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  • Johnny Loreti

How Long Does It Take to Learn Muay Thai?

Updated: 2 days ago

How Long Does It Take to Learn Muay Thai?

Ever been captivated by the power and grace of Muay Thai fighters? Maybe you've seen it in a movie or witnessed a local competition. The "Art of Eight Limbs," as it's known, uses punches, kicks, elbows, and knees to create a unique and exciting fighting style. But if you're curious about learning, you might wonder: how long does it take to learn Muay Thai?

The time it takes to learn Muay Thai varies based on factors such as training frequency, dedication, and prior martial arts experience. Generally, learning Muay Thai takes around 6 months for basics, with the potential for a first fight in 12-16 months, reaching a reasonable level in about 4 years, and becoming an elite fighter taking around 10 years.

Let's dive into this cool martial art and check out step-by-step instructions on how you can get better.

Understanding the Basics of Muay Thai?

Understanding the Basics of Muay Thai?

Learning Muay Thai starts with a special ceremony called "Wai Kru," where you move in a certain way to show respect to your teacher and ancestors. After that, you begin with the basics, like stances, footwork, and different strikes, such as jab, cross, hook, uppercut, and knee strikes.

A big part of Muay Thai is the clinch, which happens when two fighters get close and fight. In the clinch, you can use knees, elbows, sweeps, and throws to bring down your opponent.

Getting your body in good shape is also super important in Muay Thai. You need to —

  • have strong endurance, 

  • be quick on your feet, 

  • and have a powerful body. 

This means doing different exercises and drills for your legs, core, and upper body.

Muay Thai is not just about fighting; it's also about being tough both physically and mentally. It teaches you —

  • self-defense, 

  • discipline, 

  • and how to show respect. 

Whether you're just starting or have some experience, understanding the basics of Muay Thai is crucial to becoming really good at it.

How Long Does It Take to Learn Muay Thai?

How long it takes to get good at Muay Thai can vary based on different factors. Let's break it down:

Learning the Basics and Fundamental Techniques

Getting started and understanding the basic moves and techniques usually takes around 6 months for the average person. During this time, you'll also work on your fitness and practice these techniques in practical situations during sparring.

Ready for Your First Fight

You might be prepared for your first Muay Thai fight within 12-16 months of starting your training. This initial fight is typically amateur, with safety gear like shin guards and possibly a head guard. Before this, you'll have gained experience through interclub, feeling confident in both attack and defense and becoming proficient in the clinch.

Fighting at a Reasonable Level

Around 4 years into dedicated training, you should be able to compete at a reasonable level. By this time, you would have had 4-5 fights, gaining ring-craft skills and valuable fighting experience.

Elite level Fighter

Becoming an elite-level fighter takes about 10 years. At this point, you'll possess a deep understanding of the sport and its techniques. You would have faced highly experienced opponents, competed for and won Muay Thai titles, and possibly have a Muay Thai world title in your collection.

Is It Difficult to Learn Muay Thai? 

Well, that's a tricky question. If you're talking about basic moves, then no, it's not hard. Beginners and those in the middle stage of learning rarely spin in the fight. You can pick up most of the essential strikes in just 3–6 months.

For instance, jabs, straight punches, overhands, low kicks, teep kicks, front kicks, clinch knees, and horizontal elbows are pretty easy to grasp. However, mastering these techniques requires a lot of practice – around 10,000 repetitions, to be precise. A good coach can always find areas for improvement, especially for beginners.

Now, let's talk about spinning kicks, spear elbows, spinning elbows, and backfists or rabbit and flying knees. To perform a spinning heel kick, you need to be a master of a crescent kick.

For rabbit knees, you must control the ring superbly to hold your opponent against the ropes and cause damage to their thighs. These techniques are more challenging, and it might take 1–2 years to get the hang of them unless you have a background in Taekwondo or Kickboxing.

Is Muay Thai Good for Self-defense?

Is Muay Thai Good for Self-defense?


Muay Thai is one of the best striking martial arts, offering many options for self-defense, along with Muay Boran and Lethwei (though they are more dangerous and less common).

Known as "The Science of Eight Limbs," Muay Thai allows you to use elbows, knees, kicks, and punches to combat your opponent. The shin is a powerful weapon for striking.

Positive Sides

Muay Thai is effective in street fights, allowing you to engage in close-range combat. It provides various long-range blows as well.

In a clinch, you can counter a bully with a sweep, powerful elbow, or knee to the face. If someone tries a body kick, you can catch their leg and bring them to the ground. Well-timed knees are excellent for defense.

A Muay Thai slashing low kick is very painful, targeting the ischiatic nerve and making your opponent limp. Wrestling clinch (pummeling) helps control and finish opponents.

Holding your hands high can deter bullies from hooking or slapping you. Even if they grab your clothing, your strong clinch game will show its power.

In a Muay Thai bout, you learn to move forward and absorb strikes, surprising street thugs who expect fear. Powerful strikes for self-defense include hooks, uppercuts, straight punches, elbows, low kicks, high kicks, diagonal, horizontal, and flying knees, along with sweeps and clinch knees and elbows.

Negative Sides

Weaknesses in Muay Thai for street situations are takedown defense and ground fighting.

However, Muay Thai fighters can endure a lot of pain and deliver powerful blows after taking hits, surprising attackers who expect them to go down easily.

Muay Thai is effective against multiple attackers, but be cautious not to get surrounded.

Several Ways I Can Learn Muay Thai

Learning Muay Thai can be done in different ways:

Online Training Courses

In recent years, online Muay Thai training courses have become popular. Many fighters share high-quality content to help you learn Muay Thai quickly. These courses are great for picking up new things in your free time and getting tips for your training. However, if you're serious about Muay Thai and want to compete, it's not recommended to rely solely on online courses.

Muay Thai Gyms

Muay Thai gyms are the most common and effective way to learn. Training with peers and having an experienced coach can help you advance your skills. If you're looking to progress faster, ask if your gym offers one-on-one coaching. This dedicated training focuses on your skills and helps you learn more in a shorter time. If you plan to compete, attending a Muay Thai gym is crucial for sparring partners, clinch partners, and a supportive training environment.

Ensure you research the gym before joining. Anyone can set up a Muay Thai gym, but having a gym doesn't guarantee teaching credentials. Make sure the gym has qualified coaches to help you progress with the correct techniques.

Bag Work in the Gym

If there's no local Muay Thai gym but your gym has heavy bags, you can use them to learn Muay Thai. Working on heavy bags helps improve striking technique, power, and footwork. The drawback is not having someone to seek advice from or help you improve. You can use the bags to practice additional skills in your free time or before/after gym classes.

Visit our informative blog to find out the right answer to the question, “What is the Best Martial Art for Self-Defense?

How to Quickly Learn Muay Thai

If you want to learn Muay Thai quickly, follow these steps:

Focus on Training Sessions

Pay attention during training, ask instructors for advice, and don't hesitate to seek help. Practice various techniques to find what suits you best.

Solo Training at Home

Set up a heavy bag at home for extra practice. It helps supplement group sessions and accelerates your learning.

Improve Hip Mobility

Work on stretching your hamstrings and glutes to enhance hip mobility, which is crucial for executing techniques correctly.

Private Sessions with Trainers

Consider one-to-one sessions with instructors. This personalized attention allows them to address specific issues and help you improve faster.

Focus on Recovery and Nutrition

Ensure you get enough rest and maintain a nutritious diet. Recovery is vital for peak performance and preventing injuries.

Watch Muay Thai Fights and Technique Videos

Watch fights and instructional videos to understand effective techniques, avoid mistakes, and gain motivation for practice.

Understand Learning vs. Mastering

Recognize that Muay Thai doesn't have a specific mastery level. Continuous practice and improvement are essential, and there's always more to learn.

Participate in Full-Speed Sparring and Tournaments

Progress through training, engage in full-speed sparring and consider participating in tournaments as you become more skilled in Muay Thai.

Visit our informative blog to find out the right answer to the question, “Is Brazilian jiu-jitsu good for self-defense?

Contact a Pro

If you want to explore Muay Thai kickboxing, visit our top-notch Back Bay gym. We provide the best training experience on Muay Thai in Boston at our specialized facility. Learn striking, kicking, and clinching skills with our expert instructors. Join a lively community of Muay Thai enthusiasts and enhance your training. 

Our Boston Muay Thai gym is open to beginners and experienced practitioners, creating a friendly environment. Boost your fitness and uncover the strength of Muay Thai by joining us.

Plus, if you're looking for personal trainers and expert coaches in Boston, MA, for proper guidance in strength training, choose Back Bay Fit's Personal Training Program.

Wrapping Up

To sum up, learning Muay Thai is different for everyone. It's important to be patient and dedicated and train regularly in this martial art. Progress can be different for each person, and there's no fixed time for everyone. The answer to "How Long Does It Take to Learn Muay Thai?" relies on how much effort you put in, what you knew before, and what you want to achieve. Enjoy the learning journey, stay concentrated, and let your love for Muay Thai lead the way.


How long does it take to master Muay Thai?

Mastering Muay Thai is a lifelong pursuit, but dedicated individuals can reach an advanced level and compete within several years of consistent training.

How to find the best Muay Thai gyms near me?

Search online for local Muay Thai gyms, read reviews, and visit a few to assess facilities and instructors.

What are Muay Thai weight classes?

Muay Thai has various weight divisions to ensure fair competition, ranging from lightweight to heavyweight.

How long does it take to get a black belt in Muay Thai?

Getting a black belt in Muay Thai usually takes about 3 years for the average person.

Is Muay Thai beginner-friendly?

Absolutely! Muay Thai is beginner-friendly as it requires no special equipment and can be practiced anywhere.

Is Muay Thai painful?

While Muay Thai training can be intense, it's not necessarily painful, offering effective self-defense and fitness benefits.

What is the hardest martial art to master?

Karate is often considered one of the hardest martial arts to master due to its demanding practice and dedication.

Is Muay Thai worth learning?

Certainly! Muay Thai is excellent for self-defense, providing valuable skills to defend against attackers.

Can you self-train in Muay Thai?

Yes, it's possible to learn Muay Thai on your own using resources like YouTube tutorials, books, and websites.

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