So, today was a good day! I ventured out to Chokdee Academy in York to get a training session done with head coach and owner Rich Cadden. I got a lovely feeling when I walked into the gym, it felt welcoming and a place anyone could feel welcome. There was his family around, a couple of people boxing in the ring, a couple of people rolling on the floor practicing their Ju Juitsu and others getting weighed in for fights that they are due to have tomorrow.
A lot was going on really. I had reached out to Rich yesterday, as I was heading down to York for the weekend to see my family. I had spoken to Craig a few times about gyms in York and Rich’s name cropped up on most of those occasions. Craig had also mentioned that he had fought him, back in the day.
To give you a bit of history about Rich Cadden, he is a seasoned Thai boxer with over a decade of experience in the Thai boxing world. He has held some prestigious titles, such as the ISAK British Champion belt at 62kgs, IKF European Championship belt at 64kgs and WPMF World Championship belt at 67kgs. He has also spent some time in Thailand both training and fighting his gaining experience and developing his knowledge as a fighter, to be able to one day, return to York to pass it on.
This really was evident to me in the coaching I received this weekend. He asked me what I wanted to do, whether I wanted to do some fancy shit or take it back to basics, I thought it would be best to take it back to basics, as I haven’t done much training now in over 3 months. I am itching to properly get back into training, as I do miss it very much and today solidified this. So that’s what we did. We took it right back to the foundations.
He began by having me stood on a footwork grid, which I have never seen before. It was great to physically see where my feet should be and what they should be doing when you bounce into your attacks and the bounce back for when you are evading a kick. It was valuable for me to be able to visualise it and try to put it into practice. I literally felt like I was learning for the first time and I was soaking it all in. I learn more visually so it was good that it was tuned into that and was used to teach me.
He then gave me a broom handle, to get the rotation of my shoulders and hips into my punches and kicks. So within the first 15 minutes of the hour session I had rebuilt my foundations and began to think again about what it is my feet were doing and getting the rotation and rolling motion in my hips and shoulders to optimize my attacks. Then we got to do the fun stuff. Pad work!
There’s nothing better than hitting some pads. I love it. I was trying my hardest to put into action what I had learned with my footwork, shoulders and hips. It was harder than I remember. I wasn’t as fast or as snappy as I was before. I felt a bit sluggish but I guess that’s the lack of training I have been doing and lack of fitness. My chin kept creeping up and Rich kept telling me to keep it down. So much so that he went to go get me a sponge tennis ball to keep held under my chin. So then we carried on working on the pads. I got the feeling that it was traditional Thai style pads. Kick, two kicks, right hand, one two hook, followed up with the right hand.
I don’t particularly use my knees a great deal but we did them quite a lot today and by the end of it I felt confident in what I was doing with them so I will hopefully be able to start putting them into action in the future training sessions. After the pads we worked a bit on catching kicks. It was funny, Rich asked me if I was good at maths and I quickly answered that yes, I was. So he went on to paint a picture of a car going 50mph crashing into a car that is stationary, the impact would be at 50mph. But he said, rather than stationary, if the car was moving 20mph in the same direction how fast would the impact be? I said 100mph misunderstanding what he was talking about… the look on his face was incredible.
Who is this guy? Telling me he is good at maths and can’t even get simple adding right. No, he said, moving in this direction… Ohhhhhhhhh, 30mph I said laughing. He then went on to talk about catching kicks and how it is basically the same as that, if you take some of the impact off the kick by moving in the same direction as you catch then it will be easier for you and you wont take as much of a hit when you do so. Continuing on from that we worked on what to do after you have caught the kick, send in the knee, then push the leg away and try and get the big score by kicking their back.
He then showed me a little something about what to do when you have caught a left kick and what Saenchai does to his opponents when he sends them flying up in the air. When catching the kick, take a step in towards them and rather than chop them in the leg to try and get them down, you get your knee right on their backside and send it vertical. Pushing them into the air and that’s why you see then fly so high, rather than a sweep, it is a push up and it takes their weight off the floor.
All in all, it was a good session. I thoroughly enjoyed my time back in the gym training again. I need to get back into it as it definitely inspires me to get back writing again, which is a good feeling. So thanks to Rich for letting me come along to Chokdee on such short notice and do an hour with him, I said I would be back again next time I am down in York and that is a definite.
This is his website where you can find out a little bit more about what the facility has available for you and a little bit of background of what Chokdee is all about:
If you would like to book in with him you can email on firstname.lastname@example.org to ask him when you can book in and begin your Muay Thai journey!
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Here is Rich’s fight for the WPMF World Championship belt at 67kgs: