Leo Hernandez

English 101


Muay Thai

Ever since I was a teenager i’ve always been interested in combat sports. I began watching a lot of MMA and at that moment i knew MMA or any other combat style was something i wanted to learn. As a teenager i didn’t have the funds to pay for a gym that offered these training classes. But i did manage to learn by watching UFC or Bellator, and some training videos from youtube. For years i gained most of my MMA knowledge by just watching and mimicking the moves. Finally in 2016 i managed to find a gym that was in my price range. The gym had a variety of combat styles, and i went on to pick muay thai as the style i wanted to learn, and i never looked back.

My first day of training was exciting, but also a tough day. My coach- whose name is Carlos- taught me the basics on the first day. The first thing he taught me was the muay thai stance, and why a lot of thai fighters utilize this stance. The stance is pretty simple. Most of your weight is going to be on your back foot, which most of the time is your strong foot. Your front foot is the foot you’re always going to be light on because that is the foot you’re going to block your opponent’s kicks with. To complete the stance you are obviously going to want to keep your hands up to guard your face and body. Next Coach Carlos showed me how to move around while still maintaining the muay thai stance. Coach Carlos stressed to “never cross your legs while you move towards or away from your opponent.” The reason you don’t want to cross your legs while you move around because you leave yourself open to be taken down by a strong kick or just by a simple take down. The first week was pretty much learning the basic fundamentals.

After week one Coach Carlos would then show me how to punch, kick, knee, elbow, clinch, and counter attack. In order to improve Coach Carlos would put me and others through a series of drills with a partner or the heavy bag. His preferred method was to drill with a partner, and he always said “ try and help each other out. We are here to learn and make each other better.” In a way he was right. Working with others helped me tremendously. I always received good tips and pointers from my partners that had a lot more experience in muay thai than i did. After almost every training session he would encourage us to go out for a jog ranging from 3-5 miles to build our conditioning and endurance, and to work on our breathing. Conditioning and breathing are very important when it comes to combat sports. If you don’t have the proper conditioning you are not going to last long in a fight, and if your breathing isn’t controlled you will gas yourself out quickly. Unfortunately i have experienced this. I was sparring with a partner and we were hitting each other pretty hard. Because i didn’t have the conditioning and i didn’t pay any attention to my breathing, i didn’t last a round and i almost ended up getting knocked out. Because i was so exhausted, i didn’t have the energy to protect myself and i ended up taking a lot of hits to the head and body. I did learn from this experience by working on my conditioning and doing some breathing exercises while i trained.

I did most of my training at the gym, but i also train at home if i have the time. I always ask coach carlos what it is i need to improve on, and whatever it is i work on it at home. At home i also look at training videos to help me improve on whatever it is i need improvement in. One person’s particular videos i watch is a professional muay thai fighter named Saenchai. He is considered one of the greatest if not the greatest muay thai fighter right now. Saenchai has over 300 professional wins in muay thai. Aside from my Coach he is another reason why i enjoy muay thai and why i want to keep working and getting better. I always study his fights and training videos and try to incorporate everything he does into my training. A move he inspired me to master is the teep, also known as the push kick. Saenchai with his technique , really makes it look so easy and smooth. Overall the work he puts into his training and how he dominates most of his opponents in the ring is what inspires me to get better everyday at the sport and maybe one day be at the level he is.

I am really glad i ran into watching a UFC event. If it wasn’t for that event i don’t think i would’ve ever got into combat sports like i am today. It bums me out that i didn’t get into this sport at a younger age or even start training at a younger age. But we all start somewhere and im happy im fulfilling a dream i had since i was a teenager. I give thanks to my coach for passing on his knowledge of muay thai and for pushing me to do better and improve everyday. Saenchai is also a big inspiration for me to keep learning and i really enjoy watching his fights and his training videos. Its about to be a year since i started training, but in that short period of time i have learned a lot. I still have a lot to learn and that really excites me. I hope to one day master the art of muay thai and maybe pass on all that i have learned to others that enjoy this sport and inspire to become great.