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Take and Return Drills by Jake Mainini

Take and Return Drills by Jake Mainini


Jake Mainini is a veteran Muay Thai fighter and coach to elite level fighters in the UFC, Glory and other high level promotions. In this clip Jake shows Dutch style give and take drills to help build technique, reaction time and fight conditioning!


The first tip for this drill Jake Mainini explains that the difference between this type of drilling and traditional drilling is that you are receiving the strike rather than blocking or checking it then immediately returning with an attack of your own so your positioning to absorb your opponent's attack from inside the pocket must be correct. Jake shows that his lead leg foot is facing at 12 o’clock or slightly towards 11 o’clock that way his leg is positioned in a way that leg kicks will not dig in as deep whereas if he had his toes facing in any leg kick he takes will be much more painful and inflict more damage, if you are fighting or drilling with a heavy kicker Mainini also advises putting a little more weight into the back leg. Having a strong stable stance not only allows Jake to absorb strikes but it also keeps him in position to fire back his own attacks. 

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The first drill the partner kicks Jake Mainini’s lead leg on the outside. Jake loads his weight into the lead leg to absorb the strike then pendulum steps his rear leg in and returns fire with a lead leg roundhouse to his opponents inside lead leg. Your goal is to hit your opponent before they have settled back into their stance, either kicking their support leg as their kicking leg is returning or right as it lands. Remember, you are still in punching range for this drill so keep your hands up! The next counter is to the exact same attack from your partner but this time Jake returns with a left switch kick, aiming for the opponent's liver. With this counter and the last, Mainini makes it a point to move off at an angle as he counters back so he does not walk straight in to more attacks from his opponent. 

The next drill the partner throws a pendulum kick to your rear leg. Jake Mainini does the same thing as above, he drops his weight into the rear leg (remember, do not go onto your toes, stay flat footed so your base is strong) and absorbs the kick, once the kick has been absorbed Jake takes a small step with his lead leg and counters back with a rear leg kick to his opponents rear leg, attacking the support leg same as the first drill. Now same as the first drill, when Jake absorbs the leg kick he can respond with a body kick as well. This is your rear leg so this will be a power kick to your opponents ribs. 

Now Jake Mainini shows how to absorb a high body kick. Ideally, Jake wants to avoid the kick but when in the pocket or if your timing is off and you cannot avoid it being able to absorb it is a good option. Keeping a strong base you rotate your torso towards the side of the kick while your arm on the side of the kick blocks at the same time your other hand comes across your torso and catches some of the kicks force with your hand. Jake explains that 80% of the force from the kick should be absorbed by the arm on that side while 20% is absorbed into your other hand. Mainini further explains that your crossing arm should not be low, if it is low you can hurt your wrist on the kick. 

Jake Mainini does the same response to the body kick as he did to the leg kicks. The first response is a leg kick, second response body kick. Jake is still countering with whatever side he blocked on. So if he blocks the body kick on the left side he responds with a kick on his left leg either attacking his opponents inside lead leg with a pendulum kick or attacking the liver with a switch kick. When absorbing the body kick, Mainini is still loading his weight into the side he is abrobing on, that way he is not knocked off balance, if Jake stays centered he will be moved, to avoid being knocked off balance he meets the attack rather than waiting for it to hit him. 

The last two responses Jake Mainini shows to the body kick is countering back with a punch. Because Jake is rotated to one side, that side is now loaded up for a punch as well as the kick. The first punch response is a lead side hook to the body, the second punch response is a lead side hook to the head. If Jake defends on his rear side it will be a cross to the body or a cross to the head. 

So now that we have the basic responses needed to further the drill, Jake Manini shows a give and take drill where both people have a job. The rule for this drill is that the person who starts is the person who finishes. Partner throws a rear leg kick, Jake absorbs the strike and counters back with a switch kick to the body, the partner then blocks the body kick and finishes with a rear cross from that loaded cross block position. 

The last give and take drill is Mainini starts it by throwing a pendulum kick to the rear leg, the partner absorbs it and returns with a rear leg body kick, Mainini then cross blocks the body kick and returns with a hard hook to the head from his loaded position. Jake Mainini finishes by explaining that the better you get the longer this drill can be where you can just keep adding on the give and returns which really makes it mimic a real fight and will push your ability to act and react within the pocket. 

The Fundamental System of Muay Thai by Jake Mainini

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