Muay Thai or Thai Boxing is a sport in which standup striking with various clinching techniques is used. In this type of boxing, the most used body parts for fighting are fists, elbows, knees, and shins.
Muay Thai can be bad for your shins if improperly practiced, as shins can get struck often. This can cause fractures and injuries, which is why you should adopt the martial art with care, join a Muay Thai gym and fight within your weight class.
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about adopting Muay Thai as your dominant MMA fighting style, including five tips for beginners and the differences between this fighting style and kickboxing.
Muay Thai Risks: A Brief Overview
Muay Thai can be a punishing martial art, and no matter what you do or how you may suffer from some injuries, it’s essential to start from the basics and know the whole backstory behind it of how you can do it right.
While you are in your training phase, you can suffer from stress and pain, either mentally or physically. Muay Thai is mostly based on kicking and clinching techniques, and in these techniques, one’s shins are involved the most.
You have to train by kicking some heavy bags and pads, and when you do that, you may or may not get shin splints. So it is imperative to have strong shins, as legs are considered the biggest weapon in this martial art. They play a crucial role in defending yourself from your competitor.
However, you can get shin splints from many other factors instead of the fights and kicking. They can be caused by inflamed tissues, tight calf muscles, calve’s growth, and by wearing low-quality shoes on your long runs. It’s good to take care of these issues to avoid any atypical pain during your training.
Having your shins conditioned is a must if you are a fighter whose fighting with full contact Thai rules. Conditioning one’s shin bone plays a crucial role in Muay Thai training, and it is vital to take extra care and train them to endure a higher pain threshold.
Shin conditioning is necessary for those fighting in a ring or cage for the long term. However, if you are not looking forward to taking it to this step, getting rock hard shins won’t be a worthy pursuit.
When it comes to how they condition their shins, there are countless myths like banana-tree kicking or rolling a bottle with your shins, and many others, which you can hear or read from many sources.
But some of the more reliable ways they condition their shins are by kicking heavy bags, coaching pads, small sandbags at thigh height, truck tires, and sparring. It is not like they do it all in just one go, it is gradually over time and with a lot of dedication, and they have succeeded at that they are ready to fight.
Is Muay Thai and Kickboxing the Same?
No. There are a lot of common differences when it comes to kickboxing and Muay Thai. They may look a lot the same, and even they are in some techniques, but there are some significant differences between them, which you can’t look away from.
The most fundamental difference is that Muay Thai is considered an 8 point striking system that involves kicks and punches and uses full clinch, elbows, and knees. Simultaneously, it’s a 4 point striking system based only on kicks and punches when it comes to kickboxing.
You can use elbows, clinch, and leg trapping technique in Muay Thai, while in kickboxing, you aren’t. The second difference is the techniques used in both, their practices may seem the same, but they are not at all. Kickboxing uses the technique of being very active with their movements, hands, and angles.
On the other hand, Muay Thai fighters have to be very keen and patient till they find a perfect opportunity to strike. Counterattacks are considered to be a significant part of the martial art, Muay Thai.
The difference between the movement of a kickboxer and a Muay Thai fighter is very prominent. While kickboxer’s movements are more continuous and defensive, Muay Thai fighters rely on counterattacks and aggressive forward motion.
In Muay Thai, there is a small range of artistic strikes, as they believe in simple but potent strikes. But when it comes to kickboxing, you have an extensive range of strikes available, which can be hard to control, but if you do, they can be highly effective. Their kicking techniques also have some significant differences which can’t be ignored. There are also some small differences like their scoring system, the number of rounds in fights, etc.
Tips for Muay Thai Beginners
Training for Muay Thai can be the best decision of your life. At the start, you may feel like a novice, but it will be exciting and challenging at the same time. You will learn to deal with new challenges at every step and will slowly see yourself accomplishing these challenges, but you have to be dedicated, as it is not a piece of cake.
You can always use some tips that can help you in the long run and as a beginner. Run as much as you can, whenever you can and how long as you can. It is important to consider running as an important part of your training because it can affect and improve your overall performance.
Running will increase your stamina and strength, and it will be great as a daily exercise too. Protect your hands with a hand wrap or invest in good quality sparring gloves. Protection should come first at all times; if you are in your beginner phase, you are most likely to get smaller wrist injuries if you are not punching correctly at first.
Once you and your hands get used to the pain, you can continue without wrapping your hand. In between all the hard work, having to get enough rest, hydration, and healthy meals are also important. Hit the gym more often or even regularly. Focus on your techniques and work on them. It is best to take one step at a time, don’t rush it all in, and take it slow.
Is Muay Thai Effective for Self-Defense?
Learning self-defense is very beneficial for literally anyone, and it’s even greater when you know Muay Thai for this purpose. Muay Thai is instrumental as a self-defense discipline, as, in this striking-based martial art, you get to learn how to fight with almost your whole body but especially with fists, elbows, knees, and shins. It involves punching and kicking techniques.
One main reason why it is effective to learn Muay Thai as a self-defense discipline is that you get to use your whole body as a weapon and fight with multiple people at a single time. It uses powerful strikes and can be faster than any other self-defense discipline taught, and most importantly, not every person can handle these kicks that easily. Also, if you dedicate yourself to learning this martial art, it is simple and easier to learn at any age.
Muay Thai is practical for self-defense and can be used to dominate an MMA fight. However, if you spar with the wrong partners and aren’t careful initially, you might hurt your shins alongside other body parts. That’s why it is advisable to train under an experienced coach and condition your body as you take on more seasoned opponents.