Hello dear readers,
Sometimes I really don’t understand people. What do you think of when you hear the word “kickboxing”? Do you think of a safe, gentle workout that will magically tone and reshape your body? Or do you think of a brutal martial art?
When I started learning muay thai, I certainly didn’t expect it to be comfortable. I expected it to be damn uncomfortable, actually, and I was scared stiff before my first, second, third, and fifteenth class. (And as well I should have been scared, because my kru (instructor) believed in pairing students of all levels for sparring matches. Can you say ouch?)
I’ve noticed a disappointing trend at my current gym. Whenever I’m paired with someone relatively new, whether they’ve been training for six months or two years, they invariably have not learned knee strikes. Knee strikes are a hugely important part of muay thai fighting. Being able to use knee and elbow strikes is what separates muay thai from plain ol’ kickboxing. And yet, there’s quite a few people going around (at least at my club), calling themselves muay thai kickboxers who don’t have a clue about either. What gives?
The other day, my kru happened to be passing by just when another student told me she hadn’t learned to throw a knee. In jest, I asked Kelly why the Level 1 students couldn’t throw knees. His response? “We don’t teach Level 1 students knees anymore, because the women complained that receiving hits to a belly pad was uncomfortable.”
Uncomfortable? I’m sorry, but wtf? Why would anyone sign up for MUAY THAI KICKBOXING expecting everything to feel good? Do they not expect to get kicked, punched, or kneed? That is what learning this art is all about. Plus, traditional muay thai aside, the knee strike is so important for self defense. Most attackers wouldn’t see it coming, and executed well, it can be deadly. The students who are most “uncomfortable” about learning knee strikes are probably the ones who need them most.
I know I’ve ranted about this subject before, but when exactly did muay thai get so wishy-washy? When did it become an accessible, “safe” sport like bowling or golf? I can understand not liking all aspects of this martial art, but I can’t imagine refusing to learn necessary elements of it because of discomfort. It truly boggles the mind.