Unlike other martials arts which places more emphasis on theory and application in controlled setting, Muay thai places more focus on sparring and fighting to develop skills and experience. The main reason for this is Muay Thai’s focus on physical fitness and strength for competition in the ring. Regardless of whether your goal is to become a competitive fighter, increase your fitness, or have fun, Muay Thai can cater to multiple goals.
CHOOSING YOUR GYM
Now that you have chosen to train Muay Thai, the next step is finding the right gym. Sometimes picking the gym can make or break your training. If you end up selecting a bad gym, you won’t be getting the most out of your Muay Thai journey.
A good rule of thumb is to make sure that the instructors have experience in traditional Muay Thai, maybe even competition experience. If you want authentic Muay Thai training, the gym should be quite specialized in teaching Muay Thai and not general kickboxing.
MUAY THAI BASIC FUNDAMENTALS
If you want to learn proper Muay Thai, it’s always ideal to start from scratch. Having a background in other martial arts will interfere with techniques that use similar movement. Since your body has already been programmed to execute certain moves, you will need to undo those habits before learning the new techniques.
Learning basic fundamentals is crucial in developing a solid foundation in Muay Thai. You want to make sure that you know the movements, basic techniques, and stances before trying to string them together in a fluid and automatic way.
To help you train Muay Thai, here are some of the activities that you should incorporate into your routine:
Muay thai fights consist of 5 round per matches, and to help increase your endurance, Muay Thai training often involve road work (i.e. running). Outside the gym, you should dedicate a good portion of your time to improving your cardio and stamina. Just like Muay Thai, western boxing also incorporates running into their training regime – just look at Mike Tyson and his early morning runs.
Shadow boxing involves spending time in front of a mirror while you perform certain moves to assess your footwork, technique, and stances. This a good time to slow down and check whether you’re executing the moves properly. You want to make sure that you always return to the original stance and never drop your guard. Now is the time to practice moving with a good rhythm, good stance, and a proper guard when you are executing a technique.
Working with a partner for pad drills allows you to focus on improving your technique and accuracy. Initially, the goal is to hit the pad properly and execute the move with good body rotation and follow-through. Once you have developed your basic skills, you can focus on improving your power and speed. When you first train, make sure that your partner is more advanced than you so that they can hold the pads properly and correct your movements.
Muay Thai sparring drills
Sparring is when you use the techniques taught in class to see what works and what doesn’t. Other martial arts lack this aspect of training, which makes Muay Thai one of the more useful and practical sports. As a beginner, you should not be sparring until you have developed your fundamentals; you will be stuck with bad habits when you have to rely on your reflexes. Worst case scenario is you’ll get injured because you lack the basic skills to protect yourself.
Muay thai is a tough sport, and body conditioning is one of the ways to develop the mental fortitude needed to take pain without going down. You will be striking a lot with your shin bone and it will take time for your body to become used to it. No pain, no gain right?
Training with a heavy bag gives you an opportunity to practice your techniques with resistance on your own time. At first, hitting the punching bag will be awkward so don’t worry about power. Chances are, if you try to focus on hitting hard, you may injure yourself. Take your time and focus on practicing just one move and always remember to reset. Once you have mastered the basics, you can move on to trying out different combinations and see what works and what doesn’t.
Once you have developed your fundamentals, you are ready to take your Muay Thai game to the next level. Whether your goal is competitive fighting or for enjoyment, you’ll become much stronger and tougher.