Sex your way to the fighting top


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“No Sex. No Sex. Bad for you!”

I still hear Kaewsamrit’s Madam preach to me after I asked her why I never saw a girl in the fighters rooms. Ouch! Before I knew it, I was surrounded by a puddle of Thai trainers and some fighters, all swearing by the no sex clause. “Make you weak. Thai girls, no good”. All the trainers were wholeheartedly agreeing with their employer.

But I suspect several of them were just trying to get on a good page with the camp manager’s wife. Their words and macro body language supported the lady of the house but the barely noticeable tensed muscles in their faces unveiled other opinions. Without words, most of the fighters and trainers around me seemed to shout: shut the fuck up! Do but don’t say. Another possibility might be that they were still torn between what tradition told them to do and what they wanted to do. Afterwards, one of the trainers took me aside. “Don’t talk about those things. Madam will be more alerted now and that means trouble for us all!” Damn, I was fucking up their style. Once again I learned that, sometimes, it‘s better to not bring things out in the open. But the question I kept asking myself was:

Is there any value in this old tradition in combat sports?

I am not the kind of man who blindly follows tradition. I have to admit, I never refrained myself too much. I tried to keep my pants on a few times but the tension these clothes create around my body, influences my environment. In short, without some relaxing time I become a real difficult person to live with during pre fight week. I consider the stress created in your personal relations more detrimental to my fight performance. In my view a fighter should be in a calm pre fight mental state in order to battle up to her or his potential. So clearly, my personal believe is that I believe that deep but not too athletic lovemaking relaxes you and good for your performance in the ring or cage.

So whenever my girl(s) were with me the night before a fight, we always went through the same ritual. After the weigh-in, I started eating and drinking, we would go out for dinner and have a nice time with Mario (my trainer), the other fighters and trainers. Laughing is a good way to clear your head. After that, we’d return to our sleeping quarters and my lady would starts massaging me all over to get my muscles loose and fresh for the next day. And naturally, with all this loving touch, more caressing follows. I make sure, however, that in these intimate moments, I don’t try to be the top stallion in a porn star stable. In other words, I do not do too much of the rocking. My girls and I have an understanding about that. Most of the times, sex is an exhilarating flow in which we both lose ourselves in each other without too many rules and overflowing roles. But on pre-fight night, I will only be the poor subject of her lust and desire. It is all good, as long as I lay on my back. And how do I perform after such a fulfilling evening? In the ring, that is.

Well, it seems that when I am showered with feminine energy the night before, the ring becomes mine. Up until now, sex has always seemed to enhance my capabilities.

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 And I am not the only fighter who experienced the sweetness of the beautiful love-fight combination. Apparently, top fighters like Sugar Ray Leonard, Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell are also known to be pre fight humpers. Even when you go back in time you find people who support the premis: “first make love, then fight better”: The Romans (orgy minded as they were) even believed that love-making could revitalize an athlete when he had become sluggish.

 

 

Their views stands in sharp contrast to that from the older dominant European culture: the ancient Greeks. For them and for boxing greats like Muhammad Ali, Cus D’Amato and current heroes like Manny Pacquiao and George Saint Pierre, pre -fight sex is a big taboo. Together, they represent the traditional “chastity before the battle” corner. In their view, sexual activity drains energy, pushes down testosterone and relinquishes aggression in men.

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But what does pre-fight sex do to women?
A sample experiment by ESPN hints that, for women, it could have the opposite effect. The measurements showed a whopping 30% increase in punching power and higher testosterone levels the day after sex compared to the day after abstinence.

Is this a pseudo scientific (Do not get me started on this issue, yet) manifestation of the Eastern Yin – Yang principle. Does the female Yin get fired up by the Yang energy she receives from the male? I do not know.

But if that is true, the insertion of Yin energy also seems to pump up the Yang energy in man. Indeed, also in the male, testosterone seems to be higher the night after a sensual encounter. These results could be due to pure chance. The two persons tested in the show can never be representative for the entire fight population and one measurement in time says little. Furthermore, television is known to misrepresent science results to spice things up a bit.

However, also in the rigorous scientific world, similar results are found. Perhaps less impressive than a 30 % increase in performance, Dr. Boone found no performance difference in his treadmill experiment between people who refrained from sex and people who did fuck. When you add psychologist B. . Komisaruk’s research findings, a coach should stimulate female fighters to find a skillful sex partner. He showed that for women, sexual activity can help combat muscle pain or other sports injuries. He found that sexual stimulation produces a powerful pain-blocking effect that can last for up to a day in the case of chronic pain such as muscle pain. More research is necessary to establish if this also is the case with men.

We can find an even more impressive validation off the ESPN’s show in E.A. Jannini’s endocrinal research. She found that sex boosts testosterone levels in humans. As a result, the statement that sex drops testosterone in men is a myth. Even worse, after three months without shagging, testosterone dramatically drops to levels close to children’s levels. Damn! I mean, do you want to become a hormonal child?

ImageWhen we look at the animal world, it seems to supports to the “let’ get funky the night before” – corner. For example, M. Muller and W. Wragham examined the relationship between testosterone and aggression in our genetic nearest cousins: the Chimpanzee. They predicted and found that male-male aggression increased with a receptive and fertile female around, shaking her ass. This supports the tradition of the ring ladies. So be aware, feminists, those barely dressed ring girls are not a way to supplicate women but to make fighters more ready to fight.

Furthermore, different studies showed that more dominant males also had higher testosterone levels than lower status chimps. And in chimp commonalities, it is the alpha that ends up getting the females, being the most aggressive. In his article “Testosterone and human aggression: an evaluation of the challenge hypothesis”, Doctor John Archer states that many testosterone/human behavior studies show a somewhat similar pattern in people.

However, our other biologically close nieces, the Bonobo chimps can be used to support the no sex- clause. These apes have a different system. I refer to them as nieces because the females rule the pack together. Perhaps, I’d better call them the natural children of love as there is a lot of loving and almost no fighting. And when I say a lot of loving, I mean loads.

Saying “hi, how are you” means: dipping it! “What are we going to eat?” is communicated by: dipping it! “What are we going to do next?” Dipping it! Furthermore, these natural hippies also are renowned for their low incidence of violent encounters.

ImagePerhaps, that is the solution to society’s problems. Men: hand over your positions of power to the women. Ladies: hand over your reservations and rules on who you sleep with and when Become available and make the world a more beautiful place. You will see: happy people and world peace will appear. But althought the human race seems to be somewhat of a go-between dividing chimps and bonobos concerning sex and aggression: I fear that the idea of a peaceful and sexual open world is not going to happen soon. 

Traditionally, we were thought to be closer to chimps but recent research has indicated that genetically we differ equally from both apes: only 1,3 percent. It is not surprising that this assumption was taken, when you look at all the partner violence, child abuse, wars and murders that torment people.

ImageHuman cultures have had features of both bonobo and chimp- like troupes. When you compare ancient Hawaiian culture and the ways of the Mongolian tribes a larger difference is hard to imagine. But is it the difference of gender centrality that explains the peaceful, matriarchic (A matriarchy is a society in which females, especially mothers, have the central roles of political leadership, moral authority, and control of property (source: Wikipedia). sexually free life in paradise and the war-centered, male dominated life on the dry steps of Mongolia?

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When we investigate anthropology and history, it shows us that matriarchy does not guarantee sexual freedom or peace.

ImageLet’s think for example about the Greek legend of the Amazons, fierce warrior-women that dominated their men. (http://www.greeka.com/greece-myths/amazons.htm). Or think about how Herodotus described the Sarmatian matriarchal society. “They have continued from that day to the present to observe their ancient [Amazon] customs, frequently hunting on horseback with their husbands; in war taking the field; and wearing the very same dress as the men” Moreover, said Herodotus, “No girl shall wed till she has killed a man in battle. (Source: http://www.silk-road.com/artl/sarmatian.shtml)”. Several Native American tribes were also renowned for their powerful female killers. Indeed, when you were for example an Iroquois, Cherokee, Crow, Sioux or Apache, you’d better make sure you don’t hang on the pipe to long before coming home. (source: http://www.native-indian-tribes.com/native-american-women/warrior-women.htm).

 

Also In Africa, there were the Lovedu tribe, the Habe, Herero and other tribes who were ruled by fierce Warrior queens. (source: http://www.assatashakur.org/forum/shoulders-our-freedom-fighters/33157-afrikan-women-warriors.html)

In recent times also, certain tribes like the African Aka have female hunters and fighters (http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2005/jun/15/childrensservices.familyandrelationships). Here, like in the Native American tribes a more egalitarian system between the sexes seems to rule. Apparently, right now, a group of women in Ukrain are trying to revive the tribal traditions of the Scythian Amazons of ancient Greek mythology. They call themselves the Asgarda, they train in martial arts and learn life skills and sciences in order to become ideal women. Do we have to be afraid? What would happen if all women would join in? We men, globally at least, are a minority. Be afraid. Be very afraid. Would you want to be used just for sex and… Well,…, let’s get back to business.

The question I want to ask you ladies and gentlemen: “Do these women sound peaceful to you?”
Indeed, we can observe much more possibilities in our male and female behavior than in our cousins and nieces. Perhaps this has something to do with our great capacity for learning and adapting to the environment. These findings all suggest that the role of nurture (the surroundings) in humans is larger than in most animals. Although certain animals are also known for their different cultures and practices. Think about the different ways killer whale groups hunt. Some aim for large fish, some jump on the beach and pull seals back in the water and others even hunt down sharks.

So perhaps it is not too dumb to suggest that like with our monkey relatives the environment has a large influence on the level of aggressiveness and sexual openness in the troupe. It is thought that in environments where a lot of travel and effort is needed to attain food and protect the group, more aggressive attributes come forth. In such a world the chimps and Mongolian had to survive. Without their aggressiveness they would probably get extinct. However when you live in a “Garden of Eden” on earth, like the bonobos and ancient Hawaii, the opposite shines trough. There’s food and water in abundance and there are few natural predators. In such situations, females appear to become more central and peace and love open ups up to the troop…

This doesn’t sound too illogical. In a world of abundance, nobody has a problem with sharing and there is no need to fight over precious goods. And indeed, if you see how women and men often react to each other, the mindset of a “starvation economy” is apparent. The billion dollar cosmetics business, the hours of overwork to be able to afford a humongous house and great cars, the cat fights and bar brawls over a (potential) partner, … are all signs of this underlying assumption in the human world.

However, if we follow this path of reasoning, it can explain what is happening in the Western world. A revolution is happening: Emancipation, a shake-up of traditional gender roles and an explosion of alternative intimate relationships and lifestyles. This is particularly apparent with people who do not have to worry that much about their survival and who have the advantage of higher education. So, at least for them, perhaps peace and openness are coming. However, all those people suffering in poorness with only a small supply of necessary means have little choice but to resort in more competitive and aggressive ways. That is perhaps the reason that so much of boxing greats come from challenging life situations. They have to. They must fight to break trough to abundance.

Following this reasoning, a writer of a mma article wrote: “Fighting by its very nature isn’t done by those already satisfied; it’s done by those who demand satisfaction in a way most of us will never know. Sex before a fight doesn’t weaken a fighter physically, it weakens them mentally. If sex is our main imperative as a race, and we have sex before a fight, one of our primary drives as human beings has already been fulfilled, and that “bleeds” over into the performance in the ring.”

(Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1218218-mma-myth-or-fact-does-sex-before-a-fight-weaken-a-fighter)

I can understand her reasoning but with that psychological argument, she gets on my turf. The physiological detriment claimed by the abstination believers is unfounded, according to Ian Shrier, a sports medicine specialist from Canada. However, the psychological effects have not been properly studied yet.

I cannot wipe out the psychological argument for “NO SEX!” with clear results from psychological research. As with everything in psychology, the matter is very complex and little can b e found to enlighten the issue.

This being said I will try to explain my vision based on sport psychology and logical reasoning.
We know indeed that sex releases various chemicals that often produce a good mood and a satisfied mind. But it is not because we have a satisfied mind now, that we are unaware that this can change in a sec.

As with chimps, freebooters are always ready to take our place so we’ll have to fight and work hard to remain the Alpha in our ladies’ mind. Think again about the dominant and aggressive behavior of the leader of the chimp pack. He has time to slack or he will lose his continuous access to those sweet peaches and those good hormones.

What is more, suppose you are mentally all fired up. This feeling of drive can also be called “frustration”. And this has his serious drawbacks. Yes, sexual frustration is a kind of negative stress which has serious consequences. First of all, you get angry and are not the nicest person to be around. So if this happens too often, say goodbye to your social support! And research shows that this is one of the most important things to bolster you against the negative effects of stress. And the downhill spiral is on!

Furthermore, if you fight regularly and go for the no-sex habit, you will have to refrain from sex many months a year. Besides the negative physical consequences, this frustration can transform into a helplessness and even depression. And then you can wave your motivation to train goodbye. Remember, you take the risk of losing your manliness if you refrain from sex for too long. Off course, I am not painting a neutral picture here. I will try to give a bit more balanced perspective.

Most self restricting fighters only stop having sex about a week before the fight. This means that many of the long term negative consequences can off course be mitigated. But the frustration will probably still be there. As I stated before said, this often leads to anger. Now, who do you think a top martial artist or pro boxer would like to fight: An angry, frustrated guy or a relaxed but focused man?
The problem is indeed that when people get too charged up this has negative effects. The human attention span tightens up like the sphincter that tries to stop diarrhea from bursting out. Also the muscles get overly tense. This creates a drop in coordination, speed and before you know it: an empty feeling. I am not saying that all fighters need to be completely relaxed like that. Every person has to find the right balance between relaxation and explosiveness. Fighting when you are totally limp can pose some problems and research also pointed out that a certain amount of higher arousal (physical and mental activation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arousal) helps sportsmen and women to have more explosive power.
In my opinion, Ron Rovers (one of the best boxing trainers I ever encountered and a driving force behind the success of top kickboxers Peter Aerts and Andy souwer) always told me: Be ready! Have a relaxed mind in a sharp body. In my opinion, he’s got it right.
Indeed, the ideal fighting situation is that of flow. This is a situation where the demands of the fight are equal to your capacities to deal with them. Therefore an optimal activation level of your body is required. That means that your arousal and thus attention span should be on a level where you see your entire opponent, where you are calm, alert and ready to react at the perfect moment.
For some people, sex can help with that relaxed mind. You can enjoy the spoils of the hormone Oxytocin and other opioids and endorphins. These hormones establish feelings of attachment, trust and affection. They make us feel happy and indeed calm. But that is a GOOD thing.

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Think about extraordinary fighters like Roy Jones jr. , Prince Naseem, Somrak Kahmsing, Samart Kiatmontep, Anderson Silva and Fedor. I am not saying they were doing the crazy rabbit dance before fighting, but you can see how their sharp but calm style dominated their opponents. It is just a job to be done: making their opponents fall like nuts in the fall. And if sex does one thing: it relaxes you. So you could think: I just sex my way to the top.

STOP!

Don’t go out running after your bananas and prunes with the excuse that it makes you a better fighter yet. There is more to the issue. At least, for us men. For you women, get out and flood yourselves with the wonderful feelings that come with higher testosterone, endorphins and Oxytocin. Enjoy!

But men, there can be negative effects to sex for you guys. It is not the sex, nor the orgasm that can deplete you. It is the drawback that comes with (too much) ejaculation. For example, Dr. MD Richards tells us that the positive effects on our androgen hormone levels (testosterone) only happen hours after ejaculation.

So if you go through multiple ejaculation sessions for a short amount of time you will exhaust your body and it will be not able to produce sufficient hormones that restore proper bodily function and your immune system. Indeed, getting funky too much robes you from important juices like dopamine and serotonin that in the long run even can result in nervous, liver, kidney, cardiovascular and endocrine disorders. If your hormone system is over-discharged, it won’t recharge by itself. That is also what happens with those guys who take steroids for too long: they end up needing testosterone replacement therapy.

When you ejaculate, you squirt out some zinc, calcium, potassium, numerous supporting enzymes and other important chemicals for our bodily function. If you keep on squirting too much you will notice your bodily disharmony in attention deficiencies, memory loss and problems with concentration. Above that, tiredness, exhaustion and weakness in muscles can follow. Even hair loss, cardiovascular problems, excessive sweating, vision and hearing problems, depression, mood swings, impotence and a disappearance of libido are possible consequences. 

For women on the other hand, the effects are not that dire. High quality semen may even re-nourish women through vaginal absorption. Life is just not fair. I mean, sex only seems to have good effects for women. When they meet a man that knows how to capture their mind, soul and body, they seem to be insatiable. Most of you girls can keep on enjoying wave after wave of exhilarating orgasmic energy while most men… Well, I don’t have to tell you about most men. Perhaps you now understand why male dominated societies have restricted sexual conduct like that. We feel mistreated by nature! Why do you think so many men behave so nasty towards women? 

However, ladies, too much is also not good for you. Because it seems that a constant blasting of your holy cave with seminal fluids can result in: immune suppression, inflammation, hypersensitivity, and even infertility. But off course, condoms can help you girls out. 

So get out and enjoy life! And if you are sensual, athletic, walk on long legs, are optimistic and like to laugh, dance, eat good food, refrain from smoking, don’t continually stuff your face with junk food, are open minded and enjoy life. We have to meet. Contact me!

Now, before you traditionalists start shouting: you see! Sex is no good. It DOES make you WEAK. Read my lips: these are the negative effects of having TOO much sex. Or rather, we should say: There are negative effects in ejaculating too much. 

In Taoist and Tantric Eastern traditions, it is widely accepted that ejaculation is bad for men but orgasms are very, very good. These teachings say that too much ejaculation will drain you of your chi energy, your life energy. In this, they agree with Ali and GSP.

Now, Taoist masters have developed different formulas for how many times a man can eject his load. For example, Mantak Chia and Maneewa Chia mention in their book “The multiorgasmic couple”:
• A man of twenty can ejaculate once every four days.
• A man of thirty can ejaculate once every eight days.
• A man of forty can ejaculate once every ten days.
• A man of fifty can ejaculate once every twenty days.
• A man of sixty should not ejaculate

“WHAT? So little sex”, I hear you scream.

No, that is not what I wrote. I said that the ancient Eastern wisdom says: restrict your ejaculations.
“But, sex without orgasm. That is like putting a piece of grass fed meat in the mouth of a starving dog but not allowing him to swallow it. That is what one can call: hell on earth.”. SHUT UP for a second. I did not say no orgasm, I said no ejaculation: learn to have dry orgasms. Yes, it is possible to divide orgasm from ejaculation and this possibility is well documented.

For a classic, what I will call “wet orgasm” , the renowned sex investigators Masters and Johnson found a recurring pattern that they called the sexual response cycle.

They defined the four stages of this cycle as:

Faze I: The excitement phase. This starts with a sexual thought and/or stimulation of the penis / vagina. Blood starts to flow to the designated areas and the penis gets erect. After enough stimulation people get to phase 2. Sadly for some men, this happens almost instantaneously or they even skip this phase. If you take into account that this phase usually takes longer for most women this is even sadder.

Faze II: The plateau phase. This is a state of full arousal. You are hot and steamy but not yet reaching orgasm. Your heart is pounding like an African drum, your lungs pump fast and shallow like a pan flute and you start feeling the rush reddening up your head. At the end of this phase, which can last from a few seconds to several hours for some men, phase 3 starts to set in.

Faze III: Orgasm.
In men, classically this happens in two phases.

  1. Extraction: Your pelvic muscles start panting and pump the sperm from the testicles to your prostate. Here it merges with prostate fluid into semen. Once this happens, there is no way to stop your ejaculation.
  2. Expulsion: Your pelvic muscles keep on pumping and run your semen trough your piss tube into its recipient. The lady that can absorb your good chemicals, the condom who safes you from unwanted pregnancy and disease, your hand or even more sadly your pants. After 5 seconds and 10 to 15 contractions it is all over and the fourth phase starts.

In women, ejaculation can also happen which is also called squirting.You can read more about that here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_ejaculation . For those who want to know how to explore this with your partner(s) yourself, check www.whitetigertantra.com. For most women who are able to ejaculate, the loss of fluid does not seem to have the same desensitizing effect as for men. This is surprising if you see the amount of fluid that gushes out when you pump that sweet fluid out with the right technique. But that is a different issue all together. Back to the fight theme.

However most women that can have orgasms do not share their fluid and are multiorgasmic so I will talk a bit more about that in the next section.
After ejaculation, the resolution phase starts.

• Faze IV: The resolution phase (after orgasm): Here, your arousal takes a dip (for some a dive or even a freefall). If he is not one of the frustrated guys, he feels good and ,apparently, most men just want to dose off.

For most men and some women, this goes hand in hand with the refractory period. Often, it is physiologically impossible for an individual to immediately have an additional orgasm. Most men are unable to maintain or achieve an erection during this time. This annoyance is caused by some hormones that are released during ejaculation: Oxytocin and Prolactin.

The latter hormone represses dopamine, which is responsible for sexual arousal. As a gift from nature, most women do not experience such a refractory period immediately after orgasm. In many cases they are even capable of attaining additional, multiple orgasms through further stimulation. This can cause a lot of frustration and sometimes disappointment can come up. However, the female sexual response is more varied than that of men, and there are many women who experience clitoral hypersensitivity after orgasm, which effectively creates a refractory period. In the graph below you can see the pattern with a single and with multiple orgasms.

Some men have the same gift and are capable to have multiple orgasms with no or little refraction, with or without the typical sequence of ejaculation and refractory period. Some of those men report not noticing refractory periods, or are able to maintain erection by “sustaining sexual activity with a full erection until they passed their refractory time for orgasm when they proceeded to have a second or third orgasm”.
Apparently each man can train himself to give himself and his woman this gift. But it is not an easy task and means learning how to divide the orgasm from ejaculation. It comes down to training yourself to have dry orgasms.

Now, what is a dry orgasm? A ‘dry orgasm’ is when a man reaches sexual climax but does not ejaculate – no fluid emerges from the penis. In preadolescent boys, multiorgasmic dry experiences happen regularly but when they come of age, most men lose this ability. Grown men however, can get an orgasm where no fluid comes out but still the refractory period sets in. That happens when there is an interjected ejaculation where the semen does not leave the prostate. Then the semen will leave the body when men take the next piss. As soon as the semen leaves the balls, the limp making hormones are injected trough the body, saying goodbye stacking of orgasms and exhilarating endorphins.

According to Kahn (1939), research shows that there are men who have reported having multiple, consecutive orgasms, particularly without spitting their life juice out. He reported that some men are able to masturbate for hours at a time, achieving orgasm many times and that some men have been multiorgasmic since they can recall. More interesting, he mentions that others learned to achieve multiple orgasms.

But how?

One technique for refraining from ejaculation is to put pressure on the perineum just before ejacuating -.. This is a place halfway between the hanging flesh of your sack and your anal cavity- to prevent squirting everything out. In Taoist writings they call this the million dollar point because apparently much was paid to the Taoist masters by emperors and other wealthy persons to disclose the point to them. This can, however, lead to retrograde ejaculation, i.e., redirecting semen into the urinary bladder rather than through the urethra to the outside so the advantages of the “dry orgasm” are gone with the wind.

Other techniques are apparently similar to reports by multi-orgasmic women indicating that they must relax and “let go” to experience multiple orgasms. Training manuals that I found were good and, at least, an interesting read: The multi-orgastic man or the multi-orgastic couple (Mantak Chia e.a.) and Ultimate ejaculation mastery (Tantra at Tahoe).

However, it is hard, laborious and (believe me) sometimes very frustrating work retraining your body. We are so used to push ourselves toward orgasm because it feels so fucking wonderful. But based on the reports I read, when you attain it, the reward is worth all your trouble and more.

So physically, sex is good for you as long as you do not overdo it. On the long run, many health benefits can be found. For example, a 1997 study with 918 men age 45–59 established that after a ten year follow-up, men who had fewer orgasms were twice as likely to die of any cause as those having two or more orgasms a week And in 2001, a follow up showed that having sex three or more times a week was associated with a 50% reduction in the risk of heart attack or stroke. Sex also leads to lower diastolic blood pressure, lower stress hormone levels, higher levels of immunoglobin A (which is your bodies guard against colds and other infections) and lower pain (so for sure do it after your fights or tough trainings). And for men, off course, there is a lower risk to get prostate cancer later in live. It also helps to lengthen your resistance to incontinence and peeing in your pants later in life as it strengthens the pelvic floor. As a psychologist I cannot leave out the positive effects it has on boosting self-esteem, deeper intimacy and better relationships, a feeling of generosity (due to higher Oxytocin, And last but not least, it helps you sleep better.

If you believe in the teachings of Tantric and Taoist scholars, there are additional health-, social- and psychological advantages. You get more focused, are flooded with extra energy and look better. And such sexual experiences are part of these Eastern paths to Nirvanna so these practices can even bring you closer to enlightenment.I do not know if these claims are true but I agree with the advocates of tantric and neotantric sex on a different issue. They claim that in Western culture there is too much of a focus on the goal of climactic orgasm, which reduces the ability to have intense pleasure during other moments of the sexual experience. Many people’s brains seem to be porn-washed.

For those who are up for the challenge to get multiorgastic there is a major tip: Strengthen your pubococcygeus muscles (PC-muscles) which are the bridge between your genitalia and the remains of your monkey tail ancestors. You can learn how to isolate it when you go to the bathroom and urinate. Stop it. Taoist writings give you the advice to stop it at least 3 times each session.

Then if you know somebody who is pregnant, you can join her in her Kegel exercises which are aimed at the same muscle group. This is good for her tightness and for your ability to sustain your erection and prevent premature ejaculation (that means before your women has achieved orgasm, you lose your self control). Indeed, ladies, these exercises also have benefits for you. First of all it enables you to clamp your man’s stick so he can’t go running, it makes you tighter and can intensify your orgasms because the contractions that drive the orgasmic waves through your body will be performed by stronger muscles.
A possible training regimen can be

Do 50 Kegels every other day. This means, contract your PC muscle for one to five seconds, depending on the strength of your PC muscle. With more exercise and experience, your PC muscle will become much stronger and your Kegels will last much longer. With time you can expand your training regimen and even to start incorporate penile lifting. Work up to five to ten minutes a day, four days a week. You even can go as far as the guy on the picture.

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But I would like to advice you guys and girls just to forget the bricks for a while and begin penile lifting with a hard on and a wet wash cloth, gradually build it up to a wet towel, and then you can perhaps start doing real weighted lifts. Because, otherwise, you are setting yourself up for the wrong kind of penile stiffness and even PC cramps. For women, you can also do vaginal lifting. Ask any Thai “ping pong” show lady what you can do when you develop these muscles to that extreme.

But the kegels are a good place to start and are fairly easy to do, since you can do them anywhere, anytime. Many penile exercisers do them on their morning commute to work, for example.

Furthermore, men, if you want to want to shorten the time before you can get hard again you can use the penile exercise that is called jelqing, which comes down to performing a milking movement like you milk a cow’s tits (with lubrication) for at least 20 minutes a day which floods your penile veins with blood and according to the writers strengthens your erection and boost your penis size and girth. I do not know if these last claims are true but It sounds logical that this exercise can improve the blood flow capacity of the penis.

To get really multiorgasmic however, this it is not enough. Without knowing when and how to use your newly established power, you have nothing. Compare it with having incredible punching power but horrible timing. Before you know it, you opponent will have you flat on the floor.

So: how to develop the proper way to do it. There are various possibilities but Tantra At Tahoe’s book catches it all in the acronym RAMPER. This is a reminder for the six steps to become that multiorgasmic guy who experiences whole body and perhaps even esoteric-like orgasmic experiences. Also women can use these exercises to deepen, widen and strengthen their orgasms. For some women who cannot enjoy orgasms, the PC exercises and the RAMPER steps also heighten your chance for that wonderful feeling of bliss.

R stands for RELAX. I think this is the most important thing in the whole thing. Relax, it is not that important, just chill and enjoy. You can do this by creating the right scene, performing deep belly breaths and listening to rhythmic music. Relaxing gives you the chances to also let your toughs go and get into the moment and the second letter A from AWARENESS.

For those who know how to meditate or who are proponents of mindfulness practice, this should be fairly easy. Notice what you feel, see, smell, hear, taste. Be attentive to what happens now and let your thoughts go. The next letter can only be attained if the first two are reached: M for MEASURE.

You have to learn to know where you are at every given moment on the scale from 1 (light tingling at the base of the penis when you first notice a bit of arousal /attraction) to 10 ejaculation. Before you can develop the right timing, it is necessary to learn to know the signs that show you where you are on the scale. A few tips: the hotter you get, the faster and more shallow your breathing gets and the faster your heartbeat pumps. Also your muscles tense up more and you will start blushing.

The secret is to PACE yourself and learn how you can hover for an extended period between 8.5 and 9.8. In the beginning you stop all motion and when you calmed down you start moving slowly again. Do not be surprised if you push yourself over regularly in the beginning, it is a tough habit to break but it can be done. After a while the time you have to stop gets shorter and shorter or you can just break the movement pattern and make different strokes with your paint brush.

According to Tantric and Taoist writers the true secret of multiorgasmic mastery lays within ENERGY CIRCULATION trough your body so the energy flows away trough your body and perhaps beyond so you can RIDE THE orgasmic WAVE. This comes down to a reprogramming of your body’s reactions by becoming more sensitive by purposive attention to small sensations and visualizing the sexual, hot energy flow up from your pelvic region towards your head and beyond and in Taoism back down to your belly where you can store the refined sexual energy.

(For those who do not want to do the hard work, there might be a solution coming up: the Dry orgasm’ pill. However although the work of Drs. Amobi and Smith seems promising, the question remains if it attains the same sexual benefits as the trained dry orgasm.)

Many do indeed rapport this effect but I suspect a different cause.

Scientific theory teaches us that it is not because two variables (a variable is everything that can vary over time) regularly appear together that the one causes the other. For the moment, I will not go too deep into this but there are always several other explanations possible. In this case, I think a third variable can be the wrongdoer.

Variable I                                        Variable II
  SEX                                PERFORMANCE IN SPORTS
No Sex                               Good performance in sports
  Sex                                  Bad performance in sports

However, enough about the physical part, back to my nuts and meat (This man is not a believer in bread and butter): the human psyche.

Much less is known about the psychological effects of sex on athletic performance. Some experts say coaches may be favoring the abstinence theory simply because they want to make sure young athletes get enough sleep before a big game. Psychologists have shown there is an optimal level of alertness and anxiety that is necessary to produce the best possible performance. Too much anxiety or too much aggression may result in poor performance.

In later posts, I will talk about flow and techniques to attain this mental state where everything seems to go automatically and your body seems to perform perfectly. It is a situation where your body’s activation and your skills are perfectly matched with the task at hand. But for now, I can tell you that the Eastern sexual practices can have added benefits to attain such a flow state.

For example, the relaxation and awareness techniques can help you achieve the mentioned flow state because it has much in common with mindfulness practice. The visualization of energy circulation can have the added benefit that you improve your visualization capacities which can help you in technique and strategy acquirement, stress management and mental pre-fight preparation. However, it is important to point out a basic principle in psychological sport preparation. If you want to change your normal routine, don’t do it impulsively.

If you have several fights below your belt, you have programmed your mind to go through these routines and mentally get prepared before a fight.

So if you want to introduce a new aspect to your routine, start introducing it at least 6 weeks in advance. At week 3 and week 5 I would plan a “simulation” training where you imitate the fight. You add spectators to your training, prepare like you would do before a fight (stretching, focusing exercises, warm up, massage, putting on bandages for strikers or the gi for bjj practitioners), go through your entrance routine (with the same music and timing), then do a sparring or a circuit training that is at least as demanding of your physique and focusing ability. You could for example do 3 rounds of 5 minutes of a mix of sprawl drills, pad work, evasion drills, … for mma. If you want to add tantric or Taoist sex to your pre-fight routine then enjoy this also the night before the simulation trainings.

An alternative is that you also join a competition that is not immediately your main goal. As BJJ competitor you can for example try out a judo or Japanese Jiu-jitsu tournament, a kickboxer can perform a Boxing or Savate match or an MMA fighter a Sanda fight. Hence, you can look at this as quasi “simulation” training. Off course, this is only an option if you have no fight planned for the next few months.

If you want to follow both the “put on your chastity belt “and the “hump-your –stress away” opinions: try out the Eastern sex practice. I have to warn you: it can be a frustrating learning curve. You will regularly slip over the point of no return. Fight. As a last minute solution, you can use your finger to apply pressure on the perineum as a last resort to retain your semen and power. Anyway, if you think that this would really frustrate you, then just have regular sex or no sex at all before the fight. The writers mention that, depending on your practice regimen, it takes three months up to a year to experience consistent multiple orgasms. So, do not worry.

Furthermore, some strange physical changes can come with the practice of dry orgasms like light headaches, a feeling of restlessness, and pressure in your genital area. The authors offer ways to handle these effects and mention that these will subside soon. You see, even more reason not to start with the sexual training regimen if you have a fight next week.

I have not yet touched appoint that can be an explanation for the long no sex tradition.
Problems with partners (stress, the “I want more attention”-syndrome, fights, jealousy,…) or the hunt for potential partners (going out, staying up late and perhaps drinking) are not ideal circumstances for a fighter.

I think that is why traditionally you would not see any marriageable girls in a Muay Thai camp and why fighters in many gyms have to choose: having a girlfriend or fighting. The camp’s owner and trainers know how much hassle intimate contacts and relationships can bring forth. So, as they want to protect their investment, they banish the possibility of all those problems completely.

But off course, by that, they also banish a very important part of life and happiness. So, what do we learn from their position. Get your life in order and learn how to manage the dos and don’ts in your relationships, fighting and broader life.

So what will we conclude?

There is no scientific evidence that sex would be bad before a fight. The opposite is true, it boosts testosterone, can lower your pain threshold and even improve your power. Following Eastern medicine (Taoist), you should develop the skills to divide your orgasm and ejaculation so you can enjoy multiple, dry orgasms. So go ahead and sex your way to the top.

But if you believe in the no sex clause, keep doing it. The power of belief can take you a long way.

Stay intelligent, fight smart and enjoy life!

American Muay Thai? That is bullshit! (Part II)

You can clearly see the difference. Off course, I love the Thai greats because of their calm control and technical superiority.  But if you love fighting, Ramon, Hippo and Andy cannot keep you cold. Off course, you also have top Thais who’ s fighting style lies somewhat closer to the Dutch like Anuwat and Bovy. But still, the difference in ring tactics is obvious. So why do I refuse to agree with the concept of “Dutch Muay Thai”?

Because this “Dutch” fight style comes from the fruit out of the loins of Kyokushin, which was savagely raped by traditional Muay Thai. In the first part of the 60’s, Karate practitioner Tatsuo Yamada got dominated by a Thai fighter.  After this savage violation, Yamada’s gym gave birth to a strong child when he brought over a Thai to integrate their techniques into his karate system completed with aspects from  Western Boxing. After a while, the term kickboxing  was introducedby Japanese boxing promoter Osamu Noguchi for a hybrid martial art combining Muay Thai, boxing and Karate. In those early years, there were “Karate vs. Muay Thai fights”. For example the 12th of February in 1963, three karate fighters from Oyama dojo went to the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Thailand. They won 2 of 3 fights by KO. The only man who lost, a great Kyokushin fighter Kenji Kurosaki, would later become one of the great pioneers in what we call “Thai boxing”.

So, to be historically correct, you can name this style Japanese kickboxing. However, I think this is not fair as the fine-tuning and improvement of this art has been promoted by people all over the world. And yes, the confident, pragmatic and goal directed Dutch must be proud because of the big advances they made for this part of the fight world. In the 70s, Dutch Kyokushin fighters like Jan Plas, Johan Vos, Tom Harinck and of my home country, André Rigiani regularly to Japan to fight. However, when they were also could not cope  with the Thai fighters they adapted. Some picked the Japanese masters ‘and their own brain and went to work. Rigiani and Harinck traveled further to learn the art in the country of the smile: Thailand. These pioneers started the Muay Thai league where I fought my way up. 

In France, a twofold approach happened. You had Patrick Brizon and Roger Paschy who, as the Dutch did, followed Kenji Kurosaki in his mix of kyokushinkai with the addition of some muay thai techniques in the second part of the seventies. In this time of disco tunes, wide pants Thaiboxing spread the world. The WAKO (World Association of Kickboxing Organizations) with great fighters like Samir the Prince reflect this tradition. At the other hand, you also have  Gilles Belloni who traveled to Bangkok directly. In the Parisian area, he flew over Pud Pad Noy Worawut, who was a top Thai fighter at that time. As such, the Thai oriented traditional Muay Thai scene was born in France.

Soon the  full contact and Kyokushin karate shows were soon replaced by “Thai boxing”. Like in Thailand, it is a full contact sport. You can punch (with gloves on), kick, and knee without controlling the impact. However, the clinch is restricted to “active clinch” in the hope to keep the fights exciting for the broader public. Every once and a while, two fighters agree in using elbows but this was and is more the exception than the rule.

Speaking about rules, that is what we were talking about. So let’s get to the point I want to make. Like I said, in Thai boxing, scoring is completely different from “Muay Thai” scoring. Generally all techniques score rather equally, provided they land and have impact. It does not matter that much if these techniques are performed with less than optimal form. However, it seems that most of our judges notice the impact of punches more easily than of clean kicks, let alone knees. It is even so that roundhouse kicks to the arms only score if they clearly affect (read: hurt) the opponent. Furthermore, aggressiveness is regularly rewarded on its own. So if you are a defensive stylist, technical and well timed or not, you’d better make sure that you cause some serious damage or your will be awarded a loss because you “were not fighting”.

Furthermore, each round is scored 10-10 or 10-9 (except with a knockdown which will give 10-8), each judge adds the won rounds together and at the end of the fight the majority wins too. The difference is that the first two rounds also are taken into account and that each jury member just sums up the won rounds instead of won one dominantly loses, as opposed to the win he would receive from the Thai-style judges.

So on the one hand you can say that the traditional Thai system places great importance on the technical quality of the actions, balance and ring presence of fighters. I consider the crème de la crème of the Thai fighters to be like snipers. Picking their shots and often just doing enough to take the victory. At the other hand, you have the machine gun that you need in “Thai boxing”. Here, judges are more concerned with the volume of actions, and the damage that is inflicted regardless of their form.

 It is only when the amount of landed actions and the degree of aggressiveness are fairly equal, that “technical beauty” comes into play. And this brings us to the last difference I can think off: completeness. In close Thai boxing fights, the most “complete” fighter will win as opposed to in the traditional system. So even if your opponent looks “fresher” than you and ready for more while you are not, if you have landed more and /or with more effect, you win.

So, if you think about this: What effect will this have on the fighters’ style and ring tactics?  If you have read it well, you see how these two systems are on some aspects almost diametrical opposites. Now, what does happen when a Thai boxing fighter competes in Traditional Muay Thai or vice versa?

Well, I can tell you: A lot of misunderstanding, frustration and even anger.

“WHAT? I lose? f**k,d**n;f*****g A******s!!!  I won clearly! I never saw judges who were biased like this. Hometown advantage? Ok. But this? What a f*****g travesty! …”

. Yes in the system they are used to, they would have won. But in the other system, that is not so sure. Often times, the mutual understanding is seriously lacking. Off course, clear domination, a couple of knockdowns (if your opponent does not fight back too hard) or a KO will get you the victory in both systems if the judges are honest and capable. But that is an entirely different topic. Focus Nico. Focus!

As I said, I had to go through a long awakening process myself. Indeed, I grew up in the Thaiboxing circuit. Mario, my trainer, had gone through the typical progression in our region from Shotokan Karate, trough Full Contact, Thai boxing into the hybrid Muay Thai style that characterizes my hometown gym Chikara.  

I started when Mario was still travelling to Breda in Holland several times a week to train at Maeng Ho. This was the stable where Ramon dekkers became great. Mario trained under Cor Hemmers, Machiel De Boer and Sylvio Zimmerman. Naturally, I wanted to emulate my great example at the time: The diamond!  

I approached my fights as a hunt. I was there, ready to chase down, catch my opponent and eat his heart raw (a bit too much “Last of the Mohicans, I guess”). I was there to hurt them. I wanted them broken, wanting to quit and/or knocked out. So I threw everything with all the power I could muster in my small 115 pound “Grashopper” body. I was small but ferocious.  

When my entrance song began, Mario turned to me, gave me his typical “evil smile” and yelled: Who is the man?

I am the man!

Yes! You are the man! When the intro was over the beat began to bang, Mario’s sly smile appeared again and without losing eye contact he started to jump up to charge me completely. Before I knew it, I found myself jumping in sync with him, growling and pumped up. Ready! Then I walked to the ring. No Ram Muay, just jumping and growling eagerly. My eyes fixed on my opponent. After the ref’s words, I greeted my victim, the bell rang and I charged.

With little pause, I worked him from all sides. I advanced with a barrage of punches followed by a kick. So I kept going forward. With each action my opponent landed, I became even hungrier. And so I won, fight after fight, just taking my opponent’s shots and overwhelming him with my conditioning and aggressive style.

Often, after a fight, I was banged up. I did not care and felt like “the toughest kid alive”.  I was goint to be the next diamond. However, I did not possess the punching power of that legend. But I would get there.  I would have to take some hard shots in the process, but who cares?

Somebody did and this changed my fighting style profoundly. It was after my last semi pro fight. Once again, I faced a strong opponent who, I heard after the fight, was already fighting pro several years. The first rounds I got banged up so hard that my skin looked like that of a smurf. My opponent even started showboating and showing disrespect. That was a stupid mistake. I got myself together and went after him. With each combination I threw, the public roared like wild troop of Vikings.

The roof came down when I lost by split decision.  Booooooooooo! Boooooooo! The public was right but I still waved my hand up and down to calm them down.  An official complaint was submitted and the decision was revoked a few weeks later. But at the time, I could not care less. I knew this was fight was mine, victory cup or not. So I entered my dressing room with a wide smile, happy about the show I gave and thankful for the rush I felt.

I looked at myself in the mirror and saw the Rocky Mountains appear on my face.  As a nature freak, I enjoyed the view.  I considered it a token of my fighters’ heart. When my trainer and coach went for a drink to cool down from the excitement, I sat down next to a befriended trainer who’ s mouth corners could not be reaching for the ground more.

“What is wrong my friend? Did your boys fight that bad?”

His eyebrows sank down and, still smiling, I wondered why he was looking that angry at me: “What?”

 “Nico, why are you smiling?”

“Well, the judges stole the decision, but I knew I won. I performed well and the public loved me”

“Perhaps the public did, but your brains do not. You have to be careful, Nico. If you keep on going on like this, you will not stay that smart for long. “.

I did not understand so I laughed.

 “It is not funny!, he screamed, “People perhaps love the way you fight but that is just for now. Tomorrow they will boo you just as easily and you will have received all that punishment for nothing. You are a smart boy, do not end up as X.”

“X?” I was stupefied. What did he mean by that? X was the kind of fighter I wanted to become. He was aworld champion, renowned for his relentless pressure, tough chin and fighter’s heart.

“Have you ever talked with him?”

 “No, but he is a great fighter. What are you talking about?”

My friend leaned it a bit, pulled up his eyebrows to check if I was not messing with him and said “Nico, you don’t comprehend what I am telling you, are you?”

“Hu? I replied. “No, I do not” I said while I opened my hands like Jesus and shrugged my shoulders in lack of understanding 

He sighed deeply, dropped his head and chook it in frustration. I noticed how my more experienced friend tried to calm his nerves. He sucked as much air in as possible, held it for a moment and let it all go in the hope the tension would leave his body with his exhalation. It did not help.  The tension was still there. He had to release it and snapped at me: “Just talk with him! Then you’ll understand!” Then he turned his back, left the room and left to avoid making even more of a scene.

“What was wrong with him today?” I thought.  “Why was he not happy with my performance? He just must be jealous that his boys did not perform as I did?” My stomach gurgled, my center heated up, I felt how anger started to radiate all over my body. I decided to cool down and stepped in the shower. It was of no use. My brain was put in motion and winded up the fire under my heart and my head started to pounce: “What an asshole!”

 When I came back out of the shower, my trainer was back, looked at me and asked me “What is wrong boy? Why so grim?” I told him what had happened. He kept silent and his smiling eyes lost their joy. “Why would our friend spoil my performance so?”   Mario looked at me, then and said: “just talk with X”.

My mouth dropped and I thought: “you too?” Fed up, I put on my clothes and went for my well deserved beer. “What do they think: “he is happy. Let’s ruin that.” Fuck that”.

But my anger would soon make way for a deep understanding. Still a bit pissed off, I decided to focus on enjoying the spoils of life/ I drank my pint, talked with some guys and forgot all about it when a group long legged dolls came ant play with me.  What a life! All of a sudden, a tap on my shoulder pulled my attention out of the flirty conversation and I heard a man say “Good fight, you should have won”.  Still gleaming and proud, I turned around to give “this fan” also some attention. I turned and so did my stomach. There he was: X.

For a moment, I was taken aback: What would I find? We talked about some casual stuff first. As I was interested in his insight, I asked how he would have handled my opponent. X tried to answer: “well, you did good.. I would….eeuh…I…I would …have given more up..up..percuts as they landed every time”.  As the conversation went on, I got increasingly worried. I told myself “relax. He probably has stuttered his entire life”. But with every word he seemed to have more trouble keeping his attention in the present moment and an uneasy feeling  crawled up to me.  After a few painful moments his trainer, a man who I still consider one of Belgium’s best fighters, joined us. Not soon after, I heard how a blond girl called X over. This was my chance to ease the mind and asked X’s trainer: “Excuse me for asking, but has he stuttered all his life?”

He leaned in and whispered in my ear: “He never was the brightest bee in the hive, but boxing did not teach him to avoid slamming himself into the window, if you know what I mean”. He came even closer and his barely noticeable words made me shiver as a snake on the barbeque: “You better learn to keep your hands up”. Hahahahahahaaaaaa. Cracking up, he left the building and like that he left me in shock.

I got it now.  There I was. My goal was to become an example of mental and physical toughness. I wanted to be like X and beyond, show the world how unbreakable I was and strong. I saw myself years ahead, trying to explain that I had received my masters but not soon after lost my… what was that word again… int… I felt how I could not remember anything and noticed as the years progressed, so did the shaking of my hands. No, that…that never. Up until that moment, I had always considered X and I, like minded fighters. But right there, I decided that I would not end up with a mind like that.

My analytical mind kept me up all night and I decided to use it for something I really care about for a change. I went after all the tapes of the top fighters of that and previous eras to find the “magic formula” why guys like Ramon could go forward and avoid being hurt. Back in the day, internet and video streaming was not yet for everybody. I had never heard of YouTube so I had to search for the manually in specialist store for the videotapes. You remember or you don’t, but these are those plastic boxes with a long shiny ribbon inside.

Off course, the first thing I did was analyzing much of Ramon’ fights as I could find. Up until then, I only had seen him walk over his opponent like an unstoppable steamroller. But now I saw him having trouble dominating another Dutch Fighter: Gilbert Ballentine. No way, Gilbert even managed to character his way to a victory. But, it did not enlighten me much. This top fighter was a bit more elusive as the Diamond but still took a hell lot of punishment to get to his gold.

One day, Mario showed me a tape (or was it a dvd already) of Ramon losing vs a Thai. I do not remember his name but the impact this moment had on my concept of fighting all the more. The thai guy came, considering who he was fighting, relatively unharmed out of the fight while our diamond bleeding severely and stood there with his hands hanging down. It dawned to me. Perhaps there is another way towards domination besides walking trough you opponent with will and power.  I realized, the Diamond had a “Kamikaze” like style, but was charged with full blown nukes. I attacked with my Uzi but did not blow away my competition with that much ease. Then I read an article about how the Diamond could not fight any more because he his ankle was jacked up because of his impressive series battles in Thailand. Something started to shift inside.

Around that time, Mario travelled to Thailand with my other friend and training partner Johan Gebrueurs to train in Fairtex. This was when the gym was still a small, hardcore gym in the suburbs of Bangkok. They almost were the only farangs (foreigners) in the camp and so received a whole lot of attention.  They came back transformed and that was when the click in my mind was made.

Mario had sharpened his already snappy sense of timing and had added good clinching to the mix. Johan came back a “Jonsanan style” fighter (if you do not know Jonsanan Fairtex, look at this classic fight http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKcrPWC4hlc&feature=related against Sakmongkol: and enjoy!). Johan had always been a tough go getter but now added strong roundhouse kicks and clinch to his arsenal.

It dawned to me that my trainer Mario’s great strength his sense of timing, speed, and unpredictable technical ability was.  Why did I not try to emulate his example more.

Around that time,  I stumbled upon a video of Namkhabuan Nongkeepahuyuth. Whow! A new world opened. In this fight, Namkahbuan was also offensive as hell but at the same time he managed to stay clear from punishment. I dedicated myself for a while to look after fight videos of Thai fighters. And back in the day, I had to go through some trouble.

Be aware, it was the time that internet was not yet common for everybody and as a worker’s son, not for me. But with time, I found some real ring geniuses like Boonlai and Samart.

Step by step,  Mario started to integrate some more traditional Muay Thai aspects into his lessons and  soon we found t that this upgraded style worked well for us. Bit by bit, I evolved into a “hybrid style” fighter with traditional Muay Thai tactics but still capable of the Thaiboxing combinations if the situation asks for it. I still go for the kill, put pressure, attack and counter continuously but do it now with more patience and, most of the time, with less emotion. In my fights, I started to use much more knees and kicks and tuned my combinations down to shorter ones. However, we predominantly fought in Belgium and Holland so trained for the Dutch scoring system and thus our tactics were still focused on volume.

But then I flew the first time to another country to fight. It was in the UK where the Traditional Muay Thai system ruled. More or less at the time that in Holland and Belgium Thai boxing became the number one fight sport, masters Sken, Toddy and Woody worked hard to promote their art in the UK.  It took a while to get the movement going but at the moment I consider UK Muay Thai a bunch of top notch Nak Muays (Muay Thai fighters).  If you do not know names like Liam Harrison, Michael Dicks but also Julie Kitchen, look up some of their fights, please. After a heavy battle I was ready for my victory. My opponent went crazy when he received the victory. At the outside, I remained calm but inside I lost my mind also.  It felt like they had lured me in with their friendly faces and good treatment, only to stab me in the back a day later. In my mind, the fight was mine. I had landed more, gave him an eight count. Yes, he had fought back with heart but I won at least three of the five rounds. The promoter saw my confusion and tried to explain how the scoring was different. But I did not accept this; this is not how it is. Now I would reframe it as: It was just not the way I thought scoring would go.

So it took me a couple of years to understand the Thai scoring and then a few more to accept the reality:  It is just a different game. As my goal at the time was Thailand, I decided to throw myself even deeper into the traditional Muay Thai style.

Now I am in need of  a new challenge and my new goals lie with MMA. But enough about me, we were talking about the difference between Muay Thai/Thai boxing in Europe VS America. I feel like the Muay Thai world and Kickboxing world in Europe have merged more or less. Gradually Muay Thai or Thai boxing took over 95% of the fights on events organized under former Kickboxing organizations like the WAKO.  Whether it is traditional Muay Thai or Thai boxing which took over depends of the history.


 

I have the feeling that Muay Thai in the states is just starting to really come off the ground. The evolution from Full contact (no low kicks, elbows or knees allowed), to Kickboxing (No knees or elbows allowed) into Thai Boxing or Muay Thai now seems to finally get to its final phase in the States. I have no idea why it takes so long for the American public to embrace the sport but we are getting there. However, I want to point out that this is just the point of view from a newcomer in “American Muay Thai history”. Ask some of the American pioneers about that. 

What I can say is that now, traditional Muay Thai scoring bouts seem to overpower the Thaiboxing scoring events like K1. As I said, there are a lot of guys doing good work for the sport. You have top trainers specialized in traditional Muay Thai like Kevin Ross’ trainer Mark Beecher, Primo Bellarosa and Eric Haycraft. Furthermore, if you prefer the Thaiboxing style, look up some of the California or Nevada based Dutch top trainers.  Training all over the world, I often see that much trainers try to use the Thai system of training. When in Vegas and what I heard from American Muay Thai practitioners, there is  lot of pad and bag work with a focus on hard single actions. I do not know that this is the wisest way to train the sport when you do not have 4 to 6 hours a day to train.  In Thailand, you train almost all day and because of the law of large numbers, great fighters pop up here and there. Great competition makes great fighters. However, in countries where living from Muay Thai is hard, you have to develop training systems that are more time efficient. Most fighters also have a full time job in Western countries. The Dutch, pragmatic as they are, have developed a bunch of great training systems and drills.

In Vegas and Santa Monica, people asked me why  there is the class difference between the general American and European fighters.  My answer is twofold. First, we have a longer tradition in Thaiboxing/ Muay Thai. You guys will get there BUT…and this BUT is important, I have noticed that a lot of people go and train all over the place to get pieces of everything. I do not think this is wise. In Europe, you train in one gym 95% of the time and sometimes you go to other gyms to spar or make some contacts.

This makes that a real team develops where  a group of people help each other improve and a positive cycle of continuous improvement appears.  Like this, there is always a healthy competition within a gym where one member does not want to give way to the other but still help the other to get better because he is part of her or his team. Furthermore, like this you train yourself in one system so your weapons become automatic. And this without confusion that often erupts when visits to another gym confront the fighter with different viewpoints. What to choose? Who is right?

So, choose a good gym with intelligent training systems, technical sharpness and physical challenges and stick to it. Forget jumping around, it just tires you out.

I am sure that you can find a lot of good gyms but in the Thai system Eric Haycraft, Primo Belarosso and Mark Beecher are good teachers. But if you want to learn the Thaiboxing style,  I know at least three top trainers who reside in the States.

Off course, I have to mention one of Holland greatest legends Rob Kaman (www.robkaman.com) who resides in California but travels all over the States to teach his system. If  you get the chance to train with him, do!

Then you have the real intelligent Marco Van Den Broeck, the man behind “Dutch Muay Thai Trainer” fight system. Marco often resides in Vegas”( https://twitter.com/#!/dutchmuaythai) and bred great Thai Boxing fighters like Chris Ngimbi and Nieky Holzken. These days he works with MMA top guys like Amir Sadollah and Nik Fekete. This man is a specialist in cutting corners and slick fighting. He will make you without a doubt an unpredictable, complete fighter.

And last but not least, you have the UFC veteran Antoni Hardonck near LA (www.dynamixmartialarts.com). This great guy trained with other legends like Ernesto Hoost and Ivan Hyppolyte. He developed a well balanced system based on proper body mechanics and useful training drills to develop timing and continuous counter ability. He worked with MMA toppers like Vladimir Matyushenko, Kamal Shalorus, Jared Hamman, Ronda Roussey and Gabe Ruediger and in Muay Thai with Charles Bisset. If you want to train with him, you will find him in Santa Monica (together with the great BJJ master Henry Akins).  I consider Antoni one of the best standup trainers on the earth. In my opinion, he is a Thai Boxing mastermind.  Put this together with one of the best BJJ instructors in the world, Henry Akins, you know the quality that Dynamix has to offer.

 

American Muay Thai? That is bullshit!

This blog flowers from my my love for fighting (I am a pro Muay Thai and MMA fighter) inseminated by my fascination for human emotion and mind (Why I became a psychologist).

But before I dig deeper into the mental aspects of the fight game, I have to speak about American Muay Thai because I feel it is ridiculous! Every time I come to the States, Muay Thai enthusiast asks me: What is the difference between American and European Muay Thai?

On one of my trips, I heard a Dutch born fighter answer this question with: European Muay Thai fighters use much more foot movement, box – kick combinations and do not kick to the body nor clinch and knee as much as Thais do. They are particularly dangerous at the intermediate distance. The Traditional Muay Thai stylist works more at long or real close range. Generally, their boxing defense at the intermediate distance is less developed but they stay out danger by stopping the incoming opponent with teeps and roundhouse kicks or by stepping into the clinch and smother their opponents to stop the power of their fists.  He said: “American Muay Thai is like Thai Muay Thai but on a much lower level.”

I say: On one level he is right but it is a bluntly explanation.

First of all, Pro Muay Thai is still in young in the States and the level is flying up in the air like a boxer’s tooth who forgot his protection. I’d bet, for example, that Kevin Ross could give every European and much Thai fighters one tough run for their money. So wait a few years, when the sport gains popularity and compare the level than.  Off course, the lack of many experienced Muay Thai instructors is a problem. But that is a topic for another time.

Second of all, what are European, American and Thai Muay Thai?

Bullshit, bullshit and buuuul…shit. [N V2] 

Suppose you would ask Thai fighters: What is Muay Thai?

You can rest assured that you’ll probably get as many interpretations as you have fighters. I mean, Muay Thai as a fighting art is a complex dance performed by two creative entities that go into battle for a variety of reasons. For some, it is their chance to honor their gym, their ancestors, their king, country and family. For others, it is just a way to make money to take care of their families and life. Then you have those who will explain you how the sport is tied to Thai history, the army and king Rama. Others will go into depth about techniques, tactical choices and how the game works.

So, this question will help you not much further. Now, let’s ask them a more probing question: “How would you describe the Thai fight style?”.  Depending of the region and gym the fighter grew up in; he will give you very different answers.  Just take a look at the very different ways of fighting you can see in top stadia.

Compare for example the legendary technician Saenchai ( grrr 😉 ) and strong  punching Anuwat and tell me what is “real” Thai style. Different gyms equal different interpretations. Kaewsamrit, the physical and toughness oriented gym probably has an entirely different way of looking at Muay Thai than the technical Khamsing gym.  And also each trainer has his own viewpoint, which often differs from other camp instructors. When I trained at Kaewsamrit, I training with “Thai”, “JPN” or “Red” was a completely different world. Even in one gym, there seems to be different viewpoints. Every fighter has different attributes and so has to develop a distinct style, as does every trainer in a gym and it is important to find you the right match.

However, there is one aspect that binds them all and that is the scoring and judging that govern the fights. For those who do not know how the scoring goes in “traditional Muay Thai”, I can refer you to Tony Myers ‘article “How to score a Muay Thai fight.” You can find this clearly written essay at: www.jamesgoyder.com/muaythai/issue_seven.pdf . I will call this scoring system “Traditional Muay Thai”. For those who want the quick fix, stay with me.

Muay Thai is scored differently than boxing. The judges do not simply add up all the points but judge the fight based on the entire battle.  So, in a close fight, a fighter can lose four rounds by a bit, win one round very dominantly and take the victory home. 

Generally, the first rounds are scored equally (10-10) but the judges take mental notes for later reference if the later rounds were very close. From there on, it is a domination game. If you dominate clearly (for example by knocking an opponent down) your opponent will lose two points. But if he fights back hard, he will lose just one point. Majority of decisions given by the judges determine the outcome of the match. So, if two judges give your opponent a 50-49 victory and one judge gives you the win by 47-50. You will have an added total of points that exceed those of your opponent but you still will lose.

Your balance and the relative effectiveness of your techniques are taken into account. In theory, all techniques can score equally. In practice however, technical clean kicks and knees to the body, head or neck score, even when there is no clear physical effect on the opponent.  If you kick the legs, throw elbows or box you’d better make sure you move or damage your competitor if you want to score.

The last part that is really important is ring presence. The way you act is of great importance. If your opponent has landed more than you but you do not seem to care, you still have a chance. So, if that happens: Look secure, stand proud and ready for more. Then, if you throw just a few good hard and technical attacks that move your opponent, you could take the fight. It is a control game. So never, ever, show that you are hurt, tired or even worse scared. If you would: say goodbye to the victory or sell your body to pay the judges under the table.

Some fighters specialize in defense and balance. They do not do that much but are specialists in distance control, evasion, defensive maneuvers and a strong counterattack every once and a while and they collect victories. However, to become a crowd favorite in this style you have to be a genius. The main lesson here is: make your opponent show weakness, extreme tiredness or evidence of not wanting to fight and you’ll take the fight from him.

Last, but not least, the will to fight is important in Thailand. When I visited Lumpini, I saw how a fight was stopped by the referee because one of the fighters did not perform up to his level. A trainer that accompanied us explained to me that this is done to avoid foul play. Like that, they make it harder for fighters to sell their fights to the gamblers. 

However, it took me a while to understand the Thai way of scoring fights. I come from the Flemish part of Belgium, which means we speak a kind of Dutch. Yes, I am from the land with the world-class chocolate, the tasty Flemish (indeed, they are not French) fries, Brussels waffles and the best beer in the world. And still thin, you ask? My body has gotten accustomed to all that good food, I guess.

But back on topic, In Flanders, Germany, certain leagues in France, Scandinavia, Switzerland and, off course, the Netherlands, we have a completely different way of scoring the fights.

Here, we call Muay Thai : “Thaiboxing” and indeed, there are clear differences in the way most fighters act in the ring . Here, I come back to the distinction made by some Dutch people, I mentioned  in the beginning of the article.

Indeed, when you think about Dutch all time greats like:

, you can see a clear difference in style with the top Thai fighters like

Do you see a difference?

Off course, with time I chose to admire the Thai way the most because of their calm control and technical superiority. (And also because they are ass lard ass as me and in my weight they are the best in the world. Off course, you also have top Thais who’ s fighting style lies somewhat closer to the Dutch like Anuwat and Bovy. But still, the difference in style and ring tactics is obvious.

Now it is clear why I do not agree with the concept of “Thai” Muay Thai but Thai style scoring. In my next blog we will get to the notion of European (or like some guys out of Holland proudly call: “Dutch”) Muay Thai.

But that is for next time. See ya.

Now it is clear why I do not agree with the concept of Thai Muay Thai, we will get to the notion of European (or like some guys out Holland proudly say “Dutch”) Muay Thai.

But that is for next time. See ya.

 Nico Verresen