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Muay Thai for beginners – how to start & what do you need?

After having posted quite a lot about Muay Thai here on my-thai.org I received lots of questions from readers who said ‘that all looks cook, but I could never do that, it’s too scary’. With this article I try to give you some insights and information in regards how to start Muay Thai training and highlight that there’s nothing to be afraid of. Let’s jump right into it!

Muay Thai = Fighting. Fighting is scary.

Well, fighting obviously can be scary, however not everybody who trains Muay Thai actually plans on actually fighting and gyms and trainers obviously know that. Hence when you’re intentions are more focused towards staying / getting fit, trainers will train you accordingly. There’s no need to feel scared or intimidated when going to a Muay Thai gym, even though the sounds of fighters smashing pads might sound a bit off putting at first. Also real fighters are mostly quite humble, especially here in Thailand. Don’t be afraid, everybody’s usually rather happy to pass on some Muay Thai knowledge. Just go for it!

I have no experience, I will suck

Yeah :P That’s like with everything that you do for the first time, isn’t it? ;-) However while Muay Thai is very complex to master, doing some first steps into the right direction is not that difficult and with the help of a good trainer definitely possible within your first training session. Every coach is able to teach you the basics steps from scratch so there’s no need to worry about not having any background knowledge. Everybody’s gotta start at some point, right? Usually you’ll be able to throw a few punches, kicks and elbows after your first session, which feels really good and is a great way to let out all that anger :-)

I don’t have any Muay Thai gear

No problem, you don’t need any. Gyms usually have gloves and hand wraps for students to borrow so that’s no excuse at all and while people who train Muay Thai more seriously will start wearing muay thai gear and bring their own gloves, that’s nothing you need for the beginning. Just bring some sports outfit (shorts, shirt) and you’re good to go. Don’t try to find more excuses! :P

Where do I find a good Muay Thai gym?

Either here on the list of the best muay thai gyms in Bangkok (you’re welcome) or you simply join the Bangkok Muay Thai Meetup group if you’re not comfortable going all alone and go with a few other newbies. Sharing excitement ;-)

What does it cost?

That obviously depends on the gym but the average is probably somewhere between 400 and 500 THB per session. The fancy gyms might charge you even more though. Really depends on what you are expecting and looking for. Fancy gym doesn’t always equal better trainers though, just saying.

What should I be looking for?

Again, just like above, that really depends on what you’re looking for. If you ask me, I would suggest to look for a gym that’s not all that fancy, located in shopping mall or office complex. Chances are those places are more shine than quality. I would look for a gym that has sportive people training there and that isn’t always that crowded so that I know that the coaches would have time to work with me. Also don’t be afraid of the language barrier, most coaches speak a bit of English and body language goes a long way. Communication has never been a problem so far.

That should cover most questions beginners have, I assume. Did I forget anything? Shout out in the comments or over there on FB and I’ll get back to you asap! 

Sascha Funk

Founder / Editor at My-Thai.org
Sascha is the publisher of my-thai.org and switched from an online marketing agency life in Europe to a teaching and education life in Thailand. He also writes about Teaching & Technology.

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  • Chung Veeravutthiphol

    Its human nature that everybody will feel uncomfortable of something new. So get out of comfort zone and don’t be scar of something you’ve ever done before. If you don’t try it, you’ll never know whether you like it or not. In these days, a lot of women tend to do Muay-thai along with the fitness. It can be another interesting calorie burn instead of just running in the gym (that kind of boring) and that’s not the only benefit, it can be a muscle weapon protected from dangerous situation.

  • Phirachash Piyawutiposh

    Nothing easy at first, do not shy to ask new thing we do not know, it occurs on every new activity that we do not have experience with. Muay Thai is Thai sport which begins since all of us not born yet. It is an interesting sport which suits to both men and girl. It not only make you be in a good shape but in today’s society protecting skills is also significant in life as well. For healthy, it burns a lot of calories and reduces your stress as well. Read this article make me want to try it once now.

  • Varinthorn Witwarakoon

    I think Mauy Thai is very good idea for exercising. It’s maybe sound scary because a lot of people will think of Many Thai tournament like in the TV program. In which, the competitor will soak with blood and bruises all over there body. For me, if I practice Muay Thai, I can also learn self-defend too. It’s a really nice idea. After this I will thinking of learning it!

  • Good idea! Feel free to join my gym if that’s convenient. Your only chance to hit your teacher! ;-)

  • try it and blog about your experience! :)

  • Prakin Chatteeraphat

    It is obvious to everyone that when they facing the new thing or new experience, they will feel uncomfortable. However, I think to try out something like Muay Thai, there is nothing to be scared of because it do not cause any harm but good for myself. Moreover, I also agreed with you about the gym in the mall that cause more but you can get less skills from the trainer. Most of my friends, that practicing Muay Thai, are preffered the gym that is not fancy and that is not in the mall.

  • Tanapa Pongpilasarn

    Actually, I think using Muay Thai as a cardio work out is a very interesting and such a great idea as it is not boring! (comparing with running on running machine) I used to trained Muay Thai at RSM academy, Kongsittha and Boxing king. It was sooo tired after training but felt good because it burned a lot of calories. It doesn’t need to have a Muay Thai skills before training as the trainers will teach you every time before training.

  • Song Sathiraboot

    I have had a thought of going to a Muay Thai gym before because I’ve heard that it is an activity that burns a lot of energy as well as it entertaining and fun. My friend had asked me to join their Muay Thai group many times, but I never had a chance to because I was scared. I think that I’m not good enough and it might becomes hard and tough. But I think I should have a try soon! I felt that it is one of the most interesting ways of exercising!

  • Just give it a try. It’s lots of fun and doesn’t require any prior skills. Most coaches will customize the training for you. If you’re interested you can also always join my gym (it’s rather far away though, around Sathorn / Narathiwas Road) just to see if you like it.

  • Completely agree! Way more fun than running (which I hate as well!) – so this means we could actually have a fight in class if you ever forgot your assignments? ;-)

  • Mix Nuttapol

    Nowadays, Muay Thai gym is sport in which a lot of people is interested especially Thai girl because it is able to reduce more body fat in our body and can protect herself from psychopath. It seems to me that 400-500 bath is resonalable price when compared to my fitness. Do not be afarid, you have to overcome scary in order to find a new experience.

  • Ginni Kiatfuengfoo

    Sounds great!! I my opinion, I think doing muay thai would be hard and very very tired compare with other cardio exercises and I feel quite scare to do it. I always go with the home exercise such as running on the running machine or normal HIIT exercise on a yoga mat, but those exercises make me getting bored and have because it has no new challenge for me! After I read this I think muay thai would not be so hard to try and may be it’s time to start doing new type of exercise and let see if I will like it or not! Thank you for your recommendation!

  • Eve Supmee

    This is helpful. I have never had a chance to try Muay-Thai before. As you have mention, it’s a bit scary and the sound of all smashing seems severe. Anyway many people suggested me to try first because they all like it. I’ll try sometimes. Maybe I’ll become Muay-Thai lover.

  • If you ever just want to have look, feel free to check out my gym. I’m sure they’ll let you have a test training to simply just have a look around :)

  • Try it! Feel free to join my gym for a first look at it if you want to. :-)

  • Fully agree!

  • Moné Pusanisa

    I currently do Muay-Thai now every Monday, Friday and weekend. Before I started to try Muay-Thai I also have those question too, but after my first time ever trying it out, Muay-Thai leaves me the best workout experience! Muay-Thai really enhance my life in several ways hahaha this may sound so dramatic but its true! I can both workout and have fun in the same time also my trainer is very funny so I never feel nervous or uncomfortable.

  • Great to hear! Same for me, Muay Thai definitely changed my life to the better! What’s your gym by the way? Maybe it’s worth adding it to our list of the best muay thai gyms on here? :-)

  • Panpan Auraya

    I did Taekwondo before, it is like Muay-Thai in a way of exercise, fight and workout. But it is very different in traditional and steps. I would like to try Muay-Thai but not have an opportunity yet.I think it will gave me good experience as well as Taekwondo. Thank you for your suggestions.

  • Moné Pusanisa

    The gym called “Extra Muay-Thai gym” it is a small gym at Kaset-Nawamin the owner is an acquaintance of my friend so my friend recommended me to this place :)

  • Thanks! :) Kaset Nawamin is not necessarily close to my usual playground but next time I’ll be around that area I shall check that out! If you want to switch things up and try one of the gyms mentioned in the articles here http://my-thai.org/6-best-muay-thai-gyms-bangkok/, or my current gym just off Narathiwas Rd, shout out. I’d be interested in some comparisons! :)

  • Jade Maciag

    I really like this post because it gives courage and ensures the beginners who want to try something challenging but aren’t capable enough. I used to do muay thai every week for around more than a year when I was in high school. The gym was located just next to my school so it was easy to go there after class (Jaroenthong muay thai gym). I really enjoy this sport because first of all it is challenging and of course tiring when you first start but when you are a bit experienced you start to enjoy it :) I wish I could do muay thai again but the place now is very far away now that I study in Rangsit, and I’m also very busy with the university’s activities! But I will find a way to get back to it for sure !!

  • We can add a sparring session to each class if that helps to motivate you! ;-)

  • Shatree Suwanvalaikorn

    Muay Thai is a good sport. I first do Muay Thai when I was in high school. Until now, when I have free time, I sometimes go to the Muay Thai gym. Also, the gym is close to my house. After I read this post, I feel like everybody can start to learn Muay Thai. Thank you for sharing this useful post.

  • Ben Benyapa

    This post is very useful for me. I used to do Muay-Thai once but i was try to do Muay-Thai. So the result is i was very tired and don’t want to do it again. When i read this post that make me want to go back to do Muay-Thai because it sound like funny and maybe it can make me stronger. Some of my friends do Muay-Thai and they told me that it made them feel comfortable and relax. So i will go back to do Muay-Thai again maybe it will make me more relax. I heard that it also have Muay-Thai around campus too and i will try it again. So this is very helpful, thanks for let me know and it make me want to do it again!!

  • Cb Work

    Muay Thai is the thing that many people are interested both Thai people and foreigners. Most the beginners have no experience how to start and do not know what is Muay Thai. This blog gives many information for beginners interested in Muay Thai, such as cost, how to find it and start it, what should be looking when you are going to choose the gym, and so on. However, nowadays Muay Thai is spreading widely, which we can find it easily and has more choices to select the gyms.

  • Shatree Suwanvalaikorn

    Muay Thai is a good sport. I first did Muay Thai when I was in high school because the gym is close to my house. Until now, when I have free time, I sometimes go to the gym and do Muay Thai. At first, I did not brave enough to walk into the gym because I thought I need to have basic. However, I felt like what you wrote in the post. They taught me basic which means everyone can go and this post also makes me think that everybody can learn and practice. It is really good for your health. Thank you for writing this post.

  • Moné Pusanisa

    Thank you for the recommendation! :D

  • Chanidapa Smt

    I’am the one who have been did this exercise, It is very fun for me and really tried. More than that this is like kind of extremely burning calories exercise, i have heard that 1 round you did it, it can burn about 800 kcal, Comparing with running or cardio u might do it more than 1 hrs to get buning like that. From my personal, who want to loss your weight, this is totally interesting exercise one. But there are something that i quite disagree. it’s about the price per time, this seems like quite expensive for me.. But the overall is good if you dont mind about the money Lols

  • Completely agree! It’s definitely not cheap! For me, personally, it’s worth it because it’s so much fun but it really is expensive. Unfortunately most sport activities (gym, etc.) are rather expensive here :(

  • Catty Methayanunt

    This article is a really great advice for those people who would like to try Muay Thai but scared of it because there are all the useful information that the newbies suppose to know. From my personally, I have tried Muay Thai once and I think Muay Thai is the best cardio exercise. It is fun and burn so much of the calories, build the muscle as well. Therefore, I think lady who want to have a slim body should try this sport, it’s really work!

  • Fully agree! :)

  • Tanathorn Petawan

    Thank you for letting me know what do I need to prepare before I do Muay Thai. I am a big fan of eating and lately I gained weights even though I did cardio :( I searched for some place that I could do boxing for exercise since my friend told me that boxing is a great way to exercise. I know there is one boxing place on the second floor of Lynx Arena and it is very close to my dorm! This way I could go back to the weight I want.

  • Let us know if you end up trying muay thai and post some pics! :)

  • Mew Sorasesakun

    I love Muay Thai. I have been tried Muay Thai because this is one kind of activities that easily to burn calories. Muay thai is not boring as running in the gym, this is my opinions. However, this is a bit hard since there are many levels stating from basic step. After practice for many times, it is not quite hard as before. I’m totally sure!! Anyone who tries this activity might be impressed as same as me! ;)

  • Agree! Lots of steps but improvement is easy to see :) So many people here doing Muay Thai! We should do a field trip to a muay thai gym! ;-)

  • Ellen Deveaux

    I agree that fighting is scary! that is why I was skeptical of even trying Muay Thai, but it is reassuring that not all people join to fight. Also, I am glad to hear that some of these gyms have gear because not providing gear definitely would be my excuse not to join, ha ha. All in all, it is something I want to try in the future, so thank you for giving advice.

  • Benjapol Juntharee

    After I read this, I am thinking about my high school friend, who are Japanese that trained Muay Thai in Thailand. He has actual fight in a match for a several times. I find out that Mauy Thai is interesting not only for Thai people but many foreigners also. Some people said that Mauy Thai is also good for people who want to have a good shape.

  • Aployyzz Pattanan

    Before I’m going to be a fighters against each others, I have to fight with my laziness. lol I’m often stay in the room, spends most of my time with sns or reading fictions! That’s my favorite habit! However, I realize that I have to take care my health. It’s worth and cannot buy to being healthy. Now I reduce eating junk foods which I’m used to love eating it and coke or others kind of soft drink. But I have not began planing my exercise. I’m interested in cover-dancing because I love listening K-pop however, boxing is a good alternative way. I haven’t think about it before but I sound good! Thanks for good advise!

  • Pichchapak Sukkhe

    Thanks for good article Sasha. I am a sport man who love fighting sport. I used to learn Muay Thai since grade 11. I really know that this sport is very useful for me, be it health or martial art as it can be used to protect yourself when you face with something danger like robber. For the tuition fee, I think it’s reasonable and worth as you would gain something which has more just a money can buy. I suggest you to try it!