How-To Improve Your Timing in Muay Thai

Quickness is great for a sprinter but timing is much more important for a fighter. A common myth is that the larger someone is, the slower they are. Relying on swift movement and athleticism can get you only so far, especially at higher levels in Muay Thai.  Practicing your timing and technique will help you beat someone larger and even quicker than you.

How-To Improve Timing (NOT Quickness)
To improve timing, spar or drill with partners of varied body types. Make sure that you are both moving at the same speed.  You must practice slowly (learning speed vs training or combat speed) to truly understand timing. Once you and your sparring partner are technically proficient working while working at the same speed (learning speed), then you can start to speed up to training speed and move faster.  No matter what speed (learning, training or combat speed), the key to learning and understanding effective timing is that both partners need to be moving at the same speed and pace.  On average, it can take 500-5000 repetitions to actually learn a technique – so be thorough in those repetitions.

If you are new to Muay Thai or MMA, think of proper timing this way: If Serena Williams is teaching you (a beginner) tennis at her full power and speed, and she smashes the ball where you can’t hit it back to her, how will you ever learn to hit the ball? Serena will need to slow down, be a good partner and not smash the ball where you can’t hit it back. Working with one another and volleying back and forth rather then trying to “win the drill”, both partners will be able to focus on their technique, movements, therefore both partners will improve their timing.

Words to the Wise:

  • The best way to improve timing in Muay Thai is to practice, practice and practice more.
  • Getting to a point where you can drill without thinking about the proper reaction but doing it because it “feels” natural, is even better.
  • A learning pace for drills is dependent on your partner, if both partners are quick but working at the same speed and power is perfect and both will learn the fastest.
  • Pay attention to your opponent’s body language and precise execution of your technique rather than being quicker than your partner.
  • Focus on your opponent’s body language and look for patterns when they are about to throw something (ie – they drop their hand before throwing a cross), then be a few steps ahead of them with counters.
  • Metronome /ˈmetrəˌnōm/ : a device used by musicians that marks time at a selected rate by giving a regular tick. At T.A.G. Muay Thai, we use a metronome as the entire class runs through drills to ensure that everyone is moving at the same speed – nailing the technique. If you happen to have one, vary between a “1,2,3” beat and a “1, 2, and, 3” beat.

muay thai timing

If you are in the Northern Virginia or the Southern Maryland areas, drop by one of our Muay Thai classes. Check out our schedule and locations, here. Live out of town? Visit T.A.G. Muay Thai on YouTube.