Learning Martial Arts (transitioning from one discipline to another)

At T.A.G. Muay Thai, we often see new members who have practiced another martial arts discipline prior to training Muay Thai. After being in the martial arts community for some time, here’s what we’ve heard from folks switching from Taekwondo and BJJ to Muay Thai as well as those switching from Muay Thai to Mixed Martial Arts. [Related: The 411 On Martial Art Forms Sweeping the Nation]

  1. Learning Muay Thai after Taekwondo
    One of the biggest learning curves is the fact that athleticism doesn’t count as much in Muay Thai. No one cares about your spinning, jumping, or tornado kicks. While speaking of technique, it is important to know that in Muay Thai, you do not snap your kicks. A straight movement and contact using the shin is required. Think more of a swinging bat motion when it comes to Muay Thai kicks.

    Taekwondo relies heavily on quick kicks, whereas Muay Thai sparring has a much closer range so that fighters can use clinches, elbow strikes, knees, and hand strikes. The classes in Muay Thai also usually have a higher intensity, most Muay Thai schools focus on heavy bags, sparring, drills, and conditioning whereas most Taekwondo schools spend more time in various stances/forms. [Related: Is Learning Muay Thai Dangerous?]
  2. Learning Muay Thai after BJJ
    Aside from the obvious – BJJ being a form of ground fighting and Muay Thai being a stand-up fighting discipline, there are other hurdles to overcome when learning a new martial art.

    When we get BJJ students in the gym, they often have to work hard to correct a low hand positioning. In Muay Thai, the hands are held pretty high for defense. We also see grapplers try to throw in joint manipulation moves when caught in a clinch, which goes against Muay Thai rules (but is great to know for self-defense purposes).Grapplers, just remember – a take-down is not the goal when sparring Muay Thai style.  What can be effective in the stand-up clinch are trips and throws from BJJ resulting in off balancing their opponent.  Combine those with brutal knee strikes, the results would be devastating.  [Related: BJJ and Muay Thai Classes in Calvert, MD]

  3. Learning MMA after Muay Thai
    Our students who want to learn more about self-defense or who would like to compete in MMA matches often learn grappling. Muay Thai does not focus on take-down counters. The only grappling utilized in Muay Thai is from an upright position. Trips, throws and leveraging an opponent to be off-balance their opponent is one of the key elements in Muay Thai and self-defense.  When transitioning from pure Muay Thai to MMA, fighters must learn some form of grappling on the ground and usually have to adjust their stance to do so. Muay Thai is a great base martial arts to take with you into an MMA match just because of all of the possibilities for damaging strikes once you close the distance.

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