Muay Thai is arguably the most versatile striking system ever developed and it covers all the fundamentals of stand-up fighting. Unlike other striking-based martial arts like boxing, which tend to restrict the weapons fighters can use, Muay Thai fighters are allowed to use kicks, knees, punches, elbows, throws, and sweeps, making them extremely well-rounded fighters.
Muay Thai is one of the fastest-growing martial arts worldwide, and it’s one of the best systems for self-defense. Learning Muay Thai is a deeply rewarding journey that strengthens you mentally, physically, and spiritually. It won’t just make you a better fighter; it’ll make you a better person.
Eight Signs You’re Improving As A Muay Thai Practitioner
Time typically flies when you start training in Muay Thai. You’ll be executing high-level techniques in no time as your fighting arsenal grows. Here are eight signs you’re starting to improve as a Muay Thai fighter:
1) You No Longer Get Tired While Training
It’s perfectly normal to feel exhausted mid-way through training when you first start Muay Thai, but that doesn’t last forever. Your body eventually gets used to the stress of training if you do it consistently so you’ll no longer feel tired during classes.
Learning Muay Thai is a physically intense activity that burns up to 1,000 calories for every hour spent on the mat, so don’t expect to breeze through training sessions when you first start. It might take weeks or even months for your body to adjust, but each session will generally feel easier than the last until you reach a point where fatigue is no longer something you even think of while training.
2) Your Techniques And Movement Become More Fluid
No one walks into a Muay Thai gym and starts executing fluid combinations on their first day. Your first few weeks of training are usually spent learning the fundamentals of fighting and the proper form for techniques. Since all these movements are new to you, you might find yourself constantly having to remind yourself to use proper form when practicing your strikes.
Keep training consistently and new neuro-pathways will be created in your brain as these techniques become part of your muscle memory. As a result, you’ll no longer have to consciously think about your technique when you train. You’ll start throwing strikes with proper technique all the time without even having to think of what you’re doing.
Throwing combinations, blocking and evading strikes, and using your feet to manage distance take some time to get used to. At times, you might notice yourself making novice mistakes like crossing your legs as you move or keeping your head on the centerline while throwing combinations. Over time, these little mistakes will start to disappear as you learn to put everything you’ve learned together.
Using proper footwork, moving your head continuously, and blocking strikes will become second nature to you. You might even start using some of the techniques you learn in class in other aspects of life. For example, you might slip to one side if something is thrown at your face because the defensive movement becomes instinctive for you.
3) Your Strikes Become More Explosive
Training Muay Thai gives you a full body workout, which means muscles all over your body become stronger. You also improve the form of your techniques, making your strikes faster and more powerful. Getting physically stronger and improving your form leads to more explosive strikes that are capable of knocking opponents out.
The more you train, the more explosive your strikes with be. Combine regular training with an appropriate strength and conditioning program that focuses on sport-specific explosive movements and you’ll be one of the hardest hitters at your gym in no time.
4) You Start Drilling Techniques You’ve Learned After Class
Getting through each class will be a challenge when you first start training, but your body eventually adjusts to the physical demands of your classes. You’ll no longer find yourself running out of the gym after each class because your body can’t take any more punishment.
Instead, you’ll start lingering around the gym after classes, practicing techniques you’ve learned in class and performing additional cardiovascular exercises. That’s when you know you’ve been bitten by the Muay Thai bug: training will end up becoming the best part of your day and you’ll do everything you can to spend as much time as possible in the gym.
5) Defensive Movements Become Instinctive To You
Defensive movements like slipping, ducking, bobbing and weaving, and leaning back take some time to master. You’ll be taught these movements early in your training and your instructor will use pad work and partner drills to help you fine-tune your defense.
You’ll probably fail a lot when you first start trying to block or evade strikes, and you might feel awkward as your head moves all over the place. However, these movements will eventually become part of your muscle memory and you won’t even have to think about performing them. Your brain will just know what to do automatically based on the type of strike and its distance from you. That’s one of the first signs you’re becoming a real fighter.
6) You Start Sparring
Being allowed to spar at your Muay Thai gym is a sign your instructor knows you’ve learned enough to be able to defend yourself inside the ring. Sparring is one of the most effective ways to fine-tune your Muay Thai technique since you have to deal with a resisting opponent who also trains Muay Thai. Sparring allows you to assess which techniques work for you and which ones need improvement.
Beginners are often not allowed to spar at Muay Thai gyms until they’ve shown their coaches they understand fundamental techniques and know how to correctly apply them. Your Muay Thai skills will improve exponentially once you make sparring a regular part of your training.
Muay Thai has a gentler sparring culture than other striking-based martial arts like boxing and Dutch kickboxing, so you typically don’t have to worry about sparring partners trying to take your head off when you train at a reputable gym like Evolve MMA. Sparring might be a bit scary when you’re new to it, but it’s necessary to understand certain aspects of fighting like timing, distance, and range.
7) Your Training Partners Start Asking For Help
Another clear sign that you’ve gotten better at Muay Thai is your training partners coming up to you for help more often. That means, they’ve seen how dedicated you are to your training and view you as a valuable source of Muay Thai knowledge.
Explaining Muay Thai techniques to others might not be easy for you at first, but it’ll make your techniques considerably sharper. Explaining a technique you’ve already mastered forces you to look at the technique differently as you try to simplify it for them. With time, your ability to explain techniques to others will improve as your understanding of them deepens.
Your instructors might also start asking you to help out in class. Many Muay Thai instructors tend to lean more on their advanced students when demonstrating techniques or performing drills. You know you’re one of the better students in class when your instructor starts calling your name often during class to help with demonstrations or to hold pads for your sparring partners. Doing such things improves your technique and understanding of things like distance, range, and timing.
8) You Start Thinking Of Competing
You know you’ve been taking your training seriously when you start feeling the itch to compete. Your techniques are fluid, your ability to defend and evade strikes has drastically improved, and you don’t even get bothered when a sparring partner accidentally throws a kick a bit too hard.
That’s when you start talking to instructors about getting you fights or signing up for local tournaments. You won’t have a problem finding places to compete these days thanks to the growing popularity of Muay Thai.
There’s a point in your training that you just can’t get enough of Muay Thai. You find yourself spending more time watching videos of fights or reading about Muay Thai techniques. You might even learn a few new fancy techniques through your research and practice what you’ve seen with your training partners.
At this point, Muay Thai isn’t just a hobby; it’s who you are. You eat, sleep, and breathe Muay Thai and as a result, your skills improve exponentially.
You may also like: