Isolated Kicking Drills for Balance – Training Without a Partner
Occasionally I’m alone at the gym. Like, totally alone, usually because one of the boys is fighting in Bangkok and so my trainer – Kru Nu – and a bunch of the boys leave before dawn for the early morning weigh in and then stay all day for the fight in the evening. For many, this is a day off. For me, it’s a day of solo training, so I’ve developed some things to do in these events, and in cases like this if they are good I then incorporate them into my regular training.
I recorded these kicking drills kind of in “medley” form as way to show how one can train alone. When I actually do these drills they last much longer. I either count them (100, 200, etc) or do it by time (4 minute rounds) for each drill, but that would be a boring-ass video. These drills are mostly inspired from things I’ve worked on or stolen from trainers I’ve met over the years, including the private sessions I’ve been recording for Nak Muay Nation. The drill between the two bags is something I saw Yodwicha doing with two padholders (I don’t have two padholders, so I used the two bags, simply because their set up works for it) – you can see video of him doing this further down; the walking backwards and kicking I learned from both Muay Thai legend Burklerk and Thailand legend Andy Thomson – you can see video of Andy and me further down as well; moving around the bag and kicking at random angles is something Sakmongkol showed me a long time ago, and kicking left and right in succession is something Master K had me do way back in the day. All of these teachers come together in this mix of solo kick drills that you can do on your own too.
The Video of Isolated Kick Drills
above, my isolated kick drills
The first video segment is the first time I’d done these drills all in succession, and indeed the first time I’d done the two-bag drill at all, after having witnessed something similar with Yodwicha. So, I thought it might be interesting to record it then, and then again a few weeks later in order to show progress or changes, because ultimately the drills are for balance and I wanted to see whether I’d improved. But I also kind of put it together as a “hey, these are some ideas for what to do when you’re training yourself.” which is something I did a lot of before I moved to Thailand and I lived far from any Muay Thai gym. In the first video, I’m pretty unhappy with how off-balance and awkward my kicks are. But I do see an improvement after two weeks and I think that’s mostly due to repetition, but also having filmed it allowed me to see where my feet were landing after kicks and seeing how off-balance I was as a result allowed me to make adjustments. I had to see it. This is one reason that it is good to film your work.
Thing is, I’m not a kicker. I don’t kick in fights, anything other than lowkicks, it’s even a struggle for me to kick high in sparring. Part of it is that it’s just not my style, but it’s also that I just don’t feel comfortable, like I’m never quite in the right position. That’s why I’m using these drills to force myself to kick when I’m not in position, getting used to firing from uncomfortable angles. And even if I don’t end up kicking a lot as a result of this, it’s still working on my balance and balance is everything. Maybe I work on it for a year with absolutely no change in my fights and then suddenly, BAM!, all that work that’s already in the bank starts paying off. It happens.
Yodwicha training with two opposite padholders, Kem Muaythai Gym (above) – for those that don’t know Yodwicha is one of the elite stadium fighters in Thailand, but he’s a Muay Khao specialist, and (like me!) not much of a kicker. But as he has grown he’s come into the opportunity of fighting internationally which requires that he remake his game a bit. Clinch just is not appreciated abroad. I wonder if he’s doing this kind of innovative drill to just get more comfortable kicking (and punching).
The Walk Back Counter Kicks with Andy Thomson (above) – Andy is great at creating ways of challenging habit patterns, forcing symmetry and getting you to be more comfortable in a foundational way. This drill was one of those things.
(below) A lot of my recent focus on kicking and balance came out of this hour long session with Arjan Surat who was very unhappy with my balance – you can read about Arjan Surat and that session here.
(below), this was my isolated training of the kick when caught, as brought on by working with Arjan Surat, read about this in my Sylvie’s Tip on the form:
(below), I also employ the “hop in” on the bag, something I demonstrated in this Sylvie’s tips, a very effective but simple way to close distance:
(below) and I use the Dracula Guard at times, taught to me by Pi Daeng at Lanna, discussed in this post: