Muay Thai is a stand-up fighting sport that is fast-paced and combines both boxing and kicking into one swirling melee. Known as the “art of eight limbs” it is the national sport of Thailand and it uses the human body to mimic weapons and combat techniques of centuries past. It’s also a popular style for training for mixed martial arts competition.
Despite being more of a sport than a martial art, it has found a place in the very heart and soul of the Thai people. It has a rich history that goes back several hundred years and it is loosely interwoven into their culture. It is also a devastatingly effective and full contact sport that requires all competitors to be in the absolute peak of fitness.
While many fighters choose to travel and train in Thailand, there are other options available for those who are unable or unwilling to go through the hassle of travelling there. Some choose to attend a local gym that specializes in teaching Muay Thai. This option is often less expensive than going to a school in Thailand, but it can still provide top-notch instruction.
The first step in finding a good school is to research the training methods used. The best way to do this is to find a website that explains how the various strikes flow into each other. A good site will also show how the techniques are used in a live fight.
Once a student understands the basics of the striking and kicking techniques, they can begin to practice by shadow boxing. This is a great warm-up routine that helps the fighter get to know their rhythm and cadence before a real fight. It is also an excellent way to help a fighter gauge their strength and ability.
Shadow boxing should be done in a safe environment and is usually performed in front of a mirror. To make sure the fighter is properly centered, they should keep their dominant fist close to their face, about level with their jaw or cheekbone, and have their other hand out in front of them at a height that is slightly higher than the nose. They should also tense their abdominal muscles a little bit, but not so much that it inhibits their breathing or movement.
Muay Thai fights are held in a ring that is a squared off platform usually measuring between 4.9 by 4.9 meters (16 ft) and 7.3 by 7.3 meters (24 ft). A variety of safety measures are taken into account including the use of protective gear. Typically, MMA-style gloves are worn that range from 6oz to 10oz depending on the weight division. Fighters must weigh-in prior to their fight in order to ensure that they meet the weight requirements. Träning thaiboxning