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Who is Thai Boxing For?
Using Muay Thai For Self Defence
The Health & Fitness Benefits of Muay Thai
Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercise
Muay Thai Conditioning – How it hardens the body
How Muay Thai Can Improve Balance, Coordination & Agility
Helping mental Focus & Stress with Muay Thai
Your First Muay Thai Lesson
25 Tips For Your First Thai Boxing Lesson
What Muay Thai Gear & Equipment Do I Need?
How to Avoid Injuries During Training
How to Improve Faster
Muay Thai Motivation – How to keep your mind focused on training
Thai Boxing Training Hacks
Useful Muay Thai Videos
Are you interested in developing a kick as powerful as a baseball bat?
Fancy learning a sport that teaches you to deliver bone crunching punches and elbows?
Would you like the toned body of an athlete?
If you like the sound of this, then you should learn Muay Thai.
It’s fun to learn… It’s a great way to get fit.. And it can build confidence too.
Thai Boxing is considered to be one of the best martial arts for self-defense. Giving you the ability to fend off thugs, drunks, and robbers. I think you’d agree that it sounds good, doesn’t it?
Now listen to this. I’ve put together a massive guide to help you get started with this kick-ass sport. Read it and you’ll learn:
- How to slash the costs of your lessons, and avoid registrations fees
- How you can use this sport to tone up, lose weight and kick butt
- How to find the perfect Thai Boxing gym using some few hidden tricks
- The 25 essential Thai Boxing tips to follow to make you better and faster – tips that many amateurs aren’t aware off
- Learn what Thai Boxing gear you need to buy, and what you don’t need to buy when you’re start this combat sport
We will cover all this and much more…
A Little Bit of Info About this Mega Article
This article is a 13,000-word article and it should take you around 53 minutes to read (or less if you read fast). It also has loads of links to other great Muay Thai websites and resources too – giving you even more useful stuff to read.
But if you study the info in this guide you’ll have a better idea than most about this deadly martial art.
The information in this article would take ages find out on your own. It would take you months of painstaking research and reading.
You’d have to buy books on the subject… Go through loads martial arts forum post… And talk with Muay Thai coaches/trainers.
And most people just don’t have spare time like that.
How do I know all this you might ask? Because this is what I had to do.
Here’s a little background for you…
It’s taken 3 months to write this mega post. And I was going to publish it as a ‘paid’ Kindle book.
But, instead, I decided to publish it for free.
Because (I hope) that by reading it you’ll get inspired to try a sport that I love.
A sport that’s helped me stop smoking… Helped me lose weight… And helped me tone up.
It’s a combat sport that’s given me a major confidence boost too.
So, take your time and read this mega Thai Boxing post.
Because, if you finish reading it, you’ll learn more in 53 minutes than I learned in my first year of Muay Thai.
It might take you a while to read, but it’ll be worth it. And if you find it hard to grasp at any point, just stop. Digest what I’ve written. And then come back and carry on reading it when you feel fresh.
Put into the action the tips I mention on here, and you’ll be in a better position than 99% newbies who start the sport.
You’ll improve faster… Avoid the common mistakes that novices make… And you’ll see an improvement in your health, confidence, and fitness.
But wait! I have a favour to ask?
If you like this article please share it. By sharing this page with others you may help someone – even a friend. You might improve their lives and help them to become fit, strong, and healthy.
So, if you think someone might enjoy from this free advice please send it to them. Or share it on your Blog, Facebook or Twitter. Thanks for that, you’re a real nice person for doing it.
Anyway, enough blabbing, let us get on with our journey. Onward…
Who is Thai Boxing For?
Well, there are various reasons that you might want to start training in Muay Thai. They are:
- Lose weight
- Help combat stress
- Improve your cardio
- Build your confidence
- Improve your mental discipline
- Improve your strength and endurance
- People who want to learn self-defense
- If you want to get fit and be more active
- Improve co-ordination and balance and speed
- Improve your social life by joining a team (gym)
- Looking improve your MMA training or compliment existing martial art
Does this sound good? Well then read on. I’ll explain every point I’ve made, and many more…
What is Muay Thai (Thai Boxing)?
Muay Thai is a deadly combat sport that originated from Thailand. It’s known as the ‘art of eight limbs’ as it uses punches, kicks, knees and elbows as weapons.
Additionally, Thai Boxing uses other attacks too. They are clinch techniques; as well as shoving and pushing with feet and arms.
Muay Thai training is designed with goal of human combat in mind. Don’t let this put you off, because you never have to spar. Most Thai Boxing gyms won’t ever put any pressure on you to fight. It’ll always be your decision.
Around 8 out 10 people who learn Muay Thai do it just for health and self-defence reasons… And they never fight…
But, if take up the sport, you will be trained to high level of fitness. Because Thai Boxing training is setup to get you fit enough to compete. Not just against anyone. But another trained athlete over a duration of several 2-minutes rounds.
It’s tough work, but it’s a testament to how fit you’ll get if you start the sport.
Also, with Muay Thai training, you will get a comprehensive exercise. You’ll utilize many body parts and muscles, not just certain bits of the body.
Train hard and you can achieve a great physique and all-around body tone. Your fitness, weight, and cardio can improve fast with regular training.
And, when you feel fit, you often feel good about yourself. Exercise is great for this, and it’s regarded as one of the best natural antidepressants there is.
Likewise, you’ll have a boost in confidence too, because you’ll have the skills to fight. And this is valuable if you ever have to defend yourself on the street.
Using Muay Thai For Self Defence
Thai Boxing teaches you how to punch, kick, elbow, and knee effectively. It also has a range of defensive measures, namely: blocks, parries, and counter strikes. This arsenal of weapons provides a great tool set for defending oneself.
Additionally, Muay Thai, unlike other martial arts, teaches you how to attack. You don’t just learn moves that are counter based and defensive. In a street fight sometimes the best defense is a good offense. And Thai Boxing provides you with some of the best attacking strikes there are.
Another testament to the effectiveness of Muay Thai is its use in MMA. MMA tends to pick the best parts of various fighting systems. Because Muay Thai uses most of the body striking, with extreme efficiency and speed, it’s very useful for MMA students. A lot of the top fighters like Joe Muir, Anderson Silva, and many other rely on the art for stand-up fighting.
Generally speaking, Thai boxing is primarily a ring sport. Although you can defend yourself thoroughly in stand up fighting using it, you do not learn any weapons disarms and ground fighting. However, learning some Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Krav Maga can fix this – providing you with a more comprehensive self-defense tools.
Curling Up into the Fetal Position on the Street
One of the best things Muay Thai teaches you is: remaining calm whilst being attacked. Because this is what happens when you are in the ring sparring. Learning how to get hit (and not curl up into a fetal position because of the shock) is one of the best self-defense moves you can learn. And it’ll help you a lot if you ever have a street fight.
One of Muay Thai greatest advantages when it comes self-defense, is that you get used to being hit. Fighting is a tough and dirty business. It’s certainly not like it is in the films, where the hero dodges around every punch and blow. You will get hit. However, if you can hit your opponent faster, harder, and more effectively than they can hit you, chances are you’ll win the fight.
Muay Thai is different to other Eastern forms of martial arts – like karate and kung fu. Training sessions differ in Thai Boxing because of the emphasis, when doing pad work, is to train in building power, speed, and reflexes. In this way Thai Boxing is very similar Western boxing, which has a large emphasis pad work, bag work and sparring. And in Muay Thai there are no katas like karate or kung fu.
Can You Use Weight Training For Self Defence
Many people think that weight training helps with self defense, especially when it comes to punching and striking power. This is incorrect. Punching requires a snapping motion, whereby you exert maximum force in the least amount of time.
Contrast this to weight training, where you train using slow and heavy repetitions – lifting increasingly heavier and heavier weights. They are very different body workouts and build different reactions and reflexes.
On its own, weight lifting is not a great self defense skill, but combine weights with Muay Thai and you’ll have a winning combo.
Because of the emphasis on sparring, Thai Boxing, is a very practical martial art. You’re constantly being put in the ring and actually fighting – trying to hit an object that’s trying to hit you back. You are simulating some of the conditions that happen in a street brawl (but in a safe controlled environment). Sparring like this teaches you the valuable skill of learning to react under pressure and whilst being attacked. This is sadly lacking any many other martial arts.
As you can see, Muay Thai is a great martial art for self defense. For stand-up combat it’s one of the best. Combine this with the fact you’ll be fit and strong because of the rigorous training it provides, and you can see why it’s such a lethal combo.
However, Thai Boxing does lack certain defensive elements, namely ground fighting and weapons training. For those looking for the best martial art combo, a combination is key. For ground fighting you should look at something like Brazilian jujitsu, Sambo, and even wrestling. For weapons training Krav Maga. Combining a good knowledge of those martial arts with the strikes of Muay Thai will give you the most comprehensive form of self defense.
Your Ultimate Self Defense Tool
Before we go any further with this I have to make one thing clear. The best move for any street fight, mugging, or hostile situation is to run and escape. Every Thai Boxing instructor I’ve trained with agreed with me on this point. If you’re unlucky enough to have a weapon pulled on you, you should do what the other person wants, or get the hell out of there. It might not be the most glamorous option but you will live another day. And you’re less likely to run foul of criminal law too.
Furthermore, depending on which country you live in, criminal law can treat people badly after their first attack on an assailant. Often the law views you as a trained professional, and therefore in full control of your actions. It’s easy to hospitalize/kill a person using this stuff. You could end up jail depending on how seriously you damage your attackers. Why? Because the law views that you knew exactly what you were doing.
So as good as this stuff is, use it with caution. And if you have the chance – run away! You’re far less likely to get into trouble that way. You’ve been warned.
The Health & Fitness Benefits of Muay Thai
Thai Kick Boxing can get you fit and help you lose weight. But in what ways do you get fit?
Thai boxing works so many body areas. It’ll help you lose weight, build muscle (more muscle tone than bulk mass), improve your cardiovascular endurance, improve your hand and eye coordination, improve your balance, and it’ll increase your flexibility too.
Muscles and joints also become conditioned. Hits/impacts to the body hurt less, and the body becomes tougher.
If you want to look at the extreme effects of a Muay Thai training regime just take a few professional Thai fights. You’ll see athletes who are lean, toned, and flexible.
Am I Too Old for Muay Thai?
A common question I hear people say about training in Muay Thai is: ‘am I too old to start’? The answer is no. But it does depends on your goals.
If you just want to get fit, and learn an effective form of self-defense, then age is not a problem. I’ve even read of people in their 50s joining and enjoying the training in gyms in Thailand.
One of my old gym instructors was 74 and he still trained and did a few lessons per week and keep himself in shape. He didn’t spar anymore and couldn’t do a high kick, but he had a lethal low kick and set of punches. Although he was an ex-boxer, he didn’t start training in Muay Thai until he was 54. But even at that age he pushed himself hard and later became an instructor.
This goes to prove that if you want to get fit, and as long as you reasonably mobile, you can do it. Age shouldn’t be a barrier.
Yet, if you’re reading this and wondering how long it takes to become pro I’ll give you this rule of thumb. It takes around 10 years to become a master of any sport. You can reduce this figure if you train hard. If you are around 20-years-old, you still have plenty of time to become a pro. But you need to start now and to push yourself.
I’ve even heard of people who started in their 30s to become pro fighters. But they have put themselves through brutal training sessions for years to achieve this. This is rare but can happen.
The older you are the slower your metabolism. You’re going to have to train harder than the young guys to get the same results. And alter your diet if you results fast. Therefore, if you’re planning to use Muay Thai as a weight loss tool bear this in mind.
To summarize: if you’re below the age of 25, you commit 3 or more lessons a week, and train hard. You have a good chance of becoming a pro if you have the skills.
But you need to start soon.
Losing Weight & Muay Thai Workouts?
Thai boxing is good for weight loss because it consists of many interval training type exercises.
Pad work and bag drills are a large part of Thai Boxing training. This work consists of sets of repeated strikes, combinations and moves, lasting between 5-30 seconds. You’ll have to repeat these combinations several times for a few minutes.
Every time you perform this type of training you are using a burst of energy. You’re interval training. And burning many calories in the process.
Many studies regard interval training as an excellent method for building lean muscle. This be a fast way to lose weight and tone up.
A person weighing 180 pounds can burn 243 calories by punching a heavy bag for 30 minutes. You can burn even more energy if you add roundhouse kicks to the workout as well.
Do some sparring and you can expect to burn 500 calories or more in 30 minutes.
Typically, the calorie burn rate for Muay Thai is around 10 to 12 cal per minute.
But this all depends on how difficult the gym session is and how hard you push yourself.
But even doing a crap lesson you should burn somewhere in the region of 500 cal per session. And if you push yourself, you can burn 700 calories or more.
http://nutristrategy.com/caloriesburned.htm – Calories burned for various sports
How does Muay Thai Build Muscle?
Does Thai Boxing give you a bodybuilder physique? Can you use it to bulk up? And why is Thai Boxing such a good workout for women?
Let’s find out.
Muay Thai does build muscle but in another way. I’ll explain.
You see, much of your power for Thai strikes comes from your core and your hips. This includes punches on elbows too.
Strong strikes, such as hooks and elbows, rely on good hip rotation to create power.
The same thing happens with one of Muay Thai’s deadliest weapons – the Roundhouse kick. A good Roundhouse kick is a combination of leg and hip strength; good timing and technique.
Watch some Muay Thai videos on YouTube and you’ll see the pros move their hips when kicking.
Here’s a video of Thai legend Buakaw demonstrating excellent kicking technique.
It’s not just pure limb strength these athletes use when striking. The hips and core provide much of their attack strength.
Every strike you throw will exercise your hips, core and limb muscles in a small amount. Your arms and upper body will become toned through throwing countless punches, elbows and grapples. Legs, hips, and buttocks will become toned through numerous kicks, knees and foot movements.
A typical Thai Boxing lesson involves throwing hundreds of kicks, punches, elbows, and knees. Providing an extensive workout that works a wide range of the body.
Muay Thai also exercises your chest and stomach muscles. It can help to reduce stomach and pectoral flab. If you train hard, and control your diet, you can see excellent results fast. It’s possible to develop a flat stomach and toned upper body.
For women, Muay Thai, can be the perfect workout. You’ll build lean muscle and get that toned look. It tends not to build a bulky muscle mass like a bodybuilder.
But, if you are looking for that bodybuilder look, Thai boxing, might not give be for you. But combine the sport with standard weight training and you can reap great results. Not only can you build a good physique, but the weight training will improve your fighting too. A fighter who’s physically strong can strike harder and excel in clinch. But you want to bulk-up whilst learning Muay Thai, calibrate your diet. Otherwise you might lose too much weight, and not be able to build the muscle bulk you desire.
Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercise
Not only does Muay Thai help you lose weight build lean muscle. But it’s great improving cardiovascular endurance.
A good Thai boxing session will get the heart pumping. Unlike steady jogging and cycling, Muay Thai consists of interval training exercises.
In interval training you use many energy bursts over time. The heart is not pumping at a constant amount. The heart rate varies.
In a way, this is like running up and down hilly ground. The intensity of the exercise varies, as does the heart rate. The heart cannot get into a repetitive routine as it’s forced to adjust to the changing conditions.
A Muay Thai workout is similar. It’s dynamic. You don’t perform the same exercise throughout the lesson.
A typical Thai boxing lesson may consist of pad work, skipping, shadowboxing and sparring. These exercises will vary in intensity, thus causing the heart rate to fluctuate.
And dynamic workouts that vary heart rate are good for improving cardio. They provide a more efficient aerobic workout than running on flat ground.
Likewise, if you’re wanting to improve your Thai boxing, run up-and-down hills. Hill running matches the exertion you use when fighting. Long jogs can help, but they’re not as effective as running over a varied terrain for improving your Muay Thai.
Muay Thai improves your anaerobic endurance too.
If you’re confused by what this means, let me explain. Anaerobic exercises are short duration, high-intensity, exercises. They last from just a few seconds, but up to (and around) a few minutes in length.
The 100-meter sprint is a good example of anaerobic exercise. The gun goes off, you run flat out for a few seconds, and you stop. Steady jogging and cycling don’t follow this pattern. They lack the intense intervals of tough work.
Thai boxing does train you in anaerobic exercise. For example, during pad work you start your combination, perform your combo, and stop. You still have the intense exercise in the middle, where you’re using energy and pushing your heart. It’s a similar pattern to the 100-meter sprint.
These type of exercises are excellent for improving your aerobic/anaerobic endurance, and they provide a brilliant cardiovascular workout too.
Muay Thai Conditioning – How it hardens the body
Muay Thai toughens the body. Every time you hit something, check a kick, or even run, you cause an impact on the body. And you’ll do hundreds of these impacts every lesson.
These exertions cause loads, stresses, and strains on your bones, joints and muscles. Done correctly, these types of movements can be good for you. As they can improve the body’s ability to take damage.
The body’s ability to resist damages deteriorates with age. Varied exercises of the right sort can help minimise this loss.
Thai boxing is an excellent way place loads on the joints. Exercising the joints using Muay Thai can help them remain strong, flexible and supple. Helping you maintain a better body condition with age.
When fighting or sparring, good body conditioning is critical. A tougher body means you can absorb more blows, incur less damage when hit, and not feel uncomfortable when struck.
An extreme example of body conditioning in Thai boxing is shin toughing.
Thai boxers (Nak Muay) toughen their shins up through a process called cortical remodelling (Wolff’s Law). This allows fighters to withstand bone crunching impacts that would otherwise snap the shin.
To toughen a shin, a person needs to strike increasingly harder objects with it. Every time a hard object is struck it causes a minute amount of bone damage. The body will heal this damage, but this time the body makes it a little stronger than it was before. A Thai Boxer will repeat this process, sometimes over many years.
The shin toughening effect is gradual. But, over time, this extra layer of protection adds up. The fighter’s shin can become so strong it can withstand damage that would normally break the persons bone.
In Thailand, professional fighters have been known to strike walls, trees, and other hard objects to help toughen limbs. But this is an extreme example.
If you’re starting Thai Boxing, don’t let all this worry you. You won’t be asked to kick a banana plant anytime soon (if ever).
But the simple act of kicking and punching the pads is enough to cause mild body conditioning.
And, if you really want to toughen those shins up, try kicking a hard punching bag. But do it softly at first mind,otherwise you could do more harm than good.
Another element of Muay Thai is impact training – reducing the body’s reaction to pain. You can do this in a variety of ways.
Sparring is one way of becoming acclimatised to the sensation of being hit. Frequent sparring teaches the body to adapt to impacts that occur when fighting. It also teaches you to respond while under pressure. And, over time, you build up a tolerance to pain.
Another impact training exercise that’s common at Thai Boxing gyms is stomach training. This helps you becoming winded when taking an impact to the lower body.
If the lungs are full of air and you get hit in the stomach area, you’ll become winded. If the lungs are empty, and you get hit in the same area, you won’t become winded. Therefore, you practice expelling air from the lungs before taking lower body strike. It takes practice for this action to become automatic. But it’s a good skill to learn for fighting situations.
Other impact training exercises include muscle toughening. To do this place a Thai pad over a muscle and get another person to strike the padded area. The strikes should continue for a few minutes.
At first, you should find the pain is uncomfortable but bearable. But as this exercise progresses, pain and discomfort will build. The aim of act is to improve your pain threshold and to toughen your limbs. This will enable your limbs to carry on working, even when they’re repeatedly hit in a fight.
One overlooked benefit of doing any combat sport is an improvement in bone density.
Exercises that put loads on your bones and joints can help reduce this loss. They can sometimes halt or increase your bone mass too.
A low bone mass in later life can lead to medical conditions, like osteoporosis. Making your bones easier to fracture.
Muay Thai loads your bones. Every time you kick and punch you are using your bones. Every time you skip and run you are impacting your bones. And every time you do push or pull-up you are loading your bones.
And, best of all, you’re doing a variety of exercises and thus loading the bones in diverse ways.
Not only are you toughing your body up, but you’re also decreasing the chances of becoming frail with age.
Muay Thai can increase your flexibility. To execute a kick, knee, punch or an elbow you need to extend and stretch parts of the body.
Joints, muscles, and ligaments are all used every time you move and strike.
Certain moves, like head kicks, need a high degree of flexibility. Especially when fighting a taller opponent.
You might throw hundreds of strikes per lesson. Every one stretching the muscles, joints, and ligaments.
Over time, this provides the body with a good workout and helps improve flexibility. Flexibility is also something that deteriorates as we get older. You can minimize this flexibility loss if you perform an exercise that stretches the body. And Thai boxing provides the body with a good all-round flexibility, and a work-out.
Yoga is another good way of maintaining a flexible body. And it can complement your Muay Thai too. It’ll help you kick higher, and it can help heal the body too. Yoga is a great exercise to do after a hard Thai Boxing session, especially if you’re aching the day after.
Do I have to do all this?
The answer is no.
Don’t let impact training, cortical remodelling, and flexibility training, scare you.
When you join a good Thai boxing gym you’ll never have to do the extreme body conditioning unless you want to.
And you’ll only be allowed to try these things once you have the necessary experience.
Yet, by taking part in a Thai Boxing lesson you’ll toughen your body up to a degree.
Kicking the pads toughens your shins up. And punching stuff with gloves on helps strengthen the arms too.
This will improve your health, improve your damage resistance, and improve your flexibility too. And it’ll improve your bone density as well.
How Muay Thai Can Improve Balance, Coordination & Agility
Thai boxing can improve coordination, balance, and agility.
Many strikes in Thai boxing need balance. Kicks especially. Because you throw many kicks every lesson, you are constantly testing your balance.
High kicks (especially against a taller opponent) need excellent balance to be executed correctly.
There’s always some way to challenge your balance in Muay Thai. Here’s one way:
- Try a low kick, then try a body kick.
- Once you can do a body kick, move on to a head kick.
- After you can do them all, try practicing them against a taller opponent.
You can vary these practices too. For instance:
- You could try adding more power to your kick.
- Or try throwing a few kicks in a row, as quick as you can.
- Or try to throw a kick after countering an opponent’s strike.
The above is a small way to challenge your balance. There are plenty more things you can practice. Your Thai boxing instructor will know many other methods to improve your balance. Why not ask them for suggestions.
You see, there’s always room to improve. And there’s always something new to try. It’s part of the reason why Muay Thai never becomes boring.
During you Thai Boxing training you’ll be hitting targets and defending against incoming strikes.
Sometimes these might come from moving target (like when you’re sparring).
These tasks need hand and eye coordination.
Additionally, they also need skills like focused movement, memory recall, and muscle memory.
When a Thai boxing instructor shows you a combination you’ll use all 3 of these elements. Here’s an example:
- First, you’ll have to focus on how you are going to move.
- Second, you’ll have to recall the correct way to execute a certain strike.
- Third, to speed up the combination, you’ll have to rely on your muscle memory.
As you can see, Muay Thai, trains your coordination with every combination you do.
Focused movement, memory recall, and muscle memory are things that deteriorate with age. And practising them is a good way to sharp and healthy.
Helping Mental Focus & Stress with Muay Thai
Another benefit of Muay Thai is an improvement in mental focus.
Although the basics of Muay Thai are easy to learn, combining them is difficult. Knowing where, when, and what combination to use requires skill. And it takes years to hone talent like this.
This complexity makes Muay Thai stimulating and fun to learn. And because it’ll remain fun for years to come.
It Ain’t Mindless Thuggery
It requires brainpower to memorize the finite numbers of moves of Muay Thai. When you’re fighting you cannot just go ‘metal’, and flail your fists and legs till you win.
Talk to anyone high who’s fought in a combat sport and they’ll say it’s a tactical game. Professional fighting is full of strategy, it’s not mindless violence.
Even pad work, exercise, and training drills demand mental focus. You’ll need to use your mind just to get the basics right.
And, as you progress, your instructors will suggest small changes to your technique. You’ll have to use your brainpower to ensure you’re carrying out your trainer’s new tips. But following their advice will make you improve further and faster.
This cycle is repeated every lesson – over months and years. This is how your progress. This is how you use metal focus to improve your Thai Boxing. And forcing the brain to learn new skills in this manner is great exercise for the mind.
Muay Thai is a fantastic way to relieve stress and unwind.
Had a bad day at work? Get yourself down to the gym and smash the pads. It’s a good way of blowing off steam.
Thai Boxing requires mental focus and physical work. Want a way to shift your attention from your problems, and stop yourself worrying? A Muay Thai workout can do that.
I’ve done this personally. I’ve used Muay Thai to help me deal with some stressful times in my life. Hitting the gym allowed me to escape personal problems that were eating away at me.
You also stand a better chance of sleeping well after rigorous exercise. The body is physically tired, and this can aid sleep. And a good night’s sleep is another good way to combat stress.
Conclusion on the Health Benefits of Muay Thai
As you can see, Muay Thai, is a great form of exercise. It trains the body and can help the mind too.
Furthermore, it’s a complex martial art to learn. Making Muay Thai a pursuit that remains interesting for years. There’s always something new to learn.
Exercise can become boring fast if you do the same few exercises daily. It’s part of the reason many people quit trying to get fit.
Muay Thai is a complex martial art with many areas of skill. There’s always something new to learn. There’s always parts of your technique that can be improved. And there’s always some new thing to try in sparring.
It’s also practical. Even a basic knowledge will help you defend yourself effectively on the street.
All these elements combined will mean that Muay Thai can remain interesting for years. After all, it takes at least ten years of hard training to master the art. That’s if you ever can master it.
My point is this. It’s an excellent form of exercise that remains interesting for years. Plus, it’s bloody excellent for getting you fit, toned, and boosting confidence. And it’s fun.
Being a member of a good gym is like joining a family (of sorts).
Sadly, many of the positive things I’ve mentioned are missing from people’s lives. This can result in:
- People living unhealthy lives.
- Being unhappy with their body shape, and weight.
- Feeling lonely or isolated.
If you are suffering from the above, give this sport a go. You may surprise yourself with what you can accomplish.
A Guide to Thai Boxing Gyms
7 Ways to Find the Perfect Muay Thai Gym
Thanks to the Internet it’s never been easier to find a good Thai Boxing gym.
Here are five ways to help you find a gym in your area:
- Search Google to find a local Muay Thai Gym. Just copy and paste the coloured search query (to the left) into Google: (“muay Thai” | “Thai boxing” | “Thai kickboxing”) gym near me
- Facebook is another choice for finding nearby Thai gyms. Some gyms don’t maintain websites and they often rely on a Facebook page for advertising.
- Yelp or the Yellow Pages can be good for finding local Muay Thai gyms. Some bigger (or longer established) gyms might also have reviews. These may help your choice. Bear in mind that a new gym may not have any reviews. So don’t discount gyms just because they don’t have any feedback.
- Craigslist – Many Gyms and trainer offer services on using this website. I’ve also seen private tuition offered. If you have the room, you could take a private lesson at your home.
- Word-of-mouth is another way of finding a Thai Boxing gym. But you’ll need to find someone who practices Muay Thai, and talk to them.
- Ask around on martial arts forums. Reddit is good place to ask.
- Travel to Thailand – Fancy training in Muay Thai’s birthplace? How about training at some of the best gyms in the world? If you’ve got the money, and the spare time, you could train in Thailand. This is the fastest way to get good at this sport. If you fancy this option, then do your research. You have a LOT of choices. Training regimes vary a greatly. Some are gyms designed for tourists, while others cater to hard-core professionals. Read books, ask questions in forums, and Reddit, can all be good sources of information.
Can’t find Thai boxing Gym? Try This
If you cannot find a local Muay Thai gym, you could try to find a MMA (mixed martial arts) gym.
Again, if you click here I’ve set up a handy custom Google search to help. Just copy and paste this search query into Google: (MMA | “mixed martial arts”) gym near me
Sometimes MMA gyms offer Muay Thai training sessions. But if they don’t, you could just do MMA. In MMA you’ll learn a stand-up fighting and ground fighting.
To find a good Thai boxing gym you’ll need to start asking questions. Because, not all gyms are created equal. Lesson cost, quality of training, and payment systems are some of things that can vary.
Don’t just join the first gym that you find. Especially if there’s a few to choose from in your area.
Before making your choice, ring a few gyms up, and discover what they offer. This is the best way to find services that suit you, your budget, and your circumstances.
You might train at your new gym for years so make sure you’re happy with what they provide. Because, if you’re happy you’ll be more likely to train consistently. And consistency is crucial if you want to becoming fit, tough, and improve at Muay Thai.
Here are few ways to contact gym owners:
I recommend that you phone gym owners rather than using other contact methods.
You will find some gym owners who don’t use Facebook or Twitter. Likewise, they might never check their emails either. You might send your messages, only to be waiting days (or weeks) for replies.
Waiting for messages means you’re missing possible training sessions. Also, you risk never starting your training, and possibly putting it off until another day. And that day often never comes. This can lead to you becoming unmotivated and never getting started.
Get on the phone now and ring some gym owners. After all, what’s the worst thing that could happen? Remember, that the gym owner wants your business. You don’t need them. You are the one with the power. And it’s your choice.
This best way to get started. And speaking with the owners is the best way to find a gym that fits your needs. Do this and you’re more likely to be happy with your choice in the years to come.
Muay Thai Gyms
How to Spot a Good & Bad Thai Boxing Gym
Here are a few tips to help you decide whether a Thai Boxing gym is good or bad:
Pay attention to the instructor who’ll be teaching most of your lessons. Do they move well? Do they look as if they can fight? What’s their experience? An instructor that has never had any fights is a red flag. Plenty of tough guys run martial art gyms. But just being tough doesn’t automatically make you a good teacher.
What do the senior students of the gym look like? Again, do they look as if they can fight? Can they move well?
A lack of senior students can’t always be a sign of a bad gym. The gym might have just started. And it may lack students and a history because of its newness.
The history of the gym owners, trainers and fighters is another obvious thing to look at. How have they performed in the sport? Titles, competitions, and belt wins are a good sign you’re dealing with a decent club.
Do the trainer/coaches spend time training in Thailand? This isn’t essential, but it can show they take the sport seriously.
Tips for Spotting Good and Bad Muay Thai Training
When training here are a few things you should look for:
- You should be learning how to use elbows, knees, and clinch work. If you’re focusing on just punching and kicking, you’re not learning real Muay Thai – just good kickboxing.
- Most gyms won’t let students spar for the first few months. A good gym will give students a gentle introduction to sparring at first, allowing them to attempt harder sparring as they build their confidence.
- If you’re sparring sooner three-to-four months, or fighting experienced guys who hurt you badly, you might be at a hardcore gym. If you’re not happy with this, change gyms.
Lesson Cost and Paying For Lessons
You need to pay for your Thai Boxing lessons, and the payment method can vary.
It’s recommend that you train three times a week; thus we’ll use this to work out a typical lesson cost.
The average cost of twelve lessons per month (three lessons per week) is around $50 to $175.
Some Thai Boxing gyms charge deposits, or a registration fee when you join. Ask about these before signing up. Being aware of these costs allows you to factor them into your budget.
Some Muay Thai gyms use monthly and yearly contracts. Thus, you may need to pay for a month, quarters, or years’ lessons up front. Be sure you are happy with your gym choice before committing.
Direct debit payments are sometimes used by Muay Thai gyms. They will not take cash. You may need to set one of these up before you can start to train.
If the above points are putting you off, let me explain why some gyms take payments using these methods.
Running a combat sports gym is an expensive business. It can also take time collecting payments from students before and after lessons. The more students you have the bigger the problem.
Some gyms use contracts, and direct debits, to cut the time it takes to collect student payments. It also means the gym owners will have a predictable monthly income. And a predictable income is valuable when you’re running a small business – like a combat sports gym.
Don’t write gyms off because you don’t like their payment procedure. Talk with any gym owner and they’ll tell you it’s difficult to keep a gym alive.
But, there are a few things you can try to make it cheaper. Let me explain.
If a gym is charging a high registration fee, try bartering them. Phone the gym and tell them you’re keen to start. Explain that you think their training is great. But tell them you’re struggling to afford the registration fee and lesson cost. Also, offer to pay cash up front for your lessons. Maybe pay for a few lessons at a time too.
Try this and you’ll stand a better chance of being able to negotiate your registration fee. In extreme cases you might get it wavered.
Bartering like this doesn’t always work, but it’s worth a try. Especially if you like the gym, but you don’t like their payment system.
Just remember: gyms need money to exist. Running one is a difficult business. Don’t be too hard on the owners because you don’t agree with their payment policy. Especially if they have a good reputation and provide a good service.
You may need to fill out forms before you can start your training. The following forms may be needed: direct debit, contract agreements and waiver form.
Waiver forms are required by some gyms for health and safety purposes.
Because of the nature of Muay Thai, there’s always the risk that you’ll get hurt or injured. Signing the waiver form means that you are legally aware of these risks, and you accept them.
This is just a normal procedure for some gyms and you shouldn’t worry too much about it.
But, like any other legal form, you should read before signing it. And if you have any questions about the document, be sure to ask questions. Either contact the form owners or speak to a lawyer.
If you are under the age of 18, a parent or guardian will often need to sign these forms for you.
Your First Muay Thai Lesson
Home and Online Muay Thai Training
One common question that gets asked by new Thai Boxers is:
“Is it possible to learn Muay Thai online or with a DVD before joining a gym?”
Can home Muay Thai training help? To a small degree the answer is a ‘yes’. But this type of training will only take you so far.
[pullquote align=”normal”] With absence of a professional coach, you’ll increase the chances of developing bad habits. And you’ll have no one around to correct your technique. You progress more slowly too.[/pullquote]
A decent Kru (Thai Boxing coach) will have taught thousands of students like you. Often, good Kru can spot common faults immediately, and correct them. And the more time you spend with a professional coach the quicker you’ll progress.
If you are nervous about learning Muay Thai, consider a private lesson to begin with.
If funds are a problem, consider doing a private group lesson with another friend or two.
Near the end of this article we have listed some good books, videos, and DVDs. These can help you to learn the basics of Thai Boxing. But they are not a substitute for real lessons.
In addition, home practice – such as drills, shadowboxing, running and weightlifting – can be great complement for your Muay Thai training. This sort of home practice can also help improve your technique and weak areas.
What to expect as a Beginner
When you start it’ll take a few months to become coordinated. Your strikes and defences may seem poor when compared the experienced students in the class. This is normal.
You’re are training new muscles; learning to balance in unfamiliar postures and moving your body in unusual ways. It will all seem strange at first.
Muay Thai is an athletic sport. It’s tough to do, and demanding in fitness. But the best thing to do initially is to listen to your body. That means:
- Rest between training sessions.
- Treat aching limbs and injuries (more on this later).
- Practice patience. This sport takes a long time to learn. Don’t be in a hurry to try too much too soon and risk an injury.
You’re running a marathon, not a sprint. And Muay Thai requires a long journey before you become competent. Be humble and learn to enjoy the adventure.
What to expect for your first Muay Thai lesson
Muay Thai classes length varies from gym to gym. Often lessons last for around an hour or two hours.
Most Thai Boxing classes follow a common pattern; this is:
- Warm up start of class. Usually between ten minutes to an hour long, depending on lesson length.
- Second part of class will be Thai Kickboxing fundamentals. Learning Muay Thai techniques, kicks, punches, elbows, knees, clinch work, and combinations.
- End of class warm down.
This is a rough guide at best. Don’t panic if your classes don’t follow this outline.
Sometimes gyms dedicate particular training methods to certain days. For example, your new gym may run strength training one day. It might run a sparring night on another. Alternatively, one day might focus on just clinch work.
There are no set rules requiring lessons to be set out a certain way. Different coaches, and gyms, will have their own ways of doing things. But the above should give you a rough guide of what you should expect.
Also, if you training in Thailand, things will be completely different. You’ll be training for hours every day, and your training will be spread out over the course of a day.
25 Muay Thai Basics To Concentrate On
The tips below should help you get through your first Thai Boxing lesson in one piece:
- Be polite, and listen to your instructor. They are there to help you.
- One of the biggest rules at any Muay Thai gym is: don’t be a dick. Leave your ego at the door. Be modest. Ask questions when appropriate. Take advice from your training partners, and the instructor, because they’ll know more than you.
- Being ignored by the established students, and professional Muay Thai fighters at a gym is normal. Don’t get insulted by this. Gym regulars see many people come and go at their gym over time. They won’t invest their time with a new student until the student has attended classes a few classes. If they can see you’re committed, and you’re enthusiastic student, they’ll talk to you. Listen to what they say because they’ll often provide great advice and training help.
- Don’t worry about how you look when training. Even the best fighters looked bad when they started the sport.
- Don’t get frustrated if you feel as though you’re learning too slowly. It takes time to learn just the basics of Muay Thai. Mastering Muay Thai takes years. If it were so easy to learn, more people would do it.
- Don’t be scared to ask questions. If you cannot get the attention of the coach during parts of the lesson, ask an experienced student for help.
- Try to eat at least an hour or, an hour and a half, before your lesson. And don’t eat a big meal. Otherwise you may suffer from a reoccurring stitch during your lesson.
- Don’t drink ice cold water during training. Drinking room temperature water will help you take deeper breaths.
- Drinking a little water frequently is the best way to prevent stitches during training. Avoid the temptation of guzzling loads of water as you’ll likely develop a bad stitch.
- Much of the power in Thai Boxing comes from the hips. Try to rotate them when kicking and punching.
- Pop your hip when throwing push kicks and knees.
- When shown combinations during a lesson, try to look at teachers footwork. Don’t just focus on the movements from their torso up. Look at where the teacher positions their feet, their shoulders, and their hands. Pay attention to how they shift and move.
- Don’t underestimate holding pads – it’s an art form. Moving the pads around, effectively and safely, for a partner is difficult. Don’t get worried if it doesn’t seem to gel with you at first. Holding and moving the pads is another skill you will have to master.
- When training with others give out compliments and encourage them. You’re part of a team now, and it’s in your own interest help each other improve.
- When you start Thai Boxing, your shins, knees, elbows, and hands can become painful. It might take time for your body to become used to impacts and movements. Ensure you rest your body on your days off. And try taking a warm bath containing Epsom salts. These things can help you recover.
- If you are still suffering from pain when performing moves, get the coach to watch your technique. It might be bad technique that’s causing you pain. The coach might be able to correct your errors and minimise your discomfort.
- If the punches are hurting your arms, wrap your wrists. A good set of hand wraps is a wise investment, and they can prevent injuries when punching. Here’s a video on how to tie them yourself [hand wrap video]. Alternatively, get an instructor to show you how to wrap your hands correctly.
- Keep your wrists straight, and in line with your forearm, when punching. Bending the wrist, when hitting something, will place pressure on your joints and can cause pain. It can also lead to injuries.
- Don’t worry about getting out of breath, or feeling sick, especially if you’re unfit. Thai Boxing is a vigorous workout. If you’re not fit, be prepared for a tough workout. But keep at it. The results you can accomplish in a few weeks are dramatic.
- If you’re struggling with the pace of pad work during training, take a break. Wait till you get your breath back, and then carry on. Until your fitness improves, you may struggle to keep up with the rest of the class. This is normal. Don’t let it discourage you.
- Some gyms may hold traditional Muay Thai training values dearly. Make sure you were in respect these. Ask the gym owner or coach if there any etiquette you must observe.
- If you try sparring, you’ll get hurt, and you’ll hurt somebody else. If you’ve never fought, you might find the experience uncomfortable. But keep at it, and you’ll get better. You might start to enjoy sparring once you improve – trust me, it happens.
- If you’re worried about your fitness, or self-conscious, about training in a class, try a private lesson. The beauty of this is that you can go at your own pace. And you’ll have the coaches undivided attention. Also, private lessons will make you improve fast. The downside is they’re more expensive.
- Make sure you wear deodorant and try to avoid being the smelly kid in class. Dripping with sweat is acceptable. If you reek of body odour people avoid training with you, especially when learning clinch work.
- Get to know your coach. You may train with him for years. They’ll be a key person in your life if you ever want to become a pro Muay Thai fighter.
What Muay Thai Equipment & Gear Do I Need?
When you start Thai Boxing you won’t need to buy any gear or apparel. You only need basic sports clothing to start. And that’s a pair of shorts, joggers, tracksuit bottoms, and a T-shirt. And if you’re a woman you’ll want to wear a sports bra.
Don’t spend money on the other combat sports gear until you’ve done a few lessons. Once you’re confident you’re going to stick at Muay Thai, you can then go buying extra equipment.
Most Thai Boxing gyms can provide you with the basic equipment, like gloves and pads. The gyms’ basic equipment will be damaged and tatty, it may also smell funny, but it’ll do the job and allow you to start training.
During your first three months, the only equipment you need to buy are boxing gloves. A quality pair of gloves will last you years. Cheap one’s last months.
A couple of reputable brands worth a look at are:
Before buying gloves ask your coach whether you should train using a specific weight of gloves. Boxing gloves come in various weights, usually measured in ounces. And some gyms prefer students to use a particular weight.
Most gyms use the following weights:
- Men – 14-ounce gloves
- Women – 12-ounce gloves
One good idea is to ask the instructors, or experienced students, for glove recommendations. They might be able to recommend you a manufacturer that’s more suited to your size and shape of hands.
A good pair of hand wraps are a sensible investment. They’ll improve your punching, make your gloves more comfortable, and minimize wrist injuries. Just be sure to learn how to wrap your wrists correctly. There is a science to it. Below is a video showing you how.
If you’re a guy, get a groin guard. Try to get used to wearing it for most of your lesson, not just when you’re sparring. Because a strike to nuts can happen at any time, not only when you’re fighting. Even a weak kick in the privates can put you out of action for the whole lesson or more.
Ankle wraps are another good thing to buy. They’ll help minimize leg and ankle injuries. Don’t buy the cheap ones as they won’t last. Especially if you’re using them a few times per week.
Good shin pads are probably the last thing you need to buy. Unless, your gym tells you otherwise.
A decent set of shin pads will become important as you start to spar more. Your Thai Boxing gym will usually have some old shin pads, and you can usually use these when needed.
Like boxing gloves, shin pad quality varies. You can’t go wrong with Sandee, Top Kings, and Fairtex. Ask at your gym, and fellow students, for recommendations.
Thai Boxing Shorts
Boxing short varies between gyms. Some gyms may never require you buy any. Others will insist you need some after the first few months. Some gyms may want you to wear the gyms colors when training. Basically, it varies.
Once you’ve been at your gym a while, ask the instructor whether they’ve any preferences.
Training in proper Thai Boxing shorts is a good idea. They’re designed to keep you cool and allow easy movement. They can improve you kicking, especially when performing high kicks. They also give your partner an idea of where to land particular strikes too.
How to Avoid Injuries During Training
Like all competitive sports, Muay Thai has its injury risks.
Football, rugby, and hockey are generally more accident-prone sports than Muay Thai. Ask your Thai Boxing instructor and they’ll tell you the same.
In Thai boxing, you only have to worry about one person causing you an injury. When playing a team sport, the odds increase with the number of players.
That’s not to say Muay Thai isn’t without risk. It’d be silly to suggest such a thing. The risks are there, but they’re smaller compared to popular team sports.
What are the common injuries in Muay Thai?
Due to Thai Boxing’s nature, you should expect the odd injury to happen.
Here are a few of the common ways to get injuries in Muay Thai:
- Partner misses the pads
- Crappy pads
- Not holding pads right
There are more. But these are the main ones. And they’re the ones you can do something about.
How To Prevent Injuries During Sparring
If you find you’re getting frequent injuries when sparring, you might be doing it wrong. The sparring might be too hard. When sparring, ask your partner to go lighter if you’re getting injured frequently. Alternatively, you could try flow sparring.
If you’ve asked your opponent to go light, and they refuse, tell the instructor. If the instructor and members refuse to calm it down, go elsewhere. Chances are you’re at a meat head gym.
Partner Misses the Pads
Missing the pads is another way to pick up injuries.
If your partner keeps hitting you during pad work there could be a few things at play, like:
- Clumsy partner
- Partner going too fast
- Incorrect pad placement for certain moves
- You were unlucky
If you have a clumsy partner, there’s not a lot you can do. Some people have bad coordination. If you cannot avoid partnering with the clumsy person, try to make sure you know how to do pad work safely. This should help minimize the risk of damage.
Partner Too Fast
If your partner is going too fast for you during pad work, and making contact, ask them to go slower. Get them to concentrate on technique rather than speed.
The thing is: speed follows good technique. The fastest way to throw a combo is using good technique. So, technique first, speed second. This approach is better for pad work too; it’ll give you more time to get the pads into the correct position.
But don’t underestimate holding the pads. Good pad holding is an art itself.
Elbows, and spinning attacks require the pads to be held a particular way. Sometimes you’ll need to hold the pads in weird way for a certain combination.
Other times, your partner will have to give you a second and allow you to move the pads into the correct position. Allowing the partner to hit the pads correctly, and to prevent him hitting you.
These are things you won’t learn during your first week. You’ll pick these things up with experience. But I want to illustrate the point that pad holding is an art, and is difficult.
Never be afraid to ask your instructor about the correct way to hold the pads. Because this might prevent a nasty injury.
Bad Broken Pads
Thin and broken pads can cause you and injury. Especially if you’re padding for a hard kicker.
If you Thai Boxing gym has been around for a few years; they’ll have a selection of pads. Some will be better than others. Seek the better Thai Pads in the gym if you’re with a big hitter.
But, once you’ve decided you’re sticking with Thai Boxing, you could buy a set of Thai pads. A good set of Thai Pads is a wise investment. A good set will last years.
Don’t moan if the free gym Thai pads are garbage. It costs money for a good set of Thai pads. The ones at the gym were likely to have been good at some point, but through many gym lessons they’ve been worn out. And, unless your gym charges a lot for membership, they probably won’t have enough spare cash to replace them frequently. Most Thai Boxing gym owners don’t make much money from their gyms – it’s usually a labour of love.
Sometimes you get injured. Eventually every Nak Muay does. And the harder you train the higher the risk.
If Muay Thai didn’t have risk it’d be boring. If you don’t like risky sports stick to playing a board game like checkers.
The day after your first Muay Thai lesson
If you’ve never done Thai boxing before, or a similar sport before, you should expect to be in pain the day after.
The more unfit you are the worse the pain.
This is part of the learning curve. If you want to become healthy, fit and strong, you’ll need to get used to aches and pains.
The first week or two will kill you. But keep at it. Once you’ve been training for around a month it will get easier. Your fitness will improve and you’ll ache less the day after.
If you are badly out of shape or suffer from other health problems, don’t give up. There are a few things you can do to ease into the sport. These include:
- Contact the Thai Boxing gyms in your area and see whether they run beginner’s classes. These might provide a workout that’s not as brutal.
- Consider doing a private lesson. One-on-one lessons are good because they’ll go at your pace. And you’ll learn the basics of Muay Thai faster. Also, if you’re shy person, private lessons allow you to try the sport without having to train with a group.
- If your body is aching after a gym session, it’s a good sign that you improving. Muscle rubs like Tiger Balm can help the day after. And I find that Epsom salt baths help soothe an achy body the day after a Thai workout. Gentle Yoga can also help the day after as well.
Reducing Pain the Day After Your First Lesson
The day after your first lesson can be a painful experience. Your body will ache and be sore. But don’t worry, because there are things you can do to help recovery. If you have dinged your
If you have dinged your shins, or bruised parts of your body, get a bag of ice on your injuries when you get home. You won’t need to treat every bruise, only the sore ones. If you don’t have a bag of ice, use something from the freezer.
A nice warm bath is an excellent recovery tool. Filling the bath full of Epsom salts can improve its restorative qualities further. Bathing after a lesson is good way to reduce the pain the following day. It’s not a bad idea to soak in the tub on any days you’re aching. It will aid recovery and reduce soreness.
Deep Heat, and other warming muscle rubs can also help. In particular, it might be worth stocking up on something called Tiger Balm. Tiger Balm is a waxy substance that smells of cinnamon. Like Deep Heat, Tiger Balm warms the muscles up, helping reduce the tightness of muscles and joints. Be warned, don’t get the stuff on a sensitive body area because it can be unpleasant. I once smeared the stuff on my eyelid and it was horrible.
Yoga is a great exercise to do the day after a Muay Thai training session as well. Be sure to pick the right type of yoga otherwise you may cause your body more damage. You’ll want to try a more restorative, or gentle, type of yoga. Avoid power yoga (or other similar styles), as they can be as difficult as a Thai Boxing lesson themselves.
Yoga is a fantastic compliment to any combat sport. It can improve your strength, balance, and flexibility. And it can help speed recovery time when injured too. Here are a few free exercises that helped me with the aches and pains of Muay Thai:
If you want to learn more about Yoga, and use it to help your Muay Thai, check out Reddit.
How to Improve Faster
So far, we’ve covered the basics of Thai Boxing. Hopefully, you’ve booked (or done) your first lesson(s), and you’re enjoying Muay Thai.
We’ve established that Thai Boxing takes years to master. But now we’re going to look at how to improve your learning rate. Follow the advice in this next section and you’ll improve faster in a shorter space of time.
Rate of improvement
Here’s a rough idea of the results you’ll see if you train around three times a week (at least an hour per lesson).
If you train more, or less, you’ll have to alter the numbers.
Also, if you’re dieting and training you’ll see quicker results.
Week 1 – Your body will be sore and you’ll be feeling tired.
Week 3 – Your body will become used to the training. You’ll start ache less and you should start to feel fit outside your lessons.
Week 5 – You’ll start to see small improvements in your physique. If you’ve combined your training with a good diet, you should see dramatic results.
3 to 6 months – You should start to see significant weight loss and muscle tone. Obviously this will be affected by what you are eating.
You should be able to perform basic punches and kick correctly. And you should be able to perform the basic head guard.
12 Months – You should have mastered the basics, lost weight, and built muscle tone.
The basics of Muay Thai aren’t difficult to learn. It’s the combinations, and knowing when to execute them, is where skill comes in. These areas will take you years to learn. Don’t let this put you off, because this keeps Thai Boxing fun and interesting to learn. And Muay Thai is a sport that can remain fascinating for years – even decades.
Also, on your Muay Thai journey you should expect to hit walls and have bad days. How you deal with terrible days is what separates good students from the bad.
Good students take the bad days in their stride and carry on. Bad students give up when it gets difficult, and training doesn’t go their way. Which one are you?
Muay Thai Motivation – How to keep your mind focused on training
The best way to keep motivated over the long term is:
“JUST KEEP GOING TO CLASS”
Like any other skill, you have to put the practice in it to become good.
That means training when you don’t feel like it. Training when you’re at a low point and your technique seems to suck. Training when your friends have asked you out for a beer or a night out.
Anyway, here are a few things that can help you keep motivated, and keep you hitting the Thai Boxing gym:
Don’t become discouraged when you look at other members of the gym who seem better than you. Like when you see another class member:
- Perform multiple powerful roundhouse kicks in row.
- Punch the pad like Mike Tyson.
- Beast through the warm-up sessions.
Don’t let this worry you. Because…
All the good students were in your shoes at one point. But they put the commitment and effort in. And this is something you can do, if you choose to.
Every Thai Boxing lesson should be approached with improvement in mind. You are not looking for leaps in your improvement. Often you’ll improve in small unnoticeable increments.
When you start a new lesson try to a few exercise than the last. Lets take press ups as an example. Let’s say that during your last lesson you only managed 5 out of the 30 press ups during the warm-up. At the next lesson try to set a goal of achieving 7 out the 30 press ups during the warm-up. Try little macro improvements like these with the other exercise, moves, and combinations.
Over the months these macro improvements will start to add up. Especially if you apply this over a wide field of technique, areas, and exercises.
Before you know it you’ll start to catch up the more experienced students in your class.
Making friends at the gym can be a good idea. It can help train with people who are the same level, have same goals, and have a similar attitude as you.
For example, if you’re training three times a week, it’ll be a good idea to train with someone else as regular as you. You might want to avoid training with person who’s only training one day per week. Because they might not have the same goal or motivation level as you.
Another good motivational tool is to train with a friend. It’s always fun to progress together. And you can keep each other motivated on your off days.
Get involved with the gym and fellow students
Keeping in touch with people from the gym is a great way to stay connected with the sport.
Sharing videos, blog posts, and fight criticisms with each other is a good way to improve and keep motivated. Watching fights together, or sharing online fight videos is another. I share a couple of good video channels to watch near the end of the article. These should provide you with some good material to share (and learn from)
The Before and After Photo Motivation Trick
Here’s a fantastic way to keep motivated for your Muay Thai lessons. Especially if you’re using Thai Boxing to help you lose weight.
Before you first start your lessons take photo of yourself and your body. Make sure you hit the gym 2 or 3 times a week for the next month. In one month look at the photo from a month ago. You should see an improvement in your body shape. And this will help your mood.
Now, every time you’re feeling lazy, dig out the photo you took before you started training. This will remind yourself of your progress. Sometimes a trick like this is all you need to summon the energy to hit the gym. Especially when you’re feeling unmotivated.
Thai Boxing Training Hacks
Training On Your Days Off
Outside of you lessons there are plenty of way you can improve your Muay Thai. Here are a few suggestions.
Running, Cycling and Skipping
There’s a saying in combat sports, and that’s “cardio is king.” It can help your Thai Boxing in so many ways.
If you want to improve your cardio, with the goal of improving your Thai Boxing, start running on your days off. The best type of running to do is interval training. That means running over lots of hills, and performing speed bursts. This type of running is great for losing weight, and it matches the cardio pattern of Muay Thai.
An easy way to incorporate sprints into your running is to listen to music. Try running fast for one song, then walk for one song – and repeat.
Cycling also a good way to improve your cardio. It’s also better on your joints. Again, you should try to cycle over hills, and try sprinting on your bike.
Skipping is another excellent exercise you can practice at home. Not only is it improve cardio, it’ll improve your footwork too.
Bodyweight exercises are inexpensive and easy exercise that’ll help your Muay Thai skills.
Push-ups, squats, planks, burpees, and sit-ups are exercises that can done for free.
Two excellent exercises great for Muay Thai are: chin pull ups, and kettle bell lifts. You will have to buy some equipment to do these. These exercises will help you lose weight, help your punching, and improve your clinch work.
Shadowbox daily. And make sure you shadowbox like you mean it.
To take it further, try watching professional fights, then shadow box. Try to copy the pro fighter techniques.
Pay attention to fighters the same height and weight as you. Watch what they do against bigger and smaller opponents, then copy.
Try shadow boxing for multiple, two-minute rounds. You are intending to simulate the fitness demands as a real Muay Thai fight. It’s surprising how exhausting shadow boxing for multiple rounds can be. It will help your stamina and technique in the ring.
Get a Heart Monitor
Get yourself a heart monitor and use it when you’re training at the gym, and during your days off. This’ll allow you to see whether you’re pushing yourself.
Alternatively, use your heart monitor when shadow boxing. Try to increase your heart rate with every session. This will ensure that you’re training harder and improving.
Pad Work Tips & Tricks
Here are some that can help you when practising pad work.
Remember to breathe. Exhale on all your strikes. Some Thai Boxer make a ‘achh’ sound when they hit the pads. This noise is acceptable in a Thai Boxing class and it can help control breathing. Just try it. It might help you.
Additionally, make sure you breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth.
Remember, much of the power in Muay Thai comes from other parts of the body, and not only the limbs. Avoid trying muscle through your strikes. Otherwise you’ll tire quickly.
Keep your limbs relaxed and loose. And pay attention to where you are aching and burning energy. For example, if your shoulders are hurting, you might be keeping them tense.
If this happens, slow the combination, and focus on relaxing your shoulders. Hitting the pads should become easier after a few relaxed practices like this. If you can focus on staying relaxed you shouldn’t tire as quick. Repeat this approach with other moves that cause you any pain and discomfort.
If this doesn’t work, get the coach to watch what you’re doing and get it corrected.
Another amateur mistake is the constant tensing of fists when performing combinations.
You only need to tense your fists just before they make an impact. After the impact, you can relax your hand again. And try to keep your other hand loose. You’ll find that you’ll not tire as easily. Remember that all tension is wasted energy.
Keep your Guard Up
A good guard is as important as a hard strike. Keep your hands up, and close to your head. Make sure you leave enough space between the hand and arms, so that you can still see your opponent.
Your elbows should be tucked next to your upper ribs.
Focus on your guard when throwing the combination. Most newbies drop their guard when throwing strikes. Remember, whichever arms throwing the strike, the opposite one should usually be guarding. Not doing this leaves you open to attack.
If this keeps happening to you, then slow down. Focus on the combination and the technique, rather than the speed. Get the instructor to watch what you are doing and correct your mistakes.
Don’t worry about speed, it improves with good technique and time.
Additionally, work and not dropping your hands after every set of combinations. Drop your hands after a combo and you’re leaving yourself wide open to counter strike.
Also, keep your chin down when doing combinations. And if you have no mouth guard, keep your mouth closed. Believe me, getting an uppercut on the chin without a mouth guard sucks.
Drink lots of water on your days off to keep hydrated.
Stay off the soda, beer, and other sugary drinks, or at least keep them to a minimum.
You are most likely to be attending your Thai Boxing lessons during the evening. It’s a good idea to try to hydrate yourself though the day. That way you’re you have less chance of suffering from fatigue, or dehydration, when at the gym. Again, drinking lots of water, in small amounts, though the day will help you in lesson later. Minimizing your coffee intake can help you remain hydrated as well. If you train in a warm gym this, these steps can really aid your training.
Drinking high calcium drinks after training can help you maintain strong bones. Almond milk is particular effective as it’s high in calcium, and vitamin D, but low in fat. It’s also suitable for vegetarians. If you don’t have access to almond milk, ordinary milk is better than nothing.
The older you are the more important your calcium intake is. Taking a high level of calcium will help to stop your bone becoming brittle with age. Also, you’ll be less likely to develop certain types of injuries when training.
Protein supplements can also aid recovery. Whey protein is good one to try. You just need to drink a set amount after every Muay Thai session.
Try to maintain a good diet. That means lots of fruit and veg. Stay off the processed foods. And mix low fat meats into your diet – like chicken and fish.
If you want to build muscle mass when training, or want a toned body, you could try carb rotation.
Useful Muay Thai Videos
Below are a selection of useful Thai Boxing videos that should help you with your journey.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bas6d6KqEhY – Introduction to the Muay Thai Stance.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzhisKSZD5Y – Basic Footwork, Punches & Elbows for Muay Thai
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=witJISymkWo – Yodsanklai Fairtex bag training.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chwD3_YdOy8 – Bag training with Kru Yod.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWsHecAf92o – Saenchai shadow sparring.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRzfueeeAbI – Buakaw shadow boxing.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5s89dZhnA8 – Pad work from Sitjaopho Muay Thai.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sv7puItvUPc – Low kick training with Kru Dam.
Be sure to check out my Muay Thai FAQ page. It contains many videos about the different Muay Thai techniques. And I’m constantly adding new ones as I find them.
Conclusion & Warning
Before we finish I’d like to give you a warning.
Make sure you seek out a competent coach if you are serious about learning Thai Boxing. It’s very easy seriously injure yourself if you do not take basic safety precautions when training. A competent coach can able show you the basic health and safety precautions that are needed to prevent bad injuries like: paralysis, broken bones, brain damage, muscle and ligament damage, etc.
It’s very easy to cause yourself a serious injury, and it’s very easy to badly injure someone else with Muay Thai.
Use your brain, and learn to train safely. You’ve been warned. And I take no responsibility for the use or misuse of the information in this guide to Thai Boxing.
If you are worried about your level of fitness consult with a doctor before starting Thai Boxing. Especially if you suffer from asthma, obesity, or another severe illness.
Although Thai Boxing will get you fit, it’s hard work. If you suffer from health problems that make exercise difficult, seek professional guidance. Otherwise you may hurt yourself.
I take no responsibility for any injuries or damage you may incur. The advice in this article if for entertainment purposes only. Use it at your own risk. You’ve been warned.
I hoped you have found my Muay Thai training guide useful. And I hope it’ll inspire you to get started Thai Boxing. If you find it useful please consider sharing it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest.
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Do you think I’ve missed something? Have you some valuable advice that might help a person starting this sport? Then share your ideas and thoughts below in the comments – they’re always appreciated?
Thank you, and well done for reading all this. It was a long post.