Wrath James White put on a Muay Thai demonstration Saturday morning at the con, and as I mentioned previously, he recruited me to hold the pads for him. In a nutshell, my job was to get beaten on a little.
Ass-whoopin’ jokes aside, it was a great demo. Wrath spent a lot of time discussing the distances between arts like karate and Muay Thai, covered some of his training, and even showed us his Ram Muay, the dance fighters perform before their matches. I was familiar with some of what he had to say, but a lot of it was new to me, especially the particulars of Muay Thai’s rules and culture, and for anyone interested in the martial arts, it was interesting stuff.
Then Wrath got to demonstrating why Muay Thai is referred to as the art of eight limbs; he started throwing punches, elbows, knees, and kicks my way.
I’ve held pads for plenty of guys before, but this was the first I’ve done so for a professional fighter. Even at 70% power, I had no question I’d be hurtin’ if I hadn’t been holding up those pads. I trusted Wrath not to miss the pads and take out a rib, but at the same time I made damn sure to keep those pads out where he needed them so I didn’t set myself up for injury. One of those knees could easily have knocked out teeth or cracked a rib.
The flying knees were the strongest technique he showed off. I’m not a little dude, and if I stepped into the ring with Wrath we’d both be fighting in the heavyweight division. I even set myself into a front stance to brace against the knee. Nevertheless, those flying knees knocked me back a couple of steps with each blow. I can’t imagine the damage I’d have taken if he kept me in a tight clinch or pinned me against a turnbuckle or Octagon fence.
The crowd enjoyed the presentation, and I felt like I learned something as well. In fact, afterward I asked Wrath a few more questions about applying a proper Muay Thai clinch, and I hope to show some of my friends at my karate school the technique.
Who knows, maybe I’ll even get an opportunity to apply it in a sparring match…