Martial arts come in a wide number of varieties. Judo, wrestling, and Jiu-Jitsu are grappling arts that involve throws, locks and chokes while Karate and boxing involve strikes such as kicks and punches. Another striking martial art is Muay Thai.
What is Muay Thai
Muay Thai is the national sport of Thailand and is also called Thai boxing. This is a striking art that uses ten “weapons” – two feet, two knees, two elbows, two shins and two hands. Muay Thai practitioners train like western boxers and use punch bags, speed balls, jump ropes and spar, but they also do some very traditional forms of training like conditioning their shin bones by kicking hard objects. This results in thickening and strengthening of the bones which makes them more effective weapons.
Also, because a hard kick to the thigh can drop even the toughest fighter to the mat, Muay Thai fighters also do conditioning exercises that involve receiving lots of leg strikes so they become accustomed to kicks to the leg. Muay Thai is a tough sport that breeds tough fighters but if all the traditional conditioning work sounds too much for you, you could also consider any other form of kickboxing or MMA which offer similar benefits with less pain! If you’re in Brisbane, check out the range of programs at Arena Fitness to find the best one for you!
Benefits of Muay Thai
Like Western boxing, Muay Thai develops a high level of fitness, endurance, power and strength. This often translates to improved self-discipline and confidence as well as determination. Muay Thai training is also a supreme calorie burner that can lead to weight loss and weight management and an hour of Muay Thai can burn upward of 600 calories. Like boxers, many Muay Thai fighters have impressively low levels of body fat and are strong and muscular.
Muay Thai training is very diverse and involves a lot of different training methods – many of which are also part of Western boxing-style training. This makes Muay Thai an interesting martial art to practice. However, Muay Thai is not a great form of self-defense, mainly because it is a sport governed by rules. Additionally, high and flamboyant kicks can work in the ring or in movies but can leave you exposed to a devastating counter-attack if they are unsuccessful.
Muay Thai in MMA
MMA involves striking and as a striking art, Muay Thai offers some benefits to MMA fighters. The powerful kicks and knee strikes combined with punches and elbow strikes mean that Muay Thai provides many skills useful in MMA. However, MMA fighters also need to know how to grapple as very few MMA bouts are decided from punches and kicks alone; Muay Thai involves no real groundwork. The tough nature of Muay Thai will help MMA fighters develop both mental and physical strength and determination too.
Safety in Muay Thai
While Muay Thai fighters are very well trained, fit and strong, being kicked or punched is far from good for your health! Cuts, bruises, and broken bones are all too common in Muay Thai, especially as very little protective equipment is used. The training itself can be very grueling too – shin and leg conditioning exercises as well as the being repeatedly struck in the abdomen, a traditional core strengthening strategy in Muay Thai, are especially painful.
For these reasons, Muay Thai is one of the toughest martial arts around and is something that only the very serious fighter should consider. For many, the risks far outweigh the benefits although Muay Thai is certainly not without its rewards.
Alternatives to Muay Thai
If you like the sound of Muay Thai but have concerns over safety, have no real desire to fight or simply want to practice a martial art for its fitness benefits, Arena MMA’s non-contact classes maybe just what you are looking for.
Led by qualified, experienced instructors who will put your enjoyment and safety first, these workouts are designed to deliver all the results you want with none of the risks. You will learn many of the techniques of Muay Thai by using pads and punch bags rather than sparring with an opponent. This provides a great introduction to the classical martial art of Muay Thai and is suitable for men and women of all ages. There are also classes for kids aged four or more.
And even better, you can come to Arena MMA in Springwood or any of our other locations and try out a Muay Thai class for free!