Training Tips from our Chat with a World-class Fighter

Muaythai is more of a beautiful spectacle than a brawl, says contender Guy Lazarus

The 2010 IFMA World Championships will take place at the MCC Hall Bangapi Mall in Bangkok from 27th November until 5th December and will mark his Majesty the King of Thailand's 83rd birthday. The event promises to be the biggest world championships to date where up to 4 000 contestants will represent over 100 countries in a knock-out tournament based on weight categories.

Guy Lazarus of Dragon Power Muaythai, MMA and Fitness Centre in Cape Town is no stranger to the World Championships and will compete for the fifth time. I caught up with the fighter to find out more about the sport and the measures he is taking to prepare for the event.

"Muaythai is the national sport of Thailand," exclaims Guy, "It's a stand-up striking martial art which is based on the science of eight limbs and utilises the fists, the elbows, the knees and the shins. Before the start of every fight contenders perform the Wai Cru which is a traditional dance that pays respect to parents, teachers and ancestors. It is the only martial art to bring culture to the ring."

"It isn't a stereotypical martial art, you get a good workout and you can use Muaythai in a practical scenario"

Guy began Muaythai in 2003 as a result of his mothers concerns that he wasn't getting enough exercise. Having practised judo from the age of six he'd always had an interest in fighting and initially decided to try Muaythai for one month but with the help of Sifu Quentin Chong, Sibak Cru Winston Chong and Kru Lester Lombard Guy had all the training and guidance he needed to become a world-class fighter.

"I went to my first fight night and I thought to myself 'I'm doing that!'" says Guy, "When you watch the fighters in the ring it's more of a beautiful spectacle than a brawl and can almost be likened to a graceful dance. I also discovered that there are many health and fitness benefits."

"If there is a fight coming up you have to be the best and you have to win. It's that simple"

Guy will fight in the 51 to 54kg category and although he doesn't know who he will share the ring with yet he knows that he is up against the top fighters in the world. Does this faze him? No. He's calm, focussed and prepared.

"Very little actually goes through my mind when I'm in the ring," he exclaims, "The tension and adrenaline I may have felt in earlier fights has been replaced by a state of bliss and I'm focussed on the fight and what's happening in front of me. If my corner is shouting instructions I don't actually hear them until I come back to them in between rounds. The crowds make me want to perform and I feel like I can't mess up with all those people watching."

Preparation for the world championships is paramount as Guy doesn't want to get injured, knocked out or lose a fight. Not only is he representing Dragon Power as the best Muaythai gym in the country but his performance in the ring is in honour of his late father.

The beauty of Muaythai is that it is for everyone. Guy's mother practised the martial art until the age of 52 and in Thailand you're encouraged to train as soon as you are able to stand. Although competing may not be for everyone the training aspect is a great way to test your body's limits.

Training

Guy needs to drop 3kgs of weight to suit his fighter category, build overall strength, build muscle strength to prevent injuries and improve fitness and technique. He trains six days a week with cardio and strength training in the morning and fighters class in the evenings (skipping, stretching, cardio and technique).

Monday morning:
 7-8 km run (with steep hills) followed by weight training in the gym (to maintain muscle).

Tuesday morning: Interval training on the treadmill (alternate minutes of sprinting and jogging), bag work and shadow boxing.

Wednesday morning:  3-5 km run followed by weight training in the gym (to maintain muscle).

Thursday morning: 5 km run (trail running through mountainous terrain).

Friday morning: 3-5 km run.
evening: replace fighters class with sparring (light fighting with a partner to practice technique).

Saturday morning: weight training (to build muscle).
evening: no fighters class.

Nutrition

Guy needs to lose weight healthily combined with vitamin supplements and cod liver oil. He starts his morning with a banana and a cup of coffee before a workout followed by a protein shake afterwards. Lunch consists of chicken, vegetables and white rice (Chinese long-grain) whilst dinner consists of chicken or tuna with salad. Guy snacks on nuts and seeds including sunflower seeds and cashew nuts but his portions are never more than the size of a clenched fist.

By Lisa Nevitt

For more information contact Dragon Power Muaythai, MMA and Fitness Centre on +27 (0)21 465 9888 or read Dragon Power Nutritionist Neil Woudberg's take on the rise of the health food shop in Cape Town.

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