Shadowboxing for Muay Thai and Kickboxing

One of the most imporant training methods you can imploy as a Muay Thai or Kickboxing athlete is shadowboxing.

Shadowboxing is crucial in keeping up with good form, technique, and cardio (depending on the intensity of your shadowboxing rounds). We shadowbox to essentially ‘mimic’ our fight scenarios with the knowledge we obtained in class, or maybe from social media like Instagram, Youtube, etc. but with intensity and realism. If the new technique/ combination you learned is beneficial and ‘realistic’, you may want to practice the form and the proper steps to achieve perfection of the technique/ combination. Feeling comfortable using the new technique/ combinations is the ultimate goal. 

To properly shadowbox with intensity, speed & most importantly, purpose, time yourself with an appropriate amount of rounds, minutes per round, and the ideal amount of rest time in between rounds. 

Here is an analogy of how important shadowboxing is in this sport. 

  • In most physics class you learn certain theories and laws of physics. Then you’re given loads of homework and reviews to go over the lessons then you apply the knowledge in lab sessions. If the result of the experiment you are conducting comes out to a high percent error, there was a mistake or two during the process of the experiment. Or, you could’ve just did the whole thing wrong.  
  • This same analogy can be applied in martial arts. You are given certain technique/ combination in class from Coach, and you review (practice with a partner) shortly after. Then, where space allows at home, office, etc, you may shadowbox the technique/ combination you’ve learned as ‘homework’. Then comes the day when that same technique transfers over to the next lesson with same similarity, you will have no problem executing more complex technique/ combinations with proper form. If you DON’T put the necessary repetitions in to keep up with the proper form, then you most likely will have a higher chance of “resulting in greater percent error” hence not progressing with good form and technique.
  • Lessons taught in physics class -> Techniques from Coach
  • Homework -> Shadowbox (technique learned in MT class)
  • Experiment in Lab -> Testing out technique the next MT class or in Sparring Sessions.
  • Low Percent Error in Lab -> Smooth & comfortable execution of technique/ combinations with good form & speed during pad sessions, partner drills, sparring or even in a sanctioned fight.

CLick below for a video on Muay Thai/Kickboxing Shadowboxing by Straight Blast Gym Atlanta Coach Min Kim.

Important Keys to Follow to Properly Shadowbox:

Intensity

Pacing yourself in shadowboxing is key to achieving composure & grit to fire a combo or slick technique. ‘Know when to accelerate and decelerate in a car to gain maximum speed around a corner with a minimum amount of drag time.

Composure

Exhausting yourself during shadowboxing can’t get you very far in practicing your technique. While you’re moving stay composed, and when you’re ready to fire (throw punch/ kick) go full throttle. 

Focus

Always think ahead & know what you are going to throw. Train yourself to subconsciously lockdown every step of throwing a proper technique every time you fire that technique. Don’t lose yourself on a messy technique while trying to raise intensity while losing composure. Breathe deeply, and move up in intensity as you feel like you’re progressing and feeling comfortable.

Another alternative way to work on your shadowboxing is to add in bag work; using the same philosophies but now getting the resistance of hitting a heavy bag.

Start slow, and build your shadowboxing as you get more experienced. Being able to add this key element to your Muay Thai and/or Kickboxing will provide great benefits to your game over time.

Jim Sheppard is one of the co-owners of Straight Blast Gym Buford and Straight Blast Gym Atlanta. He has been training / coaching / competing in Muay Thai since 2013 and holds a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
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