by Aung La N Sang – On January 17, 2015, the Crazy 88 Muay Thai competition team traveled to Woodbridge, Virginia to train and spar with Seapeanong’s Competition Team and Mark DeLuca’s Muay Thai fight team from Yamasaki. While this was not the first time our competitors had trained with fighters from other teams, it boosted our confidence and gave us faith in our technique, conditioning and mindset.
The sparring session gave our team the opportunity to train with over 20 amateur fighters and professional fighters Kru Suem and Mark DeLuca. We also had the privilege of sparring with Jovan Davis, 155 pound fighter, who we have seen fight in local shows such as Thai Championship Boxing and American Muay Thai League. The two hour sparring session included three minute sparring rounds with only 30 second breaks to switch partners. During this time we were able to learn valuable lessons as fighters and coaches.
After doing approximately 30 sparring rounds with none of the Crazy 88 Muay Thai students taking any rounds off, I can safely say our team is conditioned for a marathon of a training. However, most amateur fights are 3 x 2 mins rounds, making fights more like a sprint than a marathon. As conditioned as we are for long practices, we still have room for improvements in short, high-intensity training.
During the sparring, I was happy to see the improvements in the boxing of the Crazy 88 students. Compared to a few months ago, our punches were cleaner and stronger. We also kept our guards tighter and we were able to defend more cleanly against punches. Our boxing also complemented our kicks and we were able to better set up kicks with our hand combinations. This is something that Coach Jomal and myself have greatly emphasized at Crazy 88 training sessions. Needless to say, our competitors did not feel that anyone in the room was outboxing us. I am more confident than ever that our offense and defense are technically sound.
Lastly, our competitors were mentally tenacious during the sparring. Whether we had been hurt by a well-time strike or we landed the good shot and hurt the opponents, we didn’t back off: we stayed in fight range and continued to engage. This mental edge is something we need to bring with us to each and every fight.
Overall, the trip was a success. In terms of skill development, it was great to spar with other high-level amateur and pro fighters from other teams. It helped us determine what we have been doing well and what we need to improve on – which ultimately will make us all better martial artists. As a coach, I can say our technique, our conditioning, and our mindset are on the right track and we look forward for a great year for the Muay Thai competitors.