That assumes that you know what "skip knees" is (and I hope you do because that is beyond the purpose of the article). Make sure to keep a vertical straight posture while doing that, put your hands together in the proper way, and pull toward you when striking. Also, you can pivot-step and than knee-strike. Really imagine grabbing to an opponent.
So far, we have produced a total of 13 series. Let's make it 14! As you might suspect, the next series is going to be about putting it all together, which is what most of us consider to be the actual shadow boxing thing.
- 14) All together (Boxing, Kicking, Elbows, Knees, Clinch)
If you followed the whole series you should be have already worked for 35 minutes (with the 2 minutes and 30 seconds break model).
Of course, if after that you really feel like wanting more, you can always go back and start the whole thing over again. Otherwise, you can add more stuff to it, because, well, there is stuff that can be added, isn't there?
Taking it further
Beside the above ones, there are other series that you can work on and which you can create yourself. For example you can make a series of defensive moves, evasiveness and blocks. While it may feel less fun to work defensive moves than striking, those moves are very important for the fight or for sparring, and doing it by himself helps record the motions in the mussels memory.
Now, you could isolate the evasiveness and blocking moves, and than combine them into another series. For example you could work Boxing evasiveness defense such as Slipping, Ducking, Bob & Weaves, Shoulder roll, and than work on blocks, like Side covers, Front covers, Deflecting, Scooping, Straight arm blocks. (For the evasiveness part, there is not so much Ducking and Weaving in Muay Thai, but still, while you're at it, you can work this Boxing skills).
Also, you can work the lower, leg blocks: Left Shield, Right Shield, Cross Shield, and can do it for the low line and the medium line. Again, don't think this is useless only because you're just imagining a kick, not getting a real one. Mussels memory is what we are drilling out here. Don't under estimate that.
Since you start to get the idea about creating possibilities and playing around with the shadow boxing game, here's a last tip: make combination series.
Need some examples? Here's one. Imagine defending and reposting to a low kick to your left leg. You can use the same defense but different responses (options) and make it a combination series:
- 1) Left Shield, Foot Jab
- 2) Left Shield, Left Kick
- 3) Left Shield, Right Kick
- 4) Left Shield, Right Knee
- 5) Left Shield, Left Knee
- 6) Left Shield, Cross
The possibility are quiet endless, so you can really be creative, and you should. Maybe one day I'll put some options down in a downloadable document. Until then, you already got some good stuff to train with, I believe.
Ways of doing this
Remember that for the same series you can work with different intensity and purpose. You can work slow and smooth to work the proper form and body mechanics, or you can go "full speed", which is good for conditioning too. What I like to do is to alternate one mode with the other during the same series. From slow and nice to short explosions combos. Don't forget to breath out when you strike, even when you're in the slow mode. Don't worry if your neighbors (or wife), hear you through the walls of your room, you're doing Muay Thai, there's not half way of doing it.
So this is it. Put some music on, warm yourself up with some rope jumping, stretch properly, get started with the program and let me know how it goes. And remember, shadow boxing is one great way to "make it yours". So keep it up.