Muay Thai is a martial art originating from Thailand that uses stand-up striking techniques along with various clinching holds. Known as the “art of Eight Points” it is characterized by the combined use of fists, elbows, knees, shins/feet. It has become the de facto striking style of choice for competitive Mixed Martial Arts because unlike boxing and kickboxing, it shows the student
Here at Factum we have professional instructors, who have daily classes focused on this discipline that will help you become a complete mixed martial arts striker.how to include knees, elbows and shins combined with clinches to encompass a full-body striking style.
Mainly, just bring yourself. If it's your first time doing muay thai, we aren't going to ask you to spar (nor would we ever force you to). At Factum MMA, you will see as much or as little contact as you would like. We do have wrist-wraps here, but we do recommend you bring your own. For those who are interested in eventually sparring, you'll want to get a mouthpiece and a cup if you are are guy.
1. You don’t need to be in shape to start training Muay Thai. Muay Thai is a very technical sport, and if you focus on the skills you are being taught, and you drill them with focus and patience you will naturally condition as you practice. If you are gassing out after the first round, then slow it down a bit. Sure, the conditioning drills will be challenging at first, but you probably signed up to be challenged anyway, besides, we know you are new, so the instructors and even the other students will be there to guide you. No one expects you to turn your round-house kick over on the first try, and know one expects you to know what terms like "squish the bug" mean either.
2. Expect to Suck at First. Every great fighter sucked at some point. My first coach used to say, “If it was easy everyone would do it”. We tell this to our students all the time. Learning how to use your body as a weapon in a rule based sport is not an easy task. Instead of getting frustrated by not being able to do a strike or combination perfectly, instead get fascinated by the sport and use that drive and passion to focus your practice. Sure there are always those students who pick it up faster and look like a pro on the pads in a few months, but that is rare and usually that “natural athlete” is just an average person that wanted it more and spent more time working at it. If something was earned through hard effort and rigorous practice it is appreciated much more and that journey from sucky to awesome will stay with you forever.
3. Watch Fights. There is actually science behind this. You will improve at your sport by simply watching other experts play that sport. If you are not an avid fight watcher and don’t know where to start, ask your instructor for the names of their favorite fighters past and present. They will be happy to share them with you and you can get started on your YouTube education right away.
4. Shadow box and mean it. I know shadow boxing sucks in the beginning. It’s one of the things I distinctly remember. I hated it. I felt stupid, didn't know what combos to do and just wanted to hit something solid. I may not absolutely love shadow boxing even today, but I understand it’s benefit and see it’s results. Shadow boxing gives you the opportunity to practice strikes, footwork and new combos with precision, by slowing it down, checking your work, fixing mistakes and then speeding it up. To get better it’s very important that you drill things the right way in shadow boxing and not be sloppy. My pet peeve is bad shadow boxing foot work like crossing your feet or students dropping their hands randomly just because they are bored during shadow boxing. Picture that your opponent is hitting you back, and pretend he/she is a moving target.
5. It’s OK to stick to basics. Don't get overwhelmed, tell one of the instructors or seasoned students that you don't quite understand something, or that you would like some help. This is what the instructors are there for.
6. Come early, stay late and ask questions. Remember that kid in school who was always in class before you, they always raised their hand and had something to say and when class was over they stayed late to ask the teacher to elaborate on a particular lecture point. Yeah that kid was a nerd, but that kid also went on to run a fortune 500 company, discover a new gene or write a best selling novel and probably earns more a year than the kid that showed up late, closed their book as soon as the bell rang and never participated. Want to be good at Muay Thai? Be a fight nerd.
7. Your shins will get better conditioned overtime. You will get bumps and bruises. There is no way around this, but there is an end in sight. You don’t need to go kicking trees and hitting yourself with bamboo to make your shins hard. There are a lot of strange “wives tales” when it comes to shin conditioning. My take on it is this: 1) Kick the heavy bag often. 2) When you do get a bump, bruise, or pain of practically any kind on your leg, shin, or foot ice it. 3) Rub out your shins & legs with Thai oil before training. Massage out the bumps and bruises (yes this will hurt a little, but nothing worth having comes easy, remember?). No one is gifted with hard shins, overtime we get rid of the soft-tissue, and replace it with hardened tissue.
8. Don’t buy cheap gear. Invest in some quality gear. I can understand why at first you might buy a cheap pair of gloves because you are not sure if Muay Thai is for you. But once you have been training for a bit and want to take it seriously you’ll want gear that lasts and is protective. With most gear the price indicates quality. So yeah, that $50 pair of gloves will wear out much sooner than the $100 pair. With most brands you really are getting your money’s worth..... and for God’s sake do not buy cheap headgear and mouth guards.
9. You don’t have to fight. You don’t even have to spar. No one is going to think any less of you if you don’t want to. Crazy people like training that involves getting punched in the face. Fighters are crazy, we acknowledge this and don’t think any less of people that want no part of it. Sparring will definitely improve your Muay Thai, but it’s not necessary to being a welcome contribution to our gym.
10. Be a good partner. Learn to hold pads well. Not only will being a good pad holder make your fellow students appreciate you but it will also make you stronger. You don’t have to think of exciting flashy combos to call out for your partner. Some of the world’s best pad holders keep it simple and basic. Just call basic punches kicks and knees, keep the pace up, work on your footwork while holding and hold with a good amount of resistance. Communicate with your partner about the right height, angle, and resistance of the pads. They will be grateful for your thoughtfulness.
11. Don’t forget to breathe! Breathe out when you strike, breathe out when you hold pads, pushing against your partners strikes and breathe out when you get hit in sparring. You don’t have to make funny grunting noises if you don’t want to, but at least breathe out and tightly flex your abdominal wall.
12. Don’t expect to get good training just once a week. If you really want to get decent at Muay Thai start with 3 days a week of training. If you want to get good at it train 5-6 days a week. If you want to be great get so obsessed with Muay Thai that at least once you get asked to stop training because the gym is closing.
13. Stand up straight and do your rows. While an awesome workout, Muay Thai is not great for your posture. Coupled with a desk job and our faces in a smartphone all day you got yourself a recipe for a hunchback. If you don’t want to look like an osteoporosis ridden 80 year old then make posture a priority and do some other functional training besides Muay Thai. We have a CrossFit side, Concept 2 rowing machines and a multitude of other MMA classes, take some of them!
15. Support your team. To get the most out of our Muay Thai gym you have to be a part of the community. Come out to our gyms events, parties, and especially come see our gym’s fighters compete. One of the best parts of Factum Muay Thai is the community. If you just come to your 2-3 hours of class every week and keep to yourself, you are missing a vital part of the experience.
16. Offer to help. We aren't the most traditional of coaches. We don’t ask students to Wai (bow) to me every time they see me. “Yes, sir!” or “No, sir!” just feels too formal to us. But I do want to believe that the classic martial arts concepts of respect, honor, and gratitude still exist. I believe that respect is earned. Respect the others in the gym by putting your equipment away, and cleaning up after yourself. When you've become a veteran of the sport, the best way to learn is to coach beginners, it forces you to recite the basics.
17. Don’t go on the mat with dirty feet. Our mats are used for many different martial arts, some of which involve rolling around on the ground. We all know to take our shoes off before going on the mat, but if you know your feet are dirty, clean them off so the jiu jitsu practice isn't rolling around in your feet funk.