Muay Thai is known as the national sport of Thailand, it literally translates to ‘Thai Boxing’.
It is a modern combat sport which is grounded in military roots dating back to the 13th century, during the time of the Sukhothai Kingdom.
Our modern conception of Muay Thai was formalized during the early portion of the 20th century.
It involves two competitors in a ring, engaging in kicks, punches, sweeps, and throws.
Like with all martial arts, learning Muay Thai can take a long time, but with perseverance, you can make significant progress.
Below, we take a look at some of the different factors involved in learning Muay Thai.
How Long Does It Take To Learn The Basics Of Muay Thai?
If you are a novice to the sport, learning Muay Thai may take anywhere from 3 – 6 months. It is, however, dependent on the person.
By the end of the 6th month, you should have learned all of the basics, such as strategy, techniques and fitness.
Whilst you will in no way be an expert, you will be able to spar and work with a partner.
You will also be in a position to instruct others on many of the fundamentals.
Some of the things you will have learned at the end of the beginner stage include:
- Basic Stance – This will be integral in improving the quality of your strikes.
- Basic punches – Boxing is a large part of the sport, so you will need to spend a lot of time going over the proper punching technique.
- Basic kicks – You will be instructed primarily on how to deliver a roundhouse and front kick, which are signature moves in Muay Thai.
How Long Until I Am Good At Muay Thai?
Following on from the basics, there is the competency stage. This normally occurs after 3 years and experience in the ring.
In Thailand, Muay Thai practitioners often participate in hundreds of fights during this stage.
It is recommended, however, that you wait at least one year until entering a professional fight.
It is easy to consider yourself as being more skilled than you are and then find yourself in trouble when facing a more experienced opponent.
After the competency stage, you enter the realm of expertise. This will traditionally take 7-10 years and will require high skill levels in the ring.
After 15 years of experience, you will be considered a master.
The master of Muay Thai will be the point of contact for experts to reach out to when they want to learn more about the sport.
After the master stage, there is the grandmaster, who, after 30 years of training, is qualified to teach masters.
An example of a grandmaster would be Thohsaphol Sitiwatjana, arguably the most famous and proficient Muay Thai instructor in the world.
Does Muay Thai Have Black Belt?
Unlike other martial arts, Muay Thai does not have a color grading system.
However, it has been speculated that if it were to have a belting system, it would take around 10 years to achieve a black belt in Muay Thai.
This figure is based on the complicated nature of the techniques and the sheer volume of things to learn.
How Often Should I Train?
How often you should train is based on a mixture of your lifestyle and how much time you are willing to dedicate to the sport.
If you are a complete novice to martial arts, once a week is recommended by experts. It is best to start at this frequency as it is such a taxing sport.
This is especially if you are someone who is not used to working out as Muay Thai can burn up to 600 calories per hour.
It also harnesses all of the major muscle groups in your body, and so those who are new to physical training may need longer rest periods.
If you are someone who has trained in some form of martial arts before, then it is recommended that you attend classes 2-4 times a week.
This is because you will have already built up your strength and endurance.
Why Is Muay Thai So Difficult To Learn?
Muay Thai is a sport known for its demanding nature, it takes a great deal of dedication and perseverance.
It involves employing eight different limbs to fight. You will also have to consider all of the clinching, sweeps, and throws.
Don’t be discouraged, however, as you will likely have mastered all of the basics by the end of month 6.
The difficult part in learning Muay Thai comes when you must face opponents in the ring.
Some describe learning the moves in Muay Thai as learning each of the different pieces on a chessboard.
Even though you have an understanding of how each different piece works, using those to beat your opponent is a completely different scenario.
You have to be able to think logically and utilise your knowledge in a pressurized situation.
Ways To Improve Quickly
- Flexibility and strength: If you start out with a good basis for training, you will be able to execute the moves more skillfully. Consider going to the gym and start building some muscle mass.
- Study: If you want to improve your Muay Thai IQ, consider watching some fights on YouTube with professionals.
- Private classes: If this is an option for you financially, you can focus on your progress on a 1-2-1 basis with a professional.
- Dedication: Muay Thai requires high levels of dedication, meaning you might have to make sacrifices in other areas of your life.
Learning a new martial art should always be enjoyable.
Although it can take a while to become competent in the sport, the journey is incredibly rewarding.
Who knows? Maybe one day you might even become a master.