Training proper technique should never be frowned upon.
Committing your muscles to execute out of instinct through hours upon hours of repetitive practice is the general idea to achieve spectacular form and technique, but…. there is a certain point you can actually get to where you are promoting stiffness and vulnerability from subtle and ultimately insignificant movements in your technique.
This is called being a “Technique Nazi”.
This term is used when a fighter or a practitioner is executing techniques such as punching or kicking with obnoxiously over-the-top form like if he or she is posing for a camera. When said practitioner witnesses someone else executing a technique and not performing heavily strict form, the “Technique Nazi” will verbally debate, causing unwanted and unnecessary controversy.
Here are a few things in striking techniques that will ‘set off’ a “Technique Nazi”:
- When throwing a round kick, the kicker’s rear hand must be glued to the face for defensive purposes.
- When throwing a round kick, the kicker’s lead hand must be extended straight outwards towards opponent to prevent any potential straight punches during kick.
- Both arms shielding face while throwing low kicks to defend potential punches to the head during kick.
- Both arms shielding face while throwing the teep or (Push Kick)
- Hands dropping after a heavy round kick
- Hips not turning enough when throwing hooks
The list can go on for days but I’ll stop it there to pin point and explain some of them.
In all my years of training and fighting I have always been the observant type, and what I’ve noticed is that EVERYONE looks different when they execute certain techniques. We all have different skeletal structures, different builds, different height, weight, etc.
I think one of the main reasons why technique nazis are so common is that many coaches and practitioners haven’t differentiated technique for hitting the bag or pads versus technique for hitting an actual person trying to hit you. There are so many practitioners out there that specialize in fancy premeditated pad work that has absolutely no practicality to actual combat.
I can’t tell you how many fighters I’ve seen that look spectacular on pads (hips turning with a hint of exaggeration, one hand ‘answering the phone’ during kicks, both hands glued to face in between 6-7 hit combinations) but then get completely decimated in an actual fight.
My favorite example is when you don’t have your rear hand glued to your head during round kicks… it drives technique nazis CRAZY!
I look on Facebook videos of WORLD CHAMPION Muay Thai fighters banging the pads and I see the comment section loaded with people saying “He needs to keep his hand up during that kick” or, “Hands are so low, someone is gonna knock him out.”
These are world class Muay Thai fighters we are talking about here- Yodsaenklai, Buakaw, Sudsakorn, with all over 200+ professional fights on their belts. There you have technique nazis critiquing their form because they do not execute it how they were taught. All of these champions I have mentioned, have their own style. They are trend setters. They do things a certain unique way that makes open-minded people want to mimic them (myself included).
Let’s use Yodsaenklai Fairtex as an example: 264 total fights, 189 wins (74 by KO), 71 Losses and 4 draws. Most people know him as the owner of the most notoriously renowned left round kick in the world.
If you watch Yodsaenklai fight or train, you will see him throw his famous southpaw round kick to the body/arms. If you also notice, his rear hand is down by his hip every kick, there is not a single form of defense executed during his round kick; and yet…. no one can seem to stop it, no one can seem to capitalize on that ‘opening’, every one he faces is slammed by that round kick no matter who it is.
And why is this?
You mean after 264 fights, literally no one has exposed the opening on him because his hands aren’t protecting his head during his round kick?
I’ll tell you why, Yodsaenklai is simply COMMITTING TO HIS KICK, that is it.
A 100% offensively committed kick has gotten virtually every opponent of his trying to circle away from his left leg. His hands also drop significantly while he is boxing and some would say it looks sloppy but yet…. 80% of his KOs are from his hands. My point to be made in revolt towards the technique nazis are commitment towards what you are trying to achieve from your strikes.
Why do you think Yod’s kick is notorious and he lands it on everyone? Because he kicks to destroy, bottom line.
He throws that round kick with his entire body that sends his hands down by his hips. You think he’s worried about what you might do while that kick is launched? Not a chance. The kick is executed with the means to crush and break, that is his defense, a monstrous round kick that breaks down forearms and smashes rib-cages.
Being a technique nazi and forcing yourself into picture perfect form will not give you this attribute that Yod or any other Muay Thai master has acquired.
There is NO SUCH THING as striking while be fully protected (rear hand ‘answering the phone’) it does not exist. There is nothing you can execute and be completely immune to any and all counter-strikes, that’s the name of the game, this is fighting.
Trying to protect yourself while throwing a strike will not keep you from getting hit, it will actually increase your chances of getting hit. Here’s why: You’re worried about what could come after your kick, so you decrease the focus and intent on your attack and increase your attention on a ‘what if’ outcome. This causes you to be vulnerable because the power and deliberateness of your attack has dropped substantially giving your attacker an actual chance to counter.
Instead of committing to what could happen if you do not ‘answer the phone’ try committing to what could happen if you nullify your opponent from making you ‘answer the phone’. Go on Google and search for action shots from famous fighters, you will see shot after shot with knockouts or devastating impact but what you probably won’t see is a fighter shielding his/her face while his/her kick is decapitating his/her opponent.
The moral of all of this is, we all look different. There are things that just works for each of us individually that most people couldn’t fathom. Yodaenklai can get away with his unprotected kick because his kick is monstrous and fully committed. Floyd Mayweather can throw his cross without ‘answering the phone’ because his strike is meant for one thing- to hit you!
Don’t be a technique nazi because it looks pretty on camera, free your mind.
Practice something that no one else practices because who knows, maybe one day you will have created a uniqueness that works and someone else will want to mimic you. At the end of the day, do it because it works for YOU, that’s the point, if we all did things the exact same then our sport would die because every fight would be identical and boring.
Be your own fighter, embody your own technique because you are either defending or you’re on the offense, there is no hybrid. Hit your attacker or be hit, that is Combat Sports. Be like water, my friends.
- DJ Miller is a naky muay from Nashville, TN. He began his Muay Thai training in 2008 and accumulated more than 30 amateur fights before turning pro. "Martial arts is in my blood," says Miller. "My father is a third degree black belt in Taekwondo.., I love the experiences that Muay Thai has given me and I love sharing my thoughts what's going on in the Muay Thai world with everyone."