Your biggest obstacle is yourself. Don’t let your mind overclock itself when it comes to Muay Thai. . .
IF YOU’RE A BEGINNER, YOU’RE PROBABLY OVERTHINKING MUAY THAI
Beginners tend to overthink things. They can’t be blamed – they want to make the most out of their experience and want to be as prepared as possible to learn. Still, there’s nothing like overthinking something to throw a stick in your own spokes and stop you dead in your tracks.
The motivation to learn and become better is great, but the fallacies that come with it can ultimately make beginners their own worst enemy. Here are some of the most common questions beginners tend to overanalyze far too often.
OVERTHINKING IT: How do I do this perfectly?
Some nak muays get so caught up in trying to do something perfectly. Waiting to do something perfectly is not ideal. Many fail to realize that trying to do it, no matter how wrong or “imperfect,” is better than not doing it at all!
People are afraid to “fail” and that itself is a major setback. It’s very rare we get something right on the very first try. Don’t be afraid of failure or making mistakes – it’s truly the best way to learn. Your trainers will also know exactly what to work on with you when they keep seeing you make the same mistakes, even if you have no idea. Keep practicing until you get it right.
OVERTHINKING IT: Am I in good enough shape to start?
One of the most commonly asked questions before starting Muay Thai is “Do I need to be in shape to start?”
Yes, Muay Thai can be very intensive and can be very physically demanding. But most classes are divided by level, so you’ll most likely be surrounded by people with the same skill set you have and the same conditioning you are in.. You won’t be expected to throw 50 kicks in a row like a professional fighter on your first day. Remember that everyone has to start somewhere. The best way to go about it is to just dive in.
OVERTHINKING IT: What’s the secret to learning X?
Thinking there’s a magic method to becoming “good” is a total red herring. Amateurs ask: “What can I do to make my ____ good?” or “How can I _____ like Buakaw?”
The secret to success of high profile fighters is…. hard work. No amount of talent or tricks or pieces of advice can trump dedication to the sport. The best fighters are at the gym every day for hours and hours. There are no supplements you can take, no shortcuts, no videos that will replace you working to become “good.” Grit, consistency, and staying humble are the three qualities you’ll find in all of the best fighters in the world.
OVERTHINKING IT: Why do I suck so bad?
Imagine this: you don’t “get” how to do something and want to quit. You get hit and you think you’re no good. It’s good to be critical and real about your progress, but it’s also just as important to give yourself credit where it’s due. Being too hard on yourself is a surefire way to spin your wheels in the mud.
We can be our own toughest critic, but it’s important to remember that you started up this sport for your own reasons. Above all, the most important thing is to have fun. If you’re not enjoying yourself on some level, why even do it?
Overthinking can take away from doing what’s truly important: showing up to the gym to train. Greatness isn’t something achieved overnight. No matter what your goals are, it’s important to remember to start somewhere and take it one day at a time.
- Plant-based fighter, foodie, and aspiring physical therapist. Angela is currently living in Bangkok and training full time.