In case you have never heard of Muay Thai before, you have probably seen all the movies and advertisements you have ever seen on television, while you were growing up. But if you really want to learn a martial art, you should really take the time to look into it. Many people have a misconception that all they need to know about Muay Thai is how to punch and kick with their hands and feet. That’s all there is to it, but that’s only half the battle.
In the case of beginning Muay Thai training, though, it’s quite justified. After all, training can be really expensive and sometimes there are so many other opportunities to waste time, effort, and money. The first night in a new school of Muay Thai is a very exciting time. You might even wish you had trained longer! If you’ve never trained in a real Muay Thai gym before, your first night there can give you some idea of what to expect.
One of the first things you’ll find is that the trainers there are very experienced in teaching, but also highly skilled at teaching without a lot of sparring or fighting. That makes for a pretty stark contrast to some other forms of training, where the emphasis is entirely on competing in the ring. There are actually some good reasons for that schedule flexibility: some styles of muay Thai require a strict schedule in order to be completed. However, there’s also a big danger to your safety.
One of the most common mistakes beginners make is to attempt full contact at the beginning of their training. The reason for that is that many amateur Muay Thai fighters try to use the techniques they’re taught in the ring against an imaginary opponent, but this isn’t how a real person would react. A real person would feel a sharp pain behind their ear, or in the back of the throat, and would immediately know it’s not okay to continue. Fights can get ugly, and you don’t want to put yourself in that position. So, it’s important to avoid sparring until you’re very competent.
Your first night in a real muay Thai gym is also a chance to see which fighters you like the look of. If you’ve already sparred with some fighters before, you probably know who you prefer on a mental level. But a first night in a real gym allows you to see how different fighters handle themselves under pressure. Some fighters literally fight their own shadow, so to speak, and that is one of the most enjoyable aspects of training.
One of the main things you’ll learn about muay Thai gyms when you spend your first few days there is how to clinch. The concept of clinch is simple enough, but it does take a certain amount of ability to master. You do not, for instance, just throw your hands up in the air and hope that your opponent will just fold. Instead, you get into a clinch hold, where you grip your opponent’s arm and lean in close to him/her. This can be done with just your palms pressed together, but many students learn how to do it with their entire body when they’re more comfortable with the concept.
In addition to learning how to clinch, you may also want to spend some time in the sauna. Many fighters spend a lot of time in the sauna preparing for a fight, and you may want to spend a few sessions in there before your first class. While saunas aren’t particularly formal muay Thai training facilities, they can still be extremely helpful. Not only will you sweat a lot, but you’ll be working on your body with the help of an instructor.
Another thing many people often don’t realize about muay Thai is that proper conditioning can greatly improve a fighter’s performance. A lot of fighters fall into a rut after a few months of training, where they don’t move as much as they used to. You should spend at least one or two times a week training with weights if you want to see the best results possible. If you work with the right sauna and a good trainer, you’ll see a huge improvement in just a few months. Don’t let the simplicity of this sport fool you; it can offer great benefits to all martial artists who give it a try.