Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Counter Hook Classic (video)

If you've been around Muay Thai long enough, you've probably seen this fight. If you haven't...well, this won't take long!

Traditional Muay Thai is often misunderstood as plodding, flat footed and slow. It's frustrating to hear commentators say that Thai style doesn't use footwork and just stands toe to toe. To sum up the mentality of a "traditional" Muay Thai style, it is based upon looking for the best answer to the problem at hand. That doesn't mean "traditional" Thai style is slow or stagnant, but that it is patient. In this fight, Buakaw throws very little, but quicker than his opponent can respond. Patience is not the absence of "immediacy", but being immediate at the right time.

Shishido is a high level Shoot Boxer (a sport similar to Muay Thai but not quite the same), but his pace was very different from Buakaw's. Buakaw chose to explode at key moments. Though it was only two times, his techniques were very accurate (a high kick that just grazed the target, and a left hook know).

This doesn't mean all Thai fighters look the same. Smaller fighters will certainly move very differently, as is evidenced by Saenchai (when you take a second to look beyond all the tricks he does) vs non Thais, or Samart (who was the greatest of his era). Some of these guys move much more, maintain different distances etc etc. However, if you watch them closely they are employing the same mentality that Buakaw used in this fight: patiently finding the best openings with the best techniques. Sometimes this means sweeps, sometimes it means a knee...sometimes its a hook that puts even the top level guys to sleep.

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