Mae Muay whilst Drupaling in Munich

It is fun training at Muay Thai gyms in different cities/countries and as ever the experience is always awesome! Training with Kru Stefan Feldmeier at the KS Gym in Munich was no different, it was a european experience!  a far cry from training on a roof top in Singapore or a park in Islamabad (though the Kru's in Singa and Islu have their own unique charms) and I look forward to training with Master Chen from Royal Thai again when I visit Singa again to meet the Shadillionaire.Having sussed my level and enthusiasm out in a 1 to 1 Kru Stefan invited me to attend the special classes being run at KS Gym by Grand Master Amnat Pooksrisuk. I would have liked to spend more time at the gym and train further with the Col. Amnat for you don't get the opportunity to train with the likes of Col. Amnat everyday outside of Thailand, but short on time and DrupalCon being raison d'être à Munich I managed two gruelling classes with the Grand Master and Kru Stefan.The format was very different to what I am used to here at Semtex Gym in Kent, the classes were 2 hours long with no breaks! and involved getting back to basics of footwork and hand movement, on day 1 I learnt about the nine point movement philosophy, covering footwork and how to move whilst attacking or retreating to attack. The most interesting aspect of this was measuring the ideal stance and then developing the framework tailored to an individual's height.To get this framework you need to kneel down and measure the distance from your toes to your knee, we did this with decorators/masking tape, lay this out in a straight horizontal line in front of you, this is the natural stand, standing square your feet should be only as far apart as the ends of the measured tape, then taking equivalent lengths of tape create a triangle from the base both front and back, this diamond is the frame for forward and backward movement.Then we performed form practice within this frame to ensure our footwork adheres to the boundaries set.This was totally new to me for whilst training at my home gym and other gyms I have never encountered form practise in Muay Thai, so I enquired and the answer was simple, form practise leads to specific movements becoming second.All about muscle memory, knowing  your natural stance and distance… makes sense.Then extend this to create an hexagon. Within the hexagon you have your eight directions of movement and the ninth one is up (knee/kick/lift/jump) and you have your complete frame of movement and within this you perform your ram muay. The frame looks something like this:

Day 1 was about movement and attack, so we learnt and practised a variety of attack techniques and practised them over and over and over and over…Day 2 was about defence, clinch and neck wrestling and putting the form practise in action in sparring, though I did miss the more fallen nature of sparring at my home gym but then was kind of glad that it wasn't so fallen in a foreign land!Thank you Kru Stefan for the opportunity to train at your gym and  Grand Master Amnat Pooksrisuk for your time and knowledge. Hope to train with you both again at some point in the future wherever we happen to meet on the third rock.The plan is to bring  Grand Master Amnat Pooksrisuk to England at Semtex Gym!Here  is an excellent resource for further reading if you are interested, and a disclaimer: form practise needs to be put into action in sparring and am looking forward to putting some of that in action now that I am back on home ground.

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DrupalCon Munich... looking back at last week