February 27, 2019
Something we as trainers hear every week, maybe even every lesson, maybe never. A line that can come as a proud moment or a complete moment of shock. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve welcomed a new student at the desk for their first ever Muay Thai lesson, to hear the words ‘yeah I want to fight’ come out of their mouth before I’ve even told them where the bathroom is.
Just because you pay your fees and attend a general class, it does not give you the right to fight.
I believe that anyone is capable of anything, given they are willing to put in the work - I love that some students set themselves goals and go for them. However, with all things great in life there are steps that need to be taken before jumping in that ring for a Muay Thai fight, it’s not quite like a netball game. No one cares what you SAY, but they will take notice of what you DO.
It’s important to remember that trainers dedicate a large amount of time to developing students, especially fighters. Majority of the time they are not paid for this extra time and effort as Martial Arts is based on a foundation of mutual respect between trainer and students, so make sure you are honest with yourself and your trainer and don’t be a time waster.
These steps can be unwritten rules or clearly stated by your trainer; these will differ from gym to gym but I want to share with you a few of the things I look at before considering to train someone for their debut fight or even later!
Commitment - How committed are you to your training?
This means to your goals, turning up to sessions and working hard, recovery, nutrition and also to your trainer and training partners.
BEFORE asking or even mentioning fighting, ask yourself how committed you are to your training. One or two sessions a week will not cut it. Your trainer wants to see you consistently turning up to training, trying your best and listening to instructions - this goes for experienced fighters too.
For example, my fighters are expected to run: NO RUN, NO FIGHT. They are expected to train hard, do extra when class is finished (bag work, core work, stretching) and also help out around the place with newer students and cleaning. You need to earn your position in a fight team, don’t expect it. Sacrifice is an important word in the fight dictionary.
Heart - Why do you want to fight? Be honest with yourself.
As soon as that first bell rings, you’re on your own so it’s important to understand your WHY.
Sometimes your preparation can be physically perfect, you are fit and strong BUT your opponent might be fitter, stronger and more skilful; it’s easy to become disheartened in training or in the ring, but if your heart is in the fight for the right reasons you will find the ability within yourself to persevere. Ask yourself if you want to fight to be a better version of yourself, be challenged or whether you just want the image of being a fighter - this becomes obvious quite quickly and it’s a painful way to get caught out in that square!
Skill - How am I doing during sparring?
It’s a sport so it’s obvious that you need to actually have a particular skill set when it comes to Muay Thai. That means being able to accurately strike with force, defend yourself under pressure and also have the fitness to continue doing those two things. After all in Muay Thai you are:
A) scored on these skills and
B) you can get hurt!
Sparring is the closest thing we can get to a real fight, so make sure you soak up your sparring experience and learn from each sparring partner.
Attitude - Am I coachable?
To me, this means having respect, good sportsmanship, the ability to listen and learn and also believing in yourself. For me as a trainer, this is the most important. We ALL have terrible training sessions, but rock up, train hard and take away the positives. If you’re that student that talks back, questions your trainer or gets too emotional over tough love and feedback - forget it. You need to accept the fact you will get what you NEED to hear, not what you WANT to hear.
Like I said, this is my personal opinion and it can differ between gyms and trainers, but I would say most look at the same factors.
The thing about the above is that they can be a work in progress. So if you are thinking about fighting, consider the above, set yourself some goals and create yourself a platform for success before asking to fight.
Coach Carlz x