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.
Do you remember that feeling when you were a kid at the top of a snowy hill on your sleigh, and you were scared to go down it, but you did it, and it was terrifying and glorious at the same time after you got to the bottom you ran back up and kept doing it again and again for hours? No? Okay, well maybe you lived in a warmer climate and there was some big rock your friends dared you to jump off of into the water and you were so freaked out, but finally you did it, and it was so much fun that you told everyone about it and maybe started to recruit other people to do it, and maybe you teased your friends who didn’t want to jump.
Well, that’s kind of what sparring Muay Thai is like… kind of. At least that the best analogy I could come up with today.
Post Muay Thai Sparring Smiles with my team at F5 Fitness
I will say that learning to spar is one of the hardest things I’ve accomplished in my life and also the most rewarding. I’ve written before about why it’s okay not to spar if you don’t want to and still train Muay Thai with pad work, but I wanted to write about why you should along with the mental and physical benefits of sparring Muay Thai.
Obviously, sparring makes you better at the sport of Muay Thai, but what can it do for your life in other ways?
I still remember the first time I got hit really hard in the face. During a Muay Thai pad work session my coach hit me square in the nose with a Thai pad and I froze. As I felt the blood trickle down the back of my throat and tasted the salty liquid. It took me a minute to register that my coach was yelling at me, “Hit the fucking pads, Roxy! Keep your hands up.” I suddenly came to and returned fire with a jab cross kick and at that moment I had several realizations…
1. The guys must be going easy on me in sparring cause this was more pain than I had ever felt before
2. Getting hit sucks
3. I was angry about it
4. I really wanted to hit my coach at this point, but knew that was unacceptable