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Can I Teach Myself Muay Thai At Home A Complete Breakdown

Two Muay Thai fighters competing inside the ring.

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If you are on a tight budget or simply do not like the idea of going to your local club. You may be wondering if it is possible to teach yourself Muay Thai in your own home.

Yes, you can reach a certain level of competency while training Muay Thai at home. However, combat sports require that you engage with another person. So it is highly recommended that you eventually join a Muay Thai gym with a good instructor.

Muay Thai is one of the most intense combat sports on the planet. With children started fighting in the homeland of the sport, Thailand, as young as 8 years old. Many fighters will have anywhere up to 150 fights by their early twenties. And for the most part, are considered a spent force before they hit thirty.

You can teach yourself anything at home, not just Muay Thai. But what you cannot teach yourself is facing an opponent. For this, you need to be put in what might be some uncomfortable situations, where there is another human being seeking to do their best against you.

Now it has to be said this does not necessarily mean getting beat up, far from it. The stories of gyms where their students take a constant pummelling are things of legend.

Of course, those types of gyms do exist, but quality clubs will not treat their students in that way, especially if they want them to come back. And only if you the student want to up the intensity. So in all honesty, the level at which you train is really all up to you.

The Difference Between Muay Thai vs Thai Boxing

A kickboxer land a high kick in fight.
Two Muay Thai fighters competing in the ring.

I have trained and competed in Thai boxing specifically. Thai boxing is a denomination of Muay Thai which has been westernised or made more accessible for the average athlete.

While we trained in Thai standup techniques, parrying low kicks with our shins. Using front kicks or teep kicks, which is when we use the ball of the toes to push or strike our opponent. As well as high kicks and kicks to the midsection.

Muay Thai is different in that it allows the use of elbows during the fight. So often when you watch a fight you will see the fighters using elbow techniques significantly, especially in close quarters.

The pure version which is used in combat situations outside of the sport even allowed for blows that could kill. Like the step in, onto the opponent’s knee or jumping up. Then landing a direct 12 to 6 elbow to the top of the skull.

At the very least a concussive blow, at worse potential brain damage or death. So it is important to point out some of the differences between the two types.

Some Shadow Boxing Drills At Home

Working on your shadow boxing can sure make you feel like Rocky. Watching your own shadow or yourself in the mirror while you throw combinations can make you feel like Rocky Balboa, but you are not.

Two pro muay thai fighters kneel in the ring.
Two fighters’ pre-fight preparations.

The point is that shadowboxing can look good to the untrained eye. But if your feet are out of position, if you are throwing those hands incorrectly. If you are not defending correctly and leaving yourself open to counterpunches, then it’s really not worth anything.

The amount of time I have thought, damn I am looking smooth today. Only for my coach to jump in with some pads and throw them back at me, completely upsetting the beautiful image I had read in my head, it’s two different worlds.

To do shadowboxing correctly you first have to have good technique. So shadowboxing is really only something that should be done as you are honing the technique or working on getting better. Not as a substitute for hitting pads, hitting the bag or sparring.

Your shadow does not hit back and will give you a false sense of security. I can’t tell you how many times my coach told me to stop looking at my own reflection in the window, embarrassing.

Using a Boxing Bag For Your Home Workout

Now back in the days when I was but a young teen. I set up my own homemade boxing bag in my father’s garage. A long cylindrical canvas army-style bag, packed with woodchips. It was pretty cool and did the job for a kid with no local gym, who just wanted to punch and kick things.

These days you can of course pretty much have a full gym in your very own home! Gym weights, a range of workout machines and of course most importantly a punching bag for working out.

A fighter kicks the heavy bag during training.
A fighter kicks a heavy bag in the gym.

So if there is one thing I would say that you must have to train Muay Thai at home, it’s a decent long bag for kicking and punching. Personally, I am not a fan of the padded upright punch bag with a filled water base that sits on the floor.

In my experience, they cannot take a powerful leg kick and often end up awkwardly rocking and rolling around the floor.

So for my two cents find a good location in your garage or shed, with a strong supporting overhead beam and set up a quality kicking bag. It will last you many years and is fit for purpose when it comes to training in your own home.

Muay Thai Clinch Drills With A Partner

So in Muay Thai clinching your opponent is one of the key striking techniques used. It’s a technique that has transitioned into mixed martial arts, with practitioners such as Anderson Silva using it with great success inside the cage.

So in order to do clinching drills, you will need someone who will allow you to grab them using your hands around the back of their head. With your forearms clinching tight against your neck.

It’s a really uncomfortable and disarming position to be in as the fighter pulls the head down towards the ground while dragging the opponent from side to side.

The result of which is the person being unable to lift their head or move their head down as it will be met with a knee strike. As well as being disorientating by controlling the person’s centre of balance their head

But you can try this with the other person by them cupping their hands or using pads in front of their chest to catch the rising knee strike, just don’t throw anywhere near full power!

Boxing Pad Work At Home With A Partner

Two Muay Thai fighter throw punches during their fight
Fighters exchange blows.

Padwork is one of the critical parts of any striking sport. And I can tell you from personal experience that holding pads correctly and calling combinations that will allow the fighter to learn is a skill in itself.

Not holding pads correctly can lead to an injury to the holder or simply a bad learning experience for the fighter. So again, this goes back to hitting that brick wall when teaching yourself Muay Thai at home.

A bad padman or pad-person (so PC) can lead to all kinds of bad habits being nurtured. Something that will not happen when working with a quality padman in a quality gym. People who have been doing this stuff for as long as they can remember.

Some Muay Thai Training Techniques

So if you are going to try a build a solid base in Muay Thai while training by yourself at home. It’s important that your training also has a solid base on which to build. With that in mind, it’s good to have a set training regime.

Here are some workouts or a mix of workout options that I have done in the past which can be done in a solo or with a partner training program. Keep in mind that there are a million ways to skin a cat (I do love cats, but dogs more so).

So, by all means, tailor any program to your own tastes, so that you feel comfortable while training, keeping it enjoyable.

Training Muay Thai Without A Partner

If you are lucky enough to have someone who will act as a punching bag, sorry opponent, then great! Here are some additional training techniques for Muay Thai you can do with another person.

Warm-up110 minutes
Bag work55
Exercises with amount and duration without a partner.

So the same program as above, with some additional techniques you can work on with your partner.

You Also Need To Train Muay Thai With A Partner

Feel free to test the waters and see how you feel on the day of training. No gym session is ever the same as the last and the coach will almost always throw in some training variations to spice things up. So be willing to do the same to keep things fresh.

Warm-up & Stretching110 minutes
Pad work35
Bag work55
Exercises with amount and duration with partner

Also, a varied Muay Thai training schedule will mean you can adapt to changes in future training sessions or even a fight. Not getting used to the same robotic preset path.

In Conclusion

As I stated at the outset, you can indeed teach yourself, Muay Thai, in your own home. However, the point has to be made that this is a long-term solution. Muay Thai is not darts or snooker. It is a combat sport in which you will be required to interact with an opponent.

So while you can indeed learn some of the basics in the comfort of your own home. You will eventually have to make the move and join a proper gym. It can be a little daunting at first. But after some time if you truly love what you do, it will become fun.

So people ask can you learn online on the internet? And the answer is yes, to a degree. As I stated and laid out in the case above, you can definitely get to a certain level before not being able to grow much more.

You can use a pdf, and you can watch tutorials on places like Youtube to learn many of the basics and even higher-level techniques. But, at some point in your journey, you will need to step up and go to a club.

Muay Thai is a sport that has been fine-tuned over many hundreds of years and is regarded by many as the most deadly of the standup combat sports. It’s simply not something you can even become proficient in without being trained by the right coach.

This is why we have trainers and training camps around the world and throughout facets of sports, who are regarded as the best in the business. There are simply levels to this and without the proper training and the right training regime, diet, and lifestyle. You may never see or experience those levels in your lifetime.