I want to start off by saying that I love Muay Thai, the “art of eight limbs.” I love the art, the techniques, the history and the culture. Modern Muay Thai has evolved over hundreds of years and has spread throughout the world.
I’ve had the pleasure of teaching Muay Thai to both kids and adults over the last 7 years. Even though no one bats an eye at adults doing Thai at all there is the thought that kids should not learn Muay Thai for many reasons. It’s too violent, it requires too much coordination, there is no ranking system, etc. I politely disagree. Muay Thai has so much to offer children and I think that there are a lot of the reasons that your child should study Muay Thai.
- Respect- This is the most important thing. I believe without respect no matter what you teach a child it can turn him into a bully. Teaching a child to treat people the way you would like to be treated is probably on of the most valuable lessons in life. Respect in Thai is part of the culture. The Thai culture is mostly Buddhist, which is inherently nonviolent. There are constant displays of respect in Muay Thai. From the Wai Kru, to showing respect for your opponent in the ring, to your training partners, and to your instructor. Ajarn Chai believes that respect and discipline are the most important things to learn in Thai because with them you will learn the art.
- Discipline- Teaching a child self-control and rules of conduct is very hard but important. Teachers in public school are always trying to do this but usually, their hands are tied on how to enforce it. Luckily in Thai you can either listen…or get really strong.
- Work Ethic- Kid’s today usually focus more on the reward than the new habit or skill that they are trying to work on. The new belt or treat becomes more important than the process of just getting better. Work ethic is everything in Thai because it is the only way to get better. We always joke that there is no belt system in Thai only belts you win in the ring.
- Exercise/Conditioning- What’s the first rule of Zombie land…I mean Thai…Cardio. With the increase of obesity among children in the United States. Exercise is more important than ever. It is also a big component of Thai.
- Builds Coordination- “Your left hand I mean your other left hand…” You get the idea. Hitting pads and holding pads requires a ton of coordination, which builds over time.
- Increases Awareness- If you have to punch, kick, knee and elbow all while keeping your hands up and making sure you don’t get hit, you think your awareness wouldn’t increase?
- Interpersonal Skills- Training partners are very important to a Thai Boxer. You need them and you need to learn how to work with them. This helps with communication and respect.
- Confidence- nothing makes a child feel better than doing well at something or making improvements. If acknowledged for their achievements they will carry the confidence from Thai to the rest of their lives.
- Self Defense- This is where I lose most people. Most people say Thai is too violent and is aggressive. The main goal, when I teach Thai at least, is to not get hit. Especially once kid’s start sparring they have a new found respect for what can happen if they do get hit and what would happen if they were to hit someone else.
- And It’s Fun!!!!
Those are my top 10 reasons your child should train Muay Thai. I’m not saying that everyone should get in the ring or compete. But I do think that there are a lot of valuable lessons that one can learn from training Thai. So I look forward to training with your child. See you on the mat!