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Muay Thai Questions

I am looking to get my wife into martial arts. The main reason for this is the improvements in balance and focus (both mental and physical) that I experienced when I did Karate many moons ago.
A muay thai academey recently opened up close to us and I want to know if this MA will give the same advantages. From the look of things it seems to be a more real world style (ie. more martial, less art) with a strong focus on conditioning. Does it still cover the mental part?

Hi Gadget,

I’m not quite sure what you mean by “mental part,” but any martial art will increase your focus, reaction times, and body awarness.

I practiced Muay Thai for 2 years, and progressed very quickly; this is because, as you say, it is not as rigid as Karate (for example). There are no katas or “beauty movements,” all the hitting you learn is to the point, and effective. There are no long lists of attack-counterattack couples to learn. You learn to block and dodge, but then you respond with whatever you feel is best given your position with respect to your opponent. I remember the physical conditioning was tough, but then again, we had a very demanding teacher.

Maybe I’ve rambled on too long! :slight_smile: So I’ll just say one more thing, OK, two more. As a system of attack/defence, it is hands down the fiercest and most effective I’ve seen; if you’re looking for self-defence, this is it.

And lastly, it all depends on the teacher. I studied it in Spain, with the number 1 guy in the country. Like I said, he was very demanding, but fair. You could tell he loved his art and he taught it well, and responsibly. When he taught a potentially mortal attack he would not joke around, he would tell us “with this blow you can break your opponents neck, which will cause death; this is to be used only when you are in fear of death yourself.” I mention all this because we would sometimes get new students who had trained elsewhere, and invariably they would come in fighting as if they were in a UFC contest, with no technique or respect for the person opposite them. Our teacher would always say “you’re not here to fight, you’re here to train; fighting is done on the streets and in the ring; and don’t worry, I’ll tell you when know Muay Thai enough to fight.” He would always spar with these violent newcomers and knock 'em around without receiving a single blow. It was awesome to see this. Needless to say, they all learnt their lesson.

Go check this place out, talk to the teacher, take a trial class, and see what his philosophy is like. If the place fills up with gangsta-wannabees that only want to learn how to beat people up, then I wouldn’t go train there.

Damn this was long!! Sorry for that, Gadget, but you brought back some good memories.

[quote]gadget wrote:
I am looking to get my wife into martial arts. The main reason for this is the improvements in balance and focus (both mental and physical) that I experienced when I did Karate many moons ago.
A muay thai academey recently opened up close to us and I want to know if this MA will give the same advantages. From the look of things it seems to be a more real world style (ie. more martial, less art) with a strong focus on conditioning. Does it still cover the mental part?[/quote]

Any physical activity can cover the mental part at least somewhat, especially if the participant strongly desires excellence in it. Martial arts do that more than most, I feel, because you have the most at stake, and because many of the moves are hard to learn and require a great deal of practice over a long period of time to learn. That naturally tends to encourage concentration; few people want to take 7 years to learn a kick if they can train like hell and learn it in two.

Of course, concentration can also be stressed by the incorporation of meditation, which requires great focus.

As far as I know, Muay Thai has very little of that. But I know little about Muay Thai.

I do wonder, though, if you like the idea of your wife sparring and getting hit regularly. This would surely happen in a good Muay Thai class, sooner or later.

I’d also recommend you get back into it a little more yourself. It would be very valuable to your wife to have someone hold the kicking pads for her at home, etc., and is a quality way to spend time with each other. Accompanying her at least occasionally while she jogs, etc., might be a good thing for both of you.

If it were me, I’d check out the place by watching the training for one or two sessions myself, and if the people and instructors looked helpful and cool instead of like thugs or people with ego problems, then I’d bring the lady in to see how she felt.

Maybe even disappear for a couple hours so she wouldn’t feel pressured or self-conscious while asking questions or just making up her mind. I’ve found that women often have big ego issues in martial arts – fear, feeling it’s too “mean” or will make them less feminine, thinking going all out will make people think they’re just jerks, etc. It’s good for each member of a couple not to just hang with each other, but get to know and be comfortable with the other students individually, I think, as, like dying, there is something unalterably and deeply private about the experience of martial arts. Just a thought, but since it’s only on her own terms that she’ll decide to stay in a school, she should probably be deciding whether she likes a school and an art on her own, too.

To perhaps be more clear, it’s not sufficient for you personally or you two as a couple to enjoy the social atmosphere of the club, but for her to enjoy it, without the concern of how you feel about it. She’s the one who’s going to have to be showing up and devoting herself, after all, not you. To illustrate the point another way, you may lead her to the best school and the greatest master in the world, and she may find it just not to her taste, preferring, say, Aikido or Tai-Chi to Muay Thai or Karate. This is a decision she has to make not to please you or match your interests, but to please herself on a very deep level. A wrong match may mean she quits that school, that style, or even martial arts completely.

So, as long as the place seems wholesome and healthy – give her room and let her know not to join to meet your expectations or desires, but to join only if it suits her for whatever reasons. If you think it might help, and even if you think it might not, at least consider making yourself scarce while she watches a class.

Miserere

You speak highly of it so I will give it a go. With the mental part I meant calmness and focus together with body awareness and balance. You have therefore answered my question. From your post I have however learned one thing: I will have to take this class with my wife, or she’ll kick my ass in no time.
Glad I could help you reminisce.

Muay Thai is very heavy into tradition, customs, and structure. Depending on who’s running the school (if it’s a native Thai), they may not even wish to train a female. But it’s worth checking out. Do bear in mind, as Kablooey said, the instruction is usually centered around sparring.

Maybe look into some type of grappling, if you can find a Brazillian JiuJitsu school near you. It’s like fast-paced human chess. An insane physical workout, but the mental stretegy and tactics can be just as tiring.

My wife and I take Muay Thai, actually she is my training partner for most classes. I agree with everything said in the first post. It is a fun art, it can be brutal at times and the conditioning for the frist couple weeks/months is tough. But it get easier. Our instructor is great and from time to time will work in some “self defense” techniques forthe women. This is a tough art but not too tough to learn the basics. One thing I noticed, within the first month to month and a half you will be able to perform the basics pretty easily with some good power. Like it was said above, it doesnt take years to get good at, just get the basics down and then create combonations from that. One last thing, buy quality gloves and I would recomend getting a pair of bag gloves too. The bag work will wear out the padding in the trining gloves faster than most think, which leads to less safety for any training partners. Get ready for some sore shins and have fun.

Personally I think for focus and balance pretty much all martial arts could be of some use. The question is whether A- it is a real Muay Thai club or a fitness oriented club structured around muay thai and B- is your wife the type of person that likes hard physical contact( Muay Thai is like boxing, it is rough). If yes, then go for it. Rememeber though, from a self defence point of view, women would do much better to learn grappling, etc. as most attacks on women are much different than on men. Being pulled to the ground, forced somewhere, grabbed up, choked, etc. Not that Muay Thai wouldn’t teach some useful attributes. My 2 cents.

[quote]Miserere wrote:

And lastly, it all depends on the teacher. I studied it in Spain, with the number 1 guy in the country. Like I said, he was very demanding, but fair. You could tell he loved his art and he taught it well, and responsibly. When he taught a potentially mortal attack he would not joke around, he would tell us “with this blow you can break your opponents neck, which will cause death; this is to be used only when you are in fear of death yourself.” I mention all this because we would sometimes get new students who had trained elsewhere, and invariably they would come in fighting as if they were in a UFC contest, with no technique or respect for the person opposite them. [/quote]

So people win UFC fights by underestimating their opponents and ignoring technique?

Secondly I’d have a hard time respecting a teacher who claimed he could break an opponents neck with a single strike.

And all this time I thought Muay Thai was about what was effective in the ring, not about death strikes and bashing other martial arts. I guess I wasn’t completely correct.

[quote]Kablooey wrote:

I do wonder, though, if you like the idea of your wife sparring and getting hit regularly. This would surely happen in a good Muay Thai class, sooner or later.

[/quote]

Actually the thai fighters do not do full contact sparring because even with padding it is easy to get injured, and they have to fight many fights within a year. So if you go to a place that trains like the thais do (which I would hope it did, seeing as they are the best), sparring would not go above 50% power, and usually it is less. If you go to any place where injuries are considered part of sparring, you are probably in the wrong place. (this is not to say that injuries are completely avoidable)

This is all great so far…LOL.

A couple points I would love to add, as a student of martials arts on and off for most of my life…from traditional to integrated MMA and self defense styles…

First, only in martial arts do you find masters of a martial art who have never been in a fight before. We have all sat and thought about what we would do in a situation if it ever arose. I would recommend asking a friend to, over the next month or so, pick a time and just unload a straight right, directly into your face…no warning, no idea it is coming. See how well your plans work out then when the world is spinning, and you may have crapped your pants a little, and you have no idea what is going on…

This is real world fighting…

All those cute little moves are very tough to pull off unless you are used to getting hit. thsi is why I enjoy integrated systems where real world scenarios are stressed, and contact is made. Everything is different after taking a hard right to the face…

Second, a quote that defines chaos and conflict:

“In a conflict you will not rise to the level of your expectations, but will fall to your level of training.”

All arts have their merits. Only and integrated system truly covers the most effective techniques within each range. I learned this early in my life as a little kid with a quick lip…I took a few beatings, so I searched for an integrated system. Well, i actually learned to box a bit first…

I would recommend taking the next six weeks at least visitng dojos and gyms. Take a serious look at what is being taught and compare that to what you desire from an art.

Self Defense? Find a practical, integrated system.

Movement effciency / suppleness? Find a kicking art and see if you can combine it with a grappling art…suppleness has many forms.

Something to toughen you up? Muay Thai or boxing, for certain.

The list is endless and centers around your desires.

You will be dedicating and trusting yourselves for years to come to a ‘master’. I would make sure you find someone who you will truly respect in such a way…so take your time and visit many. Ask questions, watch, and then discuss your feelings with your spouse afterwards.

Personally, I would tend to stay away from masters who profess death in a single strike techniques. While absolutley possible, these are far from probable… learn the basics of positioning, refining gross motor skills, and focus…

The rest will come with your level of dedication…

In the end remember this: a fight usually goes to the biggest / fastest / strongest. This is why so many UFC type guys have poor technique yet still dominate… they are physical specemins… Snap kick any of those guys, and they will close the distance and pummel you so quick your head will spin…with stunning force and agressiveness…

Self defense is totally different. It is a game of submitting until the time to disable appears.

very, very different.

You can also look on the web at different styles and see what goes into the training, what the outcome may look like for you, etc.

Here are two examples of integrated systems (my favorite type of places):

www.veearnisjitsu.com

and

www.psdtc.com/

Both very good resources, and the veearnis site has some of the better videos out there (although everything must be practiced at full speed to be effective).

Anyway, hope this helps.

Jumanji

Crud, I did it again.

Just martial arts sites…

At least my legs are quick!!!

I am the wife of BJBliffert (couple posts ago) and I agree that MT would be an excellent way for your wife and you to have fun. My balance has gotten better and now I know how to defend or kick-a-lil’ ass when needed. It is a great workout and builds nice arms and shoulders. As for Kablooey…I don’t know where you have taken a class before but our instructor does not make us spar for an 1.5 hours. In fact the only way we are able to spar in the ring is if we have got the basics down. The instructors that make their pupils spar all the time are usually not well educated in Muay Thai.

Thanks for all the replies. This contains a lot of usefull info. One of the problems of my position is that we are not as “evolved” as the US in terms of fighting styles. This is the only MT academy I am aware of in the country, for the rest it is merely the traditional styles (Shotokan Karate, traditional kung fu and Thai Chi).

I would be hard pressed to find an integrated system as you refer to it. I think th best idea will be to attend one or two classes and just get the feel of it.

BTW the instructor does not allow sparring outside of special sessions. The threat of injury, as has been said, is very real.

Thanks for all the input.

[quote]buffy wrote:
I am the wife of BJBliffert (couple posts ago) and I agree that MT would be an excellent way for your wife and you to have fun. My balance has gotten better and now I know how to defend or kick-a-lil’ ass when needed. It is a great workout and builds nice arms and shoulders. As for Kablooey…I don’t know where you have taken a class before but our instructor does not make us spar for an 1.5 hours. In fact the only way we are able to spar in the ring is if we have got the basics down. The instructors that make their pupils spar all the time are usually not well educated in Muay Thai.[/quote]

I never said anything about being made to spar for an hour and a half. Wow! I just said some contact was inevitable. Quite a difference.

If i could give any advice it would be as follows, check the credentials of the intstructor, and get a feel if the class is geared towards what you and your wife want, it may be a hardcore muay thai class and that is hardly something your wife wants to jump right into, or maybe she does.