When you enter a Muay Thai gym or view any Muay Thai video online, you'll encounter the unique shout that symbolizes the essence of Muay Thai.
"OH-WAY!!" reverberates through the gym, followed by a resounding thud against the heavy bag or pads. You might question the necessity of such noise during training, perhaps likening it to the exaggerated grunts of a weightlifter in a commercial gym attempting to showcase their strength during a "heavy" bench press. However, in Muay Thai, these sounds and grunts serve a purpose beyond mere theatrics. They play a vital role in the execution of strikes.
Understanding the science behind the Muay Thai shout involves grasping concepts such as effective mass and double-peak muscle activation, which are crucial for developing striking power in Muay Thai.
In a nutshell, effective mass in striking refers to the efficient transfer of momentum from the body to the target, which requires the body to be completely stiff upon impact to maximize momentum transfer. Soft structures deform on impact, reducing effective mass.
Double-peak muscle activation involves the muscle groups activating just before or during the initial movement, then relaxing briefly before reactivating close to impact, resulting in enhanced striking power.
This phenomenon occurs due to the inverse relationship between force and velocity. When attempting to strike as fast as possible, less force is generated, and when aiming for maximum force, velocity decreases. The double-peak muscle activation enables fighters to optimize both force and velocity simultaneously(McGill, 2010)
By shouting "OH-WAY," Muay Thai fighters stiffen their bodies in the final moments of the strike, enhancing the effective mass and consequently the impact force.
Moreover, the energy shout facilitates rapid force development, transitioning from muscle relaxation during the strike to muscle activation upon impact swiftly. This quick transition enhances both the force and velocity of the strike (Lenetsky, 2015)
Now you know
Hope you make some noise.
Lenetsky S, Nates RJ, Brughelli M, Harris NK. Is effective mass in combat sports punching above its weight? Hum Mov Sci. 2015 Apr;40:89-97. doi: 10.1016/j.humov.2014.11.016. Epub 2014 Dec 26. PMID: 25544341.
McGill SM, Chaimberg JD, Frost DM, Fenwick CM. Evidence of a double peak in muscle activation to enhance strike speed and force: an example with elite mixed martial arts fighters. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Feb;24(2):348-57. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181cc23d5. PMID: 20072065.