A Muay Thai fight can last up to 15 minutes and will typically be fought at a very fast pace, particularly in the later rounds. To prepare for this Muay Thai fighters train hard, typically six hours a day, six days a week.
This type of schedule might sound intimidating, and would certainly be impossible for anyone with a full time job, but if you are able to dedicate yourself to the sport, be it for a week, a month or a year, you will find it surprisingly easy.
The first session of the day will probably start at around 7am. You will work on your cardio with a combination of running, skipping and jumping up and down on a rubber tyre. This will typically be followed by a few rounds of hitting a bag and a few rounds of working with a trainer who will hold pads for you and tell you what strike to throw and when to throw it.
This will be followed by either sparring or clinching. Sparring is the process when two fighters have a mock fight and is essential preparation for a real Muay Thai fight and a great opportunity to put the skills you have learned into practise without any real risk of injury. Unlike in a real fight in sparring you will normally wear shin protection and you will only throw strikes with 25% of your power, enough to demonstrate effectiveness without injuring your opponent.
Clinching is virtually unique to Muay Thai and occurs when two fighters come together and grapple with one another at the same time as throwing strikes, typically with the knees or elbows. It is an important element of Muay Thai and fighters will practice clinching at least two or three times a week. Although elbows are one of the the key weapons in Muay Thai you should not normally use them when training with a partner due to the risk of injury.
After the morning session you should eat, it is important to pay attention to your diet when you are training hard, and then grab a few hours sleep before the afternoon session begins. The afternoon training will typically kick off at 4pm and will follow a similar format to the morning session, although different gyms have different ideas, some may only spar in the afternoon, others may focus more on running and skipping in the morning.
There will also be strength and conditioning work, which will typically be in the format of sit ups or press ups, these can either be done at the end of a session or between rounds during the session itself.
If you have just arrive in Thailand and are not familiar with the temperature you should allow yourself a few days to acclimatize before you start training at 100%. Make sure you drink plenty of water and wear suitable clothing and sun tan cream if you are going running in the heat of the day.
Whether you want to have a professional fight, for which you can expect to receive between 3000 and 6000 Baht in Phuket, or simply to lose weight and get in shape training Muay Thai will allow you to achieve your goals in the fastest possible period of time.
James Goyder – Muay Thai Phuket Magazine – www.mtpmagazine.com