Muay Thai is arguably the most complete striking-based martial art since it allows you to use your fists, elbows, knees, and shin as weapons. Muay Thai students also learn how to fight in the clinch, including how to land strikes from there. They also learn how to throw opponents from the clinch and defend against throws.
With so much information to take in when you start, there’s a good chance you’ll make some mistakes along the way. This article will closely examine some of the most common mistakes new Muay Thai students make.
Ten Mistakes Beginner Muay Thai Students Make
Let’s jump right into our list of common mistakes so you can start correcting them:
1) Not Getting The Right Training Gear
Your training gear will be your best asset throughout your Muay Thai journey. Invest in high-quality gear unless you only plan to go through a couple of training sessions. In that case, you might as well just use whatever gear the gym has available.
Some of the essential items you should pick up if you’re serious about progressing through the ranks as a Muay Thai fighter include:
- 16 oz boxing gloves;
- Shin guards;
- Groin guard;
- A custom mouthguard, and;
- Elbow and knee pads.
2) Taking Sparring Too Seriously
Muay Thai trainers typically recommend sparring regularly, and your aim should be to improve your technique, not win sparring matches. It’s often best to talk to your sparring partner before sparring to discuss what you want to work on and to ensure it goes smoothly. Never throw full-force strikes at your sparring partners unless you both agree to go hard.
Sparring allows you to practice your techniques on a resisting opponent, so there’s no need to go full force unless you’re trying to simulate a real Muay Thai match. For the most part, you and your training partners should simply be touching each other with your strikes, so you know which moves work for you and which ones don’t.
You and your training partners will often have different goals you’re working on, so be a good sparring partner and don’t get overzealous. For example, a sparring partner might have an upcoming fight, so ease up on the intensity of your strikes. You don’t want to be the person everyone in the gym avoids during sparring sessions because you’re known to be reckless.
3) Forgetting To Breathe
It’s common for people participating in combat sports to forget to breathe during sparring matches or bouts. They become so focused on the fight and overwhelmed by adrenaline that they hold their breath without even realizing it.
A straightforward way to remind your body to breathe when sparring or fighting is by exhaling whenever you throw a strike. Do it every time you train, like working on a heavy bag, shadow boxing, or using focus mitts. Soon it’ll be part of your muscle memory, so you’ll do it automatically during your fights.
Some trainers teach their students to make a sound whenever they throw a strike to remind them to breathe. You’ve probably seen Karate fighters going “kia” whenever they throw a strike. Making a sound forces you to exhale air, which in turn causes your body to breathe.
4) Whipping Your Kicks
Many martial arts like Karate, Tae Kwon Do, and Savate teach students to throw their kicks like a whip. This way of kicking leads to a faster but less powerful kick. Your thigh is extended towards your opponent, and your foot comes out fast like a whip.
However, Muay Thai teaches a different style of kicking that involves using your legs like a baseball bat. The proper way to throw a Muay Thai kick is to extend your entire leg towards your opponent and rotate your legs towards them as if you’re trying to slice through their body. Many Muay Thai instructors even teach students to visualize their leg going through their opponent.
Muay Thai fighters also rotate their hips and dig their feet into the ground as they throw their kicks, making it even more powerful.
5) Not Training Consistently
As with any new thing, consistency is needed for growth. You can’t show up for Muay Thai classes once every other week and expect to see significant improvements. Figure out how much time you have to dedicate to your training and stick to your training schedule. The more consistent you are, the faster you will progress through the ranks.
6) Not Kicking With Your Shins
Martial arts like Karate teach students to make contact with their feet when kicking a target, but Muay Thai teaches students to land with their shins. The shin is one of the hardest parts of the leg, so connecting with it delivers a more significant impact.
7) Throwing Knees Upward In The Clinch
It almost feels natural to throw knees directly up towards your opponent when you’re in the clinch, but that limits the power and effectiveness of your kicks. Seasoned Muay Thai players typically move their knee outward before bringing it in toward their opponents. This leads to a more powerful knee that’s harder for your opponent to block.
8) Not Checking Kicks
Checking kicks is one of the most challenging things for new Muay Thai fighters, even though it’s very easy to do. You’re going to be defending against kicks a lot when training Muay Thai, so you might as well be good at defending against them.
Allow your opponent to kick at your legs without consequences, and your mobility will be limited after only a few kicks. Instead, check kicks by turning the leg being attacked in the direction the kick is coming from and raise your foot off the ground. When done correctly, checking a kick forces your opponent to absorb most of the strike’s impact.
9) Not Conditioning Your Shins
Remember, Muay Thai teaches you to land kicks with your shin, so you want them to be as strong as possible. Kick someone in the head without strengthening your shin, and you’ll probably bear the brunt of the impact. An easy way to condition your shin is by performing leg kick drills with a training partner. You both alternate between throwing low kicks and checking them.
10) Not Taking Your Cardio Training Seriously
You’ll need good cardiovascular endurance to take your Muay Thai game to the next level. Throwing kicks uses much more energy than throwing punches, so Muay Thai fighters need to be in excellent shape to throw kicks for extended periods. Muay Thai fighters typically run and jump rope regularly to ensure they have the endurance needed to complete a match.
Learn Muay Thai Fundamentals From World Champions
If you are looking to perfect your Muay Thai fundamentals, consider Evolve University’s Muay Thai Fundamentals Master Course, an in-depth online video Master Course taught by the legendary Muay Thai World Champions from Evolve MMA.
In Muay Thai Fundamentals, you will uncover common mistakes and bad habits in your Muay Thai techniques. You can also brush up on your fundamental techniques and ensure you are well-learned in the “Art of Eight Limbs”. No detail is spared as Evolve MMA’s Muay Thai World Champions break down every aspect of Muay Thai, teaching the vital details behind the Muay Thai stance, footwork, kicks, punches, elbows, knees, defense, and more.
Packed with over 8 hours of on-demand video content structured into 13 instructional chapters, Evolve University’s Muay Thai Fundamentals Master Course is the ultimate guide to a strong foundation in Muay Thai.
Get Muay Thai Fundamentals Today!