Muay Thai is one of a few martial arts that allow elbows, knees, punches, and kicks. Many people consider it one of the most dangerous disciplines in the world. Others say it leaves less dangerous consequences to your health than for example boxing.
But can you make a difference between a truth and a myth? Is Muay Thai dangerous martial art that leads to serious health issues in the later stages of your life or it’s just an excuse for Thai boxing hatters? Someone will always think differently. It’s not a big deal.
But I will try to help you recognize liars and people who know nothing about one of the best martial arts in the world. Just stop listening to random infallible dudes, this article is the real deal.
Is Muay Thai Dangerous And How Much?
Well, the answer to this question strictly depends on your training and competitive intentions. If you plan to train Muay Thai to cut some weight, learn to defend, and look better, then it is equally dangerous as, for example, volleyball or other non-contact sport. I mean, let’s be honest, even if only do shadowboxing, it is more dangerous than snooker.
Here are some of the most often omniscient dudes’ myths. These guys make terrible mistakes, but they think they are right. Let’s laugh together!
Myth 1 – Spine Damage
Here is another question: is Muay Thai dangerous for my spine? I bet you’ll be shocked by the answer. No, and yeah, you read well, the answer is no! Wait, what the heck? I know you are shocked. What the hell am I talking about?
Well, you know how does the traditional Muay Thai stance looks like, do you? Boxing, MMA, or even kickboxing forces you to fight with a hunched back to neutralize powerful strikes to the head. But please look at this Thai boxing fight!
Do fighters hunch their back? Well, the answer is yes, but way less than, for example, in an MMA or a boxing bout.
Unless you’re a guy who constantly slips backward and counters, your back is hunched 24/7. You substitute your normal posture for a boxing posture, which leads to potential antalgic pain in the later stages of your life.
And now take a look carefully at the boxing bout.
Is Muay Thai dangerous for your spine? No, unless you eat a kick or a brutal punch when you turn your back in a sparring session!
Myth 2 – Heavy Bag Workout Is More Dangerous Than Mitt Workout
This can be true, but only in extreme cases. When you work on the heavy bag, you have more time to adjust and think of your next strike. You are in control, while mitts are held by your training partner. He controls your next move.
Is Muay Thai dangerous when it comes to heavy bag training routine? Well, it can be, if you don’t follow important recommendations. You must hit with the proper part of your leg or fist and your distance must be good, otherwise, an injury will happen swiftly.
You must kick with your shin and punch properly. Don’t forget, a heavy bag is way heavier than a mitt, so a powerful punch or kick with the wrong part of the striking surface might hurt you badly. This is reality. So one-punch or one-kick knockout session is super-dangerous on a heavy bag, especially if you don’t protect yourself well.
On the other hand, injuries in mitt training sessions usually happen when your partner makes a mistake. Sometimes the guy who holds mitts accidentally reacts and moves the target, and the wrong part of your body initiates contact with the mitt.
Don’t forget – you can control yourself, but you can’t control your partner. Next time, when somebody says that a heavy bag session is less dangerous than a mitt workout, please pinpoint him/her to this article.
Myth 3 – Sparring Is Always Dangerous
No, no, and no. Is Muay Thai dangerous? Well, it depends, and the same rule applies to the sparring session. Technical (or conditional, in my state) sparring refers to the sparring session when two fighters exchange quick blows but don’t hurt each other, favoring speed and technique over a powerful strike.
Some sparring sessions are designed to simulate competition. You hit each other as you’d do in a real fight. But you can do conditional sparring every day and you’ll still have minor chances of hurting yourself. When you follow the pattern but stick to low-to-moderate contact, you’ll boost your fighting skills, prepare for the upcoming bout, and remain injury-free.
Risks And Myth At The Same Time
The risk list in Muay Thai is highly dependent on your intentions. Each parameter doesn’t have to be risky, but you can make each aspect of the training session super-risky. It depends on you. I will get to know you with training session areas and the level of risk now.
Warm-Up / Stretching
There is a very small chance of hurting yourself during warm-up and post-exercise stretching. But don’t forget, there will always be daredevils who tend to prove themselves. For example, if you land a strong head kick during the warm-up or try to stretch very quickly, you can suffer a muscle strain.
The answer to the question “is Muay Thai dangerous when you warm-up or stretch” is probably no, but you make it risky.
Strength And Conditioning Drills
Unless you hire a strength/conditioning expert, I’d call this part very dangerous. If your gym skills don’t rock, you might have a hard time, especially when you lift weights.
Let me give you an example. A non-certified fighter can go to the gym and deadlift 200 lbs. The wrong technique leads to spine injuries and the potential need for medical treatment. The irregular technique might affect your performance negatively. Maximum damage! My advice – hire a specialist or learn everything properly.
Another example. You did a hard gym workout two days ahead of the fight and you got battered in the competition. Why? Your strikes were too slow and your cardio was poor because your body didn’t have enough time to recover. Is Muay Thai dangerous in this aspect? Oh, absolutely yes, unless you control your training process well!
Mitt Workout / Heavy Bag Drills
I believe there is a low-to-intermediate chance to suffer an injury. I described everything in section risk 2, but please don’t overestimate your abilities. For example, if you hit a mitt or a heavy bag with the tip of your toe, you might be sidelined for a month or two.
Low chances of injury. You’re working on the technical aspect of the game. But if you start landing hard shots without a warm-up, you could hurt yourself.
This is one of the safest training sessions in Thai boxing, especially when you match up a skillful opponent. If you’d like to hear my thoughts on the question “is Muay Thai dangerous” here, I’d definitively stick to the word “no”.
Your training partner can accidentally hurt you when he blocks, but this doesn’t happen too often.
This shouldn’t be too dangerous. Yet, when you’re tired, the possibility of an injury rises. So if you hurt yourself it will mostly be due to overtraining or fatigue, not due to shin-to-shin collision or a brutal kick/punch to the head.
Fight Day Simulation / Competition
Here is the essence of the question “is Muay Thai dangerous”. Many people believe this topic reflects fight day sparring simulation or competition.
Fight day simulation is dangerous, but you wear mostly wear shin guards and helmets, which decreases the possibility of an injury. Oh, you can stop the bout whenever you want if you’re ineligible to continue too.
The competition is very dangerous because you only wear gloves, a mouthpiece, and a groin guard. Shin-to-shin, a powerful strike to the head/leg/body, clinching, trip, throw… anything leads to a huge possibility of finishing the fight with a bruise, cut, swollen eye, or even a fracture.
But no worries, you can also end the fight without an injury. Maybe you’ll score an early knockout or counter the opponent every time he misses. It depends on you.
You will hear many myths about the dangers of Muay Thai, mostly by people who have never stepped inside the ring. But the ancient Siamese martial art is less risky than many “less cruel” martial arts like boxing or BKFC.
The answer to the question “is Muay Thai dangerous” depends on you. You can hurt yourself during the warm-up but you can also end the most difficult tournament without an injury. But never listen to the three greatest myths and lies. Remember – Thai boxing is good for the spine, heavy bag session is more dangerous than mitt workout, plus sparring doesn’t have to be risky.