To prevent yourself from getting hit too much and ultimately, avoid having to deal with head injuries and concussions, it’s important that you have a good defense.
A key element of a good defense in Muay Thai is your guard. Your guard is what protects you from incoming strikes, whether it’s a punch, an elbow, a kick to the head or a knee to the face. Oftentimes, an effective guard can block and prevent a lot of potentially fatal incoming attacks.
Unfortunately, it’s not easy to have an effective guard. It takes a lot of practice and effort to develop a guard that you can trust that will hold up and absorb a lot of hard hitting shots.
Learning To Trust Your Guard
One way to improve your guard and be more confident in it is through drilling. By drilling both offense and defense with a trainer partner, you allow yourself to start getting used to getting hit in a controlled environment. Once you’re comfortable, you’ll soon learn how to adjust your guard accordingly and even realize just how effective having a good guard can be.
The key to improving your trust in your guard to start slowly and gradually improve your pace. The purpose of continuously drilling both offense and defense is so that you can develop confidence in your guard. Once you become more confident, ask your training partner to increase the pace. Don’t be afraid to throw in a couple of combinations every now and then as well.
Whether you’re on the offensive or defending, it’s important that you remain alert and focus on keeping your eyes on your opponent. Try to fight the natural reflex to “flinch” whenever you get hit. Instead, practice shrugging hits off and keeping your eyes open at all times. This way, you’ll be able to keep track of your opponent, making it easier for you to land a counter and look for openings.
Sparring With Different Partners
Working out with the same person over and over again is important for beginners. This way, they’ll get used to sparring in an environment that’s even much more controlled than regular sparring. But, after a few sessions, not spicing things up and working with different opponents isn’t really such a good idea.
To develop a more well-rounded game and become more confident in your guard, it’s important that you expose yourself to fighters with different styles and experience levels. Doing so helps prepare you for any situation that you might encounter in an actual fight. Always strive to push yourself out of your comfort zone, and if possible, seek out opponents who might actually give you trouble when sparring.
The only way for you to develop confidence in your guard and in general, your abilities as a fighter, is to experience fighting against different types of fighters. Once you get used to facing every type of fighter imaginable, you’ll be able to adjust better in a real fight. More importantly, having multiple sparring partners means you won’t be as fazed and nervous whenever you’re up against someone new.