The situation began to change in the late 1990s with Thai boxing gaining global popularity. Many women started practising Muay Thai for weight loss and self-defence, there were more and more people who were willing to watch the women’s fight. Woman’s Muay Thai competitions at regional, national and international levels are held. Some federations make and publish the rankings of the best female boxers.
Unlike Tae Bo, which is a fitness system, Muay Thai is a martial art. You can feel that the program is tough even at the initial stage, and many people cannot complete even the warm up part at their first trainings. Muay Thai warm up routine incorporates exercises with the full range of motion. All joints and all muscle groups are involved, since in the main part of the workout the load is split between all muscle groups depending on specifics of the moves performed.
However, over time, the body gets used to the load and is able to withstand long workouts. As a result, a person gets the toned body, increased endurance, and a pack of effective self-defence techniques. Thai boxing is also helpful for girls in terms of getting into good shape, since these highly-intense workouts burn many calories.
On the first classes, the instructor tells about the basic punches and strikes which are then practised individually until performed as automatically as possible. Sparring, or work in pairs, starts once all techniques have been mastered, and each sparrer is considered a partner and not an opponent. Regular exercises and partner work form and improve conditioned reflex reactions which help to overcome a mental barrier (reduce fear) which shows up during a fight or in any other extreme situations. This helps to increase self-esteem and has a positive effect on self-confidence.
“The elbow wins over the fist, and the knee wins over the leg,” says one of the basic principles of Thai boxing. It is in inside fighting that the knees and elbows become the most dangerous tool against the opponent. All Muay Thai moves are easy to master both for men and women.
Low kicks (or strikes targeting opponent’s lower body) are a unique weapon of Thai boxing that are performed with a shin to the opponent’s thigh or knee joint tendons and ligaments, which a regular person will find it hard to defend against. One or two strikes can disable the opponent’s leg and he or she simply will not be able to continue the fight. This technique will be very useful for self-defence. Muay Thai allows strikes to all three body regions (head, body, legs) using arms and legs, elbows and knees. All movements and strikes of Muay Thai are practised to perfection with an instructor using boxing pads, mitts and bags.
Thai boxing is some sort of cardio that helps to lose weight and tone up body muscles. It is due to strict observance of the exercise time (usually from 2 to 5 minutes) and rest time (1 minute):
- Exercises to learn and improve Muay Thai technique (practising attack, defence and counter-attack moves without a partner in front of a mirror and with a partner without gloves and wearing them, improving Muay Thai technique on bags and with an instructor using paws and pads).
- Partner work for the job aimed at improving technical and tactical skills, with restricted contact (for example: one partner practices a combination of left hook – right low kick. The other partner performs drop away defence, shin block, counter right hook punch attack, left middle kick).
- Exercises to develop speed, strength and endurance (short and long distance running, various exercises using bar, barbell, dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, medical balls, jump rope, punch bags, bags and other equipment).
For those who feels ready for stress and want to test their psychological capabilities, the training program includes conditional free-fights and sparrings where trainees can test their skills which they gained during exhausting workouts.
So why do girls need Thai boxing?
- Having mastered Thai boxing techniques, ladies will feel more confident in extreme situations and will be able to protect themselves and other people. Muay Thai is a variety of punches, arm and elbow strikes, leg and knee kicks.
2. During training, the body undergoes different types of training which helps to lose weight, get slim and fit body, good health and tone up.
3. Sport is the best psychologist. In the gym, you can release emotions and get rid of anger by hitting a punching bag. Such things as “depression” and “melancholia” will leave you forever.
4. Thai boxing is a type of martial arts based on boxing, karate and kickboxing moves which gives an opportunity to also try other types of martial arts.
As practice shows, the most comfortable dressing for Muay Thai is shorts and a t-shirt. For better result and safety, beginners are also recommended to use boxing gloves, shin guards and a mouth guard to protect teeth and lips. Upper-division fighters will need head gear, protective vest, elbow pads, knee pads and a groin guard.