Muay Thai training tips

There has been a tendency over recent years for Muay Thai boxers to rely heavily on strength and power, and to engage in a style of fighting which invloves an exchange of blows. This is a trend which many groups in Thailand wish to counter in the fear that the genuine art of Muay Thai Boxing is in danger of disappearing. At Horizon Thai Boxing Camp we stress the importance of learning the proper Muay Thai techniques in order that you learn to fight with intelligence, increasing your chances of success and reducing the risk of injury.

If you wish to learn Muay Thai Kickboxing you must train under the supervision of a qualified Muay Thai instructor. Training alone at home with a long kicking bag will help maintain fitness and develop endurance and conditioning, but provides no way to test the effectiveness of your techniques. Your Muay Thai skills will never improve by training exclusively in this way.

Muay Thai training is an ongoing programme. It is hard work and the martial art will take a long time to master. You will need discipline to achieve a high level of proficiency, and superior dedication is required to achieve consistent success in the ring. That being said, a basic understanding of Muay Thai techniques is easily grasped and anybody can enjoy and benefit from Muay Thai training sessions. To progress you must train regularly, but remember to take at least one day off from your Muay Thai training every week.

To perform Muay Thai techniques correctly you need a solid foundation of Muay Thai basics. At first take things slowly and focus on the proper body movements. Take your time and focus on perfecting the Muay Thai techniques being taught; you will avoid picking up poor training habits which may be difficult to correct later on. As a Muay Thai boxer you will need to develop excellent balance, coordination, perfect timing, pin-point accuracy, speed and power. During Muay Thai training try to concentrate at all times, maintaining a constant state of readiness. Stamina is also very important. But above all a Muay Thai boxer needs experience. This experience comes from many rounds of free sparring and competition.

Muay Thai sparring tips
Tips on attitude
Aspects of Muay Thai training

Muay Thai sparring tips

Free sparring with a partner is an essential element of Muay Thai training. Through sparring you can correct your Muay Thai techniques and find out which techniques work. During sparring try to use the full repetoire of techniques familiar to you. The Muay Thai techniques you find difficult should be used more often. The more you practice, the more you build confidence, perfecting your techniques at the same time. During Muay Thai training sparring is always controlled. This is especially true if your opponent is lighter than you, less experienced, lacks confidence or is younger. You must control your power, use light contact and make a note of which techniques do or do not work. Control your temper and fight carefully. If you are sparring by rounds, do not start the sparring session too intensely. Pace youself. Learn by watching other Muay Thai competitors, and study what is effective in real competition.
Tips on attitude

You must be humble, conduct yourself well and be ready to learn. A martial artist needs a good mental attitude. Prepare your mind and body to get through the hard training. You must be determined. Muay Thai fighters must expect some punishment or injury, you will need a strong desire to achieve your goal. Whatever Muay Thai training routine you follow be realistic about your limitations and be patient. Everyone is different and it will take time for you to discover your individual strengths, and then learn how to exploit those strengths and compensate for your weaknesses. Above all else, relax and enjoy what you are doing. Try to approach your training with a sense of fun and levity. Remember also that there are many variations to the Muay Thai techniques and styles depending upon the Muay Thai trainer, where he comes from and who his teachers were. Listen to your instructor, listen to your body and you will soon discover all that Muay Thai training has to offer you.
Aspects of Muay Thai training

Warm up / Cool down
Running
Skipping
Shadow Boxing
Free weights
Bag Work
Pad Work
Speed ball
Sparring
Clinchwork

Warm up / Cool down

It is important to run, skip or bounce on old truck tyres (which is helps improve balance) for at least 15 minutes as a warm up to begin every Muay Thai training session. The idea is to build up a sweat and prepare your body for the vigorous exercise to follow. It is not necessary to spend an excessive amount of time in stretching during Muay Thai training unless you are trying to achieve an extreme level of flexibility or are unusually stiff. A suitable routine of around 15 minutes will prepare your muscles for training. And don’t forget to do some gentle warm down exercises at the end of each Muay Thai training session. This will help your joints to remain supple. A proper warm up and cool down routine will protect you from injury.
Running

Running is essential to develop stamina and toughen the legs. Running is best done in the early morning and should vary in distance day by day. At least one day a week should be a rest day. Try to avoid running on concrete roads or pavements, though it is not the end of the world if this is your only option. Be careful when running on uneven surfaces and wear good shoes. Running on sand and in shallow water can be good occasionally. Steadily increase the distance you run each day. If you are not fit enough to run, then begin with a brisk walk and steadily build up. Don’t use a lack of fitness to delay your start on Muay Thai training. Joining a club will help with motivation.
Skipping

Skipping is an integral part of Muay Thai training, it is an excellent way to warm up the body if you are not running, and also helps develop stamina and co-ordination. Skip by rounds, keep your mind relaxed and alert. When skipping hop from one foot to the other – don’t bounce on two feet.
Shadow Boxing

Shadow boxing is essential to learning the proper Muay Thai technique. Shadow boxing in front of a mirror allows you to observe and correct your movements. When shadow boxing do not shorten the punch or kick, remember to use your full range of movement. Even top level Muay Thai fighters begin their training routine with a shadow boxing warm-up.
Free weights

Incorporate the use of dumb-bells into your Muay Thai training routine. It will help to build strength. Lighter weights with many repetitions is best. Free weights work better than fixed weight training machines as they do not limit your range of movement, but you need to train carefully to avoid injury. Training with very heavy weights is good for body building competitions, but not the best way to train for a Muay Thai fight. Normally Thai boxers do not want to increase their body weight.
Bag Work

Working on the hanging bags will build power and stamina into your kicks and punches as well as toughen your body. Kicking the bags often is the only sensible way to condition (that is de-sensitize) your shins. Aggressive methods of training such as using bottles or other very hard objects to condition the shins is not recommended, and also not neccesary. This kind of training may cause unnesseccary injury to the bones in your legs. At Horizon Thai Boxing camp we fill our bags with scraps of cloth, not sand which is very hard, though still expect some bruising (girls especially) if you are a novice.
Pad Work

As you progress in the art of Muay Thai boxing, you will learn to use the strikes learnt against Thai Pads. Your Muay Thai trainer wears a set of Thai pads, a stomach pad and shin guards which allows you to attack him as if he were an opponent. Full power striking of the Thai Pads is a tough part of Muay Thai training and an amazing workout. Pad work will develop your footwork, co-ordination and spatial awareness. Pad work is a very distinctive and essential part of Muay Thai training.
Speed ball

Use of the speed and punching balls will increase your co-ordination, and will help to build your shoulders necessary to maintain a strong guard.
Sparring

Once you have a comprehensive foundation in place you will be ready to participate in controlled sparring. This will form the major part of your Muay Thai training routine. At Horizon Thai Boxing Camp we have full protective gear available for use during Muay Thai training sessions.
Clinchwork

After demonstrating proficiency during Thai pads training, stand-up grappling techniques practised with a partner provides the final step between sparring and fighting. During this part of Muay Thai training you will learn to control your opponent by trying to lock his arms or neck in a clinch. From this position it is possible to deliver the knees, or knock your opponent to the floor. This is a very tough aspect of Muay Thai training. These drills are done at the end of each Muay Thai training session prior to the final shadow boxing warm down.

About Paul Halme

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