Every once in a while, I encounter someone who is at another level in their Muay Thai game. I’ve sparred with a countless number of Thai fighters and trainers from around the world, but there are a handful of those guys who can be classified as next level. Most people recognize Saenchai, for his next level talents, but another fighter on this list is Muay Thai Champion Sam-A from Evolve MMA.
While I already posted a sparring video with Sam-A, this video showcases why Sam-A is next level. Fighters like Sam-A and Saenchai, can keep their opponents on their toes the entire fight. You never know when they are going to strike, which makes it extremely difficult for your defense to settle down.
When Sam-A comes in for an attack, he doesn’t just come in, he sets up his attack with multiple feints, so you don’t know when he will strike. Sparring with Sam-A is like being on the edge of your seat of a roller coaster, you are never able to relax because he can strike at any moment.
To see what a next level fighter looks like, watch this sparring video of Sam-A:
Things to Notice
The first thing you should notice when you watch Sam-A spar is how relaxed and controlled he is. You don’t see him tense up once throughout the sparring session. It looks like he is playing a game of cat and mouse, ready to pounce at any given moment. Even though he lands a LOT of strikes, none of the strikes have any power behind them.
He isn’t trying to prove that he is better, he is just playing around. This is what technical sparring should look like. Even when he connects on a strike, the strike lands without any force behind it. Technical sparring allows both fighters to work on different skills and to stay relaxed throughout.
Another thing that sets Sam-A apart from other people you face is the use of constant punches, and feints to set up his strikes. While some Muay Thai fighters only use their kicks, Sam-A does a great job of mixing the entire arsenal of moves into the sparring.
If a fighter is only using kicks, it becomes easier to block their attacks. By using the whole variety of weapons, Sam-A can target the head, body and legs, which make it hard to stop.
The use of counter striking is something else that stands out when you watch Sam-A. If I somehow manage to land a strike on him, he doesn’t sit back and relax, he immediately launches a sequence of counter attacks. This means that whatever points I score on him, he scores double in return.
Additionally, the use of head movement and footwork is another thing that makes his game complete. He does move back in a straight line, he uses angles, circles out when I attack, and changes direction whenever he is on the move.
The use of footwork and angles makes it nearly impossible to defend against every strike that he throws. Besides making it hard to defend, good footwork also make it hard to attack Sam-A. He can move in and out of range, and circle away from any knee strikes that are thrown.
Overall, it is a pleasure to watch someone who has so much talent display his awesome skills in the ring.
Sparring is not about winning or losing, it is about learning. When you spar with next level fighters like Sam-A, it only makes you better. The more sparring you do with guys like Sam-A, the better you develop a sense of rhythm and timing to counter their moves.
If you want to check out Sam-A’s recent fight against a Japanese fighter check it out here.
If you want to train with Sam-A you can visit him over at Evolve Vacation. He is one of the trainers who I would highly recommend that you book a private with, just so you can see how good he is in person.