Tony Manoharan Muay Thai Seminar at Lanna MMA: 5 Tactical Takeaways
By Ryan McKinnon
Last Saturdayʼs Muay Thai seminar with Tony Manoharan hosted at Lanna MMA was a real
success. Both the turnout of athletes and the overall energy was extremely high.
Beginner and intermediate fighters got a first hand account of a professional fighters
mental approach to the strategy and tactics of a fight. Tony was exceptionally gracious
with his time, adding an extra 30 minutes to the seminar. He was clear in his approach
to the techniques, and spent an equal amount of time with each pair of students. For
myself, I was able to take away a bunch of amazing things from listening and watching
Tony. I will limit them to the top 5 takeaways that I will add to my Muay Thai game.
1. Distance: One of the major differences youʼll notice immediately when comparing an
amateur to a pro is the use of distance. An amateur Nak Muay hasnʼt developed the
body awareness and footwork to distance themselves from their opponentʼs attacks.
When you watch a pro, they know exactly how far away they need to be from an
attack to ensure that their counter attack lands effectively. For example, when an
opponent kicks, many beginner boxers move so far out of range that theyʼve missed
an opportunity to strike back. Tony stressed the importance of maintaining a balanced
Muay Thai stance, and using correct footwork and body positioning to make a
counterattack more likely.
2. Timing: When you watch amateur Thai boxers compete early in their careers, youʼll
notice that when the pressure is on, they abandon some of their fundamental Muay
Thai principles, and engage in a toe to toe war. Muay Thai is all about waiting for an
opening, and using precise timing to land strikes. Effective leg kicks are example of
using timing. Waiting for an opponent to place weight on their lead leg is the
opportune time to strike. Sometimes fighters kick either too early or too late, making
the strike ineffective. Tony taught everyone some great drills to demonstrate how
effective timing scores points and damage.
3. Points before power: Knocking someone out is a lot harder than people think. It
requires a high level of IQ and timing. Most beginner fighters spend so much energy
looking for a knockout, they forget that the fight can be won scoring points. 3 judges
are watching your every move. Win them over, and you win the fight. Not every strike
has to be with power. Striking with accuracy and speed has the advantage of
throwing your opponent off balance and interrupting their rhythm, thereby creating an
opening for the power shot. Looking for ways to distract and deceive your opponent
with less powerful attacks will pay off over the course of the fight. Even if you donʼt
get the KO, youʼve landed enough strikes to win by decision.
4. Keep striking: Muay Thai is somewhat like baseball. In baseball, if you get on base 3
times out of every 10 at bats you end up in the Hall of Fame. In Muay Thai, landing 3
out of 10 strikes is a good round. Beginner fighters throw too many single and double
combinations, and then stop. Tony emphasized the importance of throwing multiple
combinations, and continuing to throw even if you miss. The more you throw, the
higher your chances of scoring and creating openings for more effective techniques.
It is a hard concept to grasp, and requires experience. Tony showed us a really great
boxing drill to help fighters learn to continue throwing combos even when they miss.
5. Keep drilling: The only way to be a successful martial artist is by drilling techniques
constantly with a partner. Drill slowly and in real time. Make it as real as possible so
that it translates into sparring. This is often overlooked by beginner fighters who
choose to hit pads more than anything else. Drilling might seem boring, but it is an
essential part of a fighterʼs daily training diet. None of what Tony taught has any value
if it isnʼt practiced every day.
Tony shared so much with the class that it is impossible to list everything in one
article. The above 5 points highlight some of the major keys to becoming a successful
fighter. If you want to know the specifics of what Tony taught youʼll have to invest in one
of his future seminars. Follow Tony on instagram and facebook to stay up to date with
his coaching and future seminar appearances. Thanks again Tony for sharing over 10
years of professional experience with everyone.