We are all guilty of it, I know, but still, all good things take time. Whatever it is you’re maybe working on, you need a plan, a time frame and goals. And the same thing applies to learning Muay Thai!
So here’s a list of our top 10 tips to help you improve your Muay Thai skills, faster.
1. Set your goals before you start!
You’re roaring to go, can’t wait to hit the gym and train. Equipment packed, the first few sessions behind you and yes, you’re hooked! Fantastic, welcome to the Muay Thai community. But the real secret lies in setting yourself a goal and a time frame before you get into serious gym life. Start off by asking yourself a simple but helpful question: why are you doing this?
It’s sounds a bit simple I know, but why are you interested in Muay Thai, really? Is it for fitness, do you love the social network, are you looking to let off some steam or maybe even thinking about climbing into the ring and fighting? There are so many different reasons people love to train Muay Thai, find yours!
Whatever your reasons, try to answer your own questions honestly and set out a list of “Muay Thai goals” or “to do’s” for yourself to chase. This will also serve as a reminder and motivator every day before you head off to the gym. And put a time frame around them. For example, “I want to lose 2lbs a month over the next year” or “I want to have my first fight by next summer.”
2. Lay out a detailed personal training plan.
Can’t stress this point enough – set up your own personal training plan! Use an app or even excel and track your Muay Thai training. Keep records of your sessions, make notes, add comments or questions. This will help you to focus and to work on the things that need working on most. If you miss a session, write down why! Better, don’t miss a session!
3. Stay realistic!
This goes without saying really. Set realistic and achievable training goals, and review them regularly. Keep it real but don’t be too humble. You can only achieve something by setting your sights high. To just become another world champion (there are many of these and it says nothing about you as a fighter) is not a true goal. A goal is for example that you are satisfied with yourself and your performance. Like a fight. A fight is only won if you are satisfied with your performance. So when you are not 100% satisfied with your performance, work on the flaws and improve. The goal is to be able to fight flawlessly, as well as possible and to be able to face any opponent in your weight class. It is the highest goal, but you will experience that for yourself in the coming years on your way to becoming a Muay Thai fighter, if that is the goal.
Another possible and realistic goal might be to one day travel to Thailand to learn and train Muay Thai. A training trip to the homeland of Muay Thai is the surest and quickest way to become infected with the sport. Once you have trained in Thailand and experienced this lifestyle and martial art there, the whole journey becomes more exciting and possibly life changing too. This experience is also one of the best, most fun and fastest ways to improve your skills!
4. Find a good gym and a qualified teacher. (And stay there! And stick with him/her!)
Another no brainer. Check out a few gyms before you commit to one, and also try and train with a few different trainers first. Talk to others on where they train, the pros and cons etc. Then when you’re ready to decide, commit to one gym and select yourself a trainer you feel good with. Then set out a time sheet and note when you started. Review regularly, discuss your progress and thoughts together with your trainer and give it the long shot. After the first year or so, commit again or rethink everything. But don’t chop and change at every opportunity or when you think things are not going as planned. Stick it out first, rethink second. Discuss with your trainer third. If possible, don’t change a winning horse! The one thing trainers and gyms hate the most are “gym hoppers.” Don’t be a gym hopper, it will get you nowhere. I repeat, don’t become a gym hopper!
Unless you really have a drifty reason to do. But then you have already made a mistake in point 1 when choosing. To find the right gym, for example, there is also a separate blog here or you can also find many Muay Thai clubs on Muay Thai Advisor.
5. Begin by training the basics.
There are levels to this, believe me. When you start out, you will be eager to learn as much as possible and as fast as you can. But slow down… and focus heavily on the basics. Muay Thai movement, footwork, blocking, kicking, punching, knees, elbows and clinching all have an underlying system of basics, each weapon or skill building upon its own set of subskills. Learn these subskills diligently, step by step and completely before moving forward. And keep practicing these “basics” forever. Yes, forever.
6. Respect those that train with you.
7. Repeat the basics, as often as you can.
See point 5. The basics are your friend, forever. If you have a little spare time on your hands, hit the gym and work on your basics. If you hit up your coach for a private session, work together on the basics. If you are reviewing training videos online or watching a famous fight, watch out for the basics. Again, in Muay Thai, the basics are your friend forever.
8. Spar correctly and controlled.
You may or may not have heard an old fighters saying that ‘you don’t win sparring.’ This is still as true today as it was back in the day. Sparring is practice and not competition! Use every sparring session to practice technical skills together with your sparring partner, especially skills that you may have just worked on in class. Do not use sparring sessions to go full blast and try to destroy your partner! Ever! If you train with control you will run little risk of injury, have more fun, improve faster and allways find a sparring partner. (Nobody wants to spar with that one student who allways tries to beat up everyone in the gym.) So don’t make yourself an idiot.
9. Watch (constructive) training videos.
There are literally millions of training videos now flooding the internet, try and watch the good ones! How do you know the good ones? Well, when it comes to Muay Thai, pretty much every training video made by a reputable trainer at a famous Muay Thai gym in Thailand is a good choice. Some are better or easier to watch than others of course, but in general, an explanatory video made by a famous Thai coach is the way to go.
End of story.
10. Don't give up.
The first few months will be hard for sure, also maybe a little confusing. So many technical questions, physical issues and more. But be patient, give it your best shot, go all in and stick it out for at least a full first year. Then you will know if Muay Thai is truly for you, where the dream goes next and how to spot your next steps.
Good luck, we at Punch it Muay Thai Gym Koh Samui are gladly here to help you if you have any questions!