I’ve started kickboxing since 2 months ago (March 2013), and yesterday was my official graduation from the rookies class into the e-core class. During this time, I visited several other Muay Thai gyms as well as a kickboxing gym, and ended up with Crazy Monkey instead. Why?
First of all, I had a list of criteria when it comes to choosing a martial sports. Number one, it must eventually have full contact sparring. The classes should be structured to eventually lead there. Second, it must be bullshit-less. If an instructor comes to me and says “hey, I can teach you a few self defense moves like right now”, I’d walk away. Or if somebody comes up and claims “oh, we don’t do full contact because our moves are too deadly”, I’d walk too. Lastly, it must have great people who are there to learn and enjoy the class, not to go there to be tortured and slapped around by sadistic instructors on a power trip.
I stopped searching after taking my CMD introductory class, by Adrian Tan. Suffice to say, my bullshit detector stayed silent the whole class, and by the end of the class I was sold. What I wanted to learn was simple – the basics of a stand up game, the right forms and the reasoning behind them. I got a glimpse of all that in the introductory class.
The fees are alright, to be honest. I couldn’t afford to do both standup and BJJ yet, so I decided to go fully standup so I have less to drill for, and add in BJJ once I get my physical conditioning up so I don’t waste time being winded and useless. At least that was the plan.
The first few classes were brutal for these soft programmer legs. I chose an orthodox stance (although in hind sight I probably should have started with southpaw, since my left leg was stronger than my right) and the first few line drills killed my right calf. I started out with jabs and a simple jab-cross, but those were enough to keep me occupied for a few classes.
Who knew throwing a proper jab with a cross follow up can be so difficult?
The rotation of the arm, the shifting of weight, the step-in, the whipping motion to transfer energy from the legs to the hands, and above all this, you actually have to hit the target. The more I learn in CMD, the less delusions I have about my chances of survival in a real fight. I am far less inclined to get into a real fight now.
The biggest takeaway however, is the CM 1 defense. The Muay Boran-styled blocks, once I got the hang of it, is tight enough to let me deflect most of the shots thrown at me during sparring. That gave me confidence to sit through a flurry with a clear mind, ready to think of what to do next. I think the CMD system’s greatest allure is this confidence building basic defense that every rookie learns in their first class, instead of say, bobbing and weaving, which is already ridiculously hard to pull off during light contact sparring, what more in a real fight?
One other thing that I almost forgot to mention is that CMD Malaysia seem to have really pleasant peeps in general. No knowledge was sacred, no techniques were saved for the privileged few. The trainers Dan, Adrian, Patrick, Vince, etc were all very generous with tips and help, and those who showed up during Open Mats were all super nice people. No assholes detected so far.
I’m happy to see myself getting fitter, and getting into a proper routine – CMD classes, morning/evening runs, and bi-weekly Open Mats sessions. It’s helped instill some discipline into me, and raise my energy and confidence levels so now I’m far more inclined to take on challenges in my own work too.
In e-core I will be learning more of the standup game, and I can’t wait for the next class. Once my finances have settled, I’ll be taking up BJJ too, as well as adding one more fitness class to my weekly schedule, and move one step closer to my goal – to get ready for full contact!