If you’ve ever tried training Muay Thai in Thailand, you’ll see that most of the gyms there are old school. You won’t see anyone strength training there, nor will you see trainers utilizing modern sport science training methods that are utilized pretty much in every combat sport in the western hemisphere. Yet, as far as Muay Thai goes, Thais are still considered some of the best, if not THE BEST, in the world.
Now, why is that? Considering that modern sport science training methods supposedly improve on traditional training methods, shouldn’t the rest of the world have already caught up with Thais already?
The Simplicity of the Thais Approach to Training
When it comes to Muay Thai, Thailand gyms have a rather simple approach to training and repping for a fight – run and train as hard as you can. Of course, they do shadow boxing, sparring, clinch work and so on, but their approach is simple. They make do without all those measurements and other whatnots.
Got yourself gassed out in the middle of a fight, or while sparring or during pad rounds or during clinching? The answer’s simple, run longer and train harder. And, while this simple approach to training is far from systmetic, it is what has worked for them and will probably continue to work for them in the near future.
Besides, it’s not like they’re just mindlessly training. Although they’re not calling it by any fancy name, nor do most have any clear understanding just how effective their methods are, they’re actually doing some of the key modern conditioning work that’s being done in the west.
So, as you can see, the traditional Muay Thai training methods, as simple as they are, aren’t as outdated as they’re made out to be.
Don’t Fix What Ain’t Broke
Have you ever heard of the saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?” Well, that’s exactly how you best put traditional Muay Thai training methods.
You see, Muay Thai is an aerobically driven sport. There are explosive exchanges for sure, but the sport is more technical than just simply mindless brawling. Fighters pick their sports more carefully in Muay Thai than in other combat sports. This technical and aerobic aspect is exactly what makes Thai boxing methods work so well, despite being seemingly outdated.
Of course, there’s a lot of variation in Thailand as to specific training and conditioning methods. Some gyms have even begun to adopt a more westernized approach. But, the training pretty much remains the same, involving long runs, pad rounds and bad work, as well as rapid kicks with low impact work in between.
Simple, yet effective. Such a training method, when done for hundreds of hours, has allowed Thai boxers to go hard for a full fight with amazing stamina and recovery.
If you do your research on how old school western boxers did most of their conditioning work, you’ll see that their methods were quite simple. They didn’t really make a big fuss when it came to strength training and conditioning. They ran for hours, had long skipping sessions and sparred, training as hard as they could. Yet, they could easily go hard for the full 12 rounds with incredible stamina.
Now, this isn’t to say that modern training methods are useless. They still do have their merit. But, what this simply means is that you shouldn’t really buy into modern sport science training methods without really thinking about it first.
As Thais have proven for generations already, pure aerobic training, combed with skill training sessions, is more than enough to turn anyone into a fighter – even at the highest levels of the sport