Muay Thai Without Setting A Foot In The Ring

Fitness is a central life goal for most people. Anyone who has ever taken a Muay Thai class knows that it is the perfect combination of fun and challenge – the ideal workout.

You haven’t ever had to work this hard with your entire body while at the same time learning to defend yourself. Once you finish your first class, you’ll be covered in sweat, breathing heavy, and apologizing to your poor, aching body… and yet absolutely hooked on the rush and thrill you got in that gym.

I signed up for Muay Thai specifically to get into better shape and to keep up with my martial arts training from my childhood.  Having prior experience with martial arts definitely helped me with managing expectations, but it’s not a prerequisite for most gyms. A good gym or school knows how to get you started off on the right foot. On the other hand, maybe you’re aiming to fight some day, but that day is not today – you can still reap the same benefits as non-fighters training in this sport.

Benefit: Fitness

Muay Thai is a hell of a way to stay fit! It’s is a full-body workout,  using your upper body for punches, elbows and clinching, and your lower body for kicks, knees and movement. You engage your core and hips in almost every action, your feet and hands moving in unison, and on top of all this, you need to breathe. It’s a lot of moving elements, but don’t worry: once you’ve made it through a few classes, you’ll find your rhythm and get the hang of the movements and intensity of the exercises.

I have shed many pounds over the years, and my cardio has gone from “barely able to run on a treadmill for more than five minutes” to being able to work out regularly and hold my own in sparring with serious competitors.  I can credit Muay Thai for my progress.

Benefit: Mental Health & Confidence

We all need an outlet; mine has been Muay Thai.

Having a rough day? Take it out on the heavy bag. Not feeling too confident? Ask your coach for a mitt or pad session. Being able to compartmentalize my thoughts and leave them all at the door when I get to the gym is a huge reason I can keep such a level head.

Being involved with martial arts has drastically improved my confidence and outlook. I was bullied as a kid, so having the support of great teachers and coaches along the way really showed me what I was capable of when I put my mind to it. Nothing feels as good as a successful training session because you know that you gave it your all and that you are making progress – slowly but surely.

Benefit: Self-Defense

Muay Thai is among the most effective and powerful martial arts, being the most devastating form of kickboxing. If you are looking to learn to defend yourself, you can always count on Muay Thai training. Not only do you learn how to box and kick, you also learn about clinching and trips, using your elbows and knees, and managing distance.

There are various styles of Muay Thai, but all of them incorporate your eight limbs to attack your opponent or respond to attacks from them. What better way to protect yourself than being effective and explosive with eight different weapons?

Keep this in mind as well: just because you can fight doesn’t mean you should. I do not endorse street fighting, and bullying and assault are not cool. I practice what I learn to be able to keep myself safe and defend others when I have to.

There are those in our community who abuse the knowledge and training they receive. All I can hope is that each new convert to this great sport is not one of them. Muay Thai is for mutual benefit, not centered on individual gain like in other non-team sports. Though we may not fight in teams, we certainly train in them. My teammates deserve every ounce of my effort to make them better because I know they’ll return the favor.

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Anthony Crozzoli
Anthony is a martial artist with 16 years of experience from Karate, Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai. He currently teaches and trains out of Melbrook Martial Arts Academy in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.

Anthony has a passion for the striking arts and is striving towards his own amateur kickboxing career.

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