Träning thaiboxning also known as the art of eight limbs, is a full-contact combat sport that uses fists, elbows, knees and shins. Originally used as a military and wartime sport, it has gained popularity worldwide in the last decade due to its fitness and health benefits. As a result, there has been a significant increase in the number of training camps in Thailand catering to foreign clients.
As the sport of Muay Thai evolved from a military to a recreational activity, it became more competitive in nature as camps would challenge each other to fights. Muay Thai training has adapted to this competitive aspect with fighters now using more technique over pure strength and power. During this era, the fighting style also underwent a process of stylistic refinement with fighters developing more upright stances, improved grappling and clinch work.
To prepare for a fight, fighters will do a series of stretching exercises and sparring rounds with their trainers to improve their overall physical condition. To maximize their performance, a fighter should aim to train at least three times a week. This will allow them to build up their endurance and develop good technique while still giving their body time to recover.
For safety and fairness, professional fighters wear boxing gloves with a range of sizes between 6oz to 10oz. Fights usually take place in a squared ring with ropes and four corner posts. The ring dimensions vary with smaller promotions requiring a 20 x 20 meter ring while bigger promotions may require a 30 x 30 meter ring. Fighters are required to weigh in a day before or on the same day of the fight to ensure that they meet their respective weight divisions.
Besides focusing on footwork, it is important to practice hitting combinations. Ideally, punching should be done with the non-dominant hand, as this can help confuse or distract an opponent while setting up the bigger punch with the dominant hand. It is also a good idea to work on power, as a strong punch will always beat a fast one.
In addition to fighting, a Muay Thai fighter will often wear the Mongkhon or a Prajiad on their head and wrists which is a traditional practice that originated during Siam’s constant state of war when young men would tear off pieces of their mother’s clothing to wear in battle as a form of respect and for luck and protection. The Mongkhon and Prajiad are worn throughout the length of the Wai Kru Ram Muay that is performed before each fight.
To develop a complete fighting style, it is recommended that Muay Thai fighters learn to read books on the history of the sport and watch movies of some of the greatest fighters in the sport. This will help them to gain a deeper understanding of the rich culture of this beautiful country, while also developing their mental and spiritual connections with the sport. This connection is vital for a successful fighter and will help them to perform at their best both in training and during fights.