How Long Does It Take To Advance In Muay Thai?

Are you interested in learning the highly effective fighting combat of Muay Thai? Then you may also be wondering how long it will take you to completely master this fighting style. 

Since Muay Thai is always evolving, it is impossible to “perfect” the sport. However, after 15 years of intense training, you may finally be considered a master, with skills similar to that of a BJJ black belt-level master.

How Long Does It Take To Advance In Muay Thai?

Saying that, Muay Thia does not use belts to show how skilled you are in the sport, rather, your fighting skills are supposed to be proof enough of your skills. 

Here is everything that you need to know about progressing in Muay Thai. 

How Long Does It Take to Learn Muay Thai?

Now, “good” in Muay Thai is subjective, since your self-defense skills may exceed those of the average street person after only a few months of training. However, here is the average progression time for a person learning Muay Thai

6 – 12 Months – You Will Have Learned The Basics

In six months, you may understand the fundamentals of Muay Thai, such as basic fighting strategy, tactical approaches, and good conditioning and body fitness.

This is enough time to become adept with training equipment, working with a partner, sparring, and teaching fundamental starting skills.

After 12 months of intensive training, you may have obtained fighting experience at the amateur level, making you a starting fighter with essential Muay Thai abilities.

3 Years – Competant Fighter 

Muay Thai proficiency requires around three years of continuous training and fight experience. To be considered competent, you must have competed in 5-6 fights, winning a majority. 

At this stage, you may claim some experience and fight much more tactically, since your Muay Thai combat IQ has risen significantly.

7 – 10 Years – Pro 

Any occupation requiring a combination of knowledge and physical talent, such as participating in skillful fighting, requires 7 to 10 years to master. At this stage, you will have fought a minimum of 15 times and be an expert in Muay Thai.

During this time, you may have learned a few skills from other fighting styles as well. 

15+ Years – Master 

After 15 years, you may be considered a Muay Thai master, and you’ll know it when other experts seek you out for the latest knowledge on the sport. 

Professional fighters, as well as those who teach their own Muay Thai classes, are considered to be masters of this fighting style. 

However, “master” does not indicate a complete understanding of Muay Thai, as this is unattainable.

They continue to learn new information daily but have reached a level where others want to learn from them.

30 Years – Grandmaster

Muay Thai lacks titles and belts like most other martial arts, but 30 years of experience and training is similar to being a grandmaster in Karate.

This category includes previous fighters such as Samart Payakaroon, who is widely considered the greatest Muay Thai fighter of all time.

While practicing a sport for 30 years seems very daunting, you shouldn’t let any of the above deter you! To become skilled in Muay Thai, it is not necessary to commit your entire life to training, but like all things practice makes perfect.

Keep at it and soon you will notice bit changes in your skill levels and fighting ability. 

Why Is It So Hard To Master Muay Thai?

Muay Thai is the ultimate example of an easy-to-learn yet difficult-to-master sport. Within around six months, you will have learned the bulk of the fundamentals and be somewhat adept in street fighting.

Muay Thai is famously hard to master since it is known as the “art of eight limbs”; you fight with your fists, knees, elbows, and legs! Additionally, you must consider several sweeps, throws, and clinches (also known as standing wrestling).

There are only two ways to strike in boxing (both hands) and four fundamental punches: jab, straight, hook, and uppercut. In Muay Thai, however, there are an infinite number of combinations of strikes since there are so many choices available to you.

Adding knees and elbows to the fights adds a lot more to this sport, and even those who have trained their whole lives continue to learn new skills and tactics. This is why Muay Thai is a great martial art, as you are continuously improving and learning new methods.

However, knowing all the techniques is only the beginning, you must also understand how to apply them against opponents who fight back. It will take many years of practice before you can perform all of your techniques under pressure with speed and precision.

Developing a high fighting IQ needs many years of optimizing the effectiveness of each of your eight limbs through the development of tactics.

Remember that mastering a defense against your opponent’s eight limbs is equally as challenging as learning to control your limbs.

There are about nine elbow strikes, four major punches, twelve kicks, and six knee strikes, however, there are an infinite number of variations for each strike, depending on where you strike, whether you spin as you hit, and whatever combination you employ.

In addition to the approximately 31 attacks, students must learn footwork, evasive blocking/parrying, catching their opponent’s kicks, and grappling. You can see how quickly it becomes an intricate and difficult to learn sport!


Muay Thai is one of the hardest fighting styles to learn, with even masters of the sport always striving to be better and to learn new skills. To become a grandmaster, you need at least 30 years of experience learning Muay Thai. 

While this is a very big commitment, Muay Thai continues to be a very popular choice of fighting sport to learn, and it is said that while building your skills is difficult, learning the basics is somewhat easy.

If you are interested, you should at least try to give Muay Thai a go as it is an excellent way to keep fit and build up body strength.

Christopher Anderson
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