6 Impulses Every NEW Muay Thai Fighter Must Overcome

Our bodies are wired to send strong signals when we feel a threat in order to avoid experiencing further pain or danger. Sometimes this exchange between our nerves and the brain can force us to have some unhealthy reactions during a fight. Read on to see if you are guilty of the most common impulses and if you are, find out how to correct those impulses.

  1. Crying
    Yes, you can still cry tears of joy at weddings or feel emotional pain. However, getting hit in the face seems to bring on the waterworks on for some fighters. If you ever get hit straight in the nose, your eyes can start watering uncontrollably.

    THE FIX: To avoid the tears and blurred vision, keep your chin tucked. This way, even if you do get hit in the nose it will likely land on the more boney part. [Related: Proper Muay Thai Stance]

  2. Closing your eyes
    The truth is, with eight limbs flying around a ring – no one cares if you are crying. One thing you will definitely need to get in check is the instinct to close your eyes when something is coming at your face. Closing your eyes is like giving up, you can’t see with your eyes closed. You can’t properly defend yourself with your eyes closed. You also can’t observe your opponents movements closely enough to strategize a solid offense or counter.

    THE FIX: Training. Do as many drills and spar as often as you can. Always be mindful of those long blinks or reactions to get some “shut eye” during a close exchange. Reverse this instinct over time. You need to accept that a blow to the face will hurt and stop anticipating it so that you can move on with your life (or the fight).

  3. Running
    The flight or fight instinct tends to kick in when you’ve got an opponent staring you down, waiting for the chance to clobber your face or ribs in. Some let the adrenaline and fear take precedence over strategy and back themselves into a corner, only making matters worse.

    THE FIX: While sparring (leading up to fights), be mindful of the moments you backed down and why. Try to spar with partners of different heights, weights, athletic ability and so forth to increase your capacity for building and sticking with a solid fighting strategy.

  4. Destroy Mode
    Your body just got rocked from a good strike or two and you feel a rush of heat and anger! Adrenaline has kicked in and you decide to wildly throw your best strikes until your sharper opponent gains control and wins the match.

    THE FIX: Again, do not let adrenaline get the best of you. Try to imagine yourself outside of the ring watching the fight unfold when the urge to throw uncalculated blows like a wild man (or woman) strikes. Keep your composure, don’t abandon your training, and pace yourself.

  5. Backing Down
    When someone is coming your way, don’t ball up.

    FIX IT: Instead, watch the movement and go into it to create a defense. After your opponent has hit their peak in the previous movement, strike! [Related: Maximizing Your Weapons Based On Reaction]

  6. Mind Chatter
    When afraid or embarrassed, some people can run an endless stream of mind-chatter. Mind chatter can create unnecessary anxiety and more importantly, keep us from being PRESENT! You have to get out of your head to and get in “the zone” to excel at anything physical.

    FIX IT: Medical professionals actually say mind chatter is learned and a result of the talk that people projected on us while growing up. A relaxation response is what is actually more natural. To get back to those relaxation response roots that allow you to “get in the zone,” try practicing yoga or simply moving one muscle at time throughout the body and purely focusing on the movement of that one muscle during that time. Repeat this exercise from head to toe.


What techniques have you tried to minimize unhealthy impulses? Want to learn techniques that can help you sharpen your Muay Thai skills? Visit www.youtube.com/tagmuaythai.

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