ASK KRU CHRIS: What Can I Do At Home To Improve In Muay Thai Class?

I’ve taught hundreds of students in Law Enforcement Training and at my own gym, T.A.G. Muay Thai and when a prospect turns into a new student, 99% of the time, the same question is ALWAYS asked:

“Are there any training tips or exercises that I can do at home to help me get more comfortable with the routines that we do in class?”

Not all martial arts schools are created equal. If you went to a doctor because you had a headache, one would give you aspirin; a different doctor might prescribe rest. The same is the same with Thai Boxing; each gym has their own training style, mentality, concepts, etc.  As a former personal trainer, I usually answer a question, with a question:

What is your reason for doing Muay Thai, your goals?  

    1. Fitness / Weight Loss
    2. Self-Defense
    3. Learn more about the beauty of the Thai Culture
    4. Compete at the amateur or pro level
    5. All or the above

No matter what the answer is, my response is the same,

“It’s going to take a lot of work, perseverance, and true understanding of realistic steps to get to your goal.”

When it comes to fitness and weight loss, the secret to that particular goal is food intake.  Did you know that 60-80% of your appearance is based on what you eat? Here is the short, cookie-cutter answer:

  • Drink at least one gallon of water a day,
  • 5-8 smaller meals rather than 2 or 3 large meals,
  • don’t watch the scale – pay more attention to how you feel and how your clothes fit,
  • eat whole and natural foods,
  • strength training helps burn fat,
  • and get plenty of sleep!

 

Want to improve your Muay Thai Technique and training? Here’s what you should do:

  1. Take notes during or after class. Document key points in foot placement and angles, hip positioning, hands, elbows, eyes, breathing and context of applying movement.  More importantly, practice what you write down.
  2. Practice proper stance. At T.A.G., students know multiple ways to find good stance and know this is the foundation to proper Thai Boxing technique. When you are in stance, you are safe. A good stance should naturally protect you and that’s why a mirror is the most important tool you can have in a gym.   
  3. Footwork. There are three types of speed when training in Muay Thai: learning speed, training speed, and combat speed. Most people skip learning speed and go training or combat speed without having a true understanding of the technique.  Start slow. Once you practice by yourself at home, footwork needs to be worked where you aren’t crossing your feet, you stepping too much, too little, weight distribution is even, etc….slight variations greatly affect proper technique, timing and distance. Practice moving forward, back, and side to side while keeping weight distribution even.  
     
  4. Shadowbox daily in front of a mirror. Focus on your upper torso/chest area and use your peripheral vision to see how the rest of your body looks to make sure they need to be where they need to be. Once you become comfortable and repeat perfect technique, then you can combine other combinations and start using movement and angles. 
  5. Exercise. A lot of people think they need to be in excellent health to start training in Muay Thai and never end up training. Ideally, to burn fat doing cardio, you should be going about 60-75% of your maximum heart range for 15-30 minutes straight.  Most people that start a program can’t do it…not just yet.  This is where goal setting comes in.  The war is one by winning small battles.  For instance, you jump on any cardio equipment, push yourself to work up a light sweat where you can barely talk.  If it’s only 3 minutes, document the date, time of day, mode and level of exercise and for how long. The next time you do cardio, aim for 4 minutes.  Continue this pattern.  Imagine if you are doing this for 1 month, 3, months, 9 months, how about 1 year?  Eventually, your heart and body will be more in tune and everything you do in Muay Thai class becomes that much easier.  Start off with 3-4x a week in addition to your Muay Thai training.  Same mentality goes for weight training.  Choose a weight you can do a high number of repetitions (17-20 reps to failure).  You can set goals with weights, changing your program every 9-12 weeks depending on progress.  To be honest, it really is a science. 
  6. Drills. Work with your significant other, siblings, classmates, etc. With proper notes and key details of drills and techniques, you can work with others and practice. More practice. More sweat. And then more practice. Once you get it right…keep practicing. Add more speed. Add more intensity. Add context. And then, practice more.  

Michael Jordan didn’t go to practice and complain.  Baseball Players don’t go to practice and complain about hitting baseballs.  

Scientific Research suggests that it takes 500-5000 repetitions to learn a technique or combination. It takes 500-5000 repetitions to unlearn something – AND – another 500-5000 repetitions to learn the right way. In order for somebody to be really proficient in Muay Thai, it takes 10,000 hours of “Perfect Practice”.  According to the 10,000 hour rule – it can take training 3 hours EVERY day for the next 10 years.  

So what are you waiting for?  Put in work! Do you live in or nearby Sterling, VA? Stop by T.A.G. Muay Thai for a FREE 14-Day trial.