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Before you start Muay Thai ... Read This

Posted on November 07 2015

So… have decided to take up Muay Thai as a hobby / sport. Obviously you are feeling pretty excited about the whole thing! However there is nickeling feeling in the back of your mind thinking, “Am I going to get hurt and/or beat up?” Well lets be brutally honest you are doing a contact sport, so there is always a chance of getting hurt or beaten up. Nevertheless you run the chance of getting hurt in the majority of sports nowadays. For Example, tennis players can suffer from tennis elbow and golfers can suffer from a multitude of injuries due to the unnatural motion they put their bodies through when playing. These are non-contact sports as well! Lets take a look at some of the things that you can do to reduce injuries whilst still partaking in Muay Thai.

First things first, always do your research before starting to train at a gym or club. Get yourself on to Google and have a look for the club and/or instructor’s name. Usually a long established gym or club will have a website. Have a look at that first to get a feel of what they are about and then venture back on to Google to see if you can find any reviews or training experiences. Depending on your location you may or may not have many options. Regardless, you want to try and get a top 3 list of the ones that you think will be best for you.

After you have a top 3, plan a time to visit each one. I would recommend before jumping straight in and training have a look around the gym and ask questions. That’s all well and good, but I have no idea what I am looking for and what questions I should be asking!!! Ok ok calm down lets take this one at a time.

What should I be looking for when I go to a club / gym?
1) Get a sense for the atmosphere when you walk into the gym. Ask yourself the following questions:

a. Do I feel at ease?
b. Are the people friendly?
c. Do these guys have something to prove or have they just come to train?

If you walk into the place and you feel at ease, the people are friendly and the guys are just there to train then that place is probably not a bad place to be. However if you go into the place and you feel uneasy, the people are stone faced and there is a bunch of alpha males looking to prove themselves then maybe that’s not a good place to start out at. It doesn’t mean that the latter is a bad gym it is just not a suitable gym in my eyes that a beginner should be starting out in.

2) Have a look to see what type of equipment they use for training. Have a look around for the following:

a. Do they have Thai pads and focus pads?
b. Do they have bag gloves?
c. Do they have boxing gloves?
d. Do they have shin pads?
e. Do they have heavy bags? What sizes do they have?
f. Do they have a wall mount unit?
g. Do they have a speedball?
h. Do they have a floor to ceiling ball?
i. Do they have padded posts?
j. Do they have a padded floor?
k. Do they have belly pads?
l. Do they have thigh pads?
m. Do they have head guards?

The above equipment would make a nice gym. However it is not necessary for a gym to have all the above equipment to be a good gym. The reason why is that there are only a couple of pieces of core equipment that a gym needs. The rest of the equipment you can buy from a shop. The core products a gym should have are: 4ft and 6ft heavy bags and a padded floor. The rest of the equipment would be a bonus. However it would be nice if they had Thai pads, boxing gloves and shin pads, so that you could have a go to see if you like it first. Nevertheless most people who have trained at the gym for a while will have this equipment. If you ask them nicely they should let you borrow it, but just don’t make it a regular thing. If you like it then make sure you get your own stuff, because gym equipment normally smells and people will not like it if you are always borrowing their own equipment.

What questions should I ask the instructor?
This one you need to tread a little bit carefully, because instructors may take offense at some questions if not phrased in the right way. Lets get the questions in a way that will get you all the information you need and not cause any offensive.

1) I am just starting out (give them some sports and health background). Do you have any classes suitable for me?
2) How much are the classes?
3) Is there a membership fee?
4) Does the membership fee cover the insurance?
5) Is there a uniform?
6) What equipment do I need? Do you recommend a particular brand?
7) Do you have a grading system?
8) In the future if I want to become an instructor what is the process?

Those questions don’t seem to be that bad. Why would an instructor take offense? Ok lets rephrase some the questions that would give you roughly the same answers.

1) If I get hurt am I covered by your insurance?
2) Who accredits you for your grading system?
3) How long have you been training and who with?

The above questions might put an instructor on the back foot, because it is kind of questioning his creditability. Instructors tend to pride themselves on their integrity and will sometimes take offense if you question it. The best thing is to stick to the first set of questions. The last 3 questions will allow you to find out if they are insured, if they belong to a bigger organization (most places that run grading systems have to be accredited to do so) and the last question will give you the background on the instructor. You are looking for positive responses on these questions, because they are some of the core parts to a good and safe training experience for you.

I hope you found this post useful. If you did please take the time to like it and share it with your friends. Any questions or comments just pop them in the comments box below and I will come back to you.