Commonly searched phrases on Google such as Muay Thai London and Muay Thai near me shows the rising popularity of this incredible sport in the UK. What is Muay Thai, you might ask? Well, for a start it’s the national sport of Thailand, is a martial art that has skyrocketed in popularity over the last twenty years as a result of cult action films such as “Ong Bak” along with its prevalence in Mixed Martial Arts. Thai Boxing, utilises strikes from hands, shins, elbows, feet and knees. For the average person, it provides a fantastic physical and mental workout, requiring fast movement, balance and intense focus. This has fantastic benefits, which this article is going to look at in more detail.
Sometimes we just need to get up and hit things and kick them, elbow them or even knee them. Opportunities to throw all eight “limbs” don’t necessarily present themselves. That is unless we go looking for them. Rather than injuring ourselves by attacking the nearest bus stop or traffic warden though, we can do this more safely and more legally by finding a Muay Thai London class.
Calorie Burn – Muay Thai London
As with any exercise, one of the main reasons to take up Muay Thai is the health benefits. Whilst abs may be “made in the kitchen”, the right exercise can make this job a lot easier. There are few sports that can burn calories as efficiently as Muay Thai. Muay Thai London Classes last for one hour and can involve skipping, shadowboxing, pad work, bag work or sparring. The constant moving involving throwing strikes, or dodging them coming at you is a great cardio workout. There is an element of yoga and stretching that is carried out for each session as well.
A person weighing 80kg can expect to burn 750 calories an hour, whilst obviously heavier people will burn a whole lot more. Compare this to running at a steady speed of 9km/h which will burn around 472 calories, or even Western Boxing which will burn somewhere in the region of 588 calories and Muay Thai comes out on top. As it provides both aerobic and anaerobic workouts, this can put calorie burn in the region of 1000 to 1200 calories per session, it can shift stubborn fat in areas.
Strengthens Body – Muay Thai London
Not only will that twisting, shifting through using kicks or knees help you develop those abdominal muscles, but a host of other substantial benefits. The bending and manoeuvring in Muay Thai will help improve flexibility, something which is typically more difficult to gain with age. Krav Maga or some other self-defence-centric martial arts might teach you to use weapons, the only weapon in Muay Thai is the body. In honing that weapon, we tone our arms and waist through upper body strikes, our core and traps through grappling, and both our calves and glutes through kicking. All those movements are built on our balance, which inevitably will improve.
Over time, that kicking will promote increased hip mobility, saving you from serious pain and numerous terrible ailments which occur later in life. Ensuring you stretch properly before and after training will help boost these gains, but do not expect improvements overnight, these will come gradually. The same can be said for benefits to bone strength. Heavy bag work or pad work causes the bones to form more tissue. With denser bones, the likelihood of osteoporosis is reduced.
Just like a sauna, Muay Thai can help minimize the effects of aging. All that sweating forces the dirt and oils trapped into the skin to be pushed to the surface, clearing up our pores. The skin is also cleaned out by the heart working harder, as oxygen and blood are pushed to the surface, impurities are cleaned from the pores. That’s all before we get to the great things it can do for your heart.
Cardiovascular – Muay Thai London
As already mentioned, Muay Thai is both aerobic and anaerobic, placing stress on your cardiopulmonary system. With this stress, the body has to adapt and increased cardiovascular performance will be vastly improved as the body gets better at producing energy with and without oxygen.
This in turn gives us more readily available energy, meaning that when we can exercise longer, push ourselves harder and recover quicker after tough training sessions. If you are new to the sport, you might find throwing combinations tiring, but within a few training sessions, you will find you are able to throw and more combinations without getting tired.
Cardiovascular illness causes more deaths globally than any other ailments. One of the most prominent diseases is high blood pressure, or hypertension, which can cause serious problems such as heart failure, or strokes. Positive steps like cardio-intensive sports like Muay Thai can make the heart stronger and lower blood pressure as a result. It’s hard to beat the benefit of getting to live longer and perform better.
Stress Busting – Muay Thai London
Family, colleagues, work, traffic, financial issues, climate change and the last season of Game of Thrones can all be infuriating, stress-inducing even. An outlet to this stress can be fantastic, and do your mental and physical health a lot of good. Sometimes, you just need to hit things quickly. With a fast-paced martial art like Muay Thai, the worries and the pressures of the outside world often melt away. Whether we are getting hit in the face, or training a drill, we are forced to focus on ourselves and the immediate surroundings we find ourselves in.
This ability to detach ourselves from the daily routine, ultimately allows us to become a more carefree and content individuals. For at least a brief moment after a workout, you feel liberated, with the day’s worries at least temporarily ceasing to exist. Stress is further relieved by lowering the release of the hormones which cause stress like cortisol and adrenaline. The physical activity also increases the release of endorphins which elevate our mood, such as opioid hormones.
With your metabolism boosted, and your stress reduced, you sleep better and ultimately function better as a human being, typically making better decisions.
Self-Defence – Muay Thai London
Let’s face it – the world can be a scary place sometimes. Although it’s best to avoid dangerous situations, sometimes circumstance might force us to walk through areas which for whatever reason aren’t the safest, sometimes the danger can be closer to home. In any case, learning self-defence is vital, particularly for those who are likely to face physical assault or sexual harassment. Muay Thai is undoubtedly one of the best martial arts out there for developing your ability to defend yourself.
Along with the obvious hard strikes which can either act as a deterrent, or a tool to immobilize an attacker, the footwork involved can allow you to manoeuvre opponents into an advantageous position, or give you a better opportunity to remove yourself from the situation. Muay Thai teaches you how to control distance, when to move forward or move back or through either punches, or push kicks (known as teeps), this can also help you gauge what your opponent’s next move will be, allowing you to exploit their weakness.
Overtime, your muscle memory with these strikes develops and both your peripheral vision and reflexes improve. As my first Muay Thai coach told me “When you open a cupboard and something falls out, but you catch it before it hits the ground, that’s Muay Thai.” This reflex can allow you to evade, then counterstrike, which is one of the fundamentals of winning almost any fight – hit and don’t get hit.
As with any martial art, hopefully you never have to use it outside of a gym or competition but knowing how to protect yourself can be invaluable.
Confidence and Discipline – Muay Thai London
For many of us, the first time we encounter any media representation of Muay Thai is when we get smashed by the character “Sagat” the legendarily popular fighting game series Street Fighter. Whilst this 7’4, 130 kg monster is classic video game fantasy, he is remembered for his victory celebration – with his arms crossed over his chest, he laughs mockingly at his knocked-out opponent. Thankfully most of us won’t turn into a cocky Kungfu film antagonist, but there is a lot to say about the confidence Thai Boxing can give us, along with the sense of discipline it can instil.
If you love Muay Thai and practice it with purpose, you will feel that you are working to better yourself beyond just looking good at the gym. As your technique, fitness, stamina and ability concentrate improve, you will feel rewarded with an almost limitless positive feedback loop which leads to a stronger mind/body connection. Even on the days you don’t feel like practicing, you should feel stronger, fitter and generally better about yourself because of the time you’ve invested.
With all this good feeling, you will feel encouraged to make progress in your fitness goals, feel inspired and motivated to stick to a training schedule. Healthy habits develop and again, better decisions are made, particularly with dieting. When I’m done training, I feel my body craves deliciously cooked chicken and rice, rather than a greasy pizza.
This is particularly beneficial for women. The sad fact of life is that women are constantly underestimated, which can be really damaging to self-esteem and confidence. Muay Thai can alter that and make female practitioners feel more confident, accomplished and disciplined. We should all believe in ourselves, regardless of gender and this makes the core of confidence.
This confidence can benefit our social lives too.
Social and Culture – Muay Thai London
In the modern and busy lives of today, we may be getting more and more used to living in our own terms, or having limited social interactions. We or our friends might move to other places for career opportunities, or pick up new responsibilities in the form of familial commitments and in doing so, we lose that immediate social circle. Thankfully though, signing up to a Muay Thai gym provides a fantastic opportunity to meet new people from all walks of life.
When holding pads or sparring, ethnicity, social class, sexual orientation or profession don’t matter. The focus should be on executing techniques properly and ensuring we are helping each other be the best we can be.
Few friendships are stronger than those formed in martial arts gyms. Just like kid siblings who beat each other up at home, but stand up for each other in the playground, your training partners can be like a family. Training to achieve our goals requires perseverance and pushing past the limitations we give ourselves and when we do that, we show our true personality, leading to an amazing experience.
This family dynamic is particularly obvious when coaches enter fighters into competitions – typically the whole gym will show up to support. However, it’s not uncommon for those training to meet up for drinks or do other activities outside of the scheduled timetable. Alongside all the improved confidence, the shared interest in the deadly art of the eight limbs will act as a common-ground for good conversations and hopefully a few laughs.
It is also not unheard of for training buddies to go on a martial arts holiday together in the sport’s place of origin – Thailand itself. There are plenty of beautiful places in the country with dedicated camps, where you can relax with a great massage after training, or learn about the culture, history and surrounding area. Muay Thai itself is rooted in Thai culture and gives some insight into the psyche and beliefs of the Thai people. Fighters typically pay respect to their coaches by performing a Wai Khru dance ritual before the fight, whilst the basic act of praying before the fight and wearing the headpiece known as a Mongkok can give a peek into the Buddhist lifestyle.
If that isn’t tempting enough, Thai food is out of this world!
Competing in Muay Thai isn’t for everyone, but it can provide an exhilaration and adrenaline rush like no other. It also doubles down on the personal growth and self-discipline which training already instils. There are few activities which will provide such a strong sense of achievement than unleashing your inner warrior and winning a competitive fight.
Finally, Muay Thai is for almost everyone, undeniably fun. Learning and practicing various techniques in an environment full of great personalities will generally only serve to enhance a person’s life experience. I never believed I could get out of bed at 6 AM to go train until recently. When you start your day on a high, everything afterwards just seems to be a lot easier. When I’m not super focused on hitting pads or sparring, I always seem to spend the rest of the time I spend in the gym laughing.
You can watch legends like Saenchai do the same
Renowned Muay Thai fighter John Wayne Parr recently put up videos of him training one of his students who was at the ginger age of 84 years old. For a man of this seniority, he appears to be spritely and mobile, far more so than I have seen some thirty-somethings. Whilst you might not ever become Lumpinee or World Champion, Muay Thai is an art that you are never too late to begin learning.
It is comparatively straightforward compared to other martial arts which utilise forms, like karate with its katas or Taekwondo with its poomsaes. The strikes are designed to damage an opponent in an effective way, rather than carefully choreographed for entertainment purposes. It also doesn’t involve purchasing an expensive gi, or other garments – a pair of sports shorts and a t-shirt do the job fine.
Grappling arts like Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu all have their merit, but not everyone enjoys sweaty hugging on the ground. Additionally, whilst there is no doubt they can be incredibly effective for self-defence, practitioners typically need years to endure months of getting submitted in uncomfortable holds before they enjoy it. Muay Thai on the other hand can provide great results in less than six months, all the while giving an almost instantaneous dopamine rush.
There are plenty of reasons to give Muay Thai London a go, there are a lot fewer to not give them a go. You can book your Muay Thai London coaching here.
What Muay Thai boxing gloves should I get?
If you are looking to get into Muay Thai, and wondering what Muay Thai boxing gloves to get, then look no further than RDX on amazon. Men will generally use 14oz gloves and women can use 12oz gloves. For people with small hands, use 12oz for men and 10oz for women (this is a rule of thumb based on past clients so it’s not definitive). For those with large hands, go 16oz and 14oz respectively.