What Age Can You Start Muay Thai?


age start MT lg

Muay Thai is one of the deadliest and strongest martial arts in the world. But it can also be brutal. So, at what age can you start Muay Thai?

Here’s what I know training it a little bit:

Some Muay Thai schools start training kids as young as 4, often in conjunction with other martial arts as MMA training. But as a general rule, starting around age 8 is more likely to lead to long-term training as opposed to burning out and quitting.

But if starting at age 4, just know the classes will be age-appropriate.

So, there is no fighting or sparring, or jarring moves that may hurt the children. The highly demanding exercises and techniques are left till later.

Things like head kicks will also be totally avoided at that age.

But, the mastery of these fundamentals gives the children an edge later. They would already have had a solid foundation and can easily master the advanced parts of the training as they grow older.

In this article, we’ll learn about riveting themes around what age one should start learning Muay Thai, whether it’s dangerous for children, and why it’s a dangerous martial art.

Let the fun begin…

Is Muay Thai Good for beginners?

Muay Thai is good for beginners because, in addition to learning key martial arts techniques, there are warm-up drills that help beginners ease into the martial art, condition their bodies, and gradually help them build confidence. 

Because it is physically demanding, a person who has health concerns ought to consult their doctor before taking up Muay Thai.

There is no need to have mastered another martial art before taking up MT. It’s awesome for beginners.

If a beginner has no health concerns, they might still find MT demanding if they are not fit. So while there’s no need to “get fit” before starting, the first few weeks might seem pretty tough.

But you’ll get in shape quickly, especially if you are training 2-3 times per week.

The reality is that the first few weeks of learning ANY martial art can be grueling, and Muay Thai is no exception.

Is 30 or 40 too old for Muay Thai?

30 or 40 is not too old for Muay Thai. There are many in their 50s and 60s who practice Muay Thai. However, it is more common to train Muay Thai at a younger age and then move to a gentler martial art such as BJJ once over the age of 40.

But I would avoid the aspiration of competing in tournaments or competitions.

Competitions and MMA fights are truly a young person’s game. By the time a person is 40, truth be told, they are not (always) in the best shape physically to be enduring grueling drills and fighting over and over in contests!

A few fighters excelled in highly competitive contexts late in life, but they are the exceptions. As a 30 or 40-year-old, one can learn Muay Thai to become fit, healthier, and to be able to defend oneself if one has to.

MT training has drills that help the learner gradually ease into the core drills and then ease out.

It’s normal to be a tad apprehensive that you are not as fit as you should be. But if you decide to train in a dojo with good instructors, they will help train you in a manner where your health or safety is not compromised.

Don’t get me wrong, Muay Thai is not a walk in the park. 

It’s intense. But no trainer who knows their onions would endanger your life by throwing you to the “deep end” when you’re just getting started.

It’s demanding, but a lot of folks in their 30s and 40s, even older, are doing it and having a great time.

Can a 4-year-old do Muay Thai?

A 4-year-old can do Muay Thai. However, in Thailand, children often wait till they are 6 or 8 before they start. Classes for 4-year-olds will be age-appropriate and will not contain full sparring or blows or kicks to the head. 

The vital thing is to confirm with a doctor that the child is medically okay.

And to ensure that training takes place in a well-regarded dojo where the age and safety of the children involved are taken into consideration.

So always do a free trial class before signing up.

In such dojos, the 4-year-old would have a great time because the instructors are hip to the fact that making the training entertaining and safe is vital.

There won’t be any real sparring or fighting involved.

The focus would be to ensure that the child enjoys the sessions even as they are taught some basic moves and techniques.

And even though Muay Thai doesn’t normally use colored belts, many kids’ classes will, as progression and recognition are important to keep kids engaged.

At that age, it’s simply another form of playing for the child. 

As they grow older and are gradually introduced to “real” MT, they would realize the immense edge starting early has given them.

Some moves and techniques would have been practiced so many times, they are almost automatic.

The 4-year-old’s self-esteem, confidence, and capacity to work in teams are also being honed. So, a smart and driven 4-year-old can do MT or at least a beginner-friendly version that’s been adapted for them.

Is Muay Thai too dangerous for children?

Muay Thai is not too dangerous for kids as long as there is no sparring for kids younger than age 7 and appropriate safety gear is used. At this stage, the focus is not on sparring or fighting but rather on learning the moves and techniques in a controlled manner.

So check reviews and observe a class first. And always do a free trial class before signing up.

As you know, children learn fast, so it’s a good thing to get them started early in life learning MT. They would have an edge by the time they are in their teens and early twenties since they would have had years of practice.

In the West, Muay Thai training for children is done to ensure that their safety is of utmost importance. 

So, it is not too dangerous for children in the West. One cannot say the same for how it’s taught to children in Thailand.

As a way to make Muay Thai less dangerous for children and young people, strikes to the head are usually avoided, and fighters typically wear protective gear.

It’s important to note that MT is heavily affected by Buddhist teachings. Respect for others, confidence, being peaceful…are some of the teachings.

So, MT training does not encourage violence in children. The skills are only employed as a last resort if there’s a need to develop themselves.

Curious about the best martial art for teenage girls? Check out a recent article of mine where I suggested 2 martial arts.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Why is Muay Thai so dangerous?

Muay Thai is dangerous because fighters utilize strikes, kicks, and elbow strikes in a fast-paced manner where quickly incapacitating the opponent is the primary goal. 

In a way, it’s a lot like Krav Maga; almost anything goes, and speed and aggression are the main components.

This is why it is known as the “art of eight limbs” — the hands, knees, elbows, shins…are all orchestrated swiftly to take out an opponent. Both punching and kicking are utilized.

Truth be told, Muay Thai is dangerous. 

Think about it: It’s kind of like two martial arts in one. An opponent that’s fleeing from a punch might be surprised by a swift, lethal kick to their head!

Knees and elbows are the go-to limbs many MT fighters employ. 

And knee and elbow strikes can easily take a person out. Apart from being deadly, they are usually unexpected because they are delivered surprisingly.

(Consider that knee and elbow strikes are Jon “Bones” Jones signature techniques, and he’s almost undefeatable).

There are cases where some people have died during Muay Thai! 

Yes, MT is dangerous, but it’s vital to note that unless you’re going to be competing, it’s not hard to stay safe while training.

Many people who train Muay Thai do so because they want to be fit, they love the intensity and fun, and the fact that it teaches endurance and could be handy for self-defense. They are not thinking of fighting professionally.

Say you’re seriously considering taking up Muay Thai, and you’re curious about its pros and cons. 

You’re in luck! That’s the theme of a recent article of mine. I get into all the considerations, including the actual percentage risk of you getting injured doing it.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Conclusion

We checked out Muay Thai, “the art of eight limbs”. It’s a highly demanding form of kickboxing.

So, it’s lethal because it’s kind of like a combo of two arts: punching and kicking. We explored issues around what age you can start Muay Thai.

We checked out whether it’s good for a beginner to martial arts, if a 30 or 40-year-old is too old to pick it up and whether a 4-year-old can do it.

We looked at whether it’s dangerous for children, and we concluded by looking at why it is a dangerous martial art.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell was Academy Director for a large martial arts school for over 7 years, and has trained extensively in a variety of martial arts including Brazilian Jiujitsu, different styles of Karate, the Russian Martial Art of Systema, Aikido, and much more.

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