After training for any length of time in Muay Thai, you will get hit at some point. Whether by a punch, elbow, knee, or kick, you will find yourself wearing strikes during practice or sparring. Some strikes may be harder than others, but for a novice, it can feel quite surprising to take your first hits. As you continue to train, you naturally begin to adapt and adjust to the strikes and often become more immune to them as they land on your body.
Whether you want to be a fighter or not, getting used to being hit in the sport of Muay Thai is an important skill for which you need to train. Obviously, the goal would be not to get hit, but Muay Thai is not often a one-sided sport (unless you are solely training on a bag). As such, working on this skill is important. Here are a few ways to help yourself get used to being hit in Muay Thai.
1) Train With Good Partners
Obviously, it’s always ideal to train with good partners, but for this skill, it can be even more important. If you are getting hit hard all the time, it can create some bad habits. You might find yourself overreacting to strikes or flinching when the strike is being thrown. These are habits that will eventually get you in trouble, so it’s best not to make them in the first place.
Finding a good partner who can escalate slowly over time is a great way to begin getting used to being hit. If they have good control and can push you just a little bit each time you train, pausing and backing down a little when you seem to be reacting poorly, then you will have quality training sessions that allow for you to get used to getting hit without getting hit too hard or making those bad habits.
If you have a regular training partner, you might find a similar back-and-forth as you drill and spar. This allows for both of you to get good training as you learn to control your power and control your response to getting hit.
Good communication can solve so many problems. Learning to ask your partner to go a little lighter, or as you progress to hit just a little bit harder, will help you to maximize your time in the gym. Learning to state exactly what you need from your partner can be difficult at first, but once you overcome this hurdle, you will learn that expressing your needs is the best way to leave every training session feeling like you made some progress.
3) Drill Body Shots And Leg Shots
Not much can replace the importance of exposure and repetitions. When it comes to getting hit, this is no different. Taking time to take hard body shots or leg kicks in a controlled drilling environment will certainly harden your body and mind to the idea of getting hit. Here are some ways to do this:
- Leg Kicks: Have your partner land 10 leg kicks, then return the favor. Be sure to communicate if the kicks seem too hard at first. Working up over time, you will be able to take harder and harder kicks.
- Body Shots: Put your hands on your head and let your partner land 10 body shots. Return the favor. This is an exercise in breathing as well. Ensuring you are tightening your core will help you to be able to take the hits more effortlessly.
4) Playful Games
Being playful is key when learning difficult or challenging things. Finding some fun ways to strike with your partner will allow you to get used to getting hit in a good environment of learning and playfulness.
- Leg Kick Tag: This game is a one-for-one game. You get one try to kick your partner (they can defend), and then they get one try to hit you. The play continues for a 2 to 3-minute round, back and forth. The goal is to kick your partner and avoid getting kicked. This makes for a fun round, typically filled with some hard leg kicks. The playfulness of the game helps you to overlook the power in the leg kicks as you laugh and try to tag your partner back.
- Body Tag: This game has the same idea. It is played one-for-one with the goal of punching your partner in the body. As soon as you throw your strike, your partner gets to throw one right back at you. Try to avoid getting hit while also striking your partner in return.
Keeping things playful typically lends to great learning. When you are laughing and playing, you will find it easier to avoid getting upset by getting hit. You will be able to condition your body to strikes while having fun with your partner.
While it’s entirely possible (and advisable) to condition your body and legs to strikes in order to get used to being hit, it is important to keep in mind that conditioning your head is not wise. Trauma to the brain is to avoided at all costs in martial arts, as this can have lasting, life-long complications, and even end your time training in the sport. While you will inevitably get hit in the head at times, taking hits to the head on purpose is never advisable in training.
Getting Used To Being Hit In Muay Thai
Muay Thai is an incredibly fun sport to train, but it does come with getting hit. With some simple additions to your game, such as picking good training partners, communicating with your partners, doing conditioning drills, and adding in playful drills as well, you will find yourself elevating your capacity for getting hit a little each week.
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