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These guidelines are to set a benchmark to achieve a level of physical fitness and experience to ensure a fighter is ready to compete in Muay Thai—especially properly protect themselves. Fighting is not for everyone. For those who want to compete, fighting is an amazing experience which will tell you a lot about yourself. The levels of competition for boxing, kickboxing, and Muay Thai begin with smokers, following by amateur, and finally professional. Smokers are exhibition fights often hosted in a training gym, where competitors wear shin guards, headgear, and gloves. Amateur Muay Thai fights generally involve no headgear or shin guards and differ from full rules Muay Thai by limited use of knees and elbows (this may involve no knees or elbows allowed to the head). In full rules Muay Thai, fighters do not wear shin or head protection and have full use of punches, kicks, knees, and elbows to the body and head.

Step 1 – Physical Requirement

The first part of martial arts is mental toughness and physical fitness. The second part of martial arts is technique and experience. Being that boxing, kickboxing, and Muay Thai fights are much higher contact than other forms of martial arts competition, peak physical condition is absolutely necessary to ensure a fighter can protect themselves all times. Trainers should verify the following physical requirements before beginning a training camp to fight is:

  • Running – (4) 90 second ¼ mile on a track w/ 90 second rest between laps.
  • Shadow boxing – (3) 3 minute rounds with pre-determined combinations and high volume.
  • Knees on bag – (3) 3 minute rounds

In conjunction with what physical requirement trainers should verify, a fighter should be doing the following between formal training and work on their own, daily:

  • Core strength – 600 repetitions (straight leg sit-ups, leg lifts, Pacquiao’s, bicycle crunches, etc…) (daily)
  • Push ups – 100 (daily)
  • Squats – 20-25 reps, low weight (2-3x’s a week).
    Step 2 – Sparring Requirement

Step 2 – Sparring Requirement

After the physical fitness requirement is met a series of high intensity sparring sessions will be completed. This includes simulated 3 rounds exhibition fights and “shark tanks”, where a new sparring partner enters the rotation each minute .

Step 3 – Your 1st Exhibition Fight (“Smoker”)