ON The Fence About Muay Thai
Give Muay Thai A Shot! Dispelling 3 Excuses
Fighting can be an addiction. When you’re hooked by this incredible sport, it’s natural to want to convince others to join Muay Thai and create the same positive influence in their lives.
Watching someone break out of their comfort zone, develop into a new person, and potentially become a new sparring partner or team mate can be an extremely gratifying reward in this punishing sport.
It can be quite the task to persuade someone to simply join in on the fun – there are always excuses.
“Don’t rush me! I’m just not ready yet.”
This is usually followed up with: “Let me watch some YouTube videos first!” or “Let me think about it a while longer!” or “Let me start running to get my endurance up!”
There is certainly nothing wrong with doing prep work before heading into the nearest Muay Thai gym. However, a common pitfall with this mentality is that the majority of the time, you will end up preparing forever. It’ll never feel like enough preparation; you’ll never actually arrive at “Ready.”
In addition, training alone with no proper instruction over long periods of time will start ingraining bad habits from the get-go. Likewise, training the basics with another person (unless he/she is an amazing fighter) can transfer and promote bad habits, as well.
All these preparations build pillars on very unstable groundwork. Jump into a Muay Thai class to create a strong base. YouTube videos and doing roadwork should be supplemental material to grow your foundation – they can’t replace actual, hands-on training.
“I’m too out of shape for this.”
It’s easy to drink the Kool-Aid on this one – just look at Buakaw! His lean, muscular body archetype, though the result of years and years of blood, sweat and tears spilling on gym mats, feels to non-practitioners like an
entry requirement, not a sensible, long-term goal.
“All these Muay Thai dudes, they all sport that rugged, lean figure with next-to no fat and six-pack abs!”
The reality couldn’t be further from the truth. Step inside any Muay Thai gym you will find a variety of people with different body structures: tall, short, big, thin, muscular, and lean.
You’ll find out real quick that the person you have been holding pads for is an engineer stuck at the computer all day, or a stay-at-home parent. The point is this: hardly anyone who has become a nak muay was anywhere near ‘optimal shape’ when beginning their journey. You don’t have to be, either.
On the contrary, being out of shape is a perfect reason to join Muay Thai! Get yourself a fighting addiction and watch as you get in the best shape of your life.
“Those guys are gonna actually murder me.”
For the uninitiated, Muay Thai is often associated with brutality: blood, guts, gore – the whole nine yards.
Watching people smash bags with fists, crack pads with kicks, and grunting like aggressive gorillas staking their claim in the jungle… can be a little intimidating. But to be frank, that is all they are really doing – hitting bags and pads. In fact, Muay Thai classes consist of pretty much: (1) holding pads, (2) hitting pads, and (3) bag work.
The secret is out! Those bruises on our shins? No, they are not from chopping down banana trees with our calves. They’re actually from making just slight contact that we weren’t used to with a pad. We weren’t fighting each other for dominance or control over the gym; we aren’t elbowing or kneeing each other in the face conditioning (the list of incredibly ridiculous assumptions goes on).
The majority of Muay Thai gyms will also provide optional sparring classes if you wish to test your tools out down the line, but it is never mandatory. Even during sparring sessions, everything is monitored and technique is emphasized over power.
Not every single person in the gym is filled with bloodlust. That 6″2 monster? That jacked freakshow kicking the holy hell out of the heavy bag? Well, he might actually share your love for My Little Pony Adventures. Wouldn’t that be neat?
Try not to judge a book by their cover. You will never know who will give you the incredible motivation and support to make it through.
If a friend is on the fence about joining Muay Thai, it never hurts to give them a little push. The more people you convince to join ultimately means more training partners and a tighter support group for you and other nak muay.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to post the “on the fence” responses you’ve gotten from friends and fam.