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The Ultimate Guide to Muay Thai

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

No doubt that your strength, stamina, and agility will improve by doing Muay Thai. Your life might also change (for the better of course) by doing Muay Thai.

Introduction to Muay Thai

Muay Thai training is gaining popularity in Singapore, as BFF has personally noted the increase in our client base too. A quick introduction to Muay Thai (also known as Thai Boxing), it is the national sport of Thailand (as the name suggests) and is a contact/ close combat sport.

As cited from Tiger Muay Thai, a renowned training ground in Phuket, “Muay Thai is referred to as “The Art of Eight Limbs”; and using eight points of contact the body mimics weapons of war. The hands become the sword and dagger; the shins and forearms were hardened in training to act as armor against blows, and the elbow to fell opponents like a heavy mace or hammer; the legs and knees became the axe and staff. The body operated as one unit. The knees and elbows constantly searching and testing for an opening while grappling and trying to spin an enemy to the ground for the kill.”

This culture has also now transcended Thailand to all over the world, and is even an Olympic Sport, giving rise to Muay Thai Singapore.

Muay Thai Techniques List

Some basic Muay Thai techniques names are ‘jab’, ‘cross’, ‘uppercut’ and ‘elbow’ (which is exclusive to Muay Thai in fact!). Don’t worry if they sound foreign to you, after reading this segment, you will have a clearer idea!

Basic Muay Thai Techniques

Muay Thai basic techniques include

1) Jab: Non-dominant hand executing a punch by lengthening your hand, towards the opponent’s face

2) Cross: Dominant hand executing a punch by lengthening your hand, towards the opponent’s face

3) Uppercut: Using either the left (left uppercut) or right (right uppercut) hand, execute a underhand punch towards the opponent’s chin. Pro-tip: keep your knees bend to draw power from your legs upwards

4) Elbow: Usually when fighters are in close range, this attacking technique involves slicing the elbow across the opponent’s face. Pro-tip: Draw power from your hips by lengthening the twist of your body and clenching your fist tightly towards your chest

Kick Technique

Muay Thai kick techniques include:

  • Roundhouse Kick: Decide on the side you wish to attack the opponent and that will be the same foot you use for the kick. Aim for the thigh area upwards to the head. Transfer your weight over to the other foot for better balance, and extend the other foot outwards. Perform a twist at your hips and deliver your powerful kick at a full blow! Pro-tip: at the end of the kick, your hip should be facing your opponent with the same hand swinging downwards

  • Push Kick: This is used to gain distance from the opponent. Using the tip of your foot, kick the opponent’s belly or abdomen and push him away! Pro-tip: increase the power of your kick by thrusting your hip outwards

Blocking Technique

Muay Thai blocking techniques include:

  1. Arm Block: Remember to always keep your head/face covered. Simple, raise both arms whenever you are not attacking

  2. Lean back: Avoid blows by leaning back

  3. Shoulder Block: Avoid blows to your neck by shrugging your shoulders

  4. Shin Block: By lifting your knees high (above waist level), use your shin as your armour

Advanced Technique

Advanced Muay Thai techniques refer to clinching in general. Again, this is exclusive to Muay Thai and requires close contact. Grab the opponent by the neck or under the arms and deliver knee strikes to the ribs, abdomen, and thigh.

Fight Technique

Muay Thai fighting techniques are in fact doing the above in combinations. This is similar to a set of kata in other martial arts – each fighter will develop their own killer combinations and sharpen their skills through sparring.

Hopefully, you have gained a better idea of these Muay Thai training techniques! If this has sparked your curiosity, hit us up for a session anytime J

Why Muay Thai is the best?

We may sound biased but as practitioners of this sport, we have certainly personally experienced Muay Thai training benefits.

People who practice martial arts tend to have better self discipline and they will do the right thing when no one is watching. We don't do things "for show". We do what's needed and we do what's right.

We are trained to remain calm in every situation. In order to think wisely and to make the right decision, we must stay calm in every situation to have a clear mindset.

We don't give up easily. In fact, we never give up. Even at times during training when we are breathless, we are still standing strong awaiting any challenges. We don't stop when we are tired. That is not our practice. We only stop when we are done.

We aim before we attack. Decisively we will jump straight in without hesitation when we see an opportunity. We observe and think before making a move.

All these practices are actually applicable to our daily life.

By doing Muay Thai, our mental stamina will become stronger and we will resolve all obstacles in life with a calm mindset.

Apart from the health benefits of Muay Thai and mental benefits, Muay Thai has fitness benefits and helps in weight loss too.

Here are ten additional reasons to convince you that this IS the best sport:

  1. It is a Stress Reliever! Had a long day? Bad day? Moody? VENT!! Throw your punches and kick the bags. Nobody is gonna stop you.

  2. It's a good form of cardio exercise. Muay Thai training usually lasts for about 60-90 mins. Throughout the entire session, your heart rate will be high or even extremely high at times and it simply leads to fat burn!

  3. Our overall muscle mass will increase! However, don't expect yourself to buff up like some bodybuilder by doing Muay Thai. You will gain lean muscles and not bulky or huge muscles.

  4. Our core strength will definitely increase as well. For those who are aiming to get "6/8 packs", Muay Thai is the way to go!

  5. It increases our hip mobility! For those who're stuck at your desk every Monday to Friday, I guess this will be beneficial for you.

  6. We will get more flexible, and that really helps in our daily life!

  7. Unlike some other sports (eg. Badminton, Bowling, Tennis, etc) which mostly focus on 1 side of your limbs, Muay Thai is an all-rounder sport. A full body high impact exercise that will boost your overall strength EQUALLY!

  8. We do need our legs to support our own body weight so we can do activities easily right. Some of us might have issues on our legs and that restricts us from certain activities. By doing Muay Thai, it will definitely give us a pair of stronger legs!

  9. Our bone will become stronger! Bone density will increase for sure. And that helps to prevent diseases like osteoporosis.

  10. Lastly! It minimises the effect of aging!!! We will look young and feel young. Also, by doing Muay Thai consistently, our physical fitness level (strength & stamina) will always be at tip top!

Getting Started on Muay Thai

How long does it take to learn Muay Thai? How to be good at Muay Thai?

These may be some common questions in your head – but just like any other sport, practice is key (and a knowledgeable instructor who can teach, of course). The more practice you get, the faster you get better. But from our experience, our clients usually see a marked improvement after three months. They are able to do pad work smoothly and can persist for at least three minutes. Their response timing also improved – blocks and attacks are delivered without hesitation and are more intuitive.

What to wear for Muay Thai?

Another common question that we have received from clients, prior to their first training. The answer is really, anything that is comfortable for you to have a good sweat in!

What about Muay Thai Gloves? Some fitness studios or instructors may require you to bring your own for hygiene purposes. Here at BFF, we do provide gloves and hand wraps for our clients (all washed and sanitised regularly), but you may like to purchase one that fits your hand more comfortably, if you are committing for the long-term.

Generally, Muay Thai gloves are full gloves that cover your fingers. In fact, if you had done other martial arts like kickboxing or boxing, or anything else that uses full gloves, you can use them for Muay Thai too (they are the same!).

Muay Thai vs Other Martial Arts

1) Muay Thai vs Kickboxing

Kick and punches are delivered for Kickboxing only. Strictly no elbows and knees are used

2) Muay Thai vs BJJ

BJJ refers Brazilian Jujitsu. This form of martial arts is more ground-based, and focus on grappling and struggling on the ground, rather than the delivery of punches and kicks. Should I learn Muay Thai or BJJ? This depends on your preference for being on the ground.

3) Muay Thai vs Boxing for self defense:

Boxing involves hand work only with no kicks or knee strikes to be delivered. Muay Thai punches vs boxing punches are also different – the former involves direct strike to the opponent, with minimal dodging from the defender, who aims for a counter attack or a good block instead; the latter however Involves more dodging of the attacker punches to prevent losing points. On this note, Muay Thai vs Boxing stance also differs, with a higher guard built using both hands for Muay Thai to protect the head/face (since less dodging is involved), as compared to boxing which arms are usually just lifted to the chin.

4) Judo vs Muay Thai:

Judo aims to unbalance the opponent and send them on hard slam towards the ground. No punches or kicks are delivered at all in the process, and the focus is really on making the opponent lose balance by pulling on his arms.

5) Muay Thai vs MMA:

MMA stands for Mixed Martial Arts which involves using any martial arts to face the opponent. This can come from any of the above, including Muay Thai.

Muay Thai Rules

A common set of rules used in competitions are the IFMA Muay Thai Rules, aka the rules from the International Federation of Muay Thai Association.

Some basic rules of interest are likely:

1) Muay Thai Sweep Rules

Sweeping involves sweeping your opponent off their feet. You can sweep the opponent any time during the match, but this must be done from the outside (aka you may not put your foot between the opponent’s legs or this is considered poor play that will not score any points. The cleaner the sweep, the more points the fighter may score.

2) Muay Thai Clinch Rules

Clinching involves wrapping one's arms around the head or underarms of the opponent. When clinching, the fighter can deliver punches, knee strikes, and kick to the ribs, abdomen, and thighs, but must note to not pull the opponent’s head lower than the hip, especially when performing knee strikes. Otherwise, this is considered poor play and no points will be given.

3) Overall Muay Thai Rules and Scoring

The aim is simple: score as many points as possible in a match! Depending on the competition, a match comprises three or five rounds, with each round lasting either three or five minutes. At the end of each round, each fighter will be given a score of between 6 and 10 (in whole numbers). The fighter who is the last one standing or has more points at the end of the match, wins!

Wrapping Up

Top five things for you (tldr):

  1. Muay Thai has many techniques and can be executed in combinations during a fight

  2. Muay Thai workout has health and mental benefits apart from helping to lose weight and increase your fitness levels

  3. Muay Thai uses full gloves and you do not need to bring one when training with BFF

  4. Muay Thai is different from other martial arts and uses the largest range of attacking methods (from punches, elbows, kicks, and knee strikes)

  5. Muay Thai can be done for recreation or for competitive purposes, when points are given to fighters

When in doubt, feel free to reach out to us!

Together, Let us Witness your Fitness!

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