20 Tips for Muay Thai Newbies

Muay Thai Profile

This picture, taken three years after I started training; my cheeks still look chubby, and it reminds me of being new to the sport πŸ™‚

Do you remember all your fears about the first day of a new high school or college? Worrying if you could find the right class room, wondering if you were overdressed, under-dressed, or had even picked the right image to present yourself to your new classmates. Always checking your schedule, trying to figure out where to sit, trying to decide if you should raise your hand or not in class. Looking around the room and wondering who would be a good person to talk to and become friends with, wondering if you were cool enough to be their friend. Well thank God that’s over for me, and for most of you, but I like to remember that feeling because it can be a little like the first day of school for people when they walk into a Muay Thai gym for the first time.

If you have been in the fight scene for a while, you forget what it was like when you first started. For a newbie, instructors, fighters, and other students are intimidating. Muay Thai traditions are completely foreign. You don’t know a Thai pad from a kick pad, Thai oil smells funny, three minutes of jump rope feels like an eternity, and you have no idea how to take 180 inches of fabric and somehow with what seems like 37 different twists and turns, wrap it neatly around your hand without either cutting off your circulation or having the whole wrap fall apart after the warm-up.

At my gym, I try to make beginners feel comfortable and explain to them all the things they will need to know before they move on to the mixed level classes, but I will probably always fall short. It’s so hard to remember all the things beginners don’t know because it’s been so long since I was one.

I am always grateful when a student asks me a question that is very obvious to me, but they couldn’t possibly know without being told. It gives me a chance to share with them my experience and pass on knowledge that was passed down to me in a true tradition of martial arts. This blog is for all the teachers like myself that need reminding how little we knew in the beginning and for all the Muay Thai newbies who just started training or are curious about starting. These Tips for Muay Thai Beginners are for those who I assume care about getting better at Muay Thai. if you are training just to get a ripped body you might want to consider other less technical means like those of boot camps or cardio kickboxing. Just my two cents.

1. You don’t need to be in shape to start training Muay Thai. MuayThai is a skill based sport. If you focus on the techniques you are being taught, drill them with focus and patience you will naturally get more conditioned as you practice, being able to do things faster and harder as you get better. If you are gassing out on the first round of pad work try going lighter, it will help you focus on your technique anyway. Sure the warm ups and the conditioning drills will be challenging at first, but you probably signed up to be challenged and improve your fitness. Besides, your instructor and the other students know you are new. No one expects you to be in top shape coming in and no one will make you feel bad if you aren’t. If you feel genuinely uncomfortable in class find a gym that makes you feel welcome. There are many different types of Muay Thai gyms with different vibes and gym cultures. If you are lucky enough to live in a large urban area you should have a variety of gyms to choose from.

2. Expect to Suck at First. Every great fighter sucked at some point. My first coach used to say, “If it was easy everyone would do it.” I tell this to my students all the time. Learning how to use your body as a weapon in a rule-based sport is not an easy task. Instead of getting frustrated by not being able to do a strike or combination perfectly, get FASCINATED by the sport and use that drive and passion to focus your practice. Sure there are always those students who pick it up faster and look like a pro on the pads in a few months, but that is rare and usually that “natural athlete” is just an average person that wanted it more and spent more time working at it. If something was earned through hard effort and rigorous practice it is appreciated much more and that journey from sucky to awesome will stay with you forever.

3. Watch Fights. There is actually science behind this. You will improve at your sport by watching other people play that sport. If you are not an avid fight watcher and don’t know where to start ask your instructor for the names of their favorite fighters past and present.Β  They will be happy to share them with you and you can get started on your YouTube education right away.

4. Shadow box and mean it. I know shadow boxing sucks in the beginning. It’s one of the things I distinctly remember. I hated it. I felt stupid, didn’t know what combos to do and just wanted to hit something solid. I may not absolutely love shadow boxing even today, but I understand it’s benefit and see it’s results. Shadow boxing gives you the opportunity to practice strikes, footwork and new combos with precision, by slowing it down, checking your work in the mirror, fixing mistakes and then speeding it up. To get better it’s very important that you drill things the right way in shadow boxing and not be sloppy. My pet peeve is bad shadow boxing footwork like crossing your feet or students dropping their hands randomly just because they are bored during shadow boxing. Try working on a combo you did in your last class during shadow boxing or focus on a particular element of your game like keeping your left hand up or extending your hips on the knee. If you don’t know what to work on in shadow boxing, ask your instructor for suggestions.

5. It’s okay to stick to the basics. If your gym has mixed level classes chances are there will be days when the class format calls for some advanced footwork or a long combination.Β  Don’t get overwhelmed, tell your partner or pad holder you just want to focus on the first strike or two to make things easier since you are new. They will understand. If you are working the bag, take your time and think about your cues and instructor’s suggestions before each strike. Don’t just drill the strikes incorrectly over and over because you are trying to get a workout. Take the complex and break it into small pieces, putting them together one at a time paying particular attention to the transitions. If you stick to the basics in the beginning and refine them, before you know it a 6 strike combo will not be so confusing.

6. Come early, stay late and ask questions.Β  Remember that kid in school who was always in class before you, they always raised their hand and had something to say and when class was over they stayed late to ask the teacher to elaborate on a particular lecture point.Β  Yeah that kid was a nerd, but that kid also went on to run a fortune 500 company, discover a new gene or write a best selling novel and probably earns more a year than the kid that showed up late, closed their book as soon as the bell rang and never participated. Want to be good at Muay Thai?Β  Be a fight nerd. Get fascinated by the sport, do extra work, take advantage of open gym, ask your instructor lots of questions, no one will think it’s weird. Every great Muay Thai fighter had been obsessed with the sport. The only way to get good is to care too much and put in work.

7. Your shins will hurt. You will get bumps and bruises. There is no way around this, but there is an end in sight. You don’t need to go kicking trees and hitting yourself with bamboo to make your shins hard. There are a lot of strange “wives tales” when it comes to shin conditioning.Β  My take on it is this: 1) Kick the heavy bag often. 2) When you do get a bump, bruise, or pain of practically any kind on your leg, shin, or foot ice it. 3) Rub out your shins andΒ legs with Thai oil before training. Massage out the bumps and bruises (yes this will hurt a little, but nothing worth having comes easy, remember?). I was not gifted with hard shins. There was a bunch of soft tissue on the top of my shin that gave me grief in the beginning. My legs were always so bruised that my Thai coaches used to point at me, laugh and call me a “leopard”. Only their English was hard for me to understand and I thought they were calling me a leper. During my first 2-4 years of training I came home from the gym and put packs of frozen peas on me from my feet to my knees for 30 minutes while eating dinner and watching TV. Then magically, one day my shins didn’t really bruise much anymore and when I caught the occasional knee or elbow to the shin in sparring, I was pretty much okay. For more on this see my Muay Thai injuries blog.

8. Don’t buy cheap gear. Invest in some quality equipment. I can understand why at first you might buy a cheap pair of gloves because you are not sure if Muay Thai is for you. But once you have been training for a bit and want to take it seriously you’ll want gear that lasts and is protective. With most gear the price indicates quality. So yeah, that $50 pair of gloves will wear out much sooner than the $100 pair. With most brands you really are getting your money’s worth. As far as style and brand, that’s a personal choice. Ask your instructor, fighters, or advanced students at your gym what they like and read online reviews… and for God’s sake do not buy cheap headgear and mouth guards.

9. You don’t have to fight. You don’t even have to spar. No one is going to think any less of you if you don’t want to. Crazy people like training that involves getting punched in the face. Fighters are insane, we acknowledge this and don’t think any less of people that want no part of it. Sparring will definitely improve your Muay Thai, but it’s not necessary to being a welcome contribution to your gym. If your gym insists on everyone sparring or pressures you to spar too early in your training, just find one that doesn’t, they do exist.

10. Be a good partner. Learn to hold pads well. Not only will being a good pad holder make your fellow students appreciate you but it will also make you stronger. You don’t have to think of exciting flashy combos to call out for your partner. Some of the world’s best pad holders keep it straightforward and basic. Just call basic punches kicks and knees, keep the pace up, work on your footwork while holding and hold pads with a good amount of resistance. Communicate with your partner about the right height, angle, and resistance of the pads. They will be grateful for your thoughtfulness.

11. Don’t forget to breathe!Β  Breathe out when you strike, breathe out when you hold pads, pushing against your partners strikes and breathe out when you get hit in sparring. You don’t have to make funny grunting noises if you don’t want to, but at least breathe out and tightly flex your abdominal wall.Β  My first coach told me to say “hush” when I strike.Β  It helps your power in a big way, and ’til this day I still make kinda funny “hush” noises all the time.

12. Don’t expect to get proficient at Muay Thai training just once a week. If you want to get decentΒ at the sport, start training three days a week. If you want to get good at Muay Thai, train five to six days a week. If you want to be great, get so obsessed with Muay Thai that at least once you get asked to stop training because the gym is closing.

13. Only real men wear pink. You don’t need tons of flashy Muay Thai outfits to get good at Muay Thai, but eventually you’ll probably want to buy a couple pairs of Muay Thai shorts to train in. You can’t get them at local stores. You may find them at fight events or at your gym’s retail store but most likely you will want to get some online. Here are some things to note about purchasing Thai shorts. 1) Most of the cool designed shorts ship from Thailand, they will take forever to get to you, be patient 2) Thai sizes are different than American sizes, they run about 1-2 sizes up and are unisex. For example I wear a Thai “large” but am a size 6-7 in women’s. Most averaged sized guys will wear an XL. Check and re-check the sizing charts on the website you order from to see if you are ordering Thai or American sizes. 3) Most fighters fold their Thai shorts over at the top, but not all do. It’s just a matter of preference. 4) Only bad-ass fighters wear pink. Until you can throw down in the gym and at least school a few of your teammates don’t get the pink shorts. In Muay Thai you have to earn the right to wear pink.Β  I’m not exactly sure if this applies to women, but just to be safe I didn’t wear pink until I felt bad-ass too πŸ˜‰

14. Stand up straight and do your rows. While an awesome workout, Muay Thai is not great for your posture. Coupled with a desk job and our faces in a smartphone all day you got yourself a recipe for a hunchback. If you don’t want to look like an osteoporosis-ridden eighty-year-old, then make posture a priority and do some other functional training besides Muay Thai. At my gym Function 5 Fitness we like the Concept2 rower, TRX or gymnastic ring rows, kettlebells and lots of recovery and mobility exercises. At the very least do way more rowing exercises than you think you need and chill on those push ups and your bench pressing, those will only make the hunch back worse and you’ll probably end up with some sort of shoulder injury down the road.

15. Support your team. To get the most out of your Muay Thai gym you have to be a part of the community. Go to your gyms events, parties, and especially go see your gym’s fighters compete. One of the best parts of Muay Thai is the community. If you just come to your 2-3 hours of class every week and keep to yourself you are missing a vital part of the experience.

16. No one likes a gym hopper. There is nothing wrong with checking out a few gyms when you decide to start training Muay Thai, that is a great idea, and I encourage it. You will find the right gym for you if you look around. There is also nothing wrong with changing gyms if your needs change or training at two gyms because you are bi-coastal, but “gym hopping” is not doing you any favors. As a beginner and even as an amateur fighter it is important to have a home, a team and one head coach you listen to. If you just pay drop in fees at various places and jump from gym to gym you will not make the improvements you could if you committed to one style and system, staying and training long enough with someone to actually work on your weaknesses. Learning a variety of different styles and approaches won’t help you in the beginning, it will only confuse you. Have the courage to trust one team and learn from them, if you need to move on later you can. Professional fighters may utilize different training partners and coaches, but those are professional athletes that have already honed their style and skills at a high level, that is entirely different.

17. Offer to help. I’m not the most traditional of coaches. I don’t ask students to Wai (bow) to me every time they see me. “Yes, sir!” or “No, sir!” just feels too formal to me. But I do want to believe that the classic martial arts concepts of respect, honor, and gratitude still exist. I believe that respect is earned and through my teaching students will respect me just as through their hard work I will respect them. One way to show your instructor you appreciate their time and dedication to your Muay Thai education is to offer to help with stuff. It could be as simple as mopping the floors after class or helping a new student wrap their hands. If you have a skill like design, baking, or music you can offer to help with a new logo, bring cookies to a gym party, or offer to DJ an event. Muay Thai coaches don’t teach because it makes the big bucks, we teach because we love it and when our students recognize that by offering their help be it big or small it makes us feel like a million bucks.

18. Invest in private lessons. Group classes are excellent but ask any great fighter how they got great, and they will tell you they had one on one coaching as well as team training. Even if you can’t afford privates every week, getting a private lesson once a month would do wonders for your progress. There is only so much individual instruction teachers can give in a class setting. Don’t think that private lessons are just for fighters or advanced students, anyone can benefit from them.

19. Don’t go on the mat with dirty feet. Anyone that goes to my gym knows this is a major pet peeve of mine. But let’s think about this: The mat should be a clean sacred place where Muay Thai magic happens. We all know to take our shoes off before going on the mat. Some schools make you Wai each time you enter the mat. In what world would it be okay to go to the bathroom (the dirtiest place in the gym) barefoot and then walk on the mat? I actually witnessed a girl one time run outside to get her gloves from her car with no shoes on and then walk back on the mat like it was nothing. I think my staff had to physically restrain me from strangling her. Okay, so I might be a little OCD, but really, you wouldn’t want to do push ups and stretching on a mat that someone just stepped on with their pee-infused or Los Angeles dirt-encrusted feet. Eww. Seriously, that’s so gross. If your gym doesn’t care about this sort of thing I question their sanitary practices in all other areas.

20. Get regular massages or chiropractic work. It’s unrealistic to think that you can train your body hard day after day and not give it some TLC. Don’t set yourself up for injury by ignoring this last tip. When you train in Muay Thai you are hitting things HARD and there is a lot of resistance coming back at you from that bag, pad (or person). If you spar you’ll be jacking up your alignment on a regular basis. A little monthly maintenance will go a long way to ensuring you train healthy & fit for a long time.

I could probably think of 10 more tips for newbies, but “Top Tips Lists” over 20 annoy me, so I’ll stop there. But for you, Muay Thai coaches please free to leave your top tips I didn’t mention in the comments. I’d love to read them.

– Roxy

  • Thanks for this, Roxy! I just started Muay Thai classes/lessons this June and am loving it. You actually inspired me to try it at the RKC cert!

    • That’s awesome Kari! Isn’t punching stuff fun? So glad I helped get another strong female into Muay Thai – it changed my life πŸ™‚

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  • fion

    Hi, i am taking up muay thai in awhile soon and im a girl. may i know if i have to wear something else before wearing the boxing shorts? or just boxing shorts alone is fine? cheers!

  • greg

    Thanks for all the excellent tips Roxy! I am 44 yr old and was nervous but I was lucky enough to find a great gym with friendly, helpful people and coaches.

  • Muay Thai newbie

    What would be a good size in Muay Thai boxing gloves for women for training and sparring? I’m 5’3″, 110 lbs with small hands. I was thinking Twins Special in 12oz for training and 14oz for sparring? Any help would be appreciated thank you!

    • For yr weight I would train in 10 oz for bag/pad work and spar 12 oz, I would not buy Twins they are bulky. Fairtex or Ringside would be a better choice. But glove style is always a personal preference.

  • Gabriel

    I haven’t trained at all this year due to my work schedule but since that is fixed, I think I will go tomorrow night. Can’t wait.

  • Courtney

    Thank you! I’m going to use your tips for my school project. Also to train for fun. πŸ™‚

  • Gabriel

    After the comment I left I’ve gone to class at least 8 times. The first couple of days were hell but I’m getting used to it all over again. I still hate sparring though and at this place we do it every day unlike my previous gyms.

  • Hayley

    Thanks for such a great (and funny) post! I went to my first Muay Thai session last night, it was awesome and I am trawling the net now for ways to improve what I have already learnt. I am a 30 year old, mum of one and have wanted to do this for some time but have only recently beein in the right situation AND had the guts to go. Now I’ve been I already feel like I have found ‘my thing’. I have no idea what I am doing yet but I want to and reading about strong women such as you is a huge inspiration. Much love from the UK πŸ™‚

    • Thanks for reading! Enjoy your Muay Thai journey πŸ™‚

  • Clive Hanks

    What a great article, so many truths, I’ve just started my Muay Thai journey by visiting Thailand and attending a training camp for three weeks. I’m totally hooked on the lifestyle and art. I look forward to any further articles you may post. My respects. Clive 56 years young. Tasmania Australia

  • Matt

    I just started up again after becoming a daddy x 2 and 4 yrs out I am approx 200lbs & 6ft tall and have 16oz Thai Smai gloves are these too heavy for me ? Old club told me I hit too hard and would do too much damage in lighter gloves. Any advice appreciated, Thanks.

    • Hi Matt, thanks for reading! Depends what you are using the gloves for and if they are quality gloves…there are many styles of gloves and you always want sparing gloves separate from bag/padwork gloves. check out my gym’s blog on this topic for more info: http://f5fitnessblog.com/2013/10/muay-thai-gloves/

  • Anthony Lee Abadeer

    Hey Rox. I’ve done Thai boxing for a little while, on and off stuff. Then I stopped after getting my black belt in taekwondo. I wanna get back into Thai boxing but my parents don’t believe it’s an actual art and that it’s too violent.
    Much help. Angsty 17 year old here
    THANKS. I loved the article by the way

    • Muay Thai is a sport, it was developed for close contact battle combat, so yes when you compete it is violent. In my opinion it is a sport not an “art”, but that doesn’t mean it is any less important to me or has any less impact on helping people grow in life than other combat sports with a more artistic focus. The training teaches you discipline, and gives you focus and for me gave me so much more. Good luck with your parents, I still haven’t convinced my mom that it’s a beautiful, positive thing.

  • Marla

    I have been considering Muay Thai for quite some time, I am 32 years old, and a single mom of a toddler. I read this post, then made the call to a local studio. I had my first class last night, I was instantly addicted. I fared well since I’m already pretty strong and lift weights 3 times a week. Loved this post, gave me some insight and made me feel like I could walk into a room full of men as a newbie and not be intimidated. My instructor said I did exceptional for my first time, can’t wait to go back Monday. Thanks so much!

    • You’re so welcome! Happy to hear you had a good experience! Enjoy your training πŸ™‚ x Roxy

  • Victoria

    Hey Roxy! I read your post because I’ve been interested in Muay Thai for a while but never really had to motivation to start. I haven’t signed up for any lessons yet because I’m still not sure if I want to do this or not. I’m a really tiny 16 year old Asian girl, only 5ft tall and 42kg (roughly 92.5lbs?) but I have always been physically stronger than other girls my age. Sometimes even stronger than some boys my age. I’ve always enjoyed the thrill of fights and I want to get better at it and to stay fit. Do you think, for my age and size, that Muay Thai is suitable for me?

    • Muay Thai is suitable for people of all shapes and sizes – you can enjoy the training no matter your size or strength. Make sure you find a gym where people make you feel comfortable and hopefully there are other students around your size to work with. Best of Luck! πŸ™‚

  • Dan

    Thank you for this blog! I started Muay Thai training about 5 weeks ago (enjoying it immensely). The tips here and throughout the blog have been great for getting my bearing, especially since the class is full of mostly advanced students! – PS thanks for the heads up on RYU compression gear!

    • you’re welcome πŸ™‚ Keep up with the training!

  • Lisa

    Thanks very much for this blog! It is very helpful. I am just starting and even though I have done american style kick-boxing for a few years, I find Muay Thai quite different…and frankly daunting. Being a newbie, not only are you pretty terrible at the actual punches and kicks, you are also a pretty terrible partner. I am looking forward to getting past this awkwardness!

    • thanks for reading, Lisa! stick with it and the awkward stage will pass, promise πŸ™‚

  • Starting in 30 minutes! This article is helping me relax! Thanks!

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  • Adrian

    Any recommendations on which martial arts would be good for me? To get it started I am a caring person but I want to be able to protect myself and others but i also want to learn martial arts to get better at football πŸ˜€ I play lineman where a lot of foot work and hand to hand combinations are key so i was wondering if there is any type of martial arts that could be useful. Also i live in a small town and we recently got a gym, but its an MMA training place so i figure the Teacher would know a few martial arts so basically i was wondering if you could help thank you πŸ˜€
    p.s. I have always been fascinated by martial arts Especially Muay Thai, its just so powerful and also beautiful i have a friend who is training with the gym and he does muay thai so that is where i have seen it πŸ™‚

    • I have only every taken Muay Thai, so I can’t speak to any other martial art. I think Muay Thai is a great sport to cross train in and is a lot of fun too! But You’ll have to try for yourself – thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

      • Adrian

        No problem πŸ™‚ And thank you for replying πŸ™‚ but yes I have always been interested in Muay Thai but i just never had a place to train, the closest place was like 200 miles away or more but thanks and I hope to try out muay thai for keeping in shape and for something to do πŸ™‚

  • Hana

    I have recently started taking Muay Thai classes. I have a few questions I guess (stupid question first :D) I keep seeing people saying either muay thai kickboxing or muay thai boxing; are they two different things or is it the same thing just said two different ways, mainly I want to know because I need gloves for my class and I see boxing AND kickboxing gloves and I dont want to get the completely wrong ones…I got spare ones lent to me from my gym and they had a boxing glove appearance but the thumb was exposed im guessing that is the style I need. Do you have recommendations for gloves maybe too? :))

    • I have a blog up on my gym’s site all about this topic:

      Muay Thai is just Muay Thai , people call is Muay Thai Kickboxing incorrectly so that they can explain what Muay Thai is to people that may not understand. Muay Thai and Kickboxing are different sports however, cause the rules are slight different. (Kickboxing has not elbows and no knees or modified knees depending on the organization… Makes no difference in the gloves though! Boxing gloves are fine for Muay Thai. Just don’t get MMA gloves with the exposed fingers!

      • Hana

        ah thanks so much for your help! πŸ˜€

  • Stu

    I am 57 years old and out of shape -when i was younger i did Hapkido and Kung Fu. Am I too old for a dynamic sport like Muay Thai?

    • Can’t answer that question without a proper in person evaluation of medical history and a physical assessment but I can say at my gym there is one 59 year old student in great shape who enjoys training Muay Thai. Thanks for reading!

  • Alex

    Thanks, this was a great read! Just had my first lesson yesterday and I think I am hooked! I had that “oh my god I am dead but I feel great” rush when I walked home. Thing is, I keep messing up my steps (left, right, really.. I looked like a newborn giraffe..). So I am looking for a descent footwork guide to practice at home.. maybe drawn or something, like in dance classes.. any tips?

    • Thanks for reading and what a great suggestion for a video on footwork tips!
      I’m putting it on my to-do list for new video tutorials. Subscribe to the channel YouTube.Com/Roxyfit for updates πŸ™‚

      • Alex

        Cool! I will do that, looking forward to a video :). (maybe have someone video you footwork from behind so the viewer can really do it together with you.. sometimes doing things mirrored is really confusing if you do it for the first time..haha)

  • crazy helpful… I love you… and I’m absolutely in love with muay thai!
    just bought my 1st pair of gloves; STOKED!
    I’ll definitely setup a private with my coach. thanks.

    • Thanks for reading! Enjoy your training πŸ™‚

  • Matthew

    Hi there I’d first like to say great blog I will take everything into consideration for future classes. I just started yesterday and I liked everything until I spared. Being new to fighting in general I didn’t really know what to expect. My instructor was the one suggested sparing to see how well I pick up on things for my first day. It didn’t go the way I thought it would, my instructor kind of knocked me around a little, not to bad but enough to make me dislike sparing. Do you suggest me talking to him about sparing be uncomfortable or try a different gym? I also have another question, I can’t strike with my leg very high, does it gradually increase after training, or is there some stretches I should be doing? Thank you! and again great blog!

    • I would never have my students spar on their first day. Sparring it something that should be introduced slowly with defense drills after you have got the basic techniques down. IMO that is usually after 3-6 months or so depending on the student. I would try a different gym if there is one in your area that might be a better fit for you. Sparring can be fun, but after you know what your are doing. Thanks for reading and I sincerely hope that your negative experience sparring didn’t turn you off Muay Thai all together, it’s a wonderful sport!

    • Oh also for getting you kicks higher you need to work on your flexibility/mobility. Check out http://www.mobilitywod.com/ for great tips and expert advice.

  • Brianna

    Hey, I’m having my first class tomorrow and I was honestly really nervous up until now (well, I’m still nervous but not so much now!). I wasn’t sure what to expect for tomorrow and this really helped. Being a girl and all, I guess it’s natural to feel intimidated by Muay Thai so it’s great to see a post from another woman!

    • Hope you had fun in your first class! I love it when women start their Muay Thai journey πŸ™‚ Best, x

  • rashad saab

    hi im basically want to learn muay thai for self defence and for being fun too, ive been quite keen onto trying muay thai ,not that i am at being pro at it but how many years will it take me to become semi lethal or just good in muay thai ,just out of curiosity . ( to earn the pink shorts too)

    • Depends on many factors, everyone is different but from my experience coaching the biggest factors are: 1) dedication to training (ie how many grueling hours of work you put in the gym weekly) 2) previous athletic experience 3) Age (it’s easier to learn new things when you are younger) and 4) consistency – anyone can do something dedicated for a week, but can you dedicate yourself fully to it for YEARS. Also, the people I see that get good are the ones that get obsessed with Muay Thai, they LIVE, BREATH, DREAM it… you can’t teach that πŸ˜‰

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  • Butter

    Hey, so I just started taking muay thai class a week ago. When would you suggest a newbie to get their own gloves? My gym provides them but my hands smell like feet after each class and it takes like a solid 15 mins of scrubbing to get the smell out… As of right now I’m loving learning something new, working on techniques and sweating like a mofo (oh and of course hitting stuff is a major plus for stress relief), so I don’t see myself quitting. Just wondering if that’s something you get asked our if I’m just over thinking things. :p

    PS. It looks like I’m way late with the comment but this post was too funny to pass up. That pee on mat thing has been troubling me all week.

    • Roxy Richardson

      Thanks for the comment! So sorry for the late reply, there was an issue with my site, where new comments weren’t being email to me! I suggesting getting your own glove as soon as you know you want to commit to training Muay Thai! At my gym we sanitize our rental gloves after every use, but it doesn’t sound like that is what you’re getting πŸ™

      • Butter

        Wow I remember posting this. Seems like so long ago. Lol on my second pair and still only getting more and more addicted. (PS they sanitize everything but gloves just have a way of holding onto sweat and smelling eventually)

        Have you trained in Thailand? I’m thinking of joining a buddy of mine there for a few weeks but my cardio and endurance is still horrible and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep up there.

        Btw, this is still by far one of the most helpful pieces written to date so kudos to that.

  • Shaun

    Hi, I’ve just booked my first lesson in Muay Thai (Yay!), ive wanted to do it for years, thanks to a little film named Ong Bak. the culture and respect involved in this sport is truly something that inspires me. all i have “learned” (and i use the term “learned” lossley, everything i have taught myself from watching films) is basically the form, and a few blocking and striking techinques, would you say that this is worth a mention to my teacher? and also, are there any tips for increasing mobility and height of kicks? I’m fairly tall, but still find it difficult to kick any higher than the chest.

    PS. thanks so much for the post, and i will be using your tips to help progress myself as a fighter!

    • Roxy Richardson

      Hi Shaun, sorry for the late reply, there was an issue with my site, where new comments weren’t being email to me! πŸ™ I hope you are enjoying Muay Thai and have continued with it! I love when students give me any information about themsleves, as it helps me be a better coach. For mobility I recommend the “coach stretch” and “tactile frog” as well as tigger point therapy with lacross balls in tight points. You can probably find these out with a quick you tube search, but check back to my site for new videos, as you’re given me a great idea and I want to do a video of hip mobility for muay thai soon! πŸ™‚ : http://www.youtube.com/roxyfit

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  • extra gnarly to all

    gym hopper and plenty and mighty proud of all my learnings !

    all the time, it takes, several different specialists and views to make a perfect fighter.
    in thailand they have separate coaches for different areas of development.
    offensive and defensive coaches – special clinch coaches ..
    in college i have different professors of each class- muay thai should be no different.

    have you got the moves to make the next sanchai ??

    • At my gym with have a variety of coaches too, all with their own skills to teach students, but the foundation must be built with a team before you learn every trick in the book also we care for our students as a team, with gym hopping you will not get that family security and rapport that is needed for fighters to excell. In college you are learning different subjects. Muay Thai is ONE sport. Do you have 10 head chefs at a restaurant? No. It takes 1 head chef and a team to make award winning food. Too many cooks spoil the pot. Besides there is something to be said for loyalty and knowing your roots!

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  • Ian Geddes

    Hey great post. Can I ask, I’m heading off around SE Asia for 8 months and I plan to spend at least 1 month learning Muay Thai. I’m a beginner but don’t want to just do a couple of days. However I will be backpacking so I can’t really take loads of gear, do I need to have my own wraps, gloves, groin guard etc? I can take mouth guards.. thanks

    • Hey Ian, Thanks for reading! I would check with the gym you plan on training with. When I travel anywhere I like to have my own gloves, wraps and mouth guard. I usually leave out shin guards cause they are bulky and borrow some at the gym, but every gym will be different, so it’s best to check. You will probably have the option of also buying gear there, but then you can’t take it with you, but also gear is really cheap there, so maybe you can donate it to someone when you leave? πŸ™‚

      • Ian Geddes

        Thanks Roxy, I shall maybe just get some gloves and a few things out there as you say. thanks πŸ™‚

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  • bex

    Hi thank you for tips! I really need your help, I was trying mma at a gym…only six weeks and I started to feel it wasn’t the place for me. The main instructor was very egotistical and put the trainer who I spent a lot of time with down. It didn’t feel right.so I moved gyms and now I feel that they see me as disloyal and a time waster. I love it though I really do and take it seriously. What do I do?

    • If you know you made the right choice for you than don’t worry about what ppl think, although you should make things clear with your coach. I would ask to have a conversation with your current head coach and explain to them why you switched gyms and how you love the new place and how serious you are. If they are good people they will be understanding and also happy that you enjoy training with them. Open communication with any trainer coach situation is always key, bring it up and talk it out πŸ™‚

      • bex

        Thank you so much for getting back to me. Iv been really worried about the bad first impression iv made … I will speak to him tomorrow.
        Thanks again.

  • Biggi

    Wow, I’ve been on the net for hours reading about Muay Thai and whether I should do it or not, until I came across this, it totally convinced me and I’m pretty excited. I would like to ask two questions if you don’t mind:
    1) I actually love boxing, but where I live we only have a Muay Thai gym, do you think I’m going to enjoy Muay Thai considering the fact that I’m not thaaat into kicking? (I’m indifferent really)
    2) My second question is, well, I’m not very flexible, I can’t touch my toes and my cardio isn’t really good, will I struggle during training? This is the only thing putting me off, I’ve been lifting for 3 months and stretching almost daily, but I feel like my conditioning isn’t up to par yet! Should I work on my cardio before starting Muay Thai?
    Thank you so much in advance, you have no idea how much of a difference you’ve made already.

    • It can’t hurt to try kicking, maybe you will find you like it more than you think, if you don’t no, worries, find a boxing gym instead. Your cardio will increase through training so that is not something to be concerned about – the sport gets people in shape, you don’t have to be in shape to start. At my gym there are a few clients with very limited hip and hamstring mobility, (hip mobility is actually more important than hamstring mobility for kicking). These tight individual’s kicks may not be head kicks, but they keep working on it, and it gets better over time, the main thing is they are enjoying themselves and making progress.

      • Biggi

        Thank you for your response, my first day went very well and dare I say, I am actually enjoying kicking lol. It’s nice of you to respond to every comment, I wish you the best with the rest of your Muay Thai fighting πŸ™‚

        • I’m so excited you liked it! Best to you on your Muay Thai journey, thanks for reading! – I’m retired from fighting, but continue to teach πŸ™‚

  • Jezi

    Hi, This Is JZ from the Philippines!! I started trainin 2 days ago! and wooohh my body hurts! but I’m liking it!!! it’s just that I have to adjust more on my Hips!!!! whoooo!!! I just want to thank you for putting up this blog..Because of this I was Inspired to learn the Sport! Loving it! But still losing balance with kicks! any tips with balancing? thanks

    • Awesome! So glad you are loving it πŸ™‚ Balance come with practice. You can simply do some warm up drills where you stand on one leg to block and hold the block, this will improve balance. I’ll put balance drills on my list of videos to make, great idea, thanks!

      • Jezi

        That would be great.. I’ll check out you Balancing drills then.. Is it okay if I train everyday? I mean my body hurts but It would be great if I’ll be used to it. πŸ™‚ isn’t it?

        • Make sure you take 1 day off a week. If you get good sleep and eat well your body can handle 5-6 classes a week, just make sure you listen to your body and take good care of it. Take a day or two off whenever you start to notice a decrease in energy or performance – hope that helps! πŸ™‚

          • Jezi

            oh okay! I’d Better rest then I mean I work 8 hours at night the would probably stay in the gym for 3-4 hours then sleep! But no wonder I get Tired Easily .. thank you!

          • Ouch yeah, that’s no good! make sure you get at least 7 hours sleep a day for good athletic performance. If you don’t sleep enough, working out too much is very bad for your health long term. Take care of your body, it has to last you a lifetime! search, “sleep” in my blog too πŸ˜‰ I have tips!

          • Jezi

            hmmm.. Okay!! Thank you soo much for the Advice!!! I’m also loving your site more and more!! Thank you for being humble and Patient in replying to every comment that we leave. Godbless!! Take Care!!!! I’ll send you update about my progress πŸ™‚

  • Jezi

    any diet for those who have beer bellies? thanks πŸ™‚

    • Just search my blog for “nutrition” – you’ll find lots of helpful info πŸ™‚

      • Jezi

        okay I will.. Hopefully I can Visit your Gym soon and train!!! Looking forward to it!!! πŸ™‚ I have lots of relatives in Los Angeles!

  • matt

    Is it disrespectful to wear my Druang Rang (arm band) outside of class? for instance can i just wear it all the time just causally on my arm?

    • Fighter’s only wear it in the ring, never heard of a fighter wearing them elsewhere. Traditionally it’s made from the fabric of dresses made my the family, wife or girlfriend of a fighter to wish them luck in the fight – but ask your coach what they think, ultimately their opinion on it will matter most.

      • matt

        okay will do. i just got mine and i love the way it looks.. but i don’t want to disrespect to the culture of it. I’ve looked everywhere online and have not seen or read anywhere that you should not wear it and that it meant good luck and protection for the warriors that went to war.. I travel through a-lot of rough places here in the city and come across a-lot of strange people.. makes me feel safe to be honest.

  • Bhavani

    Hi Roxy,

    I had started going for Muay Thai classes earlier this year (only 5 lessons to-date, to be precise) but I had to stop due to my financial constraints. I really love going to that gym for Muay Thai classes and I plan to get back at it again, once I sort out my finances.

    For the time being, what are the things that I can do at home to train myself for Muay Thai and get better at it? You have mentioned shadow boxing in your article so, I can include that to my list.

    Thank you for answering my question!

    • Unless u have a heavy bag installed in yr house there’s not much u can do except shadowbox… But also watching Muay Thai fights can help technique stay fresh in yr mind. You can also just keep in good cardio shape running so when u can come back at least u are feeling fit πŸ™‚

      • Bhavani

        Hey Roxy,

        Alright, I shall do those for the time being then. Thank you for answering my question! πŸ™‚

  • Mark

    Hi Roxy,

    I started training Muay Thai about 2-3 months ago. I do one pad class and one private lesson a week. I’d love to start going to the sparring class but cant start it until my coach believes I’d ready (which I thing is the right way to do things). In the private lessons we do some light sparring but my big problem is as soon as we start sparring I tense up, which makes me even slower. I’m slow to strike, react and move. My breathing gets real heavy and I tire out quick. Joe is working on me every week trying to get me to relax and enjoy it, I just can’t. Because we spar so lightly getting hit doesn’t hurt or anything. However I still over react to each strike. The harder I try to relax the more I seem to tense up. I think it comes down to a lack of confidence, I’m a small, skinny and light guy. I way hoping you might have some advice, hints and/or tips to help me.



    • Hi Mark,

      Thanks for posting your questions on the blog comments, as I’m sure many people have the same questions about their sparring nerves and are just too afraid to ask! Make sure to search my blog for all the other articles I have written about sparring and “fight nerves” as this might also be helpful.

      First off remember that sparring is about training your natural instincts (flight or fright), since in modern society most people don’t do “battle” with man or nature in daily life, we have lost a lot of our “fight” response and need to redevelop it again. Some people need more time and practice for this to happen, so be patient with yourself and don’t put too much pressure on yourself… that added self pressure could be contributing to your nerves.

      Second, you are only training twice a week, for those who want to get to sparring level I always suggest a minimum of 3 times training per week and ideally 4-5 to really get good at sparring. It’s all about getting lots of practice, pad work + drills.

      Lastly realize that EVERYONE is nervous the first time they start sparring, even if it’s light… getting good requires practice in controlling your emotional reactions as well as technical training.

      I’d recommend you train 1-2 more times a week (even if ti’s just pad work classes) this will help increase overall confidence. If you are still having trouble in 3-4 months, maybe seek out some mindset help like hypnotherapy of a sport psychologist to help you with the metal aspects.

      Thanks for reading!

      • Mark

        Hey Roxy,

        Thanks for the reply it’s greatly appreciated. I’ve read a good few of your blogs and I’ve found them to be very helpful and insightful. It was from reading your blogs that I got the courage to start Muay Thai (so I owe you big time, best think I’ve ever done).

        The guy who trains me only has two classes a week. 1 sparring 1 pads. He’s a fantastic coach and a really nice guy who knows a lot about Muay Thai and how to work with each persons individual needs.

        Muay Thai is not a big thing over here it’s getting bigger but most places do it as part of an MMA class. Do you think I should join another club to get the extra classes in?

        With no disrespect intended I don’t think any of them have a patch on Joe and it won’t be purely Muay Thai.

        Again any advice would be very much appreciated.


        • That’s a tough call. It’s important to get more practice in, so that’s a shame he does not have more classes. Hopefully his program will grow, cause it sounds like right now it’s not a full program. Best of luck!

  • Jezi

    hey there Roxy!! JZ Again here… I have been training muay thai for a month now… and I am losing an average of 1 KG per day plus my daily Diet though.. Just a Quick Question? Would you recommend taking in Supplements for pre and post workouts? my coach gives me pads everyday to practice we are just increasing the moves and the duration since my cardio is good. along with it is circuit training before and after..

    • Hi Jz, I wrote a whole blog about supplements for fighters… Make sure to read that, just use the search feature for “supplements” πŸ™‚

      • Jezi

        Hi, Thanks for the Tip I just read your Blog about supplements, very2 helpful,, and for sure will try it out.. but for Now I’ll stick with my all natural diet,, but I might consider creatine though πŸ™‚ Im trying to get more leaner… so im following water retention and thinking about adding creatin into it.. what do you think? thanks

        • Creatine is good for those who are trying to gain muscle. I take is daily to add strength for lifting for this is now my goal (not better muay thai performance). it’s not a supplement Muay Thai ppl use very often because the energy system creatine helps with the most is very short bursts of energy like lifting and sprints. For more info read: http://www.girlsgonestrong.com/creatine-women/

  • Cedric Tan

    Hello Roxy, I am in some serious trouble and need of some serious help. So I’ve been training Muay Thai for quite a while now and I think I’m ready to start fighting but my parents aren’t on board with the idea of mine. Any tips on how to convince them without ruining our relationship

    • Hi Cedric, it’s never easy when parents don’t approve of fighting. You can try to explain to them the many benefits of fighting (great exercise, learning discipline and hard work, becoming mentally strong etc), but some parents will still not like the idea, and it’s easy to see why, it is a violent sport, after all… If you are young and still living with you parents, you will do best honoring their wishes if you cannot persuade them. If you are older and pay your own bills etc you can decide if to you fighting is worth making your parents upset. My mother never liked the idea of me fighting and never came to any of my fights, but she does support me doing what makes me happy.

      • Also, I would talk to your coach. Your coach is the person who will decide if you are ready to fight, maybe if they feel you have a lot of potential they can talk with your parents.

    • Also, I would talk to your coach. Your coach is the person who will decide if you are ready to fight. Perhaps, If they feel you have a lot of potential they can talk with your parents with you.

  • nin

    Hi Roxy! I really want to try muay thai (actually, as soon as I’m done typing this I will go ask my mother for the 300th time), and my mom won’t let me because I have big boobs. Is this a problem? She seems to think so, and I don’t really feel like asking the teacher this kind of question.

    • It’s totally not an issue if you are just doing pad work, not anymore than any other activity. I think she thinks Muay Thai is just about direct sparring contact, which it partly is if you compete, but that’s a long way off anyway and you always start with just learning how to hit bags and pads first, in which case there is ZERO contact to the breasts, unless it’s some sort of freak accident (which could happen in ANY daily activity and should never be a reason not to enjoy life). If you do decide to spar (read my blogs on deciding if sparring is for you), then you can buy these nifty things called Turtle Shells http://amzn.to/1TFnZPg – they are bra insets that you slip in – I wore them with my Lulu lemon bras when I competed and they fit perfect and are not bulky at all!

      • nin

        I see, thank you very much πŸ˜€

      • nin

        I see, thank you very much. I failed my mission (she still said no), but it’s nice to know for future reference. Happy new year!

  • Nina Thomson

    Hi Roxy! Great tips, I really enjoyed reading it. I started Muay Thai a month ago and am absolutely loving it and the instructors. Unfortunately my current work schedule only lets me get to 2-3 classes a week as the gym I go to only offers evening classes. I am hoping to compete down the road when I’m ready, but I want to be learning quickly and thoroughly now. Is there anything I can be doing on the days that I can’t go in to be getting better without an instructor? I don’t have a bag. Also, they offer morning crossfit classes several days, would that help in any way?

    • Sorry, I’m just seeing this now, not sure if my email notification got lost! You will progress well as a novice with 3 days a week training. For added work you can shadow box what you learned at home in the mirror and also watch fights on Youtube. watching and studying fights is an important part of learning. Crossfit will not help you with your Muay Thai skills and may beat your body up more than is necessary for conditioning for Muay Thai. I would suggest adding 2 short (20 min) sprint sessions and one longer stead state run (30-45 mins) into your routine for conditioning that will help your endurance/stamina in Muay Thai. When you are ready to compete in the future you will want to organize your life in a way that allows for Muay Thai training 5 x a week.

      • Nina Thomson

        Thank you so much! I have already gotten my schedule worked up to 4-5 classes each week and am already seeing much bigger improvement. I love running, so I’ll be sure to add those in. Thanks again!

  • Macey Hoffmann

    Hi Roxy. I’m thinking of getting into muay thai and i’m very thankful for your post here. I do ask have you met any fighters with navel piercings? or any tips on piercings with this style fighting?? I want to get into it but im nervous about going into it with my piercing…

    • I have a navel piercing, but it’s a barbell not a hoop. I only take it out when I fight, it has never affected me during sparring. You will want to remove anything that will “catch” during sparring on the face or body… but if you are just doing pad work (which you will start with in your training – no one should start Muay Thai training and jump right into sparring), piercing will cause no problem with just pad and bag work.

      • Macey Hoffmann

        Thank you so much!!!

  • MC

    hi, I am not sure if taking muay Thai is a option for me as I am skinny guy who is pretty small and Im think people may judge me in that. Im a college student so i do have time but I really want to have a go as it is something I really want to do for fun.Would you think it can boost my confidence more because I’m a very quiet and shy person.

    • I’ve seen many students of all shapes and sizes take Muay Thai and excel at it – we have smaller skinny guys (and girls) in our classes an our advanced classes. Being lean is actually an advantage in Muay Thai!, no big muscles required! Muay Thai training can really help with confidence, I’ve seen many people changed by the sport…. The biggest thing is finding a gym environment you feel welcomed in, as many gyms will differ in culture. Be sure to read my newest blog: http://liftfightlove.com/post/finding-the-right-muay-thai-gym/

    • Reid Moore

      I started training in Muay Thai at age 52. (Better late than never.) The other students — newbies and very skilled alike — are amazing. And the coaches, well, all that and more. Friendly, supportive, patient yet pushing, in sum, a real community. The training is tough and I love going every time. Don’t short-sell yourself. You will also give to others as you receive from them. Don’t hesitate. Be bold. Take a chance. You’ll have a lot of fun and make lasting friendships.

  • Ghecko

    Been training for 4 years muay thai now. Going for my first competition this weekend, and jeez am I nervous!? I’ve had many, many sparring sessions over the years, but in the past I’ve always picked up an injury while training for competitions (torn quad muscle, cracked toe, etc), so never got around to competing.

    How do you find competitions – are they really much more intense than sparring? I’ve been trying to do some sparring with pro boxers at a club around the corner as well, and I’m not nervous at all when doing that, nor do I have trouble keeping up with them, but I feel as though this competition is going to require so much more from me :/

    • Fighting is always more intense than sparring. Emotions are heightened and you have the permission to go 100%, as does your opponent. We try not to hurt our sparring partners, but we are trying to hurt someone in a fight, this knowledge alone makes the nerves heightened. But the good news is the nerves can help you, they give you energy and adrenaline, when used correctly this helps you fight… check out my blog: http://liftfightlove.com/post/overcoming-pre-fight-nerves/ – Chok Dee! πŸ™‚

      • Ghecko

        Had my fight yesterday – talk about high intesity! I was completely paced 1 min into the second round. Unfortunately I lost the fight on points – but I found out later that my opponent was a 2 time EFC Africa welterweight champion, so I don’t feel so bad about it. Bit of a learning curve for a first timer, but awesome experience!

        • Congrats! Sounds like an amazing experience. It’s common to get adrenaline dumps in the first fight, which make you tired. You just take that experience into future fights and work on calming your self. Good for you for stepping up to fight a more experience opponent πŸ™‚

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  • JustCharlieBruh

    Hi, I’ve been wanting to get into Muay Thai, but I never know where to start. I’ve been wanting to learn Muay Thai since I was 11 and I’m 16 now, but some of my family thinks I’m actually too *old* to start learning. They thought I’d never get into self-defense, because I didn’t want to learn Karate like my cousins. Is there any advice you can give me to help me start besides the ones on here? Like, for family members and overprotective friends? Sorry if it’s an odd request, I’m just really determined to learn, but my friends and family don’t want me going anywhere without them and it gets annoying sometimes. Plus I don’t want them to worry too much if I get slightly injured, they tend to freak out a lot.

    • Hi Charlie, Thanks for reading. I have some good news and bad news for you….. Bad news is if your parents don’t approve of you training Muay Thai you have to wait until you are 18 to start. You can try to talk to them about it and list the benefits (self defense, discipline, exercise etc), but if they don’t approve you will have to wait. Muay Thai is a combat sport, so in learning how to use your body as a weapon there are risks, some minor, but also some more major. If you are under 18, you must accept if your parents don’t approve of these risks (however the excuse that you are too “old” to learn is a cop-out.) Which brings me to the good news… When you turn 18, start making some money for yourself and can pay for your own training, 18 is definitely not too old to learn. There are many professional fighters that started in their late teens and early twenties (I did not start until I was 24!) If you parents approve of you taking a different martial art, like karate, but not Muay Thai and you can’t convince them, go ahead and take karate or tkd etc – you will still learn skills that will translate to Muay Thai later when you are able to take it as an adult able to make their own choices. Best of luck!

      • JustCharlieBruh

        Thank you very much! This gives me a lot hope for the future

  • Jordan Hall

    hi, I’ve just turned 20 and really interested in getting into muay thai. how old would be considered too old to start training Muay Thai? im guessing its to late to become a real pro, but that’s not what im looking for. im just really interested in learning such a beautiful art form. thanks

    • I’ve known people that started in their 30’s and 40’s and even 50’s and love the training! I started at 24 years old and went on to become a pro, it’s all about how much you put into the training and how much you want it. 20 is definitely not too young to start, in fact, it’s the perfect time! If you love it and are truly serious about competing, it takes about 10 years to really become a master at any sport and that would have you peaking at 30 which is the perfect time to peak in combat sports!

    • AMG

      For what it’s worth, I started 2 years ago at 63!

      • We have a 60 year old student at our gym too, kudos to you! πŸ™‚

  • Madeline Tjai

    Hi I also recently took up Muay Thai about 2 weeks ago at the age 29. I found a personal trainer who used to be pro. Have always been intrigued by Muay Thai but never got the chance to truly learn it. Im training under him now twice a week. I’m not looking to be a pro or compete, I just want to get fit and learn self defense and enjoy the sport as it is because I know most people are planning to be pros here though i won’t say whether I will change my mind next time.

    • Hi Madeline, welcome! πŸ™‚ Many students take Muay Thai for fun and for fitness. The majority of students in many Muay Thai gyms are just like you. Enjoy training the sport, you definitely don’t have to be a fighter to learn and be enriched by training Muay Thai!

      • Madeline Tjai

        Hi Roxy thanks so much for the reply. I have been using my trainer’s gloves and have been thinking of getting my own as its more hygienic. My trainer lends me his yokkaos 10oz and they fit well though I’m also toggling between twins special and fairtex.

  • Chris Anderson

    Hi Roxy,

    I was just wondering if you could give me some advice, I’m 24 and I’m currently travelling around Australia. I’m not a massively active person and see muay thai as a way of becoming more active. I don’t have any fighting background and see it as way of really applying some discipline into my life, i’m the sort of guy who has never really finished something to which I gave my all.

    Unfornatley I’m currently settled in a area which I’ll be staying for the next 4 months at least but doesn’t have any muay thai gym (just your bog standard free weight gym) and was wondering if you can maybe advise me on something I could do to start some sort of training? Just so when I get to somewhere were I can go to a gym and start learning, I am not in a similar condition I am in now. Might sound like a silly question but thought it was worth an ask.



    • Hi Chris,
      Please forgive me – your comment email must have gotten lost in my inbox and I’m just seeing this now! Since you are probably still in the same situation for two more months before you can pick up training I would focus on a couple things: 1) Watching/Studying fights on You Tube and online! Great for creating awareness of movement and fighting in general. 2) General mobility – Muay Thai requires good hip mobility and general functional movement. http://www.mobilitywod.com/ has great stuff for mobility, but I think it’s like $8 a month for a pro membership to access videos. 3) Conditioning and Strength – a strong in shape body will respond to Muay Thai training even better than a unconditioned one, so would be great to get a head start now before starting your Muay Thai training! Check out https://www.girlsgonestrong.com/blog/category/strength-training/ for lots of great FREE info πŸ™‚ Hope that helps!

  • booksnsunshine

    Hi, Roxy.
    I am so glad I found this post. It was very reassuring. I have just started Muay Thai a little over two weeks ago. The school and the owners/instructors and several fellow female students are wonderful and very supportive. My son has taken Tae Kwon Do here for 3 years, so everyone knows us and it’s pretty family oriented.

    That said, I have extreme anxiety and am very insecure each time I take class. I am also super self conscious about my weight. The conditioning part has been tough, but I do my best by modifying when I need to. (I fell flat on my back when trying to do a knee!)

    Again, everyone is very understanding, but I can’t get out of my own head. Sorry this was so long. I’m just really glad that I found your site and think you’re a pretty awesome fighter and role model.


    • Thanks to much for reading, Crystal! I understand how much courage it takes to start something new and go outside of your comfort zone, so kudos to you! At least once a week someone falls on their butt in my gym, so it’s not only you πŸ˜‰ Keep at it, patience and consistency will build your skills and with time the confidence will come from all you have accomplished. x

  • Hans MΓΌller

    Hey Roxy,
    thanks for this fantastic tips collection. I started Muay Thai about a month ago and i love it. Every time i finished the training i feel so much better (even when i had a “bad” training once). Its gives you such a fantastic feeling. Im still working on the basic stand and cover while learning other tequnices (my coach said today that im way to fast and that i should do the tequnices slowly first). Its just fun to learn so many new things and your tips are very helpful.

    Thanks, Pascal.

  • Hans MΓΌller

    Hey Roxy,
    thanks for this fantastic tips collection. I started Muay Thai about a month ago and i love it. Every time i finished the training i feel so much better (even when i had a “bad” training once). Its gives me such a fantastic feeling. Im still working on the basic stand and cover while learning other tequnices (my coach said today that im way to fast and that i should do the tequnices slowly first). Its just fun to learn so many new things and your tips are very helpful.

    Thanks, Pascal.

    • Thanks for reading, Pascal – I’m so glad you are enjoying Muay Thai! πŸ™‚ It does help to slow things down when learning new techniques, once the technique is solid you can start to add speed and power. That is one reason shadow boxing is so important. Keep training!

  • Antony

    Hi Roxy,

    I am 20 and a Thai pen pal has been telling me I should take up Muay Thai for ages, I’ve always been a bit too shy for my own good and I used to be quite fat. But I’ve lost 37kg in around 11 months (now 5ft 11 and 77kg) and I’m moving out in two days so I’m finally making the jump. I’ve signed up for a free class this weekend but with all that’s happening I was getting quite nervous.

    But then I found your blog, specifically this has helped relax a lot and I’m really looking forwards to it. I think it will be the thing that really helps with my confidence and get in shape after all the hard work of the past year.


    • Awesome! Thanks for reading πŸ™‚ I hope you have a great experience with your first class!

      • Antony

        It’s going amazingly well, I’ve had quite a few classes since and I already feel like a completely different person. It’s just so exciting going to class each day and wondering what I’ll learn new, or how much I’ve progressed since the last class. I thought I’d enjoy it, but I never would have guessed I’d love it so much I count down the hours or days until my next class even though I’m still sore from the last πŸ™‚

        • That’s so exciting! I love hearing about new Muay Thai addicts πŸ™‚

          • Brett Govind

            Hi Roxy…am in my forties…Always loved martial arts. Do u think it is too late to be good at my age??

          • Brett Govind

            I mean if i start now. ??

          • Everyone is different. I have students in their forties, who love it and do very well – then I have seen students who start in their 20’s and are so uncoordinated and injury prone that it’s not for them. Forty may be too old to train Muay Thai to fight, but it’s definitely not too old to start and ENJOY it for the other benefits (stress relief, fitness, fun, learning new things). Try it out and see for yourself, as I tell all my students, if you love the training, it doesn’t matter how fast you learn, it’s the journey!

          • Brett Govind

            Thanks Roxy…you are the greatest. Just like Cassius Clay!!

  • Alex

    Thank you, this helps very much

    Wishes for the best,

    • Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

      • Alex

        Thanks for making this

  • Bri

    Hi Roxy!

    I am super interested in starting Muay Thai but my main concern are my ankles. Naturally I have weak ankles and I would like to know if that would negatively impact me when it comes to Muay Thai or if the sport itself will strengthen them.

    Thank you!

    • Hi Bri! Muay Thai definitely can strengthen the ankles through jump rope training and the barefoot nature of the sport, however it also puts you at a risk for spraining them, especially if you have a history of ankle sprains. My advice would be to go slow on the kicks and really really make sure that your planted foot is in the right position (just outside your partners body) so that you don’t lose your balance kicking. Go especially slow on the left switch kick… and of course makes sure to tell your instructor that you have weak ankles and need to be aware of balance so they can keep an eye on you. Best of luck!

      • Bri

        Thank you so much for the advice! I didn’t expect you to reply so fast!

  • kris pardillo

    Hi Roxy, I gave birth to a beautiful daughter almost two years now and I’m really interested in Muay Thai. Would it affect my body if I start training now? I want to do Muay Thai mainly because I want to be fit and healthy and as a self-defense.

    • Hi Kris! Congrats on the birth of your beautiful daughter! While I do know women who have successfully gone back to Muay Thai training after giving birth, or even those who took it up AFTER having children (like champion Julie Kitchen from the UK) everyone is different as far as the exercise that is right for them and feels good to their body. As long as you are cleared by you doc for exercise, I say give it a chance and see if you like it and it feels right. Muay Thai training, while challenging and intense has no more challenges to the post pregnancy body that other forms of intense sports, just make sure your doc has said you are good to go! Also as a great resource for strong moms check out: https://www.girlsgonestrong.com/blog/category/pregnancy/ there is lots of great free info on their site written by women for women! πŸ™‚

  • Lamar R

    Ok, because of my work schedule, I’d only be able to train one day a week. At least for a while until my work schedule can change. I’ve been wanting to learn Muay Thai for years and this seems like my only chance. Any advice for me on my situation?

    • Hi Lamar, You can still learn skills training once a week, your progress will just be slower than if you trained more – Watching fights and practicing shadow boxing at home in the mirror when you can’t train will help progress your training. Hope that helps and thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

      • Lamar R

        Thank you, Roxy. I have one more question. When my schedule is more open and I reach a higher level in Muay Thai, do you think I should I try to learn another martial art or just stick to that one?

        • My personal opinion is that you focus on getting really good at one thing at a time, rather than just kinda okay at a bunch of stuff. Unless your end goal is to be a pro mma fighter, I would say stick to one martial art and really master it, you’ll learn more about yourself and the sport narrowing your focus πŸ™‚

          • Lamar R

            There are so many that I want to learn though lol. But thank you, Roxy. You’ve been a great help.

  • Jessica

    Hi Roxy!
    That was a great post, I loved reading it. I’ve been looking around now for a few months for the right martial art for me, out of Boxing, Kickboxing, Taekwando and Muay Thai, I think this is the right one.
    My question is will having glasses effect my performance? I’ve been wearing glasses since I was 4 (now 18), I can see a bit without them but obviously I’ll need contact lenses in later stages of Muay Thai. I’m not looking to become a professional fighter, more to feel secure and confident whilst also getting healthy. Would you recomend me waiting until I can get contacts or would you think that it’s ok starting out with glasses?
    Thank you so much! /Jessica πŸ™‚

    • Hi Jessica, you don’t need contacts to train Muay Thai. In fact it’s better you don’t wear your glasses at all during training, as they will get in the way and could fly off if you are holding pads for a partner. All the fighters I know who wear glasses or contacts get used to training without them. You don’t need to see detail to get good at Muay Thai, just seeing shapes and sensing movement gives you all the visual cues you need. Fighters should never wear contacts when fighting, because if one flies out during a fight then the vision is worse than if they had none in to begin with. So all fighters I know get good at just practicing with seeing the blurry shapes in front of them, it’s all you need really! If you are just looking to do Muay Thai for fun, fitness and healthy give it a shot. You can wear your glasses when you very first start with shadow boxing and light bag work, but you will want to take them off when you get to holding pads or mitts for a partner or get into more rigorous training, as they will fog up or slide off πŸ˜‰ – Hope that helps, thanks for reading!

  • Janice

    Hi Roxy, this is a really useful post for me. thank you. I’ve just took up Muay Thai…my balancing and coordination of both legs and hands at the same time is pretty bad…i.e. I always forget how to swing my arms when i kicked and i get confused with the combos during shadow boxing. For someone like me, would i ever really be able to get it right eventuly?

    • Hi Janice, if you just started Muay Thai it is very common to feel like a dyslectic baby giraffe – completely uncoordinated and get down on yourself about it. Everyone learns at their own pace, so be patient with yourself and try not to compare your progress to others. The most important thing is that you are ENJOYING the training, no matter how slow your progress may or may not be, the important part is what you get from learning and practicing. I would also recommend booking some private lessons with a coach, because those can really accelerate your progress more than just taking group classes. Best to you in your training and thanks for reading πŸ™‚

  • Jessica Chong

    Hi Roxy!
    So I’m actually in college now and they have a may Thai club is here with a trainer. We only have training once a week and this is just my second week. I really love may Thai and I really want to be good at it. For beginners, do I need to buy equipments? Also how do I train by myself to improve. Since I’m a girl, I still feel a bit awkward during the trainings because all the guys seem so good at it so I feel very intimidated and I only train with girls. Would guys in Muay Thai want to train with a girl? I also really like your post. Thank you for sharing all these tips! πŸ˜€

    • For beginners all you need is gloves and wraps. If your trainers do technical defense drills for more advanced students you will eventually need shin guards and a mouth guard, but assuming your Muay Thai club has a good program and sparring should not be a part of your program as a beginner and therefor all you need it gloves and wraps for right now. Your coaches should be taking care of your progress to improve in training but one thing you can do on your own is watch Muay Thai fights, which will help you learn πŸ™‚ You can learn more about purchasing gloves here: http://www.function5fitness.com/2013/10/21/muay-thai-gloves/ – As for training with guys, all my classes I teach are mixed gender, however when it comes to pad holding it’s important to pair ppl up by size/strength to hold pads, so many of the girls partner together, but not always, it really depends. I would ask your coach about training with the guys, as I am not sure the structure of your classes or program and every gym is different. Best of Luck and thanks for reading! x

  • Issa

    Hi Roxy!
    I am planning to sign up for Muay Thai lessons but I am really concerned about my hyperhidrosis. It worries me because I was told I have to be barefoot in training and I feel conscious about leaving a ‘mess’ on the mat and grossing everybody out. How do I deal with it?Thanks for the great content, by the way! πŸ™‚

    • There so much sweating going on in Muay Thai no one will even notice! Most of my students leave sweat on the mat, some are sweatier than others… No one really cares tho. It’s a sweaty sport πŸ™‚ If yr feet sweat a lot I’d recommend buying the Muay Thai anklets to train in, as they can help soak up some sweat. Other than that just bring a towel and wipe down between rounds. But don’t worry everyone’s gonna be so busy working hard and sweating themselves, that no one will notice yr sweat. Have fun and thanks for reading!

  • Isha

    Many thanks for these tips.. I started with muay thay training over 4/5 months now.. And reading this really helps me.. I have played footbal all my life and now my age is 31 and Im still playin not that much as I use to.. we only train twice a week now.. so I can train 3 times a week for muay thai.. wich means im trainin 5 evenings one week.. but I really love thise Muay Thai and I hope one day I can fight like in the ring… but is it still possible at this age?

    Many thanks again..
    One Love

    • Hi Isha, I have gotten so many questions like yours lately – that I decided to write a blog about it (it’s on my to do list right now). For now I will say that while 31 is late for a pro fighter to start I have known some people that started late and got in a handful of ammy fights – however, everyone is different there are so many factors that determine if someone will be a good fighter. The most important part is that you ENJOY the training, if you love it, train! If you love it so much you want to fight and you have sthe skills to do so you will have to give up the football and just focus on MT though…. but you don’t have to decide that now, you can let the evolution of your training determine that, for now focus on doing what you LOVE πŸ™‚ Hope that helps and stay tuned for the full blog soon! x

  • Tania Leyland

    This advice really helped me. I started Muay Thai at the age of 50. I have been doing it for just 2 weeks but love it. It is tough but it gives me energy. I do have a Thai massage at least once a week. Lush.

    • Thanks for reading! So glad you like the blog – best to you in your training πŸ™‚ x

  • Silas Alexander

    Hi Roxy. This is a great article, thanks. I just started Muay Thai 2 months back and am training only once a week for 2 hrs due to work and studies. I need advice on how to improve my left leg’s kick. Everyone at my gym said that my right leg kicks are really strong especially since I have massive thighs. But my left leg kicks feel kinda weird. It feels so loose and weak when compared to my right leg.

    • If you’ve only been training 2 months, it’s totally normal that the left kick (non dominant leg) doesn’t feel as good as the right. Keep practicing and give it time, since everyone has one dominant side, the other side takes longer to learn the same thing and get equal power, just keep working at it. For me, it was at least a year of training before I liked my left kick at all. Thanks for reading and keep at it! x

  • Trinity

    Hi Roxy! I am a 15 year old girl and I wanted to start Muay Thai. I am a little nervous because my local gym’s classes are predominantly people in their lates 20s and above. I am however too old for the youth classes. I don’t really feel comfortable but I really want to do Muay Thai. Should I pursue what I want at risk of being uncomfortable or inadequate compared to the older people?

    • Hi Trinity, (love the name!) At my gym we’ve had a few teens that take the regular adult program. They do well and everyone loves seeing them progress in the sport. As long as your parents approve of your attendance in the adult classes and you both talk to the coach about it to make sure they are okay with it, it should be fine and will be a fun time! Best of luck and enjoy the training πŸ™‚

  • Katalina Nixon

    This was a fabulous post. Recently back in training after a car accident, I have to re-learn my body. #14 is pivotal. I thought I was being weird, the only one going to the non-thaiboxing gym and always doing recovery/rehab training or endless sets of upright rows (haha). So glad you confirmed that hunchedbackness and focus on posture.
    Though in this crazy sport for a while all those points are just as valid today as they are for a beginner. Thanks for the reminder and recognition!

    • Thanks for reading, Katalina – Keep up those kickass rows! You’ve inspired me to do extra this week πŸ˜‰

  • Rodrigo Miguel Martins

    Hey Roxy, Rodrigo here.IΒ΄m from Portugal and I practice Muay Thai as an amateur 4 to 6 times a week for about a year now… I read about the pink shorts… Well I bought the pink gloves a few months ago and I have recieved got some laughts eheh and now I was thinking about the Pink shorts ! IΒ΄m not a war machine far from it but but iΒ΄m 183 cm to 96kg dude(211lbs +/-) ! So I pack a nice punch ehehe So do you think itΒ΄s ok for me to get them eheh ? By the way great advice, at my gym helping the younger members is a must, and we do it on a regular basis ! Sometimes it can be a pain in the arse , but we all started from the same place ! 0 !

    • Hi Rodrigo, thanks for reading! My pink short comment was a little tongue in cheek πŸ˜‰ I personally think you can wear whatever colors you feel comfortable in, but if you do wear pink and you’re a guy be prepared to back it up in the gym from other teammates who may lovingly tease, which is sounds like, as a big guy you can, so rock the pink shorts all you want! πŸ™‚

  • Tarfiel Archelone

    This article was great. I have my first class on Tuesday and I’m still a little nervous. 25 years old 30 pounds over weight and have never thrown an actual punch or non awkward kick. My eyesight is pretty bad to not to say that I’m blind but I certainly can’t read without glasses or contacts I hope it doesn’t effect me too much.

    • Have fun in your first class tomorrow! Don’t worry about your eye sight, you don’t need to see detail to punch and kick pads, just basic shapes. Many of our students wear glasses, but take them off during class for safety and do just fine. My boyfriend is a fighter too and he has horrible vision, but trains and fights without glasses or contacts. Best wishes and thanks for reading! x

  • SB

    Hi Roxy, Thank you so much for taking the time to write this, what a great read. I am a beginner at MT and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I love it! but I suck massively, some days I am so unmotivated to go because I am uncoordinated or I dont feel strong enough to hold the focus mits for the other girls. I know I will get better but its just so frustrating.

    • Sucking at the beginning is totally normal. Many others have been in your place and had the same frustrations, especially about pad holding. All you need is the stubborn desire to keep improving and you will. Strength and coordination come from consistent practice, in 6 months you will feel so much more confident… and if you stick with it, in a year you won’t even believe how far you have come!

  • Lucas Stevens

    Hi Roxy, thanks for writing this it was a really good read and has eased my mind a bit haha.
    I’m an 18 year old male and I’ve been combat training for about 4 months now, started doing boxing for 2.5 months and moved to Muay Thai for the past 1.5 months and I don’t think I could have made a better decision, I’m obsessed with Muay Thai.
    I love training but some days are up and some days are down and as someone who is really hard on themself I tend to dwell on the bad days the most. I try to tell myself that it’s only been 1.5 months since I started and it’s okay to suck but my doubts always creep in, I know some day I’ll get better but I’m so frustrated

    • I’m happy you enjoyed the read – remember it’s the enjoyment of the training that counts, not the result. One of the core values at my gym is: Enjoy the struggle, nothing truly worth having comes easy… Keep training and being open to learning, keep watching fights and enjoy the journey πŸ™‚ My Best to you! x

  • Rachelle

    Hi Roxy,

    I start my first Muay Thai class next Tuesday (3 days a week). This is something I have been wanting to do for years but I held myself back because I didn’t have the courage. I let my anxiety get the best of me. After working out 5 days a week for the last 6 months I finally took the plunge. It feels damn good! I am going to be thinking about your article next Tuesday. Thank you for all of the awesome tips. It was a great read. πŸ™‚

    • I’m so excited for you! Congrats on taking a big step to conquer your anxiety. Remember that everyone was a beginner once, even the other people at the gym you will see that look like they know what they are doing, they were once nervous too! Have fun πŸ™‚ x

      • The Intellectual guy

        Hello im a good looking guy and i wanna know if muay thai is gonna turn me ugly .Ok i like muay thai very much but i dont want to look like a freak after some years .It was my first day today and i got punched in the nose now the tip of my nose is swollen and i dont know how long it will take to heal but i imagine that after years of getting punched in th face my face will look like a goblin.

        • There’s lot of variables in this question… all wounds heal, so it depends on what you consider “attractive” and “ugly” i think my scar from getting cut in a fight is beautiful and I think my boyfriend’s broken nose gives him character and he looks handsome with it crooked or straight… It also depends on what you think is worth the risk, many fighters love Muay Thai so much they don’t care the risk of injury.

          But the bigger issue is that on your first day of Muay Thai you should NOT be sparring, so I question the safety of the training you are receiving.

          You might find some of my other blogs of interest to answer questions about injuries and sparring:


  • Gia A.

    Hihi Roxy!

    This is my second time reading your article and I want to thank you for writing this and sharing your wisdom. I began officially practicing a martial art almost 9 years ago. I say “officially” because I grew up wanting to practice, but my mom and I could not afford it. Five years into that epic journey, I decided I wanted to fight professionally. My foundation is Shorin Ryu Karate, but I love soaking up and reflecting on knowledge from Sifu, Sensei, and other instructors willing to share.

    When I decided to do this, I encountered a few obstacles: a) convincing people to hit a woman and hit hard, b) finding a gym in Montgomery County, Maryland,USA that actually offers training to fight and organize smoker matches/amateur bouts, c) not paying rent money to utilize said training grounds, and d) getting actual fights. I trained in Burmese kickboxing at a gym with a boxing team and kickboxing fight team for approximately two years, but the gym fees ran $230 a month. Two part time jobs paying less than $10/hour does not help with that.

    I am now at the point in my life that I am willing to move to where the training is, work and help in the gym/dojo, and run my body through the storm. I love martial arts–especially Muay Thai– and I know that to make strides, I have to have more than passion- more like grit. I do not know where to start.

    Do you have any suggestions on initial steps for aspiring fighters working to get to the ring and beyond?

    Thank you,

    Gia :3

    • Hi Gia, Thanks for reading πŸ™‚ I can tell you are very serious about training and fighting. I thought for a while about your questions, It made me realize I should write a blog for aspiring fighter tips (which is now my list of blog topics).

      The best suggestion I can give you is:
      1) Visit gyms and audit classes you are thinking of moving to. Best thing would be to put training aside for a little, get a second job, save up money and then take a week where you do a “road trip” tour or the east coast gyms you are interested in. Audit classes and be very open and honest that you are looking for the ideal gym to fight out of and that you are willing to “pay your dues” in the form of work for trade – also ask if they know of anyone hiring in your field in their are (not at the gym), because you’d be wanting to move their for the sole purpose of training to fight. Visit as many gyms as you can, find a place that feels like home and that believes in you. The right place will recognize your dedication and passion and be willing to help you in the capacity they can.

      2) Expect that some places will only do a work for trade situation AFTER they know you and you’ve been training with then for a while, so that means, work hard, save money and expect to pay at the gym you love for a while before you earn the privilege of a work for trade situation. I know it may seem like an impossible task, but I was able to pay gym dues, rent and living expenses waiting tables, driving for food delivery, being a personal assistant, working odd jobs, etc until finally I got a small office assistant position for my coach and my dues were comped for my hard work. It’s possible, keep working hard, think big and go after it! – Roxy x

      • Gia A.

        Thank you very much for your insight into this. I definitely know that multiple job feeling. I can also respect the gym owner and teammates getting to know you before trusting you with their investment. I plan to head towards the Best Coast soon-slowly, but surely- so I will come pay my respects :).

        Looking forward to your next post!

        • Danish Sajjad

          Hey Gia.A,

          I am a student at the University and also a beginner to learn Muay Thai. I am interested to know how much time will it take for me to learn Good Self Defence, if I put in 3 days a week as you told in your article for decent training. Lastly I had Lasik Eye Surgery 2 years back. What would you advice on that: because a violent blow to the eye can dislocate the flap on top of cornea. Leading to Eye infection and Vision issues.

          Best Regards
          From Canada,

          • Hi Dan, I think you meant to reply to me – this is my blog πŸ™‚ Three days a week is a solid plan, but since everyone learns differently and coaches teach different I cannot hive you a specific time frame for a certain level of Muay Thai, your coach would be the best on to answer that. I can say that the students at my gym who train and spar generally see the most dramatic improvements after a year of consistent training – skills take time. As for injuries, they are always a risk, so if you decide to spar you must consider the cost/benefits for yourself, that is a personal decision. However, I can say that I have rarely seen people get hurt like than in gym sparring, that type of injury is mostly a result of a real fight with professional fighters in fights with elbows, that is not the level of sparring that goes on in classes, nor should – however there is always risk with combat sports, accident do happen.
            You might fight some of my other blogs of interest, as they address these questions:

          • Danish Sajjad

            Thanks for the quick reply and sorry for misunderstanding you with other user. Though would you advice that should I go for Krav maga then. I know its completely different but you might have friends who must be trained professionals in Krav maga.

            Best Regards

          • I cannot comment on Krav, as I have never taken it, or known anyone that has been able to effective use it for self defense. I can tell you that Muay Thai is a sport however, and it is not taught with the goal of self defense in particular, although I have known several fighters who have used it as such in time where they were threatened.

    • Thanks, Gia – I can’t wait to write more on my blog, this year I’ve been focusing more on growing my gym – but more posts will come soon, promise πŸ™‚

  • Ruthie G.

    Hey Roxy <3 (love that name, btw) –

    I've just recovered from an eating disorder, and my therapist has given me the okay to resume sports again. I've been looking into Muay Thai, and I am super excited about it (so much that you don't even know). I had a trial class about a week ago, and I absolutely loved it. However, all of the students in the class were probably either 4-10 years older than me, and all male. They've also been training for a really long time, so it was a tad bit awkward. Also, as of the moment, I'm only allowed one class per week, and I'm afraid I'll appear uncommitted to them.

    Any advice?

    (And thanks for writing the article! :D)

    • Hi Ruthie, If there are other gyms in your area you can audit other classes that might have more females in them. Also try taking classes at different times at your gym. Sometimes even at my gym where it’s about 50/50 men and women there will be random classes with all guys. If there are not any other female friendly classes or gyms in your area and you really love Muay Thai, don’t worry – just keep coming. I was the only girl serious about training at my first gym for a while. Don’t worry about how you “appear” to others at the gym, you are there to learn for yourself. Most people are so overly concerned with how they appear they are not even worried about you – and if they do judge you for how much you are allowed to train right now, then you don’t want them as friends anyway. πŸ™‚

  • Beth


    I really want to take up Muay Thai and have been debating it for a while now, not only will it benefit my health and help me lose weight, but it will also be a form of self defense. However I am far too anxious to start a class by myself. Im extremely shy around new people and hate the thought of being in the centre of attention. Ive asked friends to join with me but none of them are really interested, and the one who was starting to think about it decided not to go for it as she “wouldnt like to be punched in the face” lol. Do you have any suggestions that might help me take my first step?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Beth,

      Why don’t you set up come private lessons with a coach to get you started? Tell them your goal is to join classes, you just want to learn the basics one on one so you feel more comfortable in classes. A coach will be happy to help you. Of course the cost is more for private training, but think of it as an investment in your well being and it will be money well spent. You don’t have to do a ton of privates before joining classes, but even just 1-3 would be so helpful in making you feel more confident and comfortable with sport πŸ™‚ Best of luck and have fun!

    • Rebecca Meadows

      Hi Beth, I’m kind of in the same boat as you. I don’t like attention and I feel like I’m pretty awkward at social situations. The gym I just started going to has a free intro where they teach you the moves you’ll need to know for the basic class, and then you get to participate in a free class. The first time I went, I went totally by myself because I couldn’t find anyone to go with me and I was absolutely terrified. But I had sooo much fun! Everyone was incredibly helpful, and I didn’t have to punch anyone, or worry about being punched in the face. I’m sure every gym is different, but the one I go to, you don’t spar with anyone in the basic fitness class, and you’re required to do a solid two weeks of that before you can do the Level 1 Muay Thai fundamentals class. I would definitely recommend going and maybe even observing a class. Once you start, you’ll be so focused on what you’re doing that you won’t even notice or care that you don’t know anyone. And I can almost guarantee no one will be judging you, they’re all worried about the same things you are. πŸ™‚

  • Mary N

    Hi Roxy! Just wanted to let you know that I’m so glad you wrote and posted this. I just started Muay Thai, only 2 classes! And while I still get so intimidated and nervous while driving to class, I always find myself loving the adrenaline and soreness afterwards. I was never a martial arts person as I really lacked self discipline, but I decided 2017 will be the year I conquer myself! Just a quick question though! How long do you think it takes for a beginner like me to fully adapt to the drills/moves/mentality of Muay Thai? Of course, every individual’s process is different but from your own experience, generally when do you start to see your students improving? πŸ™‚ Thank you!

    • Hi Mary! Thanks for reading πŸ™‚ I love hearing about new students who love training Muay Thai. It is very hard to give an exact amount of time for someone who is starting as to when they will be more advanced with the movements, but I will say that consistency is key. For my students who train regularly 3-4 times a week I see them make the most drastic improvements in advanced movement and flow in 6-9 months. However, before that you will see lots of little bench marks of improvement as well and feel more confident as you progress week after week – hope that helps, and enjoy the training!

  • Zaka Ria

    I have a question. Do we need to shrug or hunch our shoulders in the fighting stance ? Thanks in advance Roxy πŸ™‚

    • Hi, Zaka! More important than hunching your shoulders is tucking your chin – but yes, fighters have to stand with their shoulders slightly forward in internal rotation so their guard is better for defending punches. This is why I recommend mobility work and rowing exercises that put the shoulder in external rotation to balance the poor fighter posture one has to adopt to protect against punches.

  • Jesus Antonio Sanchez

    Hi Roxy,

    Great article! Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m sure, your readers appreciate the time you poured in to your article.

    I used to box and train in muay thai but i had to stop in September 2016 due to work and school. Now, i’m thinking of going back but my anxiety of joining a new gym is back again. I was far from a fighter before, but at least I was training 5-6 times a week. But now I feel like I’m a beginner again, and the gym i’m eyeing feels intimidating. I don’t know if i should continue training or go into weight lifting.

    Anyway, I know you discussed this in your article, but do you have any other advice for those going back to training after a long break?

    Jesus from Manila

    • Hi Jesus, I know sometimes anxiety can get the better of us, but just know that many people who have trained before had taken breaks and had to come back. You cardio will be the things that feels the worst at first, but remember that improves in just 2-3 weeks once you start consistently training again. Just focus on the techniques when you come back and do pad work classes and bag work until your cardio feels ready for sparring and drills.

      Do a modest 2-3 classes a week until you feel like your old self, then you can pick it up. Oh, and don’t worry what anyone else thinks about you. They are all too busy worrying about themselves and their progress to judge your conditioning or your break from training… and if they do judge you for it, find another gym that doesn’t. We’ve all been there! – Thanks for reading x

  • Rebecca Meadows

    Thank you sooo much for this! I just started going to a local Muay Thai gym (today was my third class) and I already have social anxiety, so to walk in a gym as a female, surrounded by abunch of dudes who know what they’re doing and where I don’t know a single person, is pretty intimidating. So far though, everyone has been super nice and helpful. I’m at the point where I’ve lost any ability to do a push up so it’s been pretty difficult but I haven’t felt embarrassed, and the kru pushed me to do my baby push ups today and was really encouraging. This list is perfect and totally reassuring for a total newbie like myself. Thank you!

    • So happy it helped and congrats on starting Muay Thai! πŸ™‚ x

    • GeΓ³rgia

      There’s a Muay Thai gym right next to where i live and i really want to start going but my social anxiety is preventing me so bad. I’ll try to go this week and do an experimental class, i don’t know if i’ll be able to, but seeing your comment and how you with social anxiety did it, helped me so thank you! I hope i’ll be able to go there.

    • GeΓ³rgia

      There’s a Muay Thai gym right next to where i live and i really want to start going but my social anxiety is preventing me so bad. I’ll try to go this week and do a trial class, i don’t know if i’ll be able to, but seeing your comment and how you with social anxiety did it, helped me so thank you! I hope i’ll be able to go there.

      • So many people feel intimidated starting Muay Thai, its perfectly normal. I hope you try it out! The right gym for you will feel warm and welcoming πŸ™‚ Just remember that every beginner feels this way and you’ll do great. Let me know how it went. x

      • Blake

        Did you go? I’m signing up this month and while it’s not bad, I do get anxiety. So we’ll see. Hope you went!

        • GeΓ³rgia

          I didn’t unfortunately :c and i really do want to, but i get stuck once i’m there in front of the gym. I’m planning on going this month, right now i’m really busy but around mid of july i can go there. Tell me if you went and how did it go!

    • Rachel

      Omg I thought I was the only one! I feel so intimated when I go to the gym being a newbie, thanks for sharing!

  • Nikhil Taneja

    Hi Roxy,

    Awesome article. I will be going for my trial class this Monday or maybe observe a class first. I have been having second thoughts as I will be 30 in a couple of months and already overweight but i guess my conditioning will definitely improve. I know the training will be hell but my gut feeling says it will be worth it If i stay committed. Thank you so much for posting such an informative article and I am so glad i came across your post.

    Kind Regards,
    Nikhil Taneja

    • Hi Nikhil,

      Thanks for reading. I’ve had several students start training in their 30’s who started overweight and out of shape – the only thing that matters is that you train consistently to make progress. You don’t have to be in shape to start πŸ™‚ Have a great time! x

  • Ada Felise Timbol

    Hey! I’m starting to have an interest about Muay Thai but I still don’t know if I should continue, because I see a lot of comments that Miay Thai isn’t good for girls. I’m actually planning to learn but I’m still overage and my brothers say that it isn’t fit for me. I actually had problems with my stamina and i ask if it would be alright to still continue? But I’m already recovered now but i would like an advice if i can still continue?

    • Hi Ada, Thanks for reading πŸ™‚ Muay Thai is a sport for both men and women! There are so many amazing females at my gym who train, many of them get even better than most guys if they are dedicated. Stamina is simple to develop with regular training. If you like the training stick with it and don’t be worried what other people say. I’m not sure what you mean by “good for girls” but the sport is good for ANYONE who wants to develop skills, conditioning and athletic movements.

  • Stelios Tsoukalas

    Roxy well said ! i think that you nailed every point in the article. And ye the anxiety of something new and unknown will be there and but its a beautiful school for body and mind sure your gonna feel the pain, so what ? nothing comes easy in life suck it up and keep at it !!! And i want to point at something Nikhil said that he is almost 30 and not sure, mate go for it !! I’m 48 and i love it i’m at the gym 3 times a week. For those who are not sure give it a go i’m sure that you will stick to it and love Muay Thai. Look, listen, ask questions, repeat what you learn even if you think you know it ( Bruce Lee had once said ” he fears the man that has done one kick 1000 times and not the man who has done 1000 kicks 1 time” ). Sa Wa Dee.

    • Thanks for reading πŸ™‚ So happy to hear you are 48 and in love with your Muay Thai training, what an inspiration to all to try something new and have fun at any age!