Monday, March 9, 2009
Muay Thai and its Revelations
Muay thai, or Thai kickboxing, has become my new physical discipline. It has been over six years since I've endured this form of physical training when I wrestled which required continuous mental and physical discipline. Soccer, futbol, was the most recent sport that tested my athleticism which taught me the importance of strong, versatile and agile legs. Muay thai is proving to be a great complement or follow-up sport to futbol. Both sports test core balance and hip flexibility. Suddenly, I am realizing that learning new sports or physical arts greatly interests me. Muay Thai is also known as the Art of Eight Limbs where each fighter can strike with both hands, shins, knees and elbows.
It may be known as one of the toughest of all the martial arts, from my two months of training and learning the 'ropes' of this sport I can only attest. Muay thai is quite a fat and calorie burner as well. While maintaining a steady and consistent diet of vegetables, fruit, pasta, rice, salmon, egg, tea and mate dishes the weeks where I do more muay thai training, my weight is respectively lower. Since my first class, I've already lost 8 pounds. Let it be known that I was also carrying some left-over holiday pounds at the beginning of the training and my metabolism has alway sky-rocketed during times of consistent cross-training. My increased hip flexibility from muay thai has increased my running stride and apparently has less hip strain from the past. My right hip used to be sore after long runs dating back to high-school cross country. Kickboxing gave my hips the WD-40 effect, no feelings of friction or tension after long runs What comes of this experiment? I look forward to only improving my muay thai skills as I feel it is truly an art form that tests multiple dimensions of mind and body.
Physical training has its effects on seratonin levels as well, increasing that natural state of well-being. It's always amusing for me to observe my energy levels before and after workouts. The personal state of energy is always more positive and steady coming out of strenuous exercise than it was entering that particular workout. Physical exercise has always been my preferred form of body-mind integration or alternate form of meditation. Interestingly, when performing any physical exercise, letting go of the thoughts and allowing the body to perform its intended action naturally always yields better and more effective technique.
I'm not recommending that you all register in a kickboxing class, but I always recommend some form of mind-body integration exercise, whether it be tai chi, yoga, kickboxing, running, swimming, or even simple walking. Try feeling the body's energy field from head to toe by first focusing on your respiration. Once your attention is on your inhale/exhale, let your surrounding environment feed you energy. It's no wonder why many people enjoy exercising near the beach. The waves and sun act as great human battery chargers, only if you allow your body to feed off of it. Perception is reality and there's no question why I usually run faster and longer when allowing my body to feed of the environmental energy. Please experiment for yourselves the next time you're in the gym or just taking a stroll, see if your energy level has shifted from before to after the particular exercise.