Training to Fight

OK, so you've been going to your Muay Thai classes for 2 or 3 nights a week for the last 6 months. You understand all your basics pretty well, and are confident with your combinations and with your sparring. You decide to take this to the next level...

The first thing is that a fighter should have a MINIMUM of 6 weeks notice (meaning 6 weeks of training) before any bout. Recently, I passed up on the opportunity for my students to enter a competition because there was only 4 weeks notice. Sorry, 6 weeks notice or we're not coming...

If you plan to fight, or are considering it, you must be ready to devote every day of your life for 6 full weeks to training. Well, actually six days each week.

First, from day 1 until a few days before the fight, you should run EVERY SINGLE DAY! Even on your one day off, you should run. For the first 2 weeks, you should be jogging for distance. Devote at least 40 min's each day to roadwork. After the first two weeks, then start alternating between jogging for distance and running wind sprints. When I used to run my sprints, I'd run approx 30-40 yards sprinting, then I would turn around and run back slowly to cool down, then turn around and sprint again. I would repeat this about 5 times my first time out, then gradually increase the repetitions until I was between 15-20. Lay off the sprints, and cut the distance on the jogging the last week, as you want your body to recuperate before you enter the ring.

Spend about 20 min's a day jumping rope.

For the first week or so, the workouts should steadily pick up pace. You should workout by rounds, and your workouts should be at the minimum of 2 hours. For the first two weeks, increase the rounds of shadowboxing, padwork, and heavy bag work from your normal workout.

For example, my class presently works out like this: (3 hour allotted time frame)

10 min's rope stretching (takes about 5-10 minutes)

footwork and medicine ball drills (approx 2-5 rounds, varying) pushups sit-ups/crunches 3 rounds shadowboxing

10+ rounds of partner drills with Thai pads and Heavy bag work 30 minutes (approx.) of instruction in new techniques neck wrestling

(the last hour of class is reserved for students to work on what they feel they need extra practice on, and I "mingle")

We have one sparring class each week, on Saturdays...

Depending on the day, many of the drills are shortened, or dropped, based on the "group" need.

If I were to adjust this for fighters, it would be:

20 min's rope stretch footwork and medicine ball drills (3-5 rounds varying) pushups sit-ups/crunches 5 rounds shadowboxing

10+ rounds of Thai pad, heavy bag, speed bag, and double-end ball drills 20 minutes of neck wrestling

*sparring would take place at least twice a week*

Important note on sparring. It is of utmost importance that you train to prevent injury. Sparring should NOT be done full contact or full competition rules. Separate sparring into elements such as boxing, kicking, or clinching. You can mix the three in different combinations of sparring as long as you maintain control of the fighters, making sure that they are striking lightly. Sparring partners should wear full protective gear: Headgear, mouthpiece, 16 oz. gloves, elbow pads (if available use lacrosse pads), chest protector, shinpads, and groin protection.

As training goes on, the first two weeks as mentioned are a build up to what I listed above, gradually increasing intensity so that from 3-5 weeks the fighter is training as hard as possible. The last week of training should really taper off to a few rounds shadowboxing, pad drills, NO SPARRING and light jogging.

The last 2-3 days of training should consist of really light jogging and a couple of rounds of shadowboxing. Nothing else. You must spend the last week letting the body recuperate, hence why the big drop off in training. However, you must "keep the motor running", which is why you at least do something each day.

REMEMBER: running, weight training, and such are the fighters responsibility to do outside of class time. I do not recommend cross training with another martial art while training to fight. I personally cross trained by Mountain Biking when I was fighting.

By contrast, when Thais train to fight, they do all of the above TWICE a day. The get up in the AM to run as a group then train. They gather again and do it all over again in the evening.

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