Muay Thai… The ancient martial art was known for its devastating knees and elbows. It looks so easy when you watch two masters of Thai boxing trading barbs in the ring.
But if you think you’ll master all the moves after a month or two, you are wrong! You’ve probably heard different opinions, but now it’s time to find out how long does it take to learn Muay Thai.
The time frame depends on how often you train. If you put your body on fire 6 times per week, 6-12 months should be enough to reach an intermediate level. A dedicated beginner advances quicker than a lazy super-talented semi-pro.
Fighters who train in professional camps in Thailand will progress faster. The route from a total newbie to your first Thai bout might last 8-10 months, but if and only if you’re very focused on the goal.
Is It Hard To Learn Muay Thai?
Well, this is a difficult question. If you think of learning basic Muay Thai moves, then the answer is no. A beginner or an intermediate fighter rarely spins in the fight. You could learn the majority of the fundamental strikes after only 3-6 months.
For example, jabs, straight punches, overhands, low kicks, teep kicks, front kicks, clinch knees, and horizontal elbows are very easy to learn. Again, you’ll need at least 10,000 repetitions to master the technique (a good coach can always find some area to improve, but we discuss newbies here).
But let’s look at spinning kicks, spear elbows, spinning elbows, and backfists or rabbit and flying knees. For example, you must be a master of a crescent kick to perform a spinning heel kick.
You must hold the opponent against the ropes to make some damage to his thighs (rabbit knees), which requires superb ring control. These techniques are hard, and you’ll need at least 1-2 years unless you come from Taekwondo or Kickboxing background.
How Much Time Do I Need To Become A Pro?
I am sorry to disappoint you lads; a pro never stops learning. You can start competing professionally after a year or two, but the competition requires constant improvement.
Success depends on many factors. Here is an example. A fighter with hidden special techniques wins when the two are evenly matched. You can be the most powerful fighter with the strongest chin in the world, if your opponent moves like a cat while you throw easy-to-see haymakers, you’ll lose the fight.
Again, you can master 20 techniques, but when your gas tank is empty, it is empty. The opponent with better cardio will outlast you despite he is technically worse.
So, somebody who decided to train professionally will learn new things and correct his own mistakes every single day.
Is Muay Thai Good For Self-Defense?
Muay Thai is one of the most perfect striking martial art that gives you the greatest number of options after Muay Boran and Lethwei (more dangerous, but less popular styles). Read on to see all the benefits and shortcomings of Thai boxing as an anti-bully weapon.
“The Science of Eight Limbs” lets you batter your foe with elbows, knees, kicks, and punches. Shin is one of the most perfect weapons for chopping the attacker down.
Muay Thai is very good for a street fight because it lets you fight in the clinch and inside the pocket. If you don’t like close-range striking, no worries, there are numerous long-range blows.
If a bully tries to clinch up, you can easily counter via sweep, powerful elbow, or a knee to the face. When somebody attempts to demolish your liver via body kick, you’ll probably catch his attacking leg and kick his standing leg, so he’ll end up on the ground. Perfectly-timed knees are good for takedown defense.
Muay Thai slashing low kick is extremely painful because it goes from the top towards the bottom and hurts the ischial nerve. Your opponent will limp for sure and it won’t be hard to finish him.
But Thai boxing offers more great stuff for a street clash. Wrestling clinch (pummeling) is excellent to control and finish the opponent.
You hold your hands high, which will give the bully a hard time when he tries to punish you via hook or slap. Even if the aggressive cocky attacker grabs your jersey or jacket, he’ll feel the power of your clinch game.
In a Muay Thai bout, you will learn to go forward and absorb strikes. I haven’t seen a lot of counter-strikers in the competitions. This is a huge surprise for street thugs, as they expect you’ll afraid of them.
The list of most powerful strikes for self-defense includes hooks, uppercuts, straight punches, horizontal and slashing elbows, low kicks, high kicks, plus diagonal, horizontal, and flying knees. Oh, please don’t forget to add sweeps and powerful clinch knees and elbows to this list.
The weakest areas of Thai boxing in the street are takedown defense and ground fighting.
But a Thai fighter learns to tolerate an enormous amount of pain and to deliver a big blow after eating a shot. It is a huge advantage because most of the attackers think you’ll go down after a slap or a punch.
Muay Thai is good to deal with multiple attackers, but make sure they don’t surround you.
Can I Teach Myself Muay Thai?
Training dojo is always a perfect choice to kick off your Muay Thai run. But what if you don’t live in Thailand or there is no Thai boxing school in your city? Well, then you can try learning this lovely martial art on your own.
Let me guess the next question. Can I teach myself? Yeah, you can, but there are advantages and shortcomings. It’s a perfect choice for a die-hard loner who watches Muay Thai battles all day long.
You’ll need more space for knees and kicks (and all kinds of spinning techniques), while you can throw punches and elbows even in 4 square meters.
The following important parameter is the training gear. If you want to learn basic strikes, there is no need to spend thousands of dollars on hitting bags. You can learn strikes by watching tutorials of your favorite star. You don’t need a training partner for shadowboxing and movement sessions.
But please, purchase at least two or three mirrors, as that’s the only way to correct mistakes. Oh, don’t forget, an advanced training level demands training equipment to improve striking and some strength and conditioning tools.
You can play any song to motivate you. Another positive side is the ability to train at any time of the day.
The first problem is the correction. You cannot see from every angle, so you can learn an incorrect move. It is never easy to fix your own mistakes, unless you install cameras, record yourself, and watch training videos later. Unfortunately, it costs more money.
But here is the next problem – your options are limited. Why? Well, you need a training partner for ducking, counterstrikes, and sparring. Technically, you can install an app and you can do the movement when the bell rings, but nothing changes a living person.
You will need a superb power of will. It sounds very easy, but sometimes you need a friend or a team for better motivation, especially when you had a bad day in the office.
Time Frame – What Can I Expect?
You can’t achieve results overnight, stay persistent. You will need some time to learn Muay Thai strikes. Our list includes expectations (you can master it faster or slower, depending on how much you train per week and your level of dedication, plus I assume your hips are flexible):
- ≤ 1 month – jabs, straight punches, front kick, teep kick, straight knee
- 1-2 months – uppercuts, sidekick, diagonal knee, diagonal knee, overhands, low kick
- 2-4 months – uppercut elbow, diagonal elbow, horizontal elbow, diagonal kick, high kick
- 4-12 months – axe kick, Muay Thai slashing low kick, tornado kick, Superman punch, hooks, downward elbow, spear elbow, crescent kick, simple combos
- 1-2 years – flying knee, tornado kick, spinning back kick, spinning heel kick, rabbit knees, curving knee, spinning back fist, reverse spinning back fist, spinning back elbow
- 2+ years – counterstrikes and level change combos (you can train as hard as you wish, these two come with experience)
Before we start discussing how long does it take to learn Muay Thai, please answer whether you trained in some other striking martial art before transitioning to “The Science of Eight Limbs” or not. If you said yes, then you’ll notice a positive transfer of your skills, which will lead to faster learning.
Don’t expect you’ll become Buakaw Banchamek after three months. Hard work always pays off, but give yourself at least a year or two before the first competition. You need to fulfill two criteria to progress faster – train more and study Muay Thai at home (watch fights or tutorials).
Talent means nothing without an iron will for training. Life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, you have to fight hard to reach the goal. Let Muay Thai become the greatest passion of your life and you’ll become a superb professional fighter after a few years!
Last Updated on August 13, 2022 by Deni