In your 1st Muay Thai Kickboxing bout, there are so many unknowns. The purpose of training is to make as many of those unknowns seem familiar to you come fight day.
Going into your first Muay Thai fight can be pretty scary. If you’re at least a little nervous, that’s a good thing. It means you aren’t an insane person. There are so many unknowns and factors outside of training which will weigh in on you. Training and sparring intensely can try to recreate the feel, but no one can experience the first time competing in Muay Thai for you, just like no one can really teach you what it’s like to swim for the first time. Here are some things to expect going in and how you should reflect your training to come out on top of your opponent.
Most Amateur Muay Thai bouts are 3 two minute rounds. Train your cardio as if you’re going to be fighting 5 three minute rounds
By training to a fight longer bout than scheduled, you go into the fight knowing you’re physically ready for what is to come. However, more importantly, your fear will likely start to kick in, causing you to tense up moreso than in your training. In essence, you’re going to be burning through your cardio really inefficiently because of this tension so be sure that you’ve trained to go longer and harder than what you’re actually going to be doing, which is 3 two minute rounds. Here are some exercises which have worked for me. You want to really push your body to move through the tension of your first Muay Thai fight.
- 2-3 minute runs on a treadmill with an 8 or higher incline
- Burnouts (1-2’s, kicks, and skip knees) on the bag with an oxygen deprivation mask
- Muay Thai – Intense Sparring with 30 second rests in between instead of the 1 minute you’ll get in the martial arts or Muay Thai kickboxing ring
Train on the surface you intend to fight on – preferably an authentic Muay Thai Kickboxing surface (i.e. – Kickboxing ring)
The surface of the Muay Thai kickboxing ring actually has a lot of give to it. It will feel very different to you when you step in that ring. If you’re going to fight, and your gym has a ring with an authentic Muay Thai Kickboxing or boxing canvas, train on this as much as possible. This will work your feet muscles to execute your strikes and the ring won’t feel as foreign when you get there. I can’t stress this enough! Muay Thai techniques are about precision and accuracy and you’ll need your feet to be planted securely in the ring if you looking to win.
Train with all of your Muay Thai fight equipment on – mouthguard, 10 oz. gloves, cup, and headgear on weeks up until the fight
Head gear is truly a pain in the ass. If you’re not used to it, it will make you feel like your head is just a big fat target for your opponent to pound. Training with the head gear has a slightly different balance to it and you’ll want to work this out before you get in the ring. Train with the mouthguard to get used to the breathing. Use the 10. oz gloves in sparring as blocking is a lot different with those compared to the larger ones. And of course, get used to having a cup in place while you throw those strikes.
If you’re going to be doing a weight cut, do a mock run before the fight
The weight cut is really a drainer for the body. Everyone’s body is different. For me, when I used the sauna to cut water weight before the fight, the day of the fight, I got KO’d. The sauna doesn’t work for me. What I learned about myself was cutting fluids 48 hours before the fight is much more effective in keeping in fighting condition while making weight. Ultimately, you got to be eating well and lean weeks up until the fight. Don’t bank on just cutting 5 lbs of water weight the day of the fight if you’ve never done it before and hop in there. Test it out, see how it feels and make adjustments.
Follow these four guidelines and you’ll be way ahead of your opponent who probably isn’t doing this. I learned these gems of knowledge about the Muay Thai Kickboxing ring the hard way so now you don’t have to. At the end of the day, if this is your first Muay Thai Kickboxing bout, there’s no way of getting around the unknowns. The job of your team is to eliminate as many as possible.