exercise.jpgGetting into condition for any kind of sport requires pre-and post-training warm-up and cooling-down sessions of the type discussed in Chapter 7. When getting started in Thai boxing, the amount of warming-up should be adjusted to suit the individual boxer, who will have done sufficientwarming up when he feels energized and in peak form. 

The key exercises that a Thai boxer should incorporate into his training sessions are: 

1. Yaang Saam Khum: This is the famous stealthy Thai boxer’s walk, one of the most important of all the techniques he has to master and the basis of all his footwork. To execute it, the boxer should at first stand with his feet close together. The, depending upon whether the boxer is left-or right-handed, he should take a step forward. A right-handed boxer should move his left foot forward, a left-handed boxer, his right foot. He should then touch the ground with his toes at a point roughly in front of his body, then, moving sideways in a straight line, touch the ground

 

with his toes a second and a third time. In doing this, a left-handed boxer would extend his right foot forward, touch the ground a comfortable distance ahead of his body with his toes, then touch the ground twice more at evenly spaced points along a 

straight line moving to the right. 

On completion of the third movement the foot should be brought to rest on the ground, and the left foot moved ahead to repeat the same process. This walk should be practiced until it feels natural to the boxer. 

Once this walk has been mastered to the point that the boxer feels at ease with it, and there is no problem with his feet getting in each other’s way, he can speed up, not touching the ground on the second movement (the middle one), and setting each foot down only on the third movement. 

Informer times, every boxer’s training began with the study of this walk, the Yaang Saam Khum. The teacher had to teach his pupil footwork, as in Thai boxing it is of crucial importance that the boxer knows how to move in on his opponent and also how to back away quickly when he is being attacked. Otherwise he will not be able to counter his opponent’s tactics. When advancing, it is important to know the proper footwork for moving in on the opponent for offensive maneuvers. On the other hand, the footwork used in backing up is an important part of a boxer’s defense technique, as it permits him to avoid being hurt by his opponent. 

2. Salakkhaang: This term refers to the basic Thai boxer’s stance, in particular, the positioning of the arms. The boxer should stand with his feet separated a comfortable distance. Then he should lift either his left or his right arm, depending on whether he is left-or right-handed in such a way that the elbow projects straight in front of the body and the flat of the hand is against the base of the ear on the same side of the head. The angle between the arm and the body at the armpit should be 90 degrees and that between the forearm and the base of the ear should be 45 degrees (although this can be as little as 30 degrees). Raise the arm into this position and then lower it, and alternate arms. In the early phases of training the boxer may prefer to use only his best arm, until he has the technique down, and then begin alternating. 

Once the boxer has mastered this position, he should practice its use when moving in on an opponent. If he leads with his left foot, his left arm should be raised in this Salakkhaang position, and vice versa. 

This move is useful when the opponent tries to land a swing punch on the ear. The boxer, whose eyes are unfailingly on his opponent, will perceive that he is going to go for the ear. He instantly raises his hand to his ear in the Salakkhaang position, simultaneously placing the corresponding foot ahead and between the opponent’s feet. This should coincide with the opponent’s throwing his punch. 

The result will be that the elbow will hit the opponent in the jaw. The target should be in the middle chin area, below the lower lip. If it is possible to raise the elbow even higher, it will catch the opponent on the nose. 

This tactic can kill an opponent, but it does not require the expenditure of a large amount of energy. Thai boxing is based on lithe, graceful moves used to advantage when a vulnerable spot on the opponent’s body becomes accessible. 

A boxer should always remember that if he remains calm, thoughtful and patient, he can be assured of success. 

3. Saang Thaang Sawan: This Thai term refers to another position. As usual, the boxer begins with his feet together, then moves one foot forward (the one he uses, again, is determined by his right-or left-handedness). At the same time raising the corresponding arm so that the back of the hand is against the base of the ear on the other side of the head. The elbow should be extended from the armpit at an angle of 90 degrees, and the elbow bent in the direction of the ear at an angle of 45 degrees, as in the Salakkhaang position, except that this time the arm is placed diagonally across the face and protects the opponent’s ear against offensive moves from the opponent. 

In practicing it, hands should be alternated until the manoeuvre can be executed automatically with either one. Then practice walking as if approaching an opponent. Walking should be done on the toes. 

Since this tactic can kill an opponent instantly, it is to be counted among Thai boxing’s lethal manoeuvres. When an opponent throws a swing at the base of the ear, the Thai boxer can defend himself by putting a foot between the opponent’s legs, simultaneously lifting the corresponding arm into the Saang Thaang Sawan position. Te combined forces of the opponent as he plunges forward to throw his punch ad of the boxer as he advances will drive the elbow into the opponent’s chin, knocking him instantly unconscious. If he falls over backwards and his had hits the floor hard causing too much blood to enter the brain, death, too, can be immediate. 

Mangkawn Rawn Haang: The boxer begins in the usual position with his feet together. The he spreads them slightly apart and kicks rapidly upward toward the buttocks with is right or left foot, depending upon whether he is right- or left-handed. If possible, the toe should actually strike the buttock. This exercise pays off in increased flexibility of the body. In training, alternate the feet when kicking. The boxer may start practicing this tactic with his arms akimbo to avoid using any of the upper parts of the body. 

This tactic is useful only in weakening an opponent or in scoring points from him. In cases where the two boxers are in a clinch and the opponent is trying to kick upward with the knee, the boxer can protect himself by kicking the opponent’s legs using the Mangkawn Rawn Haang tact, thus weakening him. In clinches, the boxer should take advantage of the moment when the referee comes in to separate the two boxers in order to use this tactic to kick the opponent in the calf using the heel. The longer the clinch fasts, the more the boxer is able to weaken his opponent using this method. 

Aew Naang Phikhaat: Starting with his feet together, the boxer separates them a comfortable distance. The fists should then be clenched and the arms raised outward to form a 45 degree angle from the body at the armpit. (Once this is done, the upper arms will be pointed down and at 45 degrees from the body, the fists held in front of the body.) Then begin rotating the torso back and forth from the hips swinging our both the right and left fists. As regards the rate of this movement, practice it at a rate that would be suitable for moving in on an opponent. Direct the impact of the fists toward the torso of the opponent, aiming at the kidneys or floating ribs. This tactic is one of the potentially lethal ones. It can break the floating ribs or cause severe kidney injury if accurately directed. It can be used when the opponent comes in close. This is the time to throw a hook, using the Aew Naang Phkhaat movement. In throwing the punch, power should be reserved initially, then brought in fully when close to the target. A properly angled fist can easily break a floating rib. The decision to use this tactic must be made instantaneously and put into action within two seconds. 

Maad Phayak Hak Daan: The boxer starts off with his feet together, then separates them at an angle suitable for the type of movements used in fending off an opponent’s blows. Raise both hands above the head, then rotate both arms backwards and downwards, bringing them all the way around in a full cycle. In the upward part of the cycle, bring the fists up forcefully as if to strike the solar plexus of the opponent. This tactic can be used when the opponent comes up from behind to disable the boxer by hugging him. 

This tactic can be used when the boxer sees that his opponent beginning to weaken, when he is beginning to breathe through his mouth as well as through his nose. A punch thrown in this way that hits the opponent will impact the area of the solar plexus and cause the ribs to compress inwards, constricting the heart. The heart may even stop, if the punch is thrown accurately and forcefully enough. The use of this tactic involves a question of timing. If a boxer who has perfected this technique gets his opponent onto the ropes, he will immediately be able to land his punches on target. One thing to remember: The decision to use this tactic must be based on careful observation of the opponent. The minute he blinks, swing; don’t let more than two seconds elapse. 

Thawaan Yio: The boxer starts off with his feet together. Then he spreads them apart at a comfortable distance and places his hands on his hips. Then, while retaining this position, he rotates his hips (as when playing with a hula-hoop). After a while, reverse directions, rotating the hips both clockwise and counterclockwise. The reason for using this exercise is that a boxer must be flexible and limber. The Thais of earlier times felt that flexibility of the body was a quality to be highly esteemed. Thus in old Siamese paintings the waists of the women are as narrow and their movements as supple as are those of the men. Thai boxers must attain ad maintain this condition by keeping their waists flexible. This asset is useful for avoiding an opponent’s blow when he sends a fist-or an elbow-in the boxer’s direction. By moving slightly backward the boxer can keep clear of it. But first the boxer’s body must be made flexible by practicing this exercise. 

Kio Khao Khlao Chan: The boxer begins this exercise in the traditional position with his feet together. He then separates them a comfortable distance and touches either the ground or the tips of his toes with his fingertips. Then he gradually resumes an upright position and bends the body backwards. How far back the boxer bends depends on his individual flexibility and how long he has been training. When bending backwards, both hands should be placed on the back of the waist for support. Alternate the forward and backward bends to increase the body’s suppleness. This exercise is useful for toughening up the stomach muscles so that the boxer does not weaken when he is hit in the stomach by an opponent. It also gives him the flexibility needed to avoid kicks to the upper part of the body with a lighting-fast backward bend, at the same time enabling the boxer to retaliate as his opponent is losing balance. 

Prachan Suek Haan: From the typical initial position with the feet together, the boxer separates his feet a comfortable distance. The he raises himself up on is toes and brings up one leg sharply as if to kick himself in the chest with his knee. This is done alternately with both knees. Initially this should be practiced slowly, with the boxer speeding up as he becomes more skilled in exercise. We have no means of knowing what tactics an opponent may have his disposal. Every boxer has his teacher and every teacher has his strong points. The Prachan Suek Haan tactic is used when closing in on the opponent so that the boxer’s hands are free to protect the upper part of the body from ay of the opponent’s weapons. This is important, as respected blows on the opponent to the area of the heart, even if they are not strong, have powerfully weakening effect. 

Khwaan Ok Insee: The boxer starts as usual with his feet together, then spreads them an appropriate distance. Then he extends his two arms straight ahead of his body and kicks upward with either his right or left foot so that his toes strike the palm or fingertips of the hand on the same side of the body. Again, this exercise should be started off slowly, then the speed increased gradually until the boxer is fully confident in his ability to make use of the tactic in boxing. Every boxer must be able to protect all the important (from a boxer’s standpoint) parts of his body. He must be able to instantly implement a protective measure for every strategic point on his body. This type of kick is good for reaching the opponent’s chin which can be hit with a swing kick if it is unprotected (if not the baathaaluuphak tactic can be used). Another useful technique is the phaamaak which is designed to protect the groin form injury. It can also be useful against opponents outside the boxing ring in cases of emergency. The Khwaan Ok Insee is another manoeuvre that requires an extremely quick decision in its use and a strong follow up. It should be always be remembered that it can be crippling or killing in its effect.