How long does it take to learn Muay Thai?

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Muay Thai fight

Those that are interested in learning Muay Thai often ask how long does it take to learn? It’s a question that is simple enough, but has a complicated answer.

Let’s go ahead and answer the question of how long it takes to learn Muay Thai? Going through everything that goes into learning Muay Thai and how long it’ll take to get down.

How long does it take to learn Muay Thai? This is a complicated question, because the time frame to learn Muay Thai is not the same for everyone. But on average it will take someone 3-6 months to learn the basics of Muay Thai.

What will you learn in this time frame?

In a 3-6 month time frame, you will know how to perform basic Movements within Muay Thai. You probably won’t be good, but this is a learning process that takes time.

In this time frame, you will learn:

  • Basic Stance
  • Basic Punches
  • Basic Clinch
  • Basic Kicks
  • Basic Knees
  • Basic Elbows 
  • Basic Combos
  • Basic Defense 

Basic Stance

The first thing you will learn in Muay Thai is how to properly stand in a Muay Thai stance. Your stance is everything in this striking art and without it, you’ll never properly learn Muay Thai.

Remember in a traditional Muay Thai stance that your feet are shoulder width apart and your front foot slightly forward. Also be sure not to be flat footed, so you can throw your strikes quicker.

Basic Punches 

Boxing is a large part of the sport of Muay Thai(Thai boxing). In the first, 3-6 months of your training, you’re going to spend nearly everyday going over details on proper punching technique.

A proper punch is not just your arm, but your entire body moving in unison to create energy behind the strike. This is called the kinetic chain and it’s activated when your entire body moves as one along with your arm.

For whichever type of punch you throw, remember to turn your hand and always hit with your index and middle knuckle.

Basic Clinch 

The clinch is a very important part of the art of Muay Thai. It is an incredibly complex facet of Muay Thai that takes years to master.

There are numerous variations of the clinch, but starting out, you will mostly just work with the basic Thai plum. This is the common Thai clinch, where you grab behind an opponent’s head with both hands and pull their head down.

To perform a basic clinch, cup one hand behind your opponent’s head and bring your other hand on top of it. Then  close your elbows and curl your arms down to break your opponent’s posture.

Basic Kicks

Along with basic punches, you will constantly be working on your kicking technique during the beginning of your Muay Thai training. Mainly two types of kicks, which are the roundhouse and front kick(teep).

The roundhouse is the signature kick of Muay Thai and maybe the most powerful kick in the martial art. A good roundhouse starts with a slight turn of your front foot.(Or a switch if you’re throwing a front leg roundhouse.)

After the slight turn of your foot, your hips and torso also turn in unison as you lift your knee up. As your body turns together with your knee up this creates an incredible amount of force.

The low part of your shin then connects with a shin or bag and makes a satisfying smacking sound. When this sound is loud, you know that you just landed a good kick.

Then with front kicks or teeps as they’re called in Thai boxing, it’s all about lifting your knee up. Once your knee is lifted, your foot shoots up and the bottom of your foot hits the target.

Basic Elbows 

The last type of strike that you will learn are elbow strikes. There are numerous types of elbows and it is just as complex to learn as boxing.

At the beginning of your Muay Thai training, you will probably just learn how to throw basic horizontal and slashing elbows. 

Horizontal elbows are the smashing type of elbow strike that are delivered to concuss an opponent. Then slashing elbows are designed to cut an opponent open.

You throw these elbows in a similar way as punches, where you slightly turn your body into the elbow strike.

Basic Combos

Once you learn all of the basic strikes, you will then put them together in short basic combos. Nothing too complicated as you’re just trying to put a few moves together into powerful bursts.

These basic combos will include basic punch combos and mixing together punches and kicks. Just enough to create muscle memory while improving your conditioning.

Basic Defense

Then of course, you will also learn proper defense in your first few months of Muay Thai training. This facet of the martial art is even more important than learning the striking in the martial art.

You will learn how to keep your hands up to block/parry punches, along with learning how to block and check kicks. Without learning these basic defenses, your striking will be worthless.

How many classes will you need to attend?

To learn basic Muay Thai in a 3-6 month time frame, you will have to attend classes regularly. Attending at least 3 classes a week will give you a good basic knowledge of Muay Thai starting out.

Is there a belt system in Muay Thai?

For years, there were no ranking or belt systems in Muay Thai. But within western countries, a ranking system for Muay Thai has started to be implemented with colored arm bands.

Here is the ranking system created by the World Thai Boxing Association:

  • White
  • Yellow
  • Orange
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Purple
  • Red 
  • Brown
  • Black
  • Black & White
  • Black & Red
  • Black & Silver
  • Black & Gold

In your first few months of Muay Thai training, you could graduate to a yellow or orange band. Pending if you’re dedicated to your training.

How to get good at Muay Thai?

The sections above will help you learn Muay Thai, but how do you get good at Muay Thai? You can learn basic Muay Thai in a short timeframe, but how do you get good at it? Here is what you have to do in order to become a good student of Muay Thai.

Dedication

You have to be dedicated to learn Muay Thai and even more so to get good at Muay Thai. You will have to make your training one of the most important things in your life. Dedicating most of your free time to developing your skills to become the best you can at the martial art.

Conditioning

Those that want to get good at Muay Thai must also go a step further and really work on your conditioning. This is a vital part of Muay Thai that all of the best Thai boxers religiously take part in.

To go along with your technical training, you will have to start doing conditioning, which includes: running, calisthenics, abdominals, and body conditioning.

Once you start doing conditioning, your skills will not only improve, but you may even get better at Muay Thai.

Study

One of the best things you can do to get good at Muay Thai is to take the time to study the martial art. Meticulously watching Thai boxing matches and technique breakdowns to really understand the mechanics of the techniques being used. Really becoming a student of Muay Thai will no doubt help you become skilled at the martial art.

Are you ready to learn Muay Thai?

Muay Thai is a great martial art that is not only effective, but really fun to learn. Once you start your training, you will get down the basics of the martial art in no time. You might even get pretty good at it one day.

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