Muay Thai gyms can be intimidating for newcomers, but you will find they are welcoming places if you conduct yourself the right way.
Most do not have a formal code of conduct, but they do have a few unwritten rules wherever they are in the world.
Sticking to these guidelines will show the appropriate respect to your coaches and training partners, and will help you fit right in wherever you train, including a Muay Thai gym in Singapore like Evolve MMA.
Turn Up On Time
Make sure you arrive at the gym in time for the start of the class, ready to train.
It would be considered rude or disrespectful for you to turn up late to a job or social engagement, so why should martial arts practice be any different?
Whether you’re training to fight or you’re just a Muay Thai hobbyist, you owe it to your coach, your teammates, and yourself to be punctual.
If you run onto the mats five minutes after the start of class, you’ll disrupt the lesson and will waste everyone’s time while they wait for you to catch up on what you’ve missed.
You’re also likely to miss valuable warm-up time, which could lead to injury.
Some instructors may not even let you join a class if you miss the start. Others might allow you to join in, but not before you pay the price for your lack of punctuality. Want to avoid 50+ burpees? Arrive when you’re supposed to.
The best practice is to turn up a little early, giving you an ample amount of time to stretch, wrap your hands, and even catch up with friends before it’s time to get serious.
Listen To Your Coach
It’s just plain rude to not pay attention to your coach. They are the fountain of all your martial arts knowledge, and they demand your respect.
Most trainers don’t mind having to explain a technique or concept several times – especially if it’s difficult, complex, or unfamiliar – but not if it’s because you didn’t listen to them the first time.
You can chat about what you saw on TV last night after class, not while your instructor tells you what to do or how to do it.
If you’re not focused on what you’re being shown, not only will you make your coach angry, you’ll end up doing something wrong. That could mean you pick up some bad habits that could stay with you for a long time.
You’re paying your hard-earned cash to learn from your coach, so try to absorb whatever knowledge they share with you.
Treat Your Training Partners How You’d Want To Be Treated
Muay Thai gyms should create a welcoming environment where anyone can come and learn the art of eight limbs, so help to keep it that way.
In mixed-ability sessions, you might be partnered with someone with less experience, so don’t get frustrated with them if they can’t hold pads for 12-strike combinations.
Everyone was a beginner once, so remember what it was like when you started. Try to guide them through the process. Once they get the hang of things, they’ll become a valuable training partner.
If you’re a newbie and pair up with someone who’s far more experienced, try to relax and listen to their advice.
Overall, just be friendly to everyone. It’s not okay to be antisocial or behave inappropriately anywhere. If you do so in the gym and dissuade anyone from coming back, you might be asked to leave, too.
Don’t Spar Too Hard
There’s a time and a place for hard sparring. If you’re training for a fight with another experienced teammate, you might be expected to increase the intensity.
If you’re partnered with someone without as much experience, think twice before you start throwing bombs like you’re in a ONE Super Series world title fight.
Bullying and beating up your training partners won’t prove anything. It could cause them to get hurt and turn them off coming back to the gym. Many coaches will expel people from their gyms altogether for this kind of behavior.
If you do end up opposite a novice for a round, take it easy so they can get used to defending and responding to offense.
If you’re new to sparring – whoever you’re up against – it’s important to try and relax. If you tense up, you’ll throw stiff shots, which will hurt more.
Bring The Correct Equipment
No one expects a total newcomer to turn up to their first class with a bag full of equipment. It’s perfectly reasonable to turn up in shorts and a T-shirt and borrow some gloves when you first start out.
However, as you get into the swing of things, you’ll want to get a full range of gear – not least because you’ll soon get sick of pulling on those smelly old communal gloves.
Make sure you have at least one pair of gloves, including a larger pair for sparring (a lot of gyms suggest 14 – 16oz).
You’ll also need shin guards for any drills that require checking, and for sparring. Groin guards and mouth guards are also essential.
Finally, consider whether you need compression underwear. Muay Thai shorts are loose-fitting, and no one wants to get an eyeful of what lies underneath!
Keep It Clean
If you don’t look after your personal hygiene, no one will want to train with you.
Make sure you air out or wash your equipment after every session so it’s clean and bacteria-free when you step back onto the mats.
Keep a towel handy in the gym so you can wipe excess sweat away before you cover all your friends. If you have long hair, keep it tied back and out of the way.
Also, wash your hands before you practice clinching. Smell your hands when you take your gloves off to find out why!
You should also keep your fingernails and toenails trimmed. They can also scratch, or worse. There are also horror stories about serious injuries being caused by untrimmed talons.
Finally, if you have any cuts, make sure they’re covered up before you step on the mats, and dress them immediately if they get exposed.
Respect The Gym
As well as keeping yourself clean, make sure the gym is kept clean and tidy – it’s a matter of respect, safety, and hygiene.
First, don’t leave your gear lying around. You don’t want someone to trip over your stuff while a sparring session is going on.
Make sure any equipment you borrow goes back where it belongs, too. If you use pads, it’s your responsibility to put them away – not your coach.
It’s also important to keep the mats clean because you and your training partners will spend a lot of time down there. Never risk bringing any dirt and bacteria onto them from the street by walking on them with shoes on your feet.
Finally, mats need to be sanitized regularly, so your help will be appreciated when the time comes to give them a good wipe.
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