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One of the most difficult habits for me to break in my Muay Thai training has been flinching. When people are throwing punches and kicks at you, your body naturally overreacts. You will move and flail and stick your arms out and do the opposite of what is most practical to do.
When you become skilled, you learn how to be defensive without exerting too much energy.
When I spar with my trainer, he hardly moves and easily deflects all of my punches and kicks. His core is tight, his elbows are close to his sides, and his reactions are small.
If I throw a punch at his face, he simply puts his hand in the way and swats my punch. If I throw a hook to his head, he raises his hand oh so slightly to block it. If I kick his legs, he lifts his leg to check and then is right back in his fighting stance. If I try to kick his body, he easily catches my kick and tosses me.
On the drive home, all I could think about is how I can train myself not to flinch, to keep my eyes open, and to use as little energy as possible when deflecting damage.
It made me realize how inefficient my movements, both in the gym but maybe also in life. thinking
How many times could I have slipped oh so slightly out of the way? How often could I have simply swatted away a problem? When punches are being thrown at your face, the danger feels momentous, but is it?
Maybe were not required to react with such big movements. Maybe, the easiest and most effective way to deal with problems is to keep your yes open and swat the problem away with a slight movement.