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Muay Thai - Your Training


This is for all the Muay Thai guys out there on this site. Just wondering how you guys go about your training, what you find has worked the most, what you find helps the most for the fight leading up.

I'd liek to know if you think drilling the same combo's over and over again works, or knowing how to execute techniques perfectly (in a spar/fight situation) is more important?

I feel that drilling with a partner is more important than pad work...let's say if they throw a punch, and you throw your head kick as soon as they are going to throw a punch is very effective and if it catches them it usually results in a good hit, if not a KO.
Also drilling combinations on a partner too.
Drills such as they kick, you check the kick and come back with something.

What do you all think?
Explain your training philosophy! Thanks!


I find the best is always real sparring nothing prepares you like the real thing. Thats pretty obvious, i know. lol But that was always tops for me.

As for the rest, they all have their place.

As for drilling the combos, it MUST be done. i see a lot of new students before who would kinda half ass the combo drills and just wanted to go in and bang.

They dont realize that the combos need to be drilled in so its second nature.

Once you start to gas and you get clipped a few times. EVERYTHING GOES OUT THE WINDOW. You could've done maybe 12 different variations and it almost always goes back to maybe 3 basic combos that you learned in your first class once you either gas hard or get hurt or often a combination of both.

Thankfully i trained stand up since i was a kid, i learn to think of combos are units. Sometimes if they were complicated i'd even name them. It makes them so much more manageable.

The techniques are important, but i tend to focus on the technique when working the big pads.

I can actually go on forever.. but the combos thing i wanted to point out.

as for philosophy... mine has always been the navy seals motto.

"the more you sweat in peace time, the less you bleed during war time."


Good post. I must also add(from my own experience)that new students have a problem keeping the fact that pad work is for technique/speed. They always want to hit the focus mitts with everything they have...or try to kick thai pads full blast. And then they wonder why their technique is not coming along...and why their combos don't flow.

Also you have to keep in perspective the fact that technique work is not conditioning. I learned the hard way when I had my first smoker. Focusing "too much" on technique...and not devoting enough time to actual conditioning is a major pitfall.

To sum it up...technique is "king"...but conditioning is the "kingdom." A "king" with no "kingdom" isn't really a king. Does that make sense??..lol. Also...this doesn't even touch the "mental training."


The type of training you use will condition you that way. Oke that sounds vague and lame so let me clarify:

Pad Work:
If your goal is toughening of body parts (shins, kness elbows) and/or pushing your lactate acid pool to the max, then go full power. But usually for beginners & intermediate-advanced people this type of padtraining will f*ck up technique.
If after full power padwork they have to spar it's a recipe for injuries and broken noses.

I train people this way: I like to "step-up" on power and speed starting easy, and gradually go slightly harder and faster. Since most if not all power is generated from hip/leg/shoulder protraction, working pads easy and light in the beginning people learn to work with protraction instead of throwing their weight into it.

Here in Holland we're actually used to do most combinations while wearing shinguards and boxing gloves, instead of using pad's all of the time. You can still use power, and since you're catching your partners kicks/kness on your guard it more realistic and closer to sparring.


I agree with what you're saying. This is elaborating a little more. Going full power on thai pads is great for intermediate/advanced students...but not at the expense of technique. I'm sure you'll agree that technique with power is the goal to aim for...and that power is near impossible to have with poor technique.


NederPolska..I'm really interested how they train Muay Thai in Holland, the dutch have many many succesful muay thai fighters.

I look at when they kick too, a lot of them don't stay on the balls of their feet, and they also do not turn so the heel is pointing the other way ( "perfect" tecnique )
they kinda a bit more flat footed and turn the foot more sideways. I know I am overanalyzing it, but it seem slike it perhaps generating more power?

I think the thai pads are more for speed kicks/conditioning, I didn't know they fuck up technique..how do they fuck up technique?

I like the kick sheild a lot for low kicks and body kicks.

I'm thinking of getting I don't know what they are called..one of the those things where it's like a baseball mitt almost..not very big and it claps if you hit it right, its to practice head kicks.


Good analysis actually. The thing is that traditional thai kicks indeed rotate fully on their heels. The dutch do it a bit different. The difference is this:
* from the left front- right back position we sidestep slightly to the left. Your left foot has then an 45 degree angle.
* We lauch our right leg through our calves (like a one leg jump.
* begause of the momentum your left foot pivotes form 45 to 90 degree. but not much more.
* kicking with your left foot is vice-versa.

Advantage is that your shin is slamming a bit more "frontal" instead of sideways into the body/leg. Especially Remy bonjasky uses this trick during clinching. during the clinch from a closed guard he leg-kicks almost fully frontal. So he's really close but yet manages to leg-kick you.
So basiclly we end up with a max. of 90 degree heel turn.

Tip: Youtube the name Rob Kaman. He is a dutch fighter form the 80's and 90's who did "double" legkickes taking both legs out. watch his fight against Ernesto Hoost. Just looking at it hurts..... (i think Rob Kaman trains with BJ Penn now)

Well the fucking up part was a bit over the top...
I ment that especially beginners upto intermediate start going mental on the thai pads with full power, speed etcetera. So the focus is not on technique anymore. And it's difficult to undo mistakes&bad-technique. With glove and shinguard training you're more focused on technique.

The kick shield is great indeed. However i have to mention this. I have seen people hurt their knees badly who are holding the shield for leg kicks. If you're holding it make sure you're knee (against which the shield rests) is pointing traight into the shield! If that knee is pointing sideways...than with every impact you're knee is going sideways, you don't want that. (It's a bit like American football players who endure takedowns sideways )
Also on impact "push back" with force by bending both knees, your leg muscles can take the impact better.
Hopefully my dutch-english makes sense.


haha yeah your dutch english is perfect man.
Yes I told my dad this, he was holding the kick sheild and I nearly took out his leg with a power kick! But he just points his knee and pushes and he can take them.

Yeah the kicking technique has been mind-boggling and thank you for explaining I've been trying to do this technique in my kicking actually.
I'm gonna post up a video and hopefully you can take a look at it and see what you think.
I'll make it in a new thread though, and see everyone who wants to post a video of their stand up training..bag work..punching, kicks etc.
Mmmm I see what you mean with the pad work and technique..I acutally kind of do the same thing..

I go full power/speed on thai pads but that is when I'm realling tryin to boost my conditionig up, esp. if it's for afight I do hard thai pads 5 rounds.
But we make sure my technique is correct still and he will make me do it again if it's shit.
I have actually seen that Rob Kaman fight lol I also have Rob Kaman's champion training vid lol he's awesome! I'll check out remy bonjansky..only seen a few of his fights.

How many x a week do you guys train to get better?
I was training kicks n such everyday but I think it is too much especially with adding inlifting. Do you think doing muay thai 3-4x a week is enough to get really good. I mean I have gotten quite good with training it in class 3x a week and then doing my own thnig at home. But sometimtes it is too much and when I don't train it as much I feel more hungry to train and go harder and to learn.

Also how often do you guys learn new skill sets?
How often do you learn new combo's..do you train a combo or 2, and then drill that for a week or so...or go onto something new each class?
I'm trying to find the phiolosophy of how some fighters get really good and some are good, but never achieve that greatness, even if they train just as hard.


If i'm guessing/reading correctly you are already experienced as a ring fighter. How often should you train? Well it's "kicking in a open door", but it all depends on what level you compete. A good friend of mine actually trains fighters form beginners upto B-class level. So from noobs until guys who have been inside the ring for 1 to 3 years, also called semi-profesionals (I don't know what type of levels you guys use). 3 times a week is way enough if you are fighting/training until B-class level. Most guys actually get overtrained, or start lifting weights the wrong way etcetera... The trick is periodization, that is key to getting undertrained, overtrained or getting the right balance.

From my humble experience with training and fighting I don't think there is a perfect way. The difference is culture with training methods. For example the thai don't focus as much on western boxing skills is we (U.S. and Dutchies) do. They do way more then ever before, but still it's mostly focussing on kicks&knees. Boxing comes second. In Holland it's more 50/50. A combo therefore is for example: a right hand/ left hook followed by a kick and ending with a punch.
Also my trainers never made me do the most impossible/complex combo's for a simple reason: During sparring&fighting you fall back on a few basic combo's all complex stuff goes overboard ones pressure is put upon you. This is old news for you i'm sure.
Therefore only few top fighters inclose spinning kicks, flying kness etcetera..

Actually i'm working on a post regarding sensible en non-sensible training methods for MuayThai regarding weight training, periodization and myth busting (...example: stretching is useless and surprise works against you....) The info is from several dutch trainers with a Phd. background in combination with MMA and KB skills. A rare combination. I will post it sometime this week or next week. The translation will be a b*tch though....


Well I've been training muay thai for over a year..but I trained it 6 days a week so it really gave me a headstart..but like I said sometimes I felt just real drained from it, esp. cause I would lift after muay thai.

So I think for sure there were times when I felt overtrained and came back stronger when took some time off..and felt my skill was better also.

We do quite a bit of boxing also in our muay thai, I feel it really helps though..to set up kicks..I really like the dutch way of muay thai and want to learn about it more.

I was also think for combo's that..if you practice the punches and you slip, roll etc. sometimes it's not the combo that works..it's just that you know how to throw a punch effectively..and you know what type of punches to throw whenever and you kinda "make up" your own combo's as you go, see what works and doesn't work.

But maybe I'm wrong..maybe it does all come down to combo's because if you hadn't practiced that combo..you wouldn't be able to throw that certain punch that is in the combo..even if you do not do the full combo lol..I'm mindboggling over it a bit too much.

Also another question Nedar..in your class do you move to new combo's/something new each class or stick with the same thing drilling it for weeks?

It would be greatly appreciated if you can post that!!! I'd be real interested to read it man


bump, where you at neder lol


where you at dawg?! lol


I'm going to disagree with you on something. Training the overly complex things can enhance your timing for the simpler skillsets. Do you know how the guys that can pull off the complex skillsets learn how to do it? Reps.

They train it enough and get the reps in while they're at the gym. It becomes part of their muscle memory and then they get the timing and spontaneity of it set in while they spar.

A wrench might work but why not use a ratchet.

The problem is no one spends the time repping things like they should. If you're going to learn to superman punch or spinning flying wall kick with a twist and a somersault into a steven segal aikido wrist lock... You can't throw it in once or twice a month when you spar. Drill that shit 200-300x a day for a week or two then get back to me about whether or not it "works".

You fall back on the less complex stuff because that's what you've drilled the most.

You fall back to jab lowkick because you've done it the most. Even the most complex combination is going to have probably a jab lowkick somewhere in there. When have you sparred and never jabbed?

That's like guys that never practice rubber guard but want to try and throw up a gogoplata for shits and giggles when they're in trouble then say "that shit doesn't work!". You HAVE TO PUT YOUR TIME IN.

I'll reserve judgement about that stretching comment till I see the post you plan on making just because it would be unfair to say something until i see everything. But I'm going to just say stretching is an important part of mobility work that gets a really bad rap. It just all depends when and how you use it.

Next... I'm sorry bro but if you want to get good. 5 days week. Minimum. Skipping days so you can get in time to lift is fucking bullocks unless you are just doing muay thai as a hobby or to stay fit.

Neder is right that most guys go far too balls to the wall hitting the pads especially when they're new and can barely remember to keep their hands up. But after you get past that point the only way to mimic combat well enough to improve your fight endurance is to really go hard on the pads. A good padholder isn't just going to call out combos for you either. You'll have signals so he can just hold the pads and have you spontaneously react to what is there. My coach calls it "see and hit". This mimic's a fight so that when you see an opening your reaction time is such that you respond immediately and hit that shit. calling out numbers and such is fine but you have to get passed that, he should only be calling things out as needed. Also a good pad holder is going to fight back. Hard.

Imo they shoud be wearing shinguards and have the thai pads that have a bit of cushion at the top so they can punch back at you. If you drop your hand they can fire so you're self correcting your technique as you go along.

Oh you got hit? Apparently bad defense. Try again.

Pads should be rapid succession...

hold pad up jab,

they throw a kick,

you check it,
the pad is up you throw a right hand,

pad is up again,

you quickswitch left kick, plant that foot,

pad is already there,

left hook- right hand,

as soon you re chamber they throw a straight right you roll under it,

pad is there so you throw a shovel hook, hook to head,

pads are down so you clinch throw 3 knee's, release, spin them out,

pads are up AGAIN,

your partner yells "DOUBLE",

you throw a double kick,

partner yells "TRIPLE!",but places the pads on the other side,

boom you switch and throw 3 kicks,

they put up the pad you teep.......

and it flows hard and fast for the length of the round. Random, spontaneous, attacking and defending. Pushing, moving, using your footwork. Forcing you to be fluid and perfect in your technique.


Here in Thailand we train on the pads like we are fighting. It is more "freestyle" than I see in Dutch, American and other western gyms. For example my trainer will kick me and it's up to me whether I catch the kick and throw a knee, catch and throw the leg, block etc. It is like sparring (the Thais don't hit with power when they spar with kicks, just work on speed and technique to avoid injuries.

With boxing sparring they wear big gloves and go full out that is ok because the padding prevents you getting injured)I think this way is the best.
You should get to know your trainer and combos should become automatic as soon as he holds up the pads in the same way Xen Nova was talking about. There's no point in doing very long set combos, just have a few simple ones that work for your style.


Thanks a lot for the post Xen and Jonny. That actually cleared my head a little.
My trainer actually holds pads like you said..or if we have drilled combo's beforehand we use them in more of a freestyle way, he throws at me I keep my hands up, and then as soon as he stops I bust back with a right hand and he already has the pad up as soon as he's done hitting
So yeah in that regard it's all good.

I think I understand now though what you mean with combo's and drills.
It is true actually when under pressure the most basic things come out
simple combinations and such jab, right, hook, then kick.
jab right kick
right hand kick.
jab, sweep
I've actually drilled 1,2,3 then headkick so much that it catches a lot of guys off guard and under pressure it would be something I throw a lot. I have short legs too, so if I'm close I can take a step back, use my lead hand as a blocker and then head kick with the left leg.

Anyways though thanks a lot boys for clearing some of this stuff up for me.