Do you want to try Muay Thai/ Kickboxing, but don’t know exactly what you are looking for? First off, lets be sure that you are actually learning Muay Thai, and not cardio kickboxing using that name as a marketing ploy.
Muay Thai is a striking art that utilizes attacks from the fists, elbows, knees, and feet. Strikes can be thrown from long, mid, or close range. This wide array of strikes, mixed with unique padwork, rhythm sparring (touch-and-go sparring) and specific training make is much more than your average “Fast Food Martial Art” aka “McDojo” Program.
There is also an element of grappling in muay thai referred to as the clinch. Very different from the grappling techniques used in Brazilian jiu jitsu, clinch maneuvers are used to set up knee and elbow strikes or to throw your opponent to the ground.
Since the sport requires that practitioners possess a large number of athletic qualities, the benefits that accompany learning muay Thai are numerous.
Below are what I believe to be some of the top benefits from practicing muay Thai.
1. Increased Cardiovascular Conditioning
I have played many sports and partaken in a large variety of physical activities over the years, and few of them have come close to delivering the cardiovascular conditioning that Muay Thai offers. Being both aerobic and anaerobic, muay Thai places emphasis on your cardiopulmonary systems. With continued practice, your body will adapt to the demands of the sport, and improved cardiovascular performance is one of the payoffs.
2. Leg Strength
Kicking and footwork play a large role in muay Thai. One movement that is distinctive to muay thai is utilizing the shin as the main striking surface as opposed to the foot. Learning how to kick strengthens the musculature of the lower body. Every muscle in your lower body will benefit from practicing the various kicks and footwork drills incorporated in the sport. From muscle endurance, force production, agility, to just plain old good looking calves, muay Thai delivers.
3. Core Strength
Core is not a word I like to use a lot. Generally when someone refers to their core, they’re referring to their abdominal muscles. This drives strength and conditioning professionals crazy. Your core is every single muscle located on your trunk, not just a six pack. The rotational nature of all of the movements in the sport truly does strengthen your core. Getting punched in the body will also help a little. Striking, defensive movements, and clinching will all help the muay Thai student develop a strong core.
4. Increased Hip Mobility
It won’t happen overnight, but with time the kicking and kneeing movements of muay Thai promote increased hip mobility. This translates to FUNCTIONAL FLEXIBILITY; even if you can’t touch your toes, you will still have the mobility to kick even as high as the head based on your focus on mobility and with practice. Having healthy hips alone can save you from serious pain and numerous terrible medical conditions later in life. Just remember to do your foam rolling and stretching. Get an occasional massage and those hips of yours will feel amazing.
5. Stress Relief
I personally think this is the most important benefit muay Thai can provide. The majority of us accumulate a fair amount of stress during the day. Having an outlet for that stress feels fantastic and can work wonders for your mental and physical health. Let’s face it, when you’re pissed off at work or stressed about bills, hitting something just feels good. Due to the fast-paced nature of the sport, you can’t trouble yourself with worry while training. You’ll get hit in the face or mess up the drill you’re working on. Practicing a martial art allows you to focus on yourself and nothing else. I believe doing something regularly that detaches you from the daily grind helps you become a happier and more carefree individual.
To sum it all up, muay Thai can benefit just about anyone. Just make sure you adapt the workout to your level of fitness when you’re starting out. There is absolutely no shame in taking a break or modifying a drill to make it fit for you.
Remember when practicing any sport there is always a risk of injury, But our program is designed so that casual practitioners and professionals alike can benefit from training together. This environment of skill over toughness makes for smart training where the focus on knowledge instead of ego allows for students to grow into the amount of contact they are wanting to engage in.
Make sure to consult your healthcare professional when beginning any new type of physical endeavor and let your coach know of any injury or physical condition that you may have prior to practice.
For those of you choosing to explore the art of muay Thai in Midland Odessa Texas, contact coach Brad at 432-296-0860
Brad has 17 years of experience and has worked with high level kickboxers and MMA fighters to find a successful striking system that can help anyone of any skill level find a way to benefit themselves in a positive way with martial arts!