18 Bad Muay Thai Habits Developed By Fighters
Podcast by Charlie
I know you’re worried about your technique, otherwise, you wouldn’t be searching for solutions on how to change your bad Muay Thai habits.
You worry about how good you are or how bad.
Maybe you wonder if your Muay Thai is good enough to use to defend yourself or if is it good enough for actual competition.
You’ve got some bad habits in Muay Thai and you’re not sure how to get rid of them.
You’ve developed these habits from bad training on your own from home or with a partner who’s as inexperienced as you are. Maybe it was in an actual class in the gym you’re a member of.
It’s normal when starting in martial arts or any combat sport to pick up bad habits. It happens to a lot of people and you’re likely going to develop them.
You can’t get better if you don’t make mistakes. There are some mistakes you’ll probably notice yourself and some that you may not.
Related material: Check our troubleshooting stance and footwork guide to help you fix bad habits in your Muay Thai.
Who knows, maybe you’re not a beginner, but you’ve been doing the same routines for so long that you’ve fallen off track along the way.
Hey, it’s okay. It’s never too late to become a better Muay Thai fighter or a better person, and you don’t have to be a competitor to achieve either one.
If you want to become a better Muay Thai fighter, hold on a second. I wrote an article on why your Stance is so important for you to learn first.
Whatever your weaknesses are, you can overcome them with some conscious effort, some good habits, and a good dose of Muay Thai drills.
So, today I’m going to show you 18 bad Muay Thai habits developed by fighters over the years that you need to watch out for.
1. Trying To Rely On Athleticism For Muay Thai
When you’re a beginner, it’s normal to rely on your physical strength and power. You want to punch, kick, and wrestle your way to victory.
With time, you become stronger and you learn to use your technique to win.
Along the way though, you start to develop bad habits because you’re mainly relying on your strength to win.
You’ll find these bad habits die hard. During every match, you soon realize that you have to fight your way through.
You’re not completely relying on your technique and only on your athleticism.
2. Not Trying To Fight A Cleaner Muay Thai Fight
I’ve seen some fights where both fighters want to slug it out for 15 minutes. Some Muay Thai fights can’t even go past 2 minutes.
Some fighters want to put their opponent down on the canvas for the first 10 or 15 seconds.
But the fight continues for the complete 15 minutes and neither fighter can put the other one down.
Some fighters when they tire, get dirty. Don’t be that guy. Fighting a clean fight means fighting your opponent as much as possible, without using dirty tactics.
Fighting clean is a skill and a skill you learn over time from good habits. It can also be something that is already instilled within you. Respect for others is a way of life.
3. Struggling To Come Up With A Fighting Strategy
I’ve seen some Muay Thai fights where both fighters come in with a game plan.
The first round goes well for the first 2 minutes, then the second round starts and the fight goes downhill from there.
They start to struggle to come up with a strategy. They become more desperate to fight, but they can’t find a solution to defeat their opponent.
They lose sight of their original game plan because things are not working out as they thought they would. So they don’t revert to their initial plan, adapt to the changes, and so they continue to fight recklessly.
4. Looking For A Quick Knockout
If you’re a beginner, you tend to be a little more focused on trying to win as soon as possible.
You don’t think about long-term goals. You just think about the next punch or kick.
It’s not about rushing toward the finish line to get a knockout. It’s about developing a strategy that you’ll stick with and that you’ll improve on over time.
But as you get better and more experienced, you learn to focus on the long-term goals and apply your game plan just like in your training.
5. Not Challenging Yourself In Muay Thai
You’re used to going to the gym and practicing Muay Thai, but you’re always taking shortcuts, not finishing your training, not mastering the basics, or you’ve never gone beyond your comfort zone.
This is just bad training for your Muay Thai. I don’t know what your goals are with learning Muay Thai.
Maybe it’s just to get fit and strong. Maybe it’s to start competing one day or maybe you just enjoy knowing that you’re able to defend yourself if you ever need to.
Whatever your reasons are, you have to challenge yourself by working on different aspects of your skills, changing your training habits to adapt to new situations, fighting opponents who are stronger and better than you, and/or working with different types of sparring partners because we’re all different.
Don’t be stagnant because that just means you’re not improving neither are your training habits, and you’re not ready like you think you are.
6. Not Learning From Your Mistakes As A Fighter
You may think that because you’re still learning, you don’t have bad habits yet.
That’s a sign of inexperience, so you’re not learning from your mistakes.
How could you, if you don’t know they’re wrong? If you’re training alone, you may think that your actions are right because you’re still learning, but they may not be.
You can’t always learn the hard way. In this case, a training partner or trainer is good to have.
With martial arts comes a lot of practice and you can’t learn until you make mistakes.
Only by making mistakes can you find out how to do things differently next time.
There’s a difference between making mistakes and having bad habits that are suffocating your Muay Thai.
Bad habits are only good for you when you stop doing them and when you recognize that your opponent is suffering from them.
7. Looking For Shortcuts In Your Muay Thai Training
A lot of people like to work out with the same trainers and at the same gyms.
That way they can save money and they don’t have to spend time getting to know new trainers and new gyms.
Unless you’re invested in your trainers for professional reasons, there’s no reason not to train with others.
You’re not turning a traitor or your back on anyone.
You can still train with them. Working with new trainers or partners could give you a new point of view on your techniques, maybe someone else is seeing something wrong with what you’re doing that your current trainer or partner is not.
8. Not Knowing The Thai Language
What? Are you kidding me? No, I’m not, that’s if you’re planning to take Muay Thai to the next level.
If you want to learn Muay Thai in Thailand like so many other professionals who’ve become champions, then it’s probably a good idea to learn the language or as much as you can.
Learning Thai is a skill and one that takes time and effort. It’s not something you can learn overnight.
If you’ve never been to Thailand before, it can be hard to get to know people and start making friends.
If you’re not comfortable communicating in Thai, you may have trouble making adjustments from your native country.
If you decide to go there, you may have trouble understanding the inner workings of Muay Thai from the old masters if you don’t get to know the Thai language.
9. Feeling Discouraged When You Lose A Fight
If you lose a fight you’re disappointed. You think to yourself, “Oh, well, I’m not that good yet.”
But there’s a big difference between losing a fight and quitting. When you lose, you have to get back to training.
Find out where you screwed up and why. During this time, bad habits are swimming all around you waiting for you to suck them up.
If you don’t realize that your biggest hurdle is going to be a mental one, you’re fooling yourself.
You’re letting yourself be discouraged because you don’t know how to fight a mental game.
Everyone loses. Even if they’ve never lost professionally, they may have while on the road to perfection.
If they didn’t, then congratulate that fighter because they’re one of the GOAT. Don’t look at your losses as the end of the road.
When you lose, you need to take a look at why you lost and fix the problem so that it won’t happen again.
10. Thinking That Learning Muay Thai Is About Strength
It’s not. Learning Muay Thai is about your stance and footwork, power and accuracy, precision and speed, and balance and technique.
Related Material: Learn To Troubleshoot Your Thai Footwork
Your body is your weapon. Your mind is your weapon. You need to work on both, and it’s best if you work on both together because they strengthen each other to build your confidence.
11. Trying To Do It All Yourself
Sometimes it can be helpful to learn how to spar and practice with a partner.
But you don’t need to be that involved in sparring and practicing with your partner just to get better.
A great way to improve your skills is by watching other fighters. You can watch your partner or other fighters when they’re training or sparring.
Think about it for a second because you’ve seen this a million times during a fighter’s interview.
The one doing the interview almost always asks, “How are you preparing for your upcoming fight?”
If an MMA fighter was to fight coming up, do you think his or her team is not going to watch an opponent’s past fights to figure out how to best that fighter?
Point made. You can learn from watching, not just doing.
12. Not Studying The Sport Of Muay Thai
Most people aren’t training in Muay Thai because they like it. They’re training it because they want to become professional fighters.
If you’re in the fad of wanting to be a professional fighter, then you need to learn the game. You need to learn the sport.
It doesn’t matter how you get there as long as you get there. But you need to know the sport. If you know the sport, you know the fighter.
You can have a much better idea of how to train and why you train the way you do. And you’ll also be able to make better, more informed decisions about your training and diet.
13. Being Overly Serious As A Muay Thai Fighter
Being overly serious is a turnoff There’s a difference between being committed to Muay Thai and never enjoying the time getting there.
You should enjoy training and you should have fun, just like you want to enjoy what you’re doing in life.
Of course, you have goals and you need to accomplish them, just don’t burn yourself out before then.
14. Thinking That The Greatest Muay Thai Fighters Have All Been Born In Thailand
The greatest Muay Thai fighters have NOT all been born in Thailand. If they had, you wouldn’t be reading this article.
There’s no one right way to become a good fighter. There’s no one perfect training or diet.
If you think that only the Thai way is the right way, then you’re going to be in for a rude awakening.
It’s true that Thailand is the birthplace of Muay Thai and that we should learn as much as we can from there, but to think that others can’t rise to the top like a fighter born in Thailand is just ignorant.
If you think you have all the answers, you don’t, none of us do. Do your best and learn the game, study the fighter.
15. Thinking That You Can Be Successful On Your Own
A lot of fighters come into this sport and make a lot of money, but many of them are also miserable.
There’s no one way to be successful in life. There’s no one way to be successful in Muay Thai.
If you think that you have to follow a recipe or even just one recipe, then you’re limiting your mental state and outlook on life in general. It doesn’t work that way.
Success doesn’t always come with money. It’s also not about the champion at the end of the year.
It’s about having fun, learning, and growing. Don’t get discouraged when you’re not making the money you want or the fans are not cheering you on.
Keep on going. There’s always something to learn, always something to work on.
16. Not Knowing That Muay Thai Is A Lifestyle
You might think that Muay Thai is just a hobby, but it’s more than that. Muay Thai is a part of your life.
It’s a part of your identity and who you are. If you’re not passionate about it, you might find difficulty in being successful at it or achieving the level you’ve set for yourself.
Your passion can come from different sources than other fighters.
Your motivation will be unique to you. The main thing is that there’s fire in your desire, edging you on, if not, the road ahead can be extremely discouraging.
If you’re not passionate about your training, your technique, your camp, your diet, your lifestyle, and so much more, then it’s time to re-evaluate.
If you’re not passionate about it, it’s going to be hard to get that fire going, but if you think you want this then you’ll have to work at it, but I promise it will be worth it.
17. Not Taking Care Of Your Body
This should go without saying, but most fighters don’t do it. People get so caught up in the moment, the performance, the competition that they forget about the process.
They forget about the gym, the nutrition, the warm-up, and the recovery. The days are long, the work is hard and it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and forget about the details.
It’s a huge mistake. If you don’t take care of your body, it will not be able to take care of you.
This is what separates the winners from the rest of the pack. They have that extra something, the edge, the extra fire, the passion.
They don’t rest on their laurels and they don’t take it easy. Even if you’re not in top shape, you can still win. But you can’t win if you don’t train hard.
You can’t win if you don’t train smart. You can’t win if you don’t have a good diet to keep a healthy body.
So don’t just get on the mat or the pad and try to lift as much weight as you can without the nutrition your body is dying for.
You have to take care of your body if you want to be successful in your sport. You must eat right. You must drink plenty of water and sleep well.
This is how you recover, how you get stronger, and how you avoid injuries.
So don’t take it easy. If you do, you will not be able to perform at your best.
18. Not Putting In The Work When Training
Training is a process. There are peaks and valleys in life. In your training, there are peaks and valleys as well.
The trick is to not get discouraged. It takes time. When you’re first learning how to do something, it can be really hard.
You can’t understand how to do it. You might get frustrated. Then after a while, you learn how to do it, you get more comfortable, and you get better at it.
Your technique improves, you can do more, and you can move quicker and more efficiently. You get stronger. You can lift heavier weights.
Eventually, your peak rises and you perform better each time. Your muscles are strong, your cardio is improved, and your technique is sharp.
But it takes dedication and time to get these results.
They’re not free or sold on sale at your nearest nutritional store or local gym. You have to put in the effort to gain these results.
Be Patient, Be Consistent, And Never Give Up
Bad habits in general are hard to break but they can be broken nonetheless.
If you’re open-minded and understand that your will is stronger than a habit you’ve developed, then you know the secret to overcoming anything you find undesirable.
When I say anything that means everything inside and outside of Muay Thai.
If you consider Muay Thai as a way of life as I do, then you understand that these principles apply to your life in general.
So there’s no contradiction between this beautiful combat sport and your lifestyle because every day is a fight to survive in this concrete jungle more than ever before.
It’s human nature to pick up bad habits but the strongest of us are the ones who can turn them into something better, something you can learn from, something you can use to better yourself, and eventually, it’s something that you leave behind you.
I’m sure there are more than these 18 bad Muay Thai habits I’ve listed here in this article.
Like I said before, no one knows it all and I’m pretty sure that you probably have your list of bad Muay Thai habits that you’re either trying to get rid of or have already stopped.
So if you need to read something positive, something to back you up in achieving your goals, or to remind you that you’re not alone and that we all go through this whether we’re beginners or experts in Muay Thai.
But I must confess, I’m no expert in life because I’m learning every day.
So if you’ve got any of these problems, work on them and get past them, I believe you can do it.
If there’s anything you want to let us know or any advice you might have for your fellow readers, please go ahead and write it in the comment section so we can get some knowledge.
How do you avoid bad Muay Thai habits? To avoid bad Muay Thai habits you should:
- Train by mixing up some sparring, shadow boxing, and hand-pad drills.
- Train with different fighters.
- Do a lot of shadowboxing.
- Train with better fighters.
- Get your instructor’s guidance.
- Practice slowly as a beginner until you can train faster.
- Use a mirror to monitor your form.
- Train only in defense with a partner attacking you (you’re not allowed to hit back).
- Keep your hands up.
- Be humble.
- Stay aware of your Muay Thai.
What habits and skills does Muay Thai teach children? Muay Thai teaches children habits and skills like learning how to focus, develop self-discipline, improve their social skills, better fitness, increase their confidence, and of course self-defense.