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A Guide to Your First Muay Thai Fight in Thailand

Embracing Muay Thai means adopting a way of life deeply embedded in cultural traditions. For aspiring Nak Muay training in Thailand, stepping into the ring is an absolute must, a rite of passage, and one of the best experiences of your life. From navigating last-minute changes to understanding the ritual of tipping your trainer, here’s a guide to what awaits you in your first Muay Thai fight experience in Thailand.

Trainers Being Nonchalant

For most people, stepping into the ring for the first time can be a life-changing experience. It’s definitely something you’ll never forget, and there are a lot of emotions to process:

Why am I doing this?

What if I get hurt?

What if I lose?

If your trainer seems a tad indifferent or ignores your nervousness or frequent bathroom trips, just remember, for them, this is normal. Most Muay Thai trainers at Bangtao have a wealth of experience, with well over 300 fights – some even boasting over 500 fights to their name. They’ve seen it all, from beginners like you to seasoned fighters. They are professionals at this, so take a deep breath and remember you are in good hands.

Giving up Weight for Experience

Once the adrenaline wears off and you get to piece together your time in the ring or watch that video your friend filmed for you on their phone, you’ll probably notice that you’re bigger than your opponent. It’s a fair and common practice in Thailand to give up weight for experience. While it might be your very first fight, your opponent might have already stepped in the ring 10 or even 20 times. So, while they have a slight advantage when it comes to experience, you’ll get the size advantage. The idea here is to make the fight more competitive, level the playing field, and emphasize the importance of skill and strategy in Muay Thai.

Last Minute Changes

From a new and unknown opponent to a different venue or even changes to the date and fight lineup, Muay Thai will keep you on your toes. These changes can occur a week out, the morning of the fight, or even at the venue. But rest assured, your trainers are there for you – they’re committed to your success and will ensure you get a fight before it’s time to go home.

It’s your responsibility to adapt to these changes and, as they say, ‘roll with the punches.’ In Thailand, Muay Thai is a job. While some may dream of fame, glory, and bigger paydays, a significant portion of fighters are fighting to make ends meet. For them, these changes are just part of the job.

Warming Up Next to Your Opponent

Most people find this a little awkward, especially when they see their trainer talking to their opponent or their opponent’s team, but this is not only common; it’s expected in Muay Thai. It’s a part of the sport’s unique culture – no one takes themselves too seriously here. Even at the big stadiums like Rajadamnern, there is only one warm-up room. In smaller venues or even outdoor venues (like temple festivals), you might find yourself getting your hands wrapped while sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with your opponent. Your opponent might even ask for a photo together before the fight or ask you how your day was. Again, take a deep breath, be present, and enjoy the experience for what it is.

Tipping Your Trainer

Tipping your trainer is an expected and customary practice in Muay Thai. Before your fight, check in with the gym boss to understand the standard policy, but generally, the gym will take a cut, and you’ll still need to tip your trainer. It’s good to ask the gym boss what’s considered a ‘good tip.’

If you feel your trainer did an exceptional job, you can always give them more. This gesture will go a long way in building a strong relationship with your trainer and accelerating your fight career. When your trainer feels appreciated, they are more likely to put in extra effort when training you. Just remember, being a Muay Thai trainer is a job, and it’s nice to get tipped for doing a good job.

At Bangtao Muay Thai & MMA, we’ve had the pleasure of guiding many beginners through our Muay Thai program, helping them prepare for their first fight in Thailand. Our team of experienced and friendly trainers are dedicated to supporting you on this journey. From our strong relationships with organizations and stadiums to our world-renowned training, we’re here to ensure you have the best possible experience as you step into the ring.