The first day of anything can be an intimidating experience for a beginner. This is especially true for Muay Thai. You’ll learn a lot when you first start your training and it can seem overwhelming. Here are twelve essential tips to help you prepare.
1. Your body shape doesn’t matter. No one is expected to be in tip-top shape when they first start training. What matters most is your attitude and willingness to learn. Besides, practicing Muay Thai will help you to get into shape.
2. The first class will suck. Learning this rule-based sport is not easy, but a good teacher can guide you into loving the action-packed activity. Plus, there’s body hardening which is something everyone goes through.
3. Watch pros in action. As a beginner, it’s advisable that you watch Muay Thai practitioners in action. This will give you an idea of what you can expect as well as educate you about the skills you’ll need. You can accomplish this by either sitting in on a class, or seeing videos online.
4. For the first few weeks, stick to the basics. You can’t learn everything in a day, or even a year. You’ll be overwhelmed if you try to. Change your mindset, instead. Slow, but steady progression will ensure a better learning experience.
5. Practise shadow boxing. It may seem silly, but shadow boxing can be of great help as you get to practise strikes, new combos and footwork. Start slowly and then gradually build up your speed as your skills improve.
6. Get ready to be bruised. Most places will be mindful that you’re a beginner. So, while you won’t receive any serious injuries, there’s a good chance you’ll get bruises especially around your shins. With time, your shins and other areas will get stronger. Until then, you’ll have to learn to tough it out.
7. Don’t buy cheap gear. Safety and training gear is meant to protect your body. It’s an investment in your safety. If you go for cheap, you risk getting low quality equipment.
8. Learn restraint. While you are focusing on training, don’t get carried away. Punching an opponent in the face during training is absolutely frowned upon. Learn to control your actions, so you only strike when and where you mean to.
9. Seek individual training. Team training in Muay Thai is great. However, if you are serious about learning this martial art, then private lessons can help a lot. Individualised training and guidance can make skill advancement faster.
10. Change sparring partners often. While sparring with friends is fun, variety is the key to learning. Step outside your comfort zone and practice with people you’re unfamiliar with. Remember, a good fighter does not hesitate to fight with someone better than him/herself.
11. Be positive. More than training and skills, a positive mindset will keep you going. Excessive self-criticism is harmful, so be kind with yourself and stay committed.
12. Make the necessary lifestyle changes. Proper diet and rest is essential for nourishing your body and in recovering from injuries. Increased appetite may be one of the side-effects of Muay Thai training, but fuelling your body with the right foods will keep you on the right track.
There are many other tips for newbies, but instead of bombarding you with them all, these selected few are the most essential for you to know. Good luck and train hard!