So you’ve decided you want to take up Muay Thai or Kickboxing and you have begun to search for gyms near you. It’s exciting to try something new, but where do you start and what do you look for in a gym? If you are new to martial arts or the last time you look a martial art you were in the little dragons karate program, you probably have a lot of questions and are not sure which are the right ones to ask. So how do you go about finding the right Muay Thai gym?
What is your reason for wanting to learn Muay Thai?
Get Clear About Your “Why”
I suggest that the first thing you ask yourself is, “Why do you want to take up Muay Thai?” Take some time to sit down and write down your reasons. Do you want to lose some weight or increase endurance? Do you want more confidence? Are you just interested in self defense or do you want to learn to spar and have plans to compete in the sport one day? If you don’t have specific reasons that’s ok too, sometimes people want to start a martial art simply because they want to try something new. Maybe you know you should be active to be healthy but clocking thirty minutes on the treadmill at 24 Hour Fitness followed by a half-hearted trip to the free weights area surrounded by grunting people wearing headphones just isn’t doing it for you anymore. That’s a good reason too.
I was not a likely fighter. I was twenty-four, soft, nonathletic and felt pretty uncomfortable in my own skin, let alone a boxing ring when I first started Muay Thai. I did however have one thing going for me; I was ridiculously disciplined. I would show up to train every day. I worked hard. I did my road work. I didn’t complain (much). This discipline was enough to develop skills and techniques that would make me a good fighter. But that was it, I was just good, not champion material yet. To be great, to be a champion and a professional I needed one more quality – Conviction. Conviction for me took time to develop. Due to my lack of previous athletic skills I was used to seeing myself as the same girl that was picked last in dodge ball and who sat the bench at varsity basketball games. These views of yourself take time to change, but eventually with enough hard work, self discovery and winning fights my confidence improved. I started to go into the ring thinking, “I got this!”, instead of “What the fuck am I doing in here?”
There are three qualities that make a great fighter:
Discipline, skill and conviction.
Now that I coach fighters I find I am often thinking about these three qualities. In my opinion to be a champion you must excel at all three. Of course desire is the fourth that all fighters must have, but I leave that out, as it’s obvious that the desire must be present or the fighter won’t even want to fight.
There are some good fighters out there that excel at just two of the above three qualities, and are simply average or sub par in the third. They can skirt by for a while, but eventually they get beaten by those that have mastered all three as they rise up the ranks.