Ok, you are a competitor in say muay thai or boxing, “really this applies to any sport though”. With and event coming up do you focus on the fine technical details or your strength and overall fitness ??? This is a debate that has been Raging in martial arts and fitness for a very long time. Fitness vs skill / technique.
I hope as both a competitor and coach and , I’m able to offer a balanced view on the importance of both to your ability in the ring – based on my vast book smarts and practical experience (which continues to grow everyday 🙂
1st off let me tell you from experience.. Nothing sucks worse that being in the heat of battle with little to nothing left in the gas tank seeing those opportunities and being too tired to capitalize to your fullest. It really doesn’t matter how technical you are if you don’t have the basic fitness level to operate when you need to.
The other side of the coin is the super fit but technically clueless person.. Sure they can do 500 straight push ups but does that make a difference if every reaction they make is 1 step closer to injury or defeat??
To make things easier to understand think about it in the terms of a race car driver
Strength and conditioning is like taking a racing car into the workshop and increasing the size and power of the engine, making it fast stronger, Improving the car’s performance and making it less likely to breakdown.
Whereas in Muay Thai your technical skill training is like getting the most talented driver and having them navigate you to the end. ensuring you don’t crash and burn before the finish line as a result of careless mistakes.
I hope you can see that both aspects are important & critical to winning or losing. Arguing that one is superior to the other is really pointless as it is all about having the right tools for a specific job.
If you are too deficient in either area. fitness or technical things won’t be looking pretty.
The best technical tactician can’t win a race in small family hatchback against and untrained driver in a Formula 1 race car on a straight line 1 mile course. But put that same driver on a rounded course where they need some skills to navigate the course right and the odds are that untrained Ferrari driver would crash and burn way short of the finish line.
Think Mobility first
In some rare cases people are so out of shape that they can’t properly replicate the movements needed to practice thier sport correctly, think a thaiboxer who cant lift their leg waist high or a weight lifter who has some range of motion issues that lead then to lift like the guy below. “just downright scary”
Once an athlete is sufficiently prepared to undertake lets say, “Muay Thai training,” technical skill will become a focus (and be an obvious differentiating factor between new boxers). It is the Hours of proper practice that is essential for both gaining technical skill and tactical advantage. Think about it this way, whats the point of being stronger and faster if you lack the basic technique to use it to your advantage??
Just the same its a big error to think you cant improve your fitness by cross training to develop new fitness, strength and speed etc. After initial gains, and some “mastery of your style” shocking the brain a bit with new training modalities is a great way bring about further improvements.
Overall i would say it goes like this
Proper mobility and basic mechanical movements to allow you to train are always the priority. Working around a Healthy “functional body” is a recipe for disaster in terms of injury and poor performance.
But then once that’s accomplished technical skill and overall fitness in muay thai or any other trained physical skill go hand in hand as if you are are greatly lacking in either department your opposition will always find a way to make you pay for it.
Check out FEDOR putting the concept to work vs this GIANT
fedor got the job done but took a lot of damage doing it + the armlock was a bit loose.. to step your armlock game up visit our BJJ 101 classes for best in Mississauga grappling and Jiu-jitsu concepts by clicking the blue link above.