For Our New Students - How to Get Better at Muay Thai QUICKLY - Juniper Muay Thai
By the end of the second or third month of training, some new students will have increased their skills exponentially. They will be welcomed into Advanced Classes, begin to spar, and hold their own during clinching, drills, and free sparring. Other folks may take years to get to that same level. This difference is almost never because of natural talent.
Rapidly improving at something as mentally and physically difficult as Muay Thai has no correlation to number of years trained, and almost 100% correlation to number of hours trained—working both HARD and SMART.
There are no silver bullets, no shortcuts, no easy ways to rapidly improve. But here are ten things that we believe are the simple—yet hard—steps to greatly upping your game. New students, read away!
1. Get in the Gym
If you are a fighter, or have aspirations to fight, you should be training five to six times a week. If you are someone just looking to get good at Muay Thai come in at minimum three to four times a week. Nothing usurps time in the gym.
2. Watch Muay Thai
If you do not understand the WHY behind the technique taught, or the practical application, progression will be slow. The term ‘studying tape’ is real. Watch high level fights. Emulate high level fighters. You can find a list of great fights on our Youtube channel here. You cannot expect to understand high-level basketball without watching an NBA game, right? Same goes for Muay Thai.
3. RUN, RUN, RUN!
Run at minimum three times a week. Fighters must run at minimum five or six.
The huge majority of fighters run most days of training. There is a reason for this. It builds great endurance, and strengthens your mind.Pushing through hard, boring runs when your legs are sore and your body is tired builds mental and physical fortitude. If you have good endurance and can stay fresh in class, then you will be able to focus more on the technique.
4. Identify Two Flaws in Your Game and Focus on Those Two Things. Relentlessly.
Even the best fighters in the world have flaws. When you are just starting out it is easy to feel disheartened and become negative. It is overwhelming to fix so many things. Pick TWO of your biggest flaws and focus on them. In shadowboxing, on the heavy bag, in sparring—focus on those two things. For me, it was always believing in my left cross and checking rear kicks. For six months, six days a week, that was all I focused on, until I fixed my mistakes.
Similar to the last post, if you are negative in the gym, you will never succeed. Enjoy the journey. Enjoy the process. Smile, have fun, and I guarantee you that your progress will come quicker than if you harp on the negative.
6. Don’t Just Train Hard, Train Smart.
Training hard should be a prerequisite. But it’s not enough to train hard. You must train smart. Put intention behind your movements. Watch the folks in the room who are better than you. Mentally focus when you are shadow boxing or jumping rope, rather than zoning out or talking to a friend. Maximize your learning.
7. Run Towards Not Away From the Best People in the Room.
It’s better to be the nail in the gym and the hammer in the ring then vice versa. Let yourself be humbled in the gym and learn from it. It’s a sure way to fast track improvement.
8. Listen to Your Coaches
If you go on Youtube and look up ways to throw a lead hook, you will find at least eight or nine different ways to throw it. Lead foot turned or lead foot planted. Weight on front leg or weight on back. Palm down or palm facing your face. Etc. Etc.
We teach the way we teach for specific reasons. The methods and techniques work well in unison. There is no single right way to do something, but there is our way. If you don’t trust your coaches in the gym, do you expect to trust them when you are in a fight, in front of hundreds of people, with lots of flashing lights, adrenaline, and crowd noise?
9. Be Obsessive.
It’s not always fun, sometimes it borders on being unhealthy, but the best are obsessed—through and through. If you do Muay Thai just to get in shape, ignore this rule. If you are doing this to test yourself, fight, and take a crack at it, Muay Thai should be on your mind a large portion of every day.
10. Every Once in a While, Break the Rules!
Take a day off. Learn a fancy trick from someone else. Play some pickup soccer instead of a run. Enjoy life, enjoy your Muay Thai journey. Have fun. The journey must be joyful.
Keep working hard, new members. We have seen so much improvement in—for many of you—less than a month and a half!
If you are interested in Muay Thai in Philadelphia and you are on the fence about checking us out, swing by. The first class is an instructional introductory into Muay Thai with one of the coaches. It’s free of charge and a great way to see if the sport is for you. We are located in South Philly just a half a block off of Passyunk Ave and the Snyder stop on the Broad Street Line. Join our growing team!