Shadow boxing is exactly what it sounds like- you’re fighting a shadow! It consists of striking the air with your Muay Thai arsenal. Shadow boxing is not only practised in Muay Thai rather it is a very important component of training across many styles of combat sports. Shadow boxing is a part of training that can sometimes be overlooked as it can be viewed as boring or unimportant to building fitness but in reality it is an activity that will be helpful with improving you as a practitioner of Muay Thai.
Shadow boxing is perfect for improving and sharpening your technique. Most of the time an instructor or your Kru will wander around the class watching and correcting people’s technique during this activity. If your gym has a mirror make sure to also shadow box in front of that so you are able to analyse your own technique and make any corrections (after clarifying with your instructor or kru). Shadow boxing should never make you zone out, you should always be focused and critical of how you’re delivering your strikes. Make sure to make this a mindful activity!
Being able to swiftly deliver a combination of strikes is very important in a fight. Shadow Boxing assists you in learning how to be fluid in your movements. This exercise also improves your footwork as you are able to take your time in learning how to effectively maneuver during and after you deliver a strike, which is something that may not be permitted in a highly intensive pad work session. Cutting angles to confuse your opponent is an effective and intelligent method of delivering a strike. This is a technique which can be easily and successfully drilled during shadow boxing.
When you are fighting your shadow opponent, learn to picture a real opponent! To be able to effectively drill your technique, combinations, movement and angles you need to visualise yourself delivering them in a real fight situation whilst you are shadow boxing. Not only does this improve you as a fighter but it also makes the exercise less monotonous and more captivating.
Lastly, In order to hit a heavy bag outside of a gym- you will need a bag. To be able to spar or hit the pads out of your gym- you will need a willing partner, pair of pads and protective equipment. But to shadow box out of the gym- you don’t need anything! Although it is preferable to practise in front of a mirror, anywhere will do!