Being a foreigner and all, it’s important not only to be interested in Muay Thai, but also, to try and keep in mind a few things before even thinking of going to Thailand to train.
Here are a few things, or if you may, guidelines, for you to remember.
- Try your best to learn more about Thai etiquette. Use the internet wisely to research more on this topic.
- Avoid excessive displays of annoyance, anger, dismay, judgment and frustration. Doing any of these may lead to you losing face. Thai culture puts value in Harmony and the locals are likely to shun you for acting immaturely, especially in public.
- Observe and learn from people around you. If the place is quiet, don’t try to disturb its peace by speaking loudly. Doing so is considered impolite.
- Be mentally strong and avoid complaining at all costs. This is another act that’s considered immature and an act that’s shunned by Thai.
- Try to set a fine line between being respectful of Thai culture and simply taking care of yourself to avoid being taken advantage of. If your trainer or instructor sells you something, only buy so at your own discretion and not because you feel obligated to do so. If you feel that you’re being taken advantage of, respectfully say no, because chances are, you’re being disrespected and/or hustled.
- Like them or not, always respect your fellow fighters or Nak Muays. If you can’t bring yourself to respecting them, try your best to tolerate them during training. Doing so helps maintain the harmony inside the gym.
- Observe how Thai fighters fight and take note of the While it’s not usually expected of Foreigners, Wai is important in Muay Thai and it’s best to follow tradition to earn the respect of your fellow Nak Muay.
- Do not aim for perfection. Rather, aim for continuous development, regardless of how slow it may be.
- Refrain from using power when sparring. Excessive use of power can result in punishment, one that which may come from a lethal blow courtesy of a much more experienced fighter.
- Cursing is highly frowned upon. If you’d like to know the quickest way to be admitted into the hospital, simply utter the words fuck off inside the gym.
- Always wear a shirt when you run outside. Going topless is shunned in Thailand.
- As a result of living in a tropical country, Thais shower much more often than Westerners do to maintain their hygiene and cleanliness. Showing in between training and post training meal at the gym is recommended, as well as is the use of body power to keep heat rashes at a minimum.
- Smiling goes a long way in Thailand and may even earn you the attention, or trust of your trainer. Train hard and smile often.
- If you plan on spending a year or so in Thailand, consider learning how to speak Thai language. This can help you learn a lot more about Muay Thai, as well as Thai culture in general.