Muay Thai Seminar with Nakapan Phugephorn: The counter fighter is exquisite.

I had the incredible ability and honor to be able to go to a 2 hour Muay Thai seminar with Nakapan Phugephorn. 1/26/2020

He is a Martial Arts legend and owner of Beta Academy in Washington, DC. “Nakapan is a passionate life-long martial artist with over 20 years of experience practicing, teaching and competing in the martial arts. He began his journey in 1993, studying Shaolin Kung Fu. Mental discipline and physical conditioning gained from consistent practice later lead him to a fruitful competitive career in the traditional fighting arts and included over 50 championship titles!” (credit: description taken from advert for the Muay Thai seminar flyer on the Pure Performance Martial Arts Center.)

I love going to learn skills and techniques from different Martial Artists. You get different points of view, different ways of attacking and executing a skill, and different skills.

In this seminar I learned some techniques that I have noticed other people doing. However, I have never, been able to dissect it and figure out how to do that skill. I was so excited when we were working on them. I love learning new techniques, and attacks, counters, and shields. I also messed up a lot. I am going to have to work on them more.

Nakapan said, “counter fighting, is the highest form of fighting, it is the hardest, and it is elegant.”

He also said, “counter fighting is not just waiting for some one else to attack. It is the art of drawing your opponent out, to attack you.”

This really resonated with me. I have been training and working to make myself better. My coach Tony said a few weeks ago that he wants to work with me to start working on my reaction time, and my counter fighting. At first my brain was being mean to me, telling me that my reaction and counters are crap. But hearing Nakapan, say that it is the highest form of fighting, that it is the hardest part of fighting. It made me realize… no it made my brain realize that it is the next part of my training. I am actually moving forward in training. I am honing my skills and I am working to be a great fighter.

I was really down on myself, but I realized something. So long as I have hope, the hope of getting better, the hope of improving, and the hope of being the best I can be, I can work and keep working to do anything.

Anyway enough scribbling down my thoughts and feelings, on to the training we did yesterday.

  1. Five count drill
    • jab, rear leg kick
    • jab, cross, lead leg kick
    • jab, cross, hook, rear leg kick
    • jab, cross, hook, cross, lead leg kick
    • jab, cross, hook, cross, body hook, rear leg kick


      Counter fighting drills
  2. Lean back from opponents jab, return an overhand cross/rear punch, lead leg four count (lead leg kick, cross, hook, rear leg kick).
  3. Perry jab from opponent, return an overhand cross/rear punch, lead leg four count (lead leg kick, cross, hook, rear leg kick).
  4. Pop down opponent jab, and return a cross right away, lead leg 4 count (lead leg kick, cross, hook, rear leg kick).
  5. Flow kick and finish with a lead leg four count (lead leg kick, cross, hook, rear leg kick)
    • you counter a inner lead leg kick from an opponent by (jumping, spinning, and landing on your lead leg away from opponents kick), and kicking simultaneously kicking the back of your opponents lead leg.
    • the more contact you allow opponent to get on your lead leg, the harder your kick to their back leg will be
  6. Square back incoming leg kick and finish with a lead leg four count (lead leg kick, cross, hook, rear leg kick)
    • lateral back lead leg as incoming leg kick comes in to avoid being kicked, don’t shift weight to the now rear leg, but return same leg you lateraled back to round house kick from a south paw stance.
  7. Teep as an opponent tries to do a rear leg kick (this is just timing, but will stop them dead in their tracks)
    • Nakapan said that a teep is the longest and fastest weapon you have, and when timed right will get to opponent before a leg kick, torso kick, or head kick can come in.
  8. Sparring using the techniques we learned

I really enjoyed getting the opportunity to learn from Nakapan, and getting to meet him. He is very sweet, answers any questions, and wants to spread the love of Muay Thai. It seems from talking with him after the seminar, that he like Ajarn Chai want to spread Muay Thai and empower people to help others learn Muay Thai.

I also met some really cool people and hope to visit their gyms as well. I love that our Martial Arts community on the whole is open and loving. We try to be inclusive and understanding of all people. We are one big tribe.

Thanks for reading. If you have questions please feel free to ask and I will try to answer. Keep working to be the best you that you can be.