Women’s Muay Thai training, sparring men

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Muay Thai for everyone

Centuries back “The Art of Eight Limbs” was the Martial Art used by Thai soldiers in a real warfare in case of becoming unarmed. Later it has become the national sport of Thailand, and once was a male discipline only. Women were not allowed in the ring, as it was reportedly considered as something like a “bad karma”. Nevertheless things change, and today women’s Muay Thai is evenly featured on the roster of international competition.


Muay Thai has evolved and became a modern sport, furthermore received a provisional recognition from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) late 2016. Today, men and women compete shoulder to shoulder in their respective weight classes.

Former WKN World bantamweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and eight-time IFMA Gold medalist Valentina Shevchenko are arguably the most known representative of women’s Muay Thai. Both turned MMA fighters and are scheduled to face one another inside the Octagon this coming Sunday (AEDT) at UFC 231.

For those searching for ways to lose weight and get fitter, Muay Thai has been also one of the popular workouts for quite some time now. These days many gyms provide both, men and women’s Muay Thai and kickboxing group classes.

Women’s Muay Thai, sparring with men

Although one can say that the classes are still predominantly dominated by men there is indeed quite a few women there too. An “awkward” situation might occur when there is an uneven number of men and women, let’s say on a sparring day.

And then there is a question: How do you spar a girl when you are a guy, and the other way around. Just to mention, we are talking about Muay Thai training for beginners. I believe the experienced practitioners and fighters should know their way around.

Like in anything, a common problem is a lack of communication. Sometime people don’t really know each other in the gym.

So first of all talk to each other in order to understand what is going to happen when the round begins.

In addition, for men I would suggest the following:

  • Do not try to prove to a girl that you are physically stronger. This makes no sense
  • Do not hit a girl with full force. Point out your “shots”, making them aware of their mistakes.
  • Work on your own defense and footwork. It is a perfect opportunity.

For women I would certainly suggest to not put up with “that guy” who tries hard to hit a girl at sparring. Walk away and tell the instructor. No one has to spar anyone. You can always simply not do it.

The featured video is a clip from one of the training sessions earlier this year when the Australian model Lilian Dikmans and Muay Thai fighter Misagh Norouzi were getting ready for their bouts. It shows some of the exercises as well as the sparring between them two which might be a useful example.

The bottom line is that it’s training. Despite it is also a fight sport, there is no need to wake up the day after for work with headache and bruisers. I believe the idea is to walk out from the gym knowing that you have learned something today. And it’s better be a positive experience.

Last week I blogged about payback in Muay Thai and how to stay calm in a fight. In addition, we have recently made FIGHTMAG available as a Flipboard Magazine which you can follow to get all recent content.


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