Rich Cadden, our resident Muay Thai world champion blogger, sent me this great piece about why good sportsmen make better fighters. But before you read on, I thought I would add a few thoughts of my own. Now, I don’t mind MMA, I find it exciting at times, humorous at others, and pulling-your-hair-out frustrating most of the time. My major problem with MMA is the fact that much like the world of wrestling (not the Olympic kind but the WWE kind) it can at times focus more on the drama and in-ring persona of the fighters than the actual skill they bring to the ring.
Now a lot of the fascination with loud mouthed fighters is most likely a cultural thing. The strange thing is that while in most sports the U.S. tries to portray itself as the honorable, sportsmanlike, and “fair play first” type; when it comes to fighting their are many that think of it as just that, “fighting”. Therefore, they entertain the idea of fighters that act like uneducated, arrogant, and loud mouth neanderthals. And because SOME of the fighters act this way, many of the fans MMA has attracted are along the same lines.
People seem to forget that the “M.A.” in MMA means “Martial Arts”. A term which for centuries has been synonymous with honor, humility, and respect. As Muay Thai continues its growth here in the United States, the one thing I see that is rapidly separating Muay Thai from MMA in the eyes of the fans is not only the striking skill of the fighters but their respect and humility for each other, even while being involved in what is a very tough, brutal, and physically demanding sport.
Sportsmen make better fighters by Rich Cadden
“In my humble opinion I always find that the people that see Muay Thai as a ‘Sport’, generally have better success. I know some people view Thai boxing as an excuse to ‘fight without breaking the law’… They talk about getting ‘Red Mist’ and come out with the classic corner advice of ‘Smack him’ and ‘Knock him out’.
Aggression and ‘Being game’ will only get you so far (maybe even winning your first 3 or 4 fights), but you will always see the guys who view Thaiboxing as a ‘sport’ going further.
When people are getting overly aggressive, this is the voice of the ego.
These are people who will try and ‘stare you out’ and try to play psyche-out games.
When this is viewed as a sport, there is more of a focus on the technique and strategy, and as such, tend to excel further in a shorter space of time.In Thailand, Thai boxing is known as ‘The Deadly Dance’ as essentially, all you are looking to do is put your body in particular positions (just like dance moves) but then it’s just really unfortunate that your opponent is at the wrong range, the wrong distance, and this means that the technique lands on their body, causing ‘effect’ to score.
So, now that you are taking the attention away from ‘fighting’ and you are ‘playing’ Thaiboxing, you will notice that you are more relaxed and you can move easier.
So two things to think about, is your coach telling you to spar hard to see whether you can stick to a game plan under pressure or is he doing it more to hide his lack of experience/knowledge?
And secondly, have you discussed game plans and strategy with your coach?
I know this may cause some controversy, so feel free to comment and tell us what you find best.”
Thanks again to Rich Cadden for another fantastic post.