By Chris Starkhagen
Muay Thai is one of the toughest sports to train for -- and probably the most grueling thing you'll ever endure.
It's hard. It's painful. It's relentless. Muay Thai is like the training montage in Rocky.
With that said, don’t be scared, as there are tremendous benefits worth every drop of sweat.
And trust me: you're gonna sweat. Because Muay Thai trainers emphasize perseverance over everything else:
It will transform you both physically but moreso mentally. The martial arts skills you master translate into your life in ways that you never thought possible, things just go smoother.
By the end of each training session, you’ll feel an urge to get back in again, to grow, to progress, and become stronger.
It's a little strange to consider, but a centuries-old fighting system might be the best core workout out there!
First, a little history lesson: Muay Thai is the national sport and a cultural martial art of Thailand. It originates several hundreds of years ago when used as a close-combat form that utilized the entire body as a weapon. Muay Thai employs stand-up striking, along with many other grappling techniques (called "clinching").
Muay Thai's discipline is referred to as the "Art of Eight Limbs" as it involves the use of elbows, fists, knees, and shins. Like many other forms of martial art, the practitioners, called nak muay, invest in themselves and their fighting success by strengthening their bodies to almost unthinkable heights.
The main goal in fighting Muay Thai is to beat down your opponent mostly through strikes. It’s ultimately good for both defensive and offensive fights. But, in the modern...
We've all been there. You're training at the gym or practicing on your heavy bag in the garage. Even as you were gloving up, you promised yourself you were about to have a next-level workout and, for the most part, you’ve been killing it.
Then out of nowhere, that negative voice shows up in your head with all the bravado of your drunk Uncle Herb at a family reunion. “You’re going to be so sore tomorrow if you keep this up,” it says. “Throw in the towel and let’s go eat some chips,” it says.
Before you know it, you're concentrating more on whether or not it has a point than on your workout. That voice and its countless excuses belong to something I’ve come to call your “inner critic.”
The bad news is that we all have an inner critic that’s constantly out to keep us from achieving our goals. The good news is that it’s...
If you want to cut weight, boost your metabolism, and build muscle, then incorporating HIIT style workouts into your Muay Thai training is a solid way to go.
In case you’re unfamiliar, HIIT (or High-Intensity Interval Training) involves mixing short bursts of intense, beastmode-level exercise with periods of rest or lower-intensity exercise.
HIIT is so effective that it’s a great way to get in a next-level workout even when you're short on time. Studies show that the average HIIT workout can have just as many (or more) health benefits as a moderately-intense workout that’s twice as long.
One of the best things about HIIT is that it's a style of training that can be applied to a wide variety of exercises. As a fighter, that means that you can reap all the benefits it has to offer simply by using it to practice your favorite moves and combos in a specific way.
Not being able to access a gym sucks. However, that should not prevent you from still improving your Muay Thai skills.
Today, we will be going over how to improve one of the most important skills in Muay Thai and the foundation of everything: you.
What you are capable of in Muay Thai is dependent on what your body is capable of. It is not just dependent on what techniques you know, though there is that.
Want to be able to confuse your opponents with body kicks and head kicks? You need the flexibility to be able to do so.
Want to be able to hop around your opponents like Saenchai or Lomachenko? You need strong legs and strong balance.
Want to be able to swarm your opponents and completely overwhelm them with an unending volume of strikes from the opening bell to the final horn? You need to work on your cardio.
It is easy to underestimate your physical attributes and think that you’re stuck...
The roundhouse kick is arguably the second most common and second most important kick you will ever learn in Muay Thai, with numero uno being the teep.
Before we go into all the mistakes it is possible to make when throwing the roundhouse kick, you must first understand why the roundhouse kick is even more important in Muay Thai than in MMA or even kickboxing.
In Thai stadium scoring, kicks and knees are scored higher than punches. Not only that, a “block” with the arms (like the double forearm block) does not count as a block.
If you’ve ever been kicked hard in the arms by a true nak muay, you know why… because it still hurts.
Aside from that, there is another reason you should be spending more time trying to master your roundhouse kick. It is the most powerful tool you have to land a knockout.
You may have trouble knocking people out with punches, but you will not have trouble...
If you are unable to train yourself, one of the best things you can do is study the greatest fighters that there have ever been in order to figure out why they were among the greatest of all time.
Or if you’re extremely lucky, you could train with those that are among the greatest of all time so you can get all the information right from the source.
Our very own Sean Fagan is one of these lucky guys.
In this video, he is training with the legendary Namsaknoi, also known as “The Emperor.”
Namsaknoi is a three-time Lumpinee champion across three different weight classes (112 lbs., 130 lbs., and 135 lbs.). He holds a record of 280 wins, and just 15 losses, and 5 draws. He went unbeaten as the 135 lbs. champion for six years.
The Emperor has beaten the likes of Lamnamoon, a legendary clinch fighter; Samkor, a legendary kicker and one of the hardest kickers of all time; and Saenchai, who needs...
It’s that time of the year to be giving, and what better gift could you give than the gift of Muay Thai? As Santa Saenchai says, "Owee! Owee! Owee!"
Whether you’re someone who’s trying to get a gift for a Muay Thai lover or you’re trying to get someone started in Muay Thai, we’ve got you covered on what you need to get.
The most important gift any Muay Thai lover and Muay Thai beginner needs is a quality set of boxing gloves - firm, tight and strong.
Your hands are your most important tools and the most likely to get injured if you don’t have a good pair of gloves. That’s why gloves should be the top priority gift.
Remember: even if your giftee has gloves, gloves wear down over time and they will need a replacement.
Speaking of keeping...
Odds are that right now, you’re quarantined at home and probably don’t have any training partners to work with. You’re forced to train alone and you, like most people, probably don’t have any type of home gym setup.
This does not mean you cannot improve. In fact, I believe you can come out of lockdown an even better fighter or more skilled martial artist than you ever when you entered it.
Imagine an example with me. Let’s say you’re trying to drive from LA to Vegas. You’ll need to drive and you’ll certainly need to have a route.
Now, most of us, when we approach training, have a vague idea of the route we’re following. We show up; we put in work; we go home. Beyond that, there's no much more though that goes into it.
But just think how foolish it would be if you were trying to drive to Vegas and thought, “Let’s just drive east for now and figure it out...
One of the easiest traps to get pulled into when doing Muay Thai, and when doing anything really, is creating excuses for yourself.
I get it. Muay Thai’s tough. Even if you’re a professional fighter, it’s still tough to get up each and every day to train. There are times when even Paul and I get really beaten down by training. And if it’s tough for us, how could a beginner or a hobbyist expect to keep up?
The reason why Paul and I are talking about this today is because we get lots of comments about people who want to start Muay Thai but are hesitant for whatever reasons.
Some people might say they’re not in good enough shape, some people think they’re too old to train Muay Thai, some say they’re afraid of the environment, etc. The list goes on and on.
Paul and I both had and have excuses, too. We’re not perfect. Which is why we know how to address these excuses, because we’ve made them...