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What Is Muay Thai? Tips, Techniques, & Benefits Guide! (2023)

Feeling stuck in a rut with your usual workout routine or just plain bored? If you’re looking for a way to spice up your fitness regimen and learn some valuable self-defense skills, Muay Thai could be the perfect hobby for you.

What is Muay Thai (& What Does it Mean)?

Muay Thai (pronounced moo·ee tai), is commonly known as the “Art of Eight Limbs,” and a martial art originating from Thailand. It incorporates a range of techniques including punches, kicks, elbows, and knee strikes, making it one of the most comprehensive and effective striking arts in the world.

If you’re looking for more exciting hobbies, this could be a great addition to your hobby list.

Beginner's guide to Muay Thai, gear and gloves, featured image, woman punching with gloves against punching bag

Fun Facts

  • Muay Thai has been practiced for over 700 years.
  • It’s the national sport of Thailand.
  • The sport was initially developed for self-defense against invading armies.
  • A traditional Muay Thai ring is blessed by a Buddhist monk to ensure the fighters’ safety.

Muay Thai Techniques

A young woman in muay thai gloves posing for a photo

Basic Techniques

Muay Thai is known for its diverse range of striking techniques. As a beginner, you’ll start with the basics:

  • Jab: A quick, straight punch with your lead hand. Used to gauge distance and set up combinations.
  • Cross: A powerful punch with your rear hand. Great for delivering strong blows, often used with the jab.
  • Hook: A punch from the side. Effective for targeting the side of your opponent’s head or body.
  • Uppercut: A punch from below. Useful for striking an opponent guarding their face.
  • Roundhouse Kick: A kick involving a hip turn, striking with your shin. One of Muay Thai’s most powerful kicks.
  • Teep: A front push kick. Used to maintain distance or disrupt an opponent’s movement.
  • Elbow Strikes: Strikes using the point of the elbow. Effective in close-range combat.
  • Knee Strikes: Strikes using the knee. Powerful and can be used both offensively and defensively.
Silhouette of a man wearing muay thai gloves and a dog at sunset

Advanced Techniques

As you progress, you’ll start to learn more advanced techniques requiring higher skill levels:

  • Spinning Elbow: A variation of the basic elbow strike, involving a body spin for more force.
  • Jumping Knee: A knee strike performed while jumping. Often used to surprise an opponent.
  • Clinch and Sweep: Close-range grappling (Clinch) and techniques to off-balance your opponent (Sweep).
  • Superman Punch: A punch feigning a kick but following through with a punch. Great for catching opponents off guard.
  • Switch Kick: A kick involving a quick stance switch before a roundhouse kick. Used to confuse opponents.
  • Cartwheel Kick: A flashy, acrobatic kick involving a cartwheel to strike with your heel.

Muay Thai as a Hobby: More Than Just Fighting

When people think of Muay Thai, they often envision intense fights and rigorous training sessions.

While it’s true it’s a combat sport, it’s also an incredibly rewarding hobby that offers a plethora of benefits beyond the ring.

Whether you’re looking to solve boredom, get fit, or learn a new skill, Muay Thai has something for everyone.

Two boys wearing muay thai gear playing in the water at sunset

Why Choose Muay Thai as a Hobby?

  1. Physical Fitness: Unlike a regular gym workout, Muay Thai engages your entire body, providing both cardio and strength training.
  2. Mental Well-being: The focus and discipline required in Muay Thai can help improve your mental clarity and reduce stress.
  3. Community: Joining a Muay Thai gym introduces you to a community of like-minded individuals. The camaraderie can be a strong motivator and adds a social aspect to the hobby.
  4. Self-Defense: The practical techniques you learn can be applied in real-world self-defense scenarios, giving you confidence and peace of mind.
  5. Skill Development: Muay Thai is not just about fighting; it’s about mastering a set of skills that require both physical and mental prowess.
  6. Entertainment: Let’s face it, hitting pads and sparring can be incredibly fun! It’s a great way to take care of yourself and break the monotony of routine life.


Age Groups

  1. Children (7-12 years): Many gyms offer Muay Thai classes specifically designed for children. These classes focus on basic techniques and aim to improve physical fitness and discipline.
  2. Teenagers (13-19 years): For teenagers, Muay Thai can be an excellent outlet for energy and a way to build self-confidence.
  3. Adults (20-60+ years): It’s never too late to start Muay Thai. Adults can benefit from improved physical fitness, stress relief, and learning self-defense skills.

Skill Levels

  1. Beginners: Most gyms offer beginner classes that require no prior experience in martial arts.
  2. Intermediate: Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can move on to more advanced techniques and combinations.
  3. Advanced: For those who have been practicing for years, there are advanced classes that focus on fight strategies and perfecting techniques.

Health Requirements

  1. General Fitness: While you don’t need to be in peak physical condition to start, a basic level of fitness can be helpful.
  2. Medical Conditions: If you have any medical conditions or injuries, it’s essential to consult a healthcare provider before starting Muay Thai.
A woman practicing muay thai kicks with her gloves on a white background

Time Commitment

As a hobby, Muay Thai is quite flexible. You can train as little as once a week or as often as every day, depending on your schedule and interest level.


While there’s an initial investment in equipment and gym membership, the overall cost is relatively moderate compared to other hobbies.

Plus, the value you get in terms of physical and mental health is priceless.

Whether you’re looking for a new list of hobbies to explore or a way to challenge yourself, Muay Thai offers a unique blend of physical, mental, and social benefits that make it a fantastic hobby to consider.

Benefit Description
Physical FitnessFull-body workout that improves strength, flexibility, and stamina
Self-DefensePractical techniques for real-world scenarios
Mental Well-beingEnhances focus, reduces stress, and improves mental clarity
Social InteractionOpportunity to meet new people and build a sense of community
DisciplineInstills self-control and discipline
A man wearing muay thai gear kicks a kick in a boxing ring


Getting started requires some essential gear.

Below is a table detailing what you’ll need:

EquipmentRequired/OptionalPurposeCost Range
Muay Thai GlovesRequiredHand protection during training$50-$100
Hand WrapsOptionalAdditional wrist and knuckle support$10-$20
Shin GuardsRequiredProtection during sparring$40-$80
MouthguardHighly RecommendedProtects teeth during sparring$15-$50
HeadgearOptionalAdditional protection for beginners$50-$100

Estimated Cost of Getting Started with Muay Thai

  1. Trial Class: Many gyms offer a free trial class, but if not, the cost can range from $20 – $50 for a single session.
  2. Gym Membership: Depending on the gym and location, a monthly membership can range from $80 – $200.
  3. Basic Equipment:
    • Muay Thai Gloves: $50 – $100
    • Hand Wraps: $10 – $20
    • Shin Guards: $40 – $100
    • Optional: Mouth Guard ($10 – $30), Gym Bag ($20 – $50)
  4. Training Attire:
    • Gym Shorts: $20 – $40 per pair
    • Moisture-Wicking T-Shirts: $15 – $30 each
  5. Disposable Items:
    • Water Bottles, Sweat Wipes, etc.: Approximately $10 – $20 per month
  6. Additional Learning Materials: Books, online courses, etc. can range from $20 – $100.

Total Estimated Initial Cost: $250 – $600
Ongoing Monthly Cost: $100 – $220 (not including disposable items)

Quick Answer: Muay Thai Gloves vs Boxing Gloves?

While both types of gloves offer protection, Muay Thai gloves are more flexible, allowing for a better grip during clinches.

A woman practices Muay Thai by kicking a punching bag in a gym, utilizing Muay Thai gear

Pros and Cons of Muay Thai:


  • Excellent full-body workout
  • Practical self-defense skills
  • Boosts mental toughness
  • Builds discipline and focus


  • Risk of injury
  • Can be expensive
  • Time-consuming
Excellent full-body workoutRisk of injury
Practical self-defense skillsCan be expensive
Boosts mental toughnessTime-consuming
Builds discipline and focusRequires consistent commitment

How to Get Started with Muay Thai: A Step-by-Step Guide

A woman and a man practicing Muay Thai in a gym with punching bags

Embarking on your Muay Thai journey doesn’t have to be overwhelming. This step-by-step guide is designed to walk you through the entire process, from finding the right gym to mastering your first techniques.

Whether you’re looking to solve boredom, get fit, or learn self-defense, this guide has got you covered.

We’ll even provide a list of essential tools, materials, and disposable items to ensure you’re well-prepared for each stage of your new adventure.

Step 1: Research and Find a Local Gym

What to Do: Use Google or social media to find Muay Thai gyms in your area. Look for gyms with good reviews and experienced instructors.

Time Commitment: 1-2 hours

Resources: Google, Yelp, Facebook Groups

Step 2: Take a Trial Class

What to Do: Most gyms offer a free trial class. Use this opportunity to gauge the gym’s atmosphere, the instructor’s teaching style, and whether Muay Thai is right for you.

Time Commitment: 1-2 hours

Resources: Gym’s website or direct contact

Step 3: Invest in Basic Equipment

What to Do: Choose a membership plan that suits your schedule and budget. Most gyms offer various options, from pay-per-class to monthly memberships.

Time Commitment: 30 minutes

Resources: Gym’s front desk or website

Step 4: Sign Up for Classes

What to Do: Choose a membership plan that suits your schedule and budget. Most gyms offer various options, from pay-per-class to monthly memberships.
Time Commitment: 30 minutes
Resources: Gym’s front desk or website

Step 5: Consistent Training

What to Do: Consistency is key in Muay Thai. Aim to attend at least 3 classes per week to see steady progress.

Time Commitment: 3-5 hours per week

Resources: Your commitment and discipline

Step 6: Track Your Progress

What to Do: Keep a training journal or use an app to track your progress. Note down new techniques learned, areas for improvement, and any milestones reached.

Time Commitment: 15 minutes per week

Resources: Notebook or training apps

Step 7: Participate in Sparring

What to Do: Once you’re comfortable with the basics, consider participating in light sparring sessions to apply what you’ve learned.

Time Commitment: 1 hour per week

Resources: Sparring gear, instructor’s guidance

Step 8: Continue Learning

What to Do: Muay Thai is a lifelong learning process. Continue to attend classes, workshops, and perhaps even compete if that interests you.

Time Commitment: Ongoing

Resources: Books, online courses, seminars

Estimated Cost: 300 USD


  • Protein bars
  • Water
  • Hand wraps
  • First aid


  • Gym attire
  • Water bottle
  • Muay Thai gloves
  • Shin guards
  • Gym bag
  • Mouth guard

Similar Activities or Hobbies:

If you enjoy Muay Thai, you might also be interested in:

Two boys practicing karate and judo on a black background
ActivitySimilaritiesDifferencesEquipment NeededSkill LevelTime Commitment
BoxingStriking, footworkNo kicks or elbowsGloves, hand wrapsBeginner3-5 hours/week
KickboxingKicks, punchesNo elbows or knee strikesGloves, shin guardsBeginner3-5 hours/week
Brazilian Jiu-JitsuGrappling, self-defenseFocuses on ground fightingGi or No-Gi attireBeginner4-6 hours/week
JudoThrows, self-defenseNo strikesGiBeginner3-5 hours/week
Krav MagaSelf-defense, strikingMore scenario-based trainingGloves, groin guardBeginner3-5 hours/week

Muay Thai vs Kickboxing: Key Differences

Muay Thai and Kickboxing are both popular striking martial arts, but they are not the same.

While they share some similarities, such as the focus on punches and kicks, they differ in techniques, allowed striking points, and even their origins.

Understanding these differences can help you which martial art aligns with your interests and goals.

Below is a table that outlines the key differences between Muay Thai and Kickboxing:

AspectMuay ThaiKickboxing
Striking PointsUses 8 points: fists, elbows, knees, shinsUses 4 points: fists and feet
TechniquesIncludes clinching and elbow strikesNo clinching, limited elbow strikes
StanceMore square and uprightMore side-on, bouncing on the balls of the feet
RangeEffective in close-range and clinchPrimarily focuses on mid to long-range
OriginThailandDeveloped from Karate and Boxing
ScoringEmphasizes effective striking and controlFocuses on the number of clean hits
Muay Thai vs. Kickboxing: "The Legendary Fight That Changed History"

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Muay Thai suitable for women & children?

Absolutely, Muay Thai is a versatile sport that is suitable for individuals of all ages and genders. Many gyms offer specialized classes for women and children.

How often should I train Muay Thai as a beginner?

For beginners, training 2-3 times a week is a good starting point. This allows enough time for rest and recovery.

What should I eat before & after training?

Before training, opt for a light meal rich in carbohydrates and protein, such as a banana and a protein shake. After training, focus on protein and healthy fats to aid in recovery.

Do I need to be fit to start Muay Thai?

No, you don’t need to be fit to start. Muay Thai itself is an excellent way to improve your fitness level.

Is Muay Thai dangerous?

Like any contact sport, there’s a risk of injury in Muay Thai. However, with proper training and protective gear, the risk is minimized.

Can I train Muay Thai at home?

While it’s possible to practice basic techniques at home, it’s highly recommended to train under a qualified instructor for proper guidance and safety.

Two men in a boxing ring practicing muay thai

For those who want to dive deeper into Muay Thai, here are some useful resources:

Further Reading:

Video Instruction

For visual learners, YouTube offers a wealth of Muay Thai tutorials and fight analyses.

Here are some recommended channels:


Two men in muay thai shorts and gloves


Muay Thai is more than just a martial art; it’s a transformative journey that offers physical, mental, and even spiritual growth.

Whether you’re looking for things to do when you’re bored, get fit, or learn self-defense, this comprehensive guide has equipped you with all the knowledge you need to take the first step.

So why wait?

Unleash your inner warrior and embark on your Muay Thai journey today!

Beginner's guide to Muay Thai gear and gloves, featured image