About the Author
Stephen Strotmeyer is the Head Trainer at Kaay Muay Sit-Kangmongkorn in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Stephen has over fifteen years of experience as a notable Muaythai fighter holding the titles of WKA US Muaythai Featherweight, WKA US Amateur Kickboxing Lightweight, USKBA Lightweight Amateur Muaythai, Battlegrounds Muaythai Lightweight East Coast, & USMTA Midwest Lightweight Muaythai Champion. Having retired from professional fighting in 2007, he has focused on training and growing the sport of Muaythai on the east coast as a coach and official.

Lo-Bloo product review – The Thai cup, Reimagined

I’m a natural skeptic and a scientist vocationally. So, when I hear anecdotes and unempirical accounts about nearly everything, I’m dubious until testing myself. When the new groin guard system called Lo-Bloo was being distributed by Competitive ACE, I initially balked. For over a year, in fact. I saw one at the 2014 Thai Boxing Sanctioning Authority’s Annual Muay Thai Classic at the vendor’s area and scoffed. Anthony Salcedo pitched it to me (Lo-Bloo promised added safety & comfort and hygiene compared to my traditional steel cup), yet I dismissed him, much to my later chagrin.

Recently, Anthony sent me one for testing, not from a fighter’s perspective, but as a trainer and padman. I routinely get kneed, teeped and kicked in the cup everyday in the gym. From seasoned professionals to the greenest novice, it happens. For years I’ve worn a steel cup, and just shake it off as very few of the low blows really register.

The Lo-Bloo protector, once adjusting, was instantly more comfortable. It is a much lighter cup with vents, so there was air-flow that you don’t have with the traditional solid steel Thai cup. Room to breathe, so to speak. 15 minutes of rope and shadowboxing to warm-up and felt like I wasn’t wearing a cup at all. This of course worried me about the durability of the thing.

So I cut right to the chase and asked a few students to teep me directly, as well as knee and kick me. Not accidentally, but deliberately. I had to pressure them into doing it. “I want you to teep me in the cup!”. The result? Nothing. Nothing happened. No movement or sliding, no impact registered. I was fine. This cup works! I even hit pads the past few days and haven’t noticed a single impediment when wearing it.

So as someone who use to laugh off the idea of my old steel cup being replaced, I am now convinced. The traditional solid steel Thai groin cup has been retired, the Lo-Bloo is now the only one I’ll wear at this point. If you are not convinced you can get one and try it out for yourself,  I guarantee you will not find a more comfortable and sturdy groin cup.  Check it out here at Competitive Ace

The Mental Aspect of MuayThai

By Stephen Strotmeyer

MuayThai is no doubt a physically grueling sport. Nakmuay require a unique combination of anaerobic and aerobic fitness. They must withstand the punishment inflicted by an equally conditioned adversary. But MuayThai is more than mere physical weaponry. An often overlooked component of the fight game is your mind. Regardless of physical prowess, the time will come when you are tired or injured, yet must continue fighting. The option to quit never enters the mind of real fighters. Rather, real fighters fight regardless of the circumstances they face inside the ring.

MuayThai is NOT an easy sport. Fighter conditioning consists of running hills, sprints, and torturous intervals, mostly solo, outside the gym, as it is generally not a team sport. Intrinsic motivation is critical and it must compel you to keep training whether preparing for an amateur tournament or a professional world title. Ultimately, it is your desire and intensity that will drive your physical training, it is your mind that controls how you train and how you perform. Sure, trainers provide extrinsic motivation, but even the elite trainers in the world are only as good as the students they train. A fighter has to have a mindset hellbent on success, where MuayThai consumes your thoughts, becomes your obsession and your life. If you adopt a laisez faire approach, rest assured that someone else will be passionately pursuing championship dreams. Remember, this is not a sport you “play”; this is a sport where you can get knocked out.

MuayThai is a sport for warriors, those that are strong both mentally and physically. You are often alone before your fight as your trainer may have multiple cornering responsibilities, so you try to relax, envision the fight in your head. Many fighters break at this point – doubt themselves, question their conditioning, and ask that “AM I READY” question. Remember, you are not alone, rather one of many fighters who face similar internal battles prior to the actual fight. You have to work on actively controlling these racing thoughts and anxieties. Be a stoic, remain calm, and show nothing visually. When fight time comes, these thoughts will quickly vanish and you rely on your training and fight your heart out. This is a major reason why MuayThai is a hard sport, because beyond the physical demands, the mental can break those with a weak mindset. The mind can play tricks on you. It can convince you to doubt yourself and your training. For this reason, you must train the mind to work for you, not against. You must use your mind to give you confidence. Achieving this state of mind is through experience and hard work and spending efforts to develop mental toughness. Experience teaches you how to overcome these nervous, anxious feelings, and comes from actual competition.

You must fight and continue to learn. If you lose or get knocked down, you must make the decision to get back up and fight. When a fighter loses, many are hypercritical and pass judgment, failing to realize that MuayThai takes time to learn and master the techniques. Part of the journey is learning from losses and living to fight another day. Whether or not you succeed is your decision. You can instill the mental toughness and perseverance required of a champion. Dig down, deep within yourself to hone these attributes. Train hard and believe in yourself. Through hard work, you gain confidence in your training. MuayThai is a sport that does not involve luck; rather MuayThai is a sport that rewards those that work hard and overcome obstacles.