Muay Thai payback & how to stay calm in a fight

Muay Thai fighting tips for beginners

Muay Thai is known as the Art of Eight Limbs with its arsenal including punches, kicks, knees and elbows, which consequently makes it eight points of contact. One can say it is also arguably the most co-ordinate combat sport (footwork) when it comes to stand up striking, where the fighters are composed and seem truly relaxed.

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First things first, so let’s talk about ‘Payback’. If you’ve read one of my previous blogs, which shares the ideas dedicated to Muay Thai training for beginners and first-time fighters, this post will probably be a follow up.

The closest way to outline what does ‘payback’ mean in Muay Thai, will be a counter-attack. There is no such official term of course, but you can hear it quite often from the Thai trainers.

So the idea behind it, is that no matter what your opponent does in a fight, you must be the one who makes a final statement. In simple words, if he kicks you, you immediately kick him back, and better twice.

The featured video above is the third fight of Misagh Norouzi in May 2015. You can see a ‘payback’ in execution at 2:07.

The way to practice it is basically the same as any other move you aspire to learn. This includes shadow-boxing, partner drills, pad work and a real time application in sparring of course.

The clip below features some of the drills on pads at 0:46. (You might like the song too).

Stay calm and Muay Thai

The ability to remain calm in a fight is likely something that results from work on the mental level. It comes from positive experience which builds confidence. The actual definition states that being calm is a condition of being “peaceful and free from stress or worries”.

I don’t think there is a guide that tells “how to train your mind to remain calm in a fight”. It’s a fight in first place, the whole thing is stressful.

Among everything let’s name three arguably the most common things the fighters experience: adrenaline, fear, feeling of responsibility (in any order). This can be actually quite useful, making us more effective (but it is a different story).

Here is several thoughts that might help with remaining calm in a fight:

  • You have trained and you are fight ready
  • Don’t think about your opponent, focus on yourself
  • Simply do what you have trained (learned), or in other words approach it as an exam, where you use the previously obtained knowledge
  • You are not there alone, your team is by your side

And finally something, that I truly agree with said by Georges St-Pierre on a podcast with Joe Rogan earlier this year: “Nobody cares [about your fight]”.

Indeed, it’s a “big deal” only for you and a small group of other people. So it’s nothing to worry, really. Stay calm.

In conclusion, last week I’ve posted about Muay Thai elbow strikes and basics for beginners which one may find useful. In addition, earlier this year we filmed several training tutorial dedicated to Muay Thai techniques, which can be found on YouTube.

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