Muay Thai workouts are a critical component of this ancient form of martial arts and self defense. It allows blows to be struck by feet, knees, hands (fists) and elbows. The two contestants may clinch. In Thailand, it remains today the national sport. Kick boxing, like most athletic endeavors, is a demanding discipline. Body and mental conditioning through regular physical training is considered essential.
This combative sport has evolved in Thailand since at least the sixteenth century. The techniques largely developed as a form of self defense when the country was defending itself against the constant aggression from neighbors. Knowledge of the early origins of the sport is patchy because historical documents were destroyed when in 1767 the Burmese fighters conquered Ayuddhaya, a former capital of Thailand. Many other Thai treasures and archives relating to the wider Thai culture and history were destroyed at that time.
One distinctive training component is preparation with coaches using focus mitts. This component is critical to the overall training regime of a fighter. It involves practicing kicks, punches, knees strikes and elbow strikes with a trainer wearing thick protective padding that covers the forearms, abdomen and hands. The padding absorbs the impact of practice strikes by the fighter.
Focus mitt training allows fighters to improve their strike speed, timing and power. The mitts also allow them to expand the combination of strikes they can launch and their defensive or counter-movements.
Another distinctive training component is strengthening of the shin bone. Fighters rely heavily on both kicking and blocking utilizing the shin. This obviously places great strain on, and causes continual damage to, the shin bones. To toughen their body for this rigor, athletes repeatedly hit hard objects with their shins, hardening the bone through a process called cortical or bone remodeling.
Bone remodeling is a natural process of bone regeneration and renewal that proceeds on an ongoing basis continually through life. As bone tissue decays or is damaged it is naturally removed from the skeleton (bone resorption) and new tissue is formed to replace it (bone ossification). In adults, about ten percent of the skeletal structure is regenerated each year. Repeated hitting or trauma of the shin bone causes micro-damage that accelerates this regeneration process and toughens the bone as a result.
Most professional kick boxers in Thailand come from a lower socio-economic background. They enter the kick boxing industry hoping their fight winnings will support them and their families. The short professional life of a boxer and the competitive nature industry makes it difficult for most to achieve this objective.
In conclusion, some Thai kick boxers fight almost every other week. It is a tough life. Due to the continuous and rigorous Muay Thai workouts, as well as the physical demands of the actual fights, professional fighters have a short career span. Many become instructors after they retire from the ring.