Getting started in Muay Thai is the hardest part of the journey for many people. We have all seen movies or TV shows where Muay Thai, boxing, and MMA gyms are depicted as scary and unwelcoming places. This stereotype has prevented many people from getting started over the years, through fear of being hurt, singled out, embarrassed, or judged.
Luckily, the reality for many students at TFC has been much different to that!
Getting Started Muay Thai
Below, we explore some of the common feelings that many of our students experienced before committing to training Muay Thai regularly! We put a series of polls to some of our TFC members to try and better understand the struggles and emotions that the majority of people go through when first getting started Muay Thai.
As you can see from the above results of our polls, the majority of people were apprehensive about starting training, but once they had their first-class their feeling turned to feel more excited.
Here is an anonymous recount from one of our past (female) members about their introduction to Muay Thai at TFC:
“I had heard about Muay Thai from a friend who used to train years ago. She had always spoken about how great of a workout it is and how lean she used to get, but she used to fight for real and I never had any interest in getting in the ring. I figured that if I wanted to do Muay Thai I had to be a fighter, and I thought that the training sessions would be really hard. I was also worried that I might get hurt from the other people in the class who were more experienced than me, so that had always stopped me from starting.
I eventually gathered up the courage to go down and try a class after talking to Jarvie on the phone, and he reassured me that I wouldn’t be doing any sparring if I didn’t want to.
It was pretty scary walking in and seeing the fighters train before the beginner class, and to be honest I wanted to leave straight away because I thought there was no way I could do that. Once the beginners started I felt silly at first but it was fun and challenging, and a much different pace to the fighters class. The trainers and the boy that was partnered with me were very patient and took their time, as I wasn’t getting it straight away.
We finished with some fitness exercises that were quite challenging for me, as I hadn’t trained much in the last few years (I was a bit sore the next day too) but I loved it and felt great afterwards. I would still be training if I didn’t have to move away for work! I’ve never felt better than the few months I was training every day.”
Finding a gym
There are some important factors to consider when finding a Muay Thai gym that works best for you.
One of the most important things to consider is how likely you are to attend, as showing up is the main ingredient in you seeing results!
We have created an entire post dedicated to you finding the right gym here.
There are a few basic pieces of equipment that you will need when first starting out in Muay Thai. Many gyms may have some equipment you can borrow while you are first starting out, but just remember that these do get shared around and can become smelly, but they will get you out of trouble in the early stages of your training while you get your own equipment sorted.
What you will need:
You will need yourself a set of at least 10-ounce gloves for general training, but if you wish to participate in sparring most gyms require you to use 16-ounce gloves. What we recommend is that you buy 16-ounce gloves in the beginning, and once you become more serious and want to start working on speed during your Thai pad and heavy bag sessions, you can then purchase some smaller gloves for those occasions.
We also recommend you buy leather gloves. Spend the little bit extra to get quality, it will pay off in the long-run.
Get yourself a set of leather shin pads to protect your shins, and also you partner when you are sparring. You want to make sure that everyone is happy at training, otherwise, you will be the person that people will avoid partnering with. Most sock-style pads provide very little protection, as they are too squishy and the impact of the shin can still be felt through the foam.
Another item we recommend you invest in. Dental bills are expensive. Consider having a good mouth guard like having a good insurance policy.
These are important for those of us who have hands… so, the vast majority of people….
The problem with having hand wraps is knowing how to use them, so we created an article on how to correctly apply your wraps HERE. Or, see the hand wrap tutorial below.
Other Muay Thai equipment you may invest in:
The items in the list above are the essentials you will need when trying to get started. Below is another list of things you will start to get for yourself over time, as you begin to take Muay Thai training more seriously:
One of the more expensive items that a student will have to buy when starting Muay Thai is a set of Thai pads. A quality set can cost upwards of $200, and when it comes to Thai pads you definitely want to buy quality! Cheap Thai pads don’t last long, they feel horrible to kick, and they don’t provide much protection for your forearms while your partner kicks.
These are also referred to as boxing mitts or focus pads and are used more in Boxing training than Muay Thai training, but Muay that still makes use of punches and it is definitely worth spending the extra time getting you punches working effectively to gain an edge over an opponent who can only kick!
Skipping is a great way to warm up, cool down, find a rhythm, and build calf strength. And the great part about a skipping rope is it costs very little money! You can fork out a bit more if you want a really nice one, but in the beginning, a simple one will suffice.
A heavy-bag is easily the most expensive item on these lists. Muay Thai is a one-person sport, but it takes two-to-tango, so to speak. When you don’t have a training partner or the gym isn’t open, or you just want to practice what you’ve been working on in class, the heavy bag comes in real handy. Be sure to hang it from somewhere sturdy, as they can get quite a swing and weigh a lot and you don’t want any structures falling over on your behalf!