With the decline in the rate of popularity of Muay Thai across the globe, it may be time to start preaching more about it by setting up Muay Thai training gyms.
The popularity of Muay Thai has decreased since the golden age (between the 1980s and 1990s). In addition, Muay Thai fighters only get 25% payment of the money those in the golden age were paid, highlighting the rate at which the combat sport has declined.
If we consider the countries where Muay Thai is most popular, the United States is not even in the top 10. So it shows that there is a growing reduction in the rate at which people are being introduced to it.
Perhaps, it could be the best time where we need more Muay Thai instructors.
Have you considered the idea of becoming a Muay Thai instructor? Maybe you’ve always wished to promote Muay Thai as a combat sport, but you don’t know how to go about it.
I’ve written this blog to show you how you can become a Muay Thai instructor. We will also discuss the criteria and the benefits of being a Muay Thai instructor.
I know you are already excited. Shall we get into it?
What It Means To Be a Kru?
In Muay Thai, the teacher or instructor is referred to as a Kru or Ajarn. Kru means teacher, and someone called a Kru is a Muay Thai master who teaches the upcoming generations.
Before you can become an instructor, you will need to earn the Kru status. There are different ways to become a Kru.
- The first method is laid down by the World Thai Boxing Association (WTBA). If you want to become a Kru, you have to train under a Muay Thai Ajarn or Kru between 5 to 10 years, and you will need to pass the WTBA standardized curriculum. After then, you will also need to prove that you have all it takes to teach Muay Thai at the instructor development camps that hold yearly under the watch of an appropriate Grandmaster.
- The second way is usually applicable to those in Thailand. It is when you become a notorious fighter by fighting many Muay Thai fights and training to make a life out of it, i.e., when you live off Muay Thai.
Muay Thai Instructor Ranks
According to the World Thai Boxing Association (WTBA), there are different ranks to differentiate the various instructor levels in Muay Thai. Check them below:
- Kru- Student Level III (Apprentice Instructor): This level is for those who already have 3 years of experience in actively teaching Muay Thai.
- Kru- Associate Instructor: The second level is for those who have 6 years of active Muay Thai teaching experience.
- Kru- Full Instructor: This level is for people who have 12 years of experience teaching Muay Thai actively.
- Senior Instructor: The Senior Instructor level is for teachers with more than 20 years of active teaching experience.
- Ajarn: Ajarn is the highest level for those with more than 25 years of teaching Muay Thai actively.
A Muay Thai gym instructor is a student-level II.
How Long Does It Take To Become a Muay Thai Instructor?
There is absolutely no shortcut to it. You need to train under an Ajarn for between 5 to 10 years to become an instructor fully. So to become an Ajarn, get ready to teach Muay Thai for at least 25 years.
How To Become a Muay Thai Instructor?
Let’s dive fully into why we are here; you want to find out how to become an instructor of Muay Thai.
Becoming a Muay Thai instructor largely depends on your teacher. First, it depends on whether he deems you fit enough to be called an instructor. Once your teacher finds you worthy of becoming a Muay Thai instructor that can pass the knowledge, a Khrob Kru ceremony will be held to certify people that have been chosen.
In your journey to become a Kru, you also need to have two rounds of 60 kicks plus 40 knees with a pad holder trying to knock you out.
Generally, becoming a Muay Thai instructor has to first be about your experience in the field itself. While certification is brilliant, the experience you’ve gathered over the years goes a long way.
In Thailand, where Muay Thai first came from, there are no Muay Thai certifications because people do Muay Thai to make a living. Therefore, the people know who is the best, and they judge who can teach successfully based on being excellent and experienced.
Certifications are invented in North America. However, you need to get it to be an instructor in the United States by joining one of the Muay Thai associations. The best association to get certified is believed to be the World Thai Boxing Association (WTBA) we discussed earlier.
Although, if you are not an experienced Muay Thai fighter, it’s not genuinely ideal to set up to become a Muay Thai trainer. It’s like teaching people what you don’t know. You need to acquire the practical side of the knowledge and gain years of experience before teaching correctly.
If you are only relying on certifications, it will be challenging to impact any student that will face a real opponent. Muay Thai is beyond theories. It’s much more practical.
Suppose you eventually find your way to the World Thai Boxing Association. In that case, it’s possible not to be a Muay Thai fighter before being an instructor, but remember that you need at least five years of training to be considered an instructor.
When you get to the WTBA, you will be placed on a white armband as a student. You may then move to yellow, after which you can move to blue and so on.
Criteria To Earn Muay Thai Teaching Certifications
If you want to be certified as an instructor, you have to show the following at the training center;
- Understanding of Muay Thai curriculums, including attacking, “defensing,” Koon Muay, LookMai, Mae Mai Muay Thai, and WaiKru.
- Display all the tactics and techniques you can apply and adapt.
- Display your clinching, sparring, shadow boxing, and pad work skills. You will also need to show how you can teach those skills.
You also need to show how your physical fitness by delivering the following;
- Your chin up skills
- Sit up skills
- Squatting skills
- Push up skills
- Zig-zag running
Difference Between Muay Thai in Thailand and the Western World
As explained earlier, people in Thailand do Muay Thai for a living, i.e., they live off Muay Thai. So it’s more of the reason why a series of fighting tournaments always go on.
However, in the Western world, Muay Thai has been taken more as a hobby than a profession. Therefore, it could be the reason why we have half-baked instructors flying around claiming they are Muay Thai instructors in the Western world.
A proper Muay Thai instructor must have passed through the right training process and faced different opponents in the ring. You can only teach what you’ve handled, not theories.
If all you teach your students is only head knowledge or merely what goes on around your gym, it will be quite difficult for them when they face a real opponent.
There will always be a place of a Muay Thai instructor impacting his experience from the ring onto his students- this is what it means to be an authentic Muay Thai instructor.
I will advise that as much as you get the certifications in the Western world to help your résumé, it’s much more essential to find your way to where Muay Thai came from. Find a real trainer, train hard, and enter into the ring to fight series of opponents. It’s the way you can earn credibility and confidence.
It’s a long blog of text, but I am sure you’ve gained a lot. First, you must understand that Muay Thai instructors are called “Kru.” The most experienced instructor is called Ajarn– those with more than 25 years of experience actively teaching Muay Thai.
Second, if you want to become a Kru, you must go through the proper process, and that has to do with being under a more experienced instructor who will certify you as a suitable instructor. The duration to become a Kru is between five to 10 years of training. And for you to become an apprentice Kru, you must have been teaching for at least three years.
The journey is far, and there is no shortcut. However, some people still believe that is not the best way to become a proper Muay Thai instructor. They are of the opinion that to become a Muay Thai instructor, you must have had fights in the ring for several years. According to them, the experience matters when impacting your students.
My position on this blog is also the same. As much as you can get the certifications, try to get to the source of Muay Thai. Find an experienced teacher, learn, practice, get into the ring, fight a series of fights, and you will become a proper instructor.
In case you’ve not read this blog thoroughly, you need to go back and read it to find everything you need to know.