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Music - the psychological factors to fighters

By Kru Nick Hewitson of the Petchyindee Muay Thai Boxing Camp International

We have all seen the fighters entering the ring to a fanfare in Western / Thai or Kick boxing fights, but what is lost on most people is the ability to use this as a training aid to improve there performance, some fighters use it as a fanfare to herald there arrival, such as Chris Eubank (who entered to simply the best) or for those of you who followed Thai boxing in the 1990ís Paul Bates of the Sitsiam Thai boxing camp always entered to the theme from the omen (or the old spice commercial) I would assume that this was to strike fear into his opponent . The use of the fanfare has been used from biblical times to send a message of fear to oneís opponents, whether the banging of drums and blowing of horns as used by the Greeks and Romans to the bag pipes of the Scottish regiments as recent as the first world war.

 I remember the first fight I saw of Eval Denton of the Trojan Thai boxing camp it was at the coliseum in Stafford, as he entered from the dressing room his supporters had the loudest ghetto blaster I have ever hear out in front of them, blasting away with a mix of air raid sirens and the music of KLF (it was a long time ago) his supporters also had air horns that they were setting off in time to the music along with chanting Evalís name, whoever Evalís opponent was that night would have had problems regardless of how good he might have been , the music as well as boosting Evalís confidence also worked to break the concentration of his opponent (ďwhat the hellís going on hereĒ) besides all the white noise can also have effects on your central nervous system causing abdominal cramping (and most fighters have a little of that anyway before they get in the ring as they try to settle down to some sort of comfort zone) after all very few people like standing out in front of people whether its giving a speech or a presentation at work , you can therefore magnify that feeling by about a hundred and thatís what you feel like when you enter the ring at a major show or in a Bangkok stadium , therefore anything you can do to give yourself some degree of familiarity with something other than being all alone in front of hundreds or thousands of people can only help.

By having your own particular piece of music can give you that emotional security blanket, however if you want to give your fighter an edge, you can use there music in conjunction with meditation to both calm your fighter, to energize them and if you know what your doing to instill strength, rage or aggression into them. During my own fight career I had two particular pieces of music that I used, while I sat in the dressing room ready for the forthcoming fight I would first listen to one which helped to calm me and keep me relaxed and them as my particular bout approached I would listen to the second which would trigger my rage. I would feel the hairs on the back of my neck start to stand up, I would start to feel from deep inside me a wave of energy surge through my body inside my head a mental picture of the fight would play out, my mind already prepared for the eventual victory (my emotions like an unstoppable juggernaut) no fear, no doubts, no worries.

So how do you use music in your training, well firstly the music that you select is critical as your heart rate will sub-consciously pick up on the beat of the music, so if you are trying to train precise technical techniques select a music with a slower beat, likewise if you are doing pad work, music with a strong beat (possibly heavy metal) can be very beneficial. For sparring or self defense applications, you may find rave or trance music to be good as the BPM (beats per minute) are likely to average between 140- 160, this would be your optimum heat rate if undergoing a strenuous activity. An adrenaline surge will occur during combat (200-220 bpm) and therefore by subconsciously conditioning your heart rate you are better able to perform due to being in a more relaxed state, even though your heart is racing like a runaway train, you mind is used to operating in that state and therefore less mistakes or panic takes place.

To put yourself in an even stressed state you can alternate 1 or 2-minute snippets of musical tracks of music with significantly different bpmís or tempoís. This will make it much more uncomfortable to settle into a fighting rhythm. In Thai boxing most people are familiar with the initially unusual sounding Thai music, if you watch tapes of the fights in Thailand were they actually have the musicians ringside playing the music, it is quite obvious that the tempo of the music will increase as the tempo of the fight increases. Here In Europe you are unlikely to have the same conditions, and will almost certainly be fighting to a tape or CD version of the same music (tune) and I would guess that it is unlikely ever to be remixed. Therefore after hearing this track played in the background of a class or training session for thirty or forty hours, you will without consciously doing it, be aware of sub-conscious timing triggers in the music

 (I.e.) 30 seconds of the round trigger, 1 minute 30 seconds into the round trigger and the last 20 seconds of the round trigger.

The reason these sub-conscious triggers are important is that rather than your corner checking a stopwatch throughout the fight, your body clock will be able to keep you aware of the remaining time. Therefore if a round is particularly close you can better apply your remaining resources (strength) without the problem of committing yourself to early and giving your opponent the opportunity to comeback at you, or to burn yourself out to early leaving yourself venerable.

If you would like to find out more about the unique training used by the thai boxers of the Petchyindee muay thai boxing camp , visit our web-site www.petchyindee.com or e-mail us at petchyindee2001@hotmail.com.












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