Muay Thai training for beginners

Starting something new can be quite challenging and stressful. Whether it is a new job, moving countries, basically anything new and unknown that pulls you out of your comfort zone. Here we are talking about Muay Thai, which one may call the ultimate stand-up fighting discipline.

There are dozens of stories from those who took up Muay Thai lessons while looking for something to help deal with anxiety, build up confidence, create a powerful mindset. Others are inspired by “The Art of the Eight Limbs” as such, which helps develop co-ordination, muscle memory and body strength. Lastly, some start training (and competing inside the ring) in order to challenge themselves by reaching goals.

Although everyone has their own reasons, the beginning is pretty much the same. We start something unknown, something we are not used to.

There are a number of posts on the web for Muay Thai beginners that tell “what brand of boxing gloves is the best” and “how to make your shins stronger”. My idea is about actual Muay Thai training.

Andrew Smith: “People fear what they don’t understand and hate what they can’t conquer.”

Talking modern day, the atmosphere in Muay Thai gyms is usually welcoming. Thus, there is no need to feel shy when you can’t excel at something on the first or tenth attempt. It is training, which is learning, while the latter should never stop. In simple words, be confident in yourself. You have started a new journey.

Certain things are hard to execute. Personally, I find that the most important is to understand¬†two questions: “why” and “how-to”. Rather than performing it with 100 percent proper Muay Thai technique.

As an example, you can knock your opponent out with a switch left kick to the body, throwing your leg straight up, which would be “wrong”. Nevertheless, it would give you the same result.

So answering the first question, it is because your shin lands on the liver which is a very sensitive spot. The proper technique would, of course, be turning the hip, which answers the second question.

Understand the idea behind this or that move and keep practicing. Repetition develops muscle memory. Be patient.

In a few weeks or maybe days after trying out something new, you start figuring out whether it is your cup of tea or not. This is individual. As a result, this is the end of the beginning.

Fighting is completely different from training, although fighting is a replication of training

The decision of testing yourself inside the ring commences a new chapter, which is also unknown. As a part of preparation, I find it essential that the coach walks you through every aspect of what is going to happen from the day of weigh-in. All those scenarios that regular fighters are used to, are completely unknown for first-timers. As a result, it brings extra stress. Knowledge is power.

Among everything, preparation for a fight includes common exercises, such as shadowboxing, padwork, bag work and of course sparring. Practicing fighting drills, let’s say on pads, is one thing. The actual idea is to simulate “the fight” at training.

In simple words, there is not much need to aspire to land a fancy spinning-back kick during sparing while you are getting ready for your first fight. Neither should you be warming up on pads before the fight throwing an over hand right, if you’ve never done it at the gym.

It is indeed a rare thing to witness a “clean” Muay Thai fight between two first-timers. Thus, despite how co-ordinated and composed you may be, anticipate that your opponent may mess it up.

In conclusion, stick to the basics. Work on defense and the simple one-two combination, followed by a kick or knee. Simple things, where simplicity is something easy to understand, and as a result do.

And yet, with proper training, you may still see a fashion model throwing elbows in her first-elbow fight.

I hope the above helps. Feel free to comment and ask a question below.

Last week I posted a video of the first fight of Misagh Norouzi who made his Muay Thai debut just three months after entering the gym.

In addition, earlier this year we filmed several Muay Thai training videos (tutorials) available on YouTube, which might be helpful.

Parviz Iskenderov
Parviz Iskenderov is a Muay Thai fighter from Perth, Australia. He is a former National champion of Belarus, and also a finalist of IFMA European Cup. He is an editor and journalist at FIGHTMAG. Iskenderov is also the World Kickboxing Network (WKN) international coordinator for Australia.

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