For most of us, the thought of taking up a Muay Thai lesson and going to a martial arts, specifically, a Muay Thai gym, for the first time can be daunting.
Here are a few myths, facts and tips that should help you know what you should expect once you take that first step through the door.
- Respect is important. Respect, not just the trainers, but the other students and even the gym itself. If you borrow gear from the gym, take care of it and return it properly once you’re finished using. If you’re sparring or training with someone and you see that they’re struggling, try to lower your intensity. Respect, after all, is one of the core values in all martial arts.
- Be positive, open and friendly. The gym isn’t just a place where people train. Some fighters consider their gym a second home. So, take care of it and help add to the atmosphere by being positive, open and most important of all, friendly.
- Stay clean. Proper hygiene is important. Always keep your nails and toe nails trimmed. Apply deodorant and never go into the gym with unwashed clothes. If you don’t take care of your hygiene and stay clean, you’ll probably find yourself short of training partners. Are your gloves smelly? Airing them out for a few days should help. For washing and hygiene tips, don’t be afraid to ask for help from others in the gym, or from the trainer.
- Never wear shoes on the mat. While some gyms aren’t quite so strict with this rule, it’s best to assume that shoes are not allowed in mats. This is especially important when you’re taking a Muay Thai lesson, or entering an MMA or Brazilian Jiujitsu gym.
- Don’t ever try to hurt others. It doesn’t matter how good or how fast of a learner you are, if your aim is to hurt others while in the gym, then you better leave. That is, if you haven’t been thrown out already. Don’t be the one guy that has a reputation for all the wrong reasons. Always try to keep things playful and fun for everyone.
- Know that sparring is encouraged. If you’re not keen on sparring, then no biggie, most trainers won’t force you. But, if it were up to them, they’ll want you to spar, even on your first day. If given the chance, go for it. It doesn’t really matter if you’re no good at Muay Thai yet. Sparring is a great way to learn on the go, especially for beginners.
Taking up a Muay Thai lesson at the gym doesn’t mean that you’re just there to learn martial arts. Remember that you’re also there to make some new friends, some of which could end up being some of the greatest friends you’ll ever meet. So, treat each other with respect, especially your training partners and coaches, and they’ll likely do the same to you.
Learning martial arts should be fun, so try to do your part to keep it that way.