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
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 :).