How to practice Muay Thai: 11 steps (with pictures)

How to practice Muay Thai: 11 steps (with pictures)
How to practice Muay Thai: 11 steps (with pictures)

the muay-thai is a very old martial art dating back to the 15th century and originating in Thailand. In previous centuries, Muay Thai fights were often brutal, but today matches of this martial art are managed by a scoring referee and both fighters must also wear protective gear to minimize damage.. However, Muay Thai is an even faster sport and can be dangerous and for this it is essential to learn the necessary form and techniques before considering participating in an exhibition match.


Part 1 of 3: Learn Basic Muay Thai Positions

Learn Muay Thai Step 1

Step 1. Improve your fighting posture

Posture is essential for maintaining balance when practicing Muay Thai, and when you adopt the perfect posture, it allows you to dodge your opponent's punches, while also giving them more powerful punches. Flexibility is a very important part of adopting good fighting posture and therefore you should take a few minutes to warm up before you start.

  • Spread your feet hip-width and shoulder-width apart, while keeping your knees slightly bent. Keep your "dominant" foot slightly back, for even more momentum when kicking your opponent.
  • Lightly tighten the abdominal muscles (without exerting too much force). Avoid over-tightening them so as not to slow your breathing or block your movements, but remember to squeeze them to resist possible blows to the stomach.
  • Protect your face with the fist of your "dominant" hand, while being ready to attack. Also, hold the fist of the other hand slightly in front of you, at about the height of your nose.
  • Lower your chin towards the collarbone and keep it intact. This helps to avoid having a broken nose or black eye.
  • Move around and try to periodically increase the pace of your movements. The goal is to prevent the opponent from predicting your next moves.
Learn Muay Thai Step 2

Step 2. Learn how to punch properly

If you've never been into boxing or other fighting styles, you might not know how to punch. It is important to have good posture, because a badly punched punch can hurt you terribly. A well executed punch should pass from the shoulder to the wrist upon contact.

  • When you want to hit your opponent, release your fists, but with your hands and arms slightly relaxed. Try to relax your shoulder muscles as well.
  • When punching, squeeze your grip. Your thumb shouldn't be trapped in your hand like other fingers, otherwise you risk breaking it when hitting your opponent.
  • Exhale deeply as you punch and rotate your torso so that your entire upper body is moving behind your fist.
  • To give a direct hit, turn your grip so that you can direct your hand horizontally towards your opponent's body (parallel to the ground). However, if you want to give a side hook (left or right), it's good to keep your hands vertically.
  • Do not stretch your fist in an exaggerated manner and do not expose yourself to a counterattack. Rotate your right arm back immediately after punching to block one attack or prepare to strike another.
Learn Muay Thai Step 3

Step 3. Practice a circular kick

Circular kicks are very important in Muay Thai. Fists, knees, and feet are all used in fighting and therefore, it is important that you work all the muscle groups involved and actively train.

  • Shift all of your weight toward the foot, which is resting firmly on the floor. Stand back about 45 degrees to prepare for the strike and use the dominant foot to give the circle kick.
  • Turn towards the part you are targeting so that you have even more momentum behind the strike.
  • Turn the shoulder to further protect the face. You need to prevent your opponent from hitting you in the head while you are trying to execute a move.

Part 2 of 3: Developing a Fighting Technique

Learn Muay Thai Step 4

Step 1. Practice with someone

Practicing this martial art with another person has nothing to do with developing a technique yourself or using a punching ball. While newbies may feel intimidated, you need to stay calm and relax. The best way to prepare for a real fight is to focus on basic moves and remember not to let your guard down to block a counterattack.

  • The best time to hit your opponent is when he is giving you punches, when he is taken by surprise (for example when you change pace) or even when you find yourself at an angle that is difficult to block.
  • Remember to use the non-dominant hand to give a good little punch. This helps prepare for a more powerful strike with the dominant hand and can confuse or intimidate your opponent as well.
  • Don't focus on speed, as punching fast punches tires the body faster. Work on your form and how to deliver really good, hard punches.
Learn Muay Thai Step 5

Step 2. Practice Muay Thai techniques

There are several techniques in this martial art and it will take you many years to master them all. However, as a novice, you can incorporate some of these techniques as part of your training, which by the way will improve over time and serve as a foundation.

  • Kao Dode (direct jump knee with no call). To do this you have to jump on one leg and use the knee of that leg to hit the opponent with a direct hit.
  • Kao Loi (direct jump knee without no call). You have to take a step forward, start jumping on one leg as if you are going to use the same knee or the same foot, then change it sharply to kick the knee with the other leg.
  • Kao Tone (direct knee kick from the front or back leg). Kick your knee upwards, ideally getting closer to your opponent.
  • Kao Noi (little knee kick). In close quarters combat, use the knee to strike your opponent's upper thigh (not groin) to tire them out. You can also use this technique to block a kick or knee kick.
Learn Muay Thai Step 6

Step 3. Combine the different moves to exhaust your opponent

In real combat you need to move fast and use a lot of different moves quickly. Strength and form come before speed, but as you progress you can work to become a more skilled fighter with faster response times. See your opponent as a nut protected by a hard shell. You have to smash that outer shell (with kicks and arm kicks) before you reach the nut in question (and in this metaphor, that means a direct hit in close proximity to your opponent's head or abdomen).

  • Dodging a strike and counterattacking your opponent are two techniques that work well at the start of a fight, but you can get tired quickly.
  • As the fight progresses, you will need to spend less time moving around and focusing your energy on blocking your opponent's direct attacks, in order to find an opportunity to destabilize them.
  • Advance as you fight against your opponent. This will put you on the defensive, which can also give you more momentum as you prepare to deliver a direct hit.
Learn Muay Thai Step 7

Step 4. Consider training with a professional

Training on your own is a good start, but competing against a friend or partner is still a great way to take the next step. However, if you want to become an expert in Muay Thai, you might want to work with a trainer who has extensive experience in the martial arts. A coach can help you uncover your weak spots, improve your fighting skills, and move up a gear.

  • You can find a Muay Thai trainer and gym in your area by searching online or in a local phone book.
  • Remember that it takes time to master this martial art, but also any kind of skill that you will have acquired. Be patient and if you decide to train with a trainer, follow their advice on how to improve your posture, technique and form.

Part 3 of 3: warming up before a workout

Learn Muay Thai Step 8

Step 1. Stretch the muscles

Stretching exercises are important before starting any type of physical activity. When practicing a martial art, you need to have flexible muscles and joints, because you can easily strain a muscle if you are not careful. Do 10 minutes of exercises to stretch each muscle group you will be using on fight day before moving on to other warm-up routines.

  • Try a rotating abdomen stretching exercise. Lie on your stomach, keep your hips on the floor, then stand up straightening your arms before turning one shoulder (then the other) toward the floor.
  • Stretch your hamstrings by putting one foot on the floor and keeping the other on a table or high cabinet. Bend the knee and try to lean down until you reach your knee. Then switch to the other foot.
  • Another exercise for working your hamstrings is to spread your feet apart and lean toward the floor without bending your knees. Hold this position for 10 seconds and repeat this exercise three to five times to increase your flexibility.
  • Stretch the abductor muscle by keeping one foot on the ground (with toes pointing forward) and bending the other leg (with toes pointing outward). Lower your body and slowly stretch your abductors before changing feet.
Learn Muay Thai Step 9

Step 2. Relax the joints

Your joints will play a very important role in your flexibility during your fights. You need to be able to move smoothly, and you might have a hard time doing this if your joints are all stiff. Warm-ups to relax the joints allow you to be more flexible and agile during training sessions and exhibition matches.

  • Work your knees by remaining squatting and rotating the kneecaps of your knees. The goal is to reach 20 to 30 laps, while changing direction halfway through.
  • Work your ankles, standing only on the anterior part of the sole of one foot, while turning your ankle about 10 to 20 times. Then change your foot.
  • Relax the hip muscles by spreading your feet apart and placing your hands around the waist. Twist your hips 10 times in one direction, then switch to the opposite direction.
  • Relax the neck, gently moving the head up and down and side to side. Do about 10 to 20 turns.
Learn Muay Thai Step 10

Step 3. Get cardiovascular exercise sessions

Muay Thai and other martial arts require quick and powerful movements. One of the best ways to train Muay Thai and have a successful warm-up is to follow a good cardiovascular exercise program. There are many ways to increase your heart rate and respiratory rate. So try going through different programs until you find the right one for you.

  • Skipping rope is a great form of cardiovascular exercise. Do two sets of quick jumps, each lasting about three minutes (six minutes total).
  • Run or sprint. You can do a long run (about five kilometers) to burn calories and maximize your workout, or sprint 5 to 10 laps for a distance of 50 to 100 meters.
  • Try to swim if you have access to a pool. Swimming works the major muscle groups and is a great form of cardiovascular exercise.
Learn Muay Thai Step 11

Step 4. Practice shadow-boxing

Shadow-boxing, which involves training in a vacuum by imagining an opponent, is a great warm-up that will help you practice Muay Thai at your own pace or pace and you will need it during a real fight. Do this exercise for three minutes, three times (for a total of about nine minutes). If possible, try to do this in front of a mirror so that you can correct yourself. Make sure the room you are training in is large enough not to hurt or hit anyone else.

  • Begin by adopting your fighting stance, with your feet apart and your weight distributed evenly over both feet. Stand on the anterior part of the soles of your feet and keep your knees aligned in the same direction as each foot.
  • Keep the fist of your dominant hand close to your face at jaw or cheek level, then place the other fist slightly in front of you. Your elbows should be slightly bent and turned outward and away from the body.
  • Practice hopping all over the place. Use punches, knees and elbows, while trying to balance and distribute your weight on both feet.


  • Exercise and stretch whenever possible. Flexibility and muscle strength will make you a stronger and more gifted fighter.
  • Muay Thai is an excellent martial art for learning self defense. If you're training just for this reason, learn at least one gripping technique.


  • Any blow directed to the head or neck has the potential to kill. Be careful and be aware of the danger this poses to both you and your opponent.
  • Nudging is prohibited in some gymnasiums and tournaments. Avoid using it in the ring unless you are sure it is allowed.
  • Unless you are training with another experienced Muay Thai student, you should only use your knowledge as a means of self-defense. Martial arts should never be used to harass or intimidate people.

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