So, you are thinking about or have signed up to your first Muay Thai class. Below is a quick guide about Muay Thai, finding a class, preparing for your first lesson, a note on what to wear and bring, and finally, what to expect in your first class.
A little bit about Muay Thai
Also known as the art of eight limbs, Muay Thai is the national sport of Thailand and a popular combat sport globally. Pronounced as ‘boy’ with an ‘m’ and ‘tie’ as in ‘tie my laces’, you get ‘Moo-ay-tie’= Muay Thai.
Muay Thai is generally a stand-up or on-feet striking sport, employing both upper body and lower body strikes, including punches, elbows, knees and kicks. Muay Thai also uses body positioning to shield (drawing a shin up to check a kick) or trap opponents (such as in a clinch) and can employ leg reaps to destabilise an opponent to take them down.
Steeped in history, Muay Thai gained popularity outside of Thailand around the 1970s and 1980s, Muay Thai classes started springing up in various different parts of the world and with many foreigners visiting Thailand for Muay Thai camps and competitions through the year.
Search: Muay Thai Classes Near Me
Before jumping on Google to search for a class, it is a good idea to figure out when you will be training and your preferences. For example, will you be training before or after work; would you prefer to train near your home or where you work. Additionally, it is a good idea to determine if you are looking for recreational/general fitness classes or are thinking about competing in the future.
With this in mind, jump onto Google and search “Muay Thai classes near me”.
Depending on where you are, you will have a couple of options (you lucky dog!), it’s time to be picky. Check out the reviews of the club and classes. Looking on the club’s website, you should be able to see what facilities are available to you and the accessibility of the club. The club’s website should have coaches’ profiles available to view, so that you can see the calibre, pedigree/ lineage. From here, you can also get a feel for the type of classes they have (i.e., beginner, mixed-level, competitive). If you are interested in other styles (e.g., Brazilian Jiu-jitsu or Boxing), check out their timetable to see if they have classes that will suit your schedule.
When you’ve honed in on a possible home club, contact them to see if they have a trial pass, this is usually for a session, or some places offer a week’s trial. At this time, it is also a good idea to ask about their membership pricing and agreements. Generally, the more up front the clubs are about the membership (i.e., termed contracts, no lock in contract). The more likely that their processes are easy to follow. Therefore, should you choose to move on from the club, it should be a fairly smooth process.
Preparing for Your First Lesson
Muay Thai is a physically demanding contact sport. However, in a well-considered and structured class, this risk of injury is minimised. It is important that the class is supervised by a qualified coach and drilling or sparring with an experienced and gracious partner.
The best way to prepare for your first lesson is to make sure you’ve had something to eat two hours prior to the class and go in with an open mind. You are going to be expanding energy and will need to ensure you have fuel (primarily carbohydrates) to see you through the class. Be prepared to feel uncomfortable. You will also most likely experience a need to match the intensity of the rest of the class. However, we recommend that you go at an easier/slower pace.
What to wear to Muay Thai class and what to bring…
Be sure to dress comfortably. Keep in mind, Muay Thai is generally a high intensity sport, which means that you best be ready to get your sweat on! Dress in athletic clothes that you can comfortable move in- a t-shirt with shorts or leggings are completely fine for your first lesson. When you decide to pursue this sport, you may choose to invest in some thai shorts.
Bring a towel, a bottle of water and joint braces if you do use them. If you do own a pair of hand wraps and gloves, bring them along. However, if you do not have these, the club should have a pair for you to borrow. Should you like to continue with Muay Thai, these 2 items, along with a mouthguard should be the first things to invest in!
What to Expect for Your First Muay Thai Class
Most classes are structured to include a warm-up, progressive combos with a partner (starting out with a simple combo and increasing in complexity), freestyle rounds where by the padholder calls out the strikes) and rounding off with some conditioning at the end of class.
To be best prepared, it is a good idea to arrive 15 mins before class to sign in. Afterwhich, a staff member can take you through a quick orientation of the amenities and introduce you to the coach. Most coaches will ask you about your experiences (e.g., trained elsewhere before, new to muay thai), training history (i.e., other physical activity you undertake), and any injuries or medical conditions they need to be aware of (e.g., asthma). The coach can then give you advice on modifications or intensity. Additionally, the coach will usually partner you up with an experienced partner to worth through the combinations. Do not be alarmed if you are doing a different combination or the coach advises you to stay with the same combinations whilst the rest of the class moves to a different one. This is to ensure that your session is appropriate to your level and that the class is challenging but achievable and enjoyable.
All in all, Muay Thai is a great way to keep active and learn new skills, it is suitable for those looking for general fitness and those who want to compete. The number of reasons for taking up Muay Thai is vast and different for each individual. Remember, when it comes to Muay Thai fitness and technique, it all takes time. Follow the advice of the coaches, they are there to guide and support you on your Muay Thai journey!
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