Shaking off the Rust

So I went to a Muai Thai class last night for an awesome night focused on kicks. Roundhouse kicks, Switch Kicks, Teeps all night. I loved it! There were only a few combos with punches. I got paired up with a guy that was pretty experienced, but out of practice for over a year due to an injury. Now this guy, he was giving his best, but he was gassing out pretty quick and gasping for air between each combo. It’s ok, It happens. Injuries suck. I can relate. I was there back in the Fall, and I’m still trying to shed some of the weight I gained over the last 2 years, so I know where he’s coming from.

However, he was still kicking with more power than most of the class even though his conditioning had gone downhill from inactivity. And he isn’t a big guy either. I’ll bet there are plenty of guys out there that can squat or bench more, but between breathers, he was blasting the Muai Thai mitts with force that echoed through the gym. Why was he so strong despite having lost most of his conditioning?

It’s because he still had solid technique, which is where most of his power came from. He said it himself. I commented on how he’s still kicking hard, and he responded “It’s all technique and muscle memory.” EXACTLY right! When you fine tune the more subtle aspects of your techniques, you will be much more efficient, and won’t need as much energy (conditioning) to strike hard. Now there were a few slips here and there, and that’s just rust. It happens, but throwing a roundhouse kick or any other technique is just like riding a bike.

Once you have the basic balance and feel of the motion, it’s hard to forget. There were a few points where he caught himself losing power and missing technical aspects; not chambering the kick properly, kicking on an awkward angle, or not pivoting enough on the supporting leg. But that’s the thing. He cognitively knew these key points, and made a conscious effort to correct them. That’s a huge key: Self-assessment and correction. It’s important to understand the finer points to acknowledge when you are on or off, and then correction to tighten up his execution.

I could feel the kicks where he wasn’t on 100%, but he caught it, corrected, and then the difference in power was huge. Will conditioning help? Absolutely. But it’s only part of the puzzle. As I’ve preached many times before, commit to the technique, and the power will follow. If you rush through while fatigued, your technique will be sloppy, you will lose power, and you increase risk of injury. If you haven’t already, sign up for the newsletter where I break down the finer details of the techniques used in Kickboxing.

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