Oct 9, 2012

Posted by in Muay Thai, Training | 26 Comments

Muay Thai or Kickboxing training

If you’re looking for a fighting sport that uses all your limbs the you might want to give Muay Thai a try. It’s more commonly known as kick boxing because it uses legs although it’s not exactly the same as the kick boxing that’s popular in the United States or in Europe (Savate).

Muay Thai is a fighting style that originated in Thailand. It was a killing art that soldiers used in war and was originally known as Muay Boran. After all the wars though and when killing became far less common, a sport was developed around the fighting style accompanied with appropriate rules to ensure that nobody got too hurt. That’s when it became the Muay Thai fighting style that we know today.

I first tried Muay Thai at Elorde Gym in Katipunan. It was I think several months after I had already been boxing. I figured I needed to learn some kicks so I took weekend classes (I still did boxing training during the weekdays).

My Thoughts on Muay Thai Training

Muay Thai Muay Thai or Kickboxing training

The training is a bit more intense than boxing in my opinion but it’s still really fun. Why do I think it’s more intense than boxing?

First because it makes use of your fists, elbows, knees, and feet. So there are a lot more combinations that you’ll be asked to do although there is a particular bias towards kicks since those produce the most power. Kicks have greater range and a wider rotation so it’s better than punches in a stand alone comparison.

It is slower though and requires a bit more time to recover from so they need to be set up properly. Elbows and knees will also be more staple than punches (at least with my trainer) because they inflict more damage and are more unpredictable. They’re also great for really close range so using them is ideal in a clinch situation, especially the knees.

Second because Muay Thai requires you to develop hard/numb shins. The shin of your feet, that part between the actual foot and your knee, is the impact area for most of your kicks. So it’s really important that you develop them to a point where you don’t feel pain anymore when you kick something. Your shin area will get red and the skin will become sensitive the first couple of weeks you train. It’s because you’re not used to kicking yet. But overtime you will be.

Basically you’re going to try and harden the bones on your shins by kicking over and over again, and at the same time you’re going to try and kill off all the nerves in that area. Sounds very gruesome I know but there’s not that much difference really from normal shins if you do this other than the fact that you can’t feel pain anymore.

Third because it requires a lot more from you in terms of balance development. Kicking is very difficult if you’re not used to it. It seems easy on TV but it’s not really, especially the high kicks. Because you’re creating such a wide rotation in order to throw a powerful kick, your body will go along with the motion and you will have to adjust.

When I first started training I could do right kicks ok but when I tried doing mid to high kicks with my left, I always lost my balance. I’d usually lean too much to the right because that’s the direction the kick is going and would either have to wobble to the right to regain my balance or try to grab the kicking bag. It took me a while to get to a point where I could kick with no problems.

Fourth because it requires you to be flexible. I have stopped training since I’m focusing more on boxing right now, but even back when I still did, I always found high kicks fairly difficult to do. I’m not exactly the most flexible of persons since I come from years of traditional body building.Back then functional movement and strength weren’t really a priority, it was all about aesthetics lol.

With Muay Thai you will be doing a lot of dynamic stretching in the beginning and at the end of your training. Most of it will be for your legs and groin area because that’s where you’ll need it the most for your kicks. If you’ve got some background in kicking sports like taekwando then you might have an advantage over the other newbies in this department.

Fifth because blocking kicks can be really painful lol. In order to block kicks you’ll either be using your hands or your shins and it can get really painful. Unlike boxing where most blows are cushioned by the opponents boxing gloves, kicks have no padding at all. So when you get hit, you get hit really hard. This is another reason why Muay Thai practitioners develop their shins to become so hard and “unfeeling”. It allows them to block kicks with their legs and not feel anything.

Where to Train

We’ll like I said, I trained at Elrode Gym because it was convenient. I was already boxing there so there was no need for me to look for another gym. I believe most boxing gyms in Manila now offer Muay Thai training so if you’re already a member of one, just ask around.

A couple of my friends have also told me that they trained at ULTRA before in Pasig. I believe that’s where the Muay Thai Association of the Philippines is based so you might want to check them out if you live near there.

If you know of any other place where people can train Muay Thai, let me know so I can create a longer list here.

How much is Muay Thai Training?

In Elorde the rate for training in the sport is either 250 pesos or 300 pesos per session. It’s 250 it you’re already a member of elorde (500 pesos per year registration fee) and 300 if you’re a walk in guest. Still pretty cheap in my opinion.

They also have a 1,500 pesos “prepaid” package that’s good for 10 sessions. This usually has to be consumed within a month but you can normally get them to extend it if you’re a regular. They’re not very strict about this.

Don’t forget to factor in your tip for the trainer when you’re calculating your expenses. It’s customary to give them some. I normally give 100 pesos but 40 or 50 is ok I think.

What gear do you need to train?

You’re going to need the basic boxing wraps and gloves. That’s pretty much it if you want to be a minimalist. Some people use shin guards though but that’s completely up to you. I never do.

Training is also done barefoot so you’re not going to need shoes or socks.

What type of training should you expect?

If you’ve read my Elorde boxing post then you’ll already have an idea about the type of training you can expect. Just like boxing, you’ll be basing your training time and rests on the boxing rounds clock. So that’s 3 minutes per round and 30 second breaks in between rounds. You’ll normally do one type of drill for 2 or 3 rounds before you move on to the next.

The drills are the same as the ones you do with boxing training, but you’ll just be incorporating kicks and elbows into them. Be sure to check out my boxing article if you want to know what those drills are.

The structured training only happens when you’re working with your trainer tough. Once you finish all your drills he’ll let you do whatever you want. I normally just keep kicking the bags to continue to develop my kicks and to harden my shins.

What should you bring to training?

Just like with boxing, you’re going to need a couple of basic things if you’re training in Muay Thai.

  • Plastic bag for wet clothes
  • Extra clothes to change in
  • Soap if you decide to take a bath after
  • A towel
  • Water and/or sports drink

Well that’s pretty much it for this post.

If you’ve got comments or have some info you feel I missed, please leave them in the comments section. Also I’d love for you to share, like, and tweet this post if you found it useful :).

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Malds Menzon is the owner and main writer for The Fit Pinoy blog. He's a law student, blogger, internet marketer and fitness enthusiast who enjoys writing about all the gyms he's been to and fitness classes he's tried. He spends most of his time either at the gym or studying/writing at one of the Starbucks places in the Metro Manila Area. He usually looks a little too serious but he's a nice guy so don't be afraid to say hi if you run into him :). You can follow or add him on Twitter and Google+ by clicking the appropriate buttons on your left (below the picture).
  1. I googled “Muay thai blogs philippines” and this was the only post from the first page that chronicled a muay thai experience here in the country. This makes your post the “IPHONE” of muay thai blogs here in our country , hehehehe.
    Good for you man!!!

    I also read that you recently started your BJJ journey! Congrats, your in great hands with Gerard. Hope you keep on training BJJ. Hope to see you on the mats!

    Nice Blog, you got here, I’ll check it from time to time.

    • hey there boks, thanks for dropping by lol. And just mixing in a bit of SEO knowledge from my previous stint as a freelance writer in my blogging lol. Mukhang gumagana sya haha. Pero it still surprises me that some of my most popular posts are being searched for keywords that I was never targeting when I wrote them.

      I haven’t been able to train in Muay in a while tho. Boxing and Jui Jitsu lang. When I lose a bit more weight I’ll get back to regular training. I try to mix in some kicking drills after boxing tho just so I don’t forget the feel of it.

      And yeah Gerard’s a good coach, I’m learning a lot from him. Trying to train everyday but I can’t seem to do it hehe. At most I go 3 or 4 times a week.

  2. Hi, you got the most entertainning blogs that I found while i was searching for swimming pools around the metro. Keep it up!!

  3. Hi, what Elorde branch is this? TIA

    • I think when I wrote this I was training in either katipunan or gilmore, can’t really remember hehe. But it’s one of the two.

  4. hi malds, check out the muay thai camps in thailand they are absolutely wicked. i trained at 13 coins gym in bangkok alongside the greatest nak muay today saenchai and also trained in koh samui and finally at sinbi muay thai in phuket and ended up fighting at bangla stadium patong, great experience :)

    • Hey Jay dee, me and a friend talked about going to one of the camps there actually, to train for a month or two. Dunno when we’re gonna be able to make that happen but that’s def on my bucket list :). Being able to fight at their local competitions would def be an awesome experience, hope I get to do that as well hehe.

  5. Hi! Since you’ve tried both Muay thai and boxing, which of these two do you think is more helpful in terms of losing weight? I’m also planning to do it in Elorde :)

    • Hey ella, it’s a matter of preference to be honest. Both of them can be intense depending on the trainer and student’s enthusiasm. But if I had to start over I’d prolly pick Muay Thai because it involves the legs when you do your drills. So if you’re doing it to lose weight and become more fit, muay thai might be a better choice.

      pero again, they’re both great and it’ll boil down to preference. Muay Thai would be mine :).

      • 6 years ago, I had the same dilemma. I went to a nearby gym and they were offering Tae Kwon Do, Boxing, and Muay Thai.

        Tae Kwon Do was immediately slashed off my options since at that time, all the students were kids and I didn’t like the idea (I was already in college at that time). The remaining options for me were either boxing or Muay Thai. It just so happened that the day I decided I wanted to do boxing, the trainer called in sick and the Muay Thai trainer was the only one in the gym aside from the fitness trainers. He eventually also trained me a little in submission wrestling – which I competed in only once due to a bad injury.

        Long story short, I ended up training in Muay Thai. I started training in boxing about 2 years (by this time, my muay thai coach took me in as his assistant trainer) after at the former Elorde Branch in Tektite Bldg. I knew a couple of trainers there and tried out their training. The difference with what I did was that training boxing after already having trained in Muay Thai improved my Muay Thai bigtime. I was groomed to compete back then but due to my size, I had trouble finding opponents. I am 5’9″ but had a competition weight of around 179-185lbs.

        I haven’t trained in a while and I really have to. I’m getting bigger than before. hahaha. I put up a training place at home which I try to use at least 2-3 times a week.

        Nice blog, Sir Malds. Keep up the good work.

  6. hello! i have no formal training in any martial arts, i just wanted to learn…. i am a bit overweight though, would you recommend muay thai for noobs like me?

    • Hi Rj, yeah sure :). They’ll pace your training naman. They’re not gonna go hard until kaya mo na so it should be fine. Pacing naman ng most boxing and muay thai gyms is ok for even people who have no background in martial arts or even fitness for that matter.

  7. Hi,

    Will just ask if you get to train both punches and kicks from the get go. I had two sessions na kasi, pero punches palang tinuturo sakin. Is that normal? Or should I ask my trainer?

    In any case I might also try walking in on Elorde.

    • Depends on the trainer actually. But usually on your first day you’re already taught kicks in Elorde, and even at empire boxing (a friend of mine is doing muay thai there). Just ask your trainer about it. He might have a different method of teaching Muay thai.

      Your individual coach is usually given free reign on your training and tho most of the time each gym has a certain routine that everyone follows, outliers do exist :).

      Tanong mo tho kasi usually masmahal ang muay fee kesa sa boxing and baka boxing lang ang tinuturo sayo eh lugi ka sa fee mo.

  8. I’m really thinking of what should I try, if I’ll go for muay Thai or boxing because i’m a bit overweight. But I’m only 16 yrs old, so do u think its advisable for me to try any of the two out? And also i might try at Elorde katipunan, hope you could suggest trainor for me. Thank you very much!

    • Hey maureen, oo naman ok lang mag box or mag train ng muay even if you’re just 16. Ako nga I wish I started back when I was still younger lol. Anyway, if you’re going to train in katips then you might wanna try Romy if he’s still there :). He was my friend’s trainer and ok naman.

  9. Very informative. Thanks, Malds. I’m trying out muay thai soon. I’m hoping that I would enjoy it as much as you did. :D Wish me luck!

  10. Hey Malds! I already tried muay thai yesterday at Elorde Gilmore and I really enjoyed it. Thanks to your blog, I learned so much, and I think I didn’t look like a noob in the gym. :p

    • Hi Maika, really happy you found my post/s useful and good job on your first day :). Glad you liked the experience. Masaya sa Gilmore and it’s actually one of the bigger boxing gyms I’ve been to. I’ve tried empire boxing recently sa makati and it’s about a third of the size lang ng gilmore. Katipunan branch is probably the only one I know that can rival the size of the Gilmore branch so it’s real fun to train there.

  11. hi sir,

    In your opinion, san po magandang magtrain ng muay thai

    • Hmmm I don’t know that many places that specialize in muay thai to be honest sorry. I know empire and elorde both offer it and mukhang decent naman pareho (i’ve watched other people train at empire and I’ve trained in elorde). My suggestion is you try it out first at which ever of the two is near you and get your feet wet. After a month or two pag di ka satisfied sa training and are looking for something more hardcore then you can try looking for other places. Pero ok naman ang training sa elorde based from my experience there.

  12. Meynard says:

    Hi Sir! I’ve been considering going back home and opening my own muay thai gym in the province since i fell in love with the sport. Any suggestions on how to get started?

  13. Hi!

    Nice blog!

    Been doing Muay Thai at Elorde Gym Mandaluyong for almost a month now doing it twice a week.. Yun yung sa corner ng Libertad at Edsa malapit sa Crossing.. I would say I am enjoying it as well as the people at the gym.. Mababait sila at makulit kausap kaya enjoy magtraining.. I am being handled by a young guy named Loy and he is good.. He is from Pampanga as most Muay Thai trainers do according to them while yes, you are correct, boxing trainers are mostly from the Visayas..

    I had background sa Taekwondo nung college but that was years ago.. So during my first session, I was really exhausted.. Pero magaling magmotivate yung trainer kaya napupush ka.. And then, pahirap na ng pahirap yung mga routine at drills sa mga sumunod na sessions ko and I got bruises sa shin pero enjoy pa rin..

    It is true na once you got the hang of it, hahanap-hanapin na ng katawan mo yung sakit at hirap though pag habang nasa training ka eh gusto mo na sumuko sa hirap ng drills.. Pero buti na lang kasundo ko yung trainer ko and mas gusto ko yung medyo may kulitan ng konti para hindi masyadong heavy yung atmosphere ng training..

    Again, ganda ng mga reviews mo sa blog mo..

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