Thinking about quitting Muay Thai

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I've been doing BJJ for the last year and a half, Muay Thai for the last several months. Both at the same gym. The Muay Thai coach is one of the black belts in BJJ.

I absolutely love BJJ. I am 100% planning on continuing BJJ. But I'm not entirely enjoying my Muay Thai experience. I really dislike the sparring. I don't like getting punched in the face, which is pretty much a given. Yesterday, I took a bad groin shot. A little bit of drama between me and my coach about protective gear. He gave me a hard time about not wearing a cup, but he also has never told us to put more on than gloves, shin pads, and a mouthguard. He sees it as our responsibility to decide what gear to wear (we're adults), I see it as his responsibility as coach to at least recommend the appropriate gear when he tells us to put gear on. When I mentioned I don't want to spar anymore, he seemed to begrudgingly accept it, but gave me a hard time about it.

As some of you know, I would eventually like to open my own TKD school. I much prefer the TKD style of sparring (at least, the TKD sparring I'm used to). No head punches, no head kicks before you're an upper belt. You can punch and kick to the chest as hard as you want, but the chest can take it. I always had fun in TKD sparring. I always have fun in BJJ rolls. I don't have fun in MT sparring. It doesn't help that I'm 5'5 and pretty much always the smallest person, especially in terms of reach.

As a counterpoint, there are three reasons I'm thinking about not quitting. 1) I do enjoy the rest of the class. I like learning different ways of doing technique than we did in TKD. I also like seeing a lot of the things that are done similar to TKD. 2) I want to make sure I'm not just reacting to the bad shot I took yesterday, and that I'm not happy as a whole. 3) I feel like if I can't handle Muay Thai and open a TKD school, it kind of makes me a fraud. Although at the same time, one of the reasons I want to open up a TKD school is because I think the sparring in TKD is safer and more fun than the sparring in MT.

I don't know if the purpose of this post is to vent or to get advice, but it's there if people want to comment.
 

Tony Dismukes

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Regarding the cup issue on the one hand I do think its a good idea for a coach to at least recommend wearing during sparring on the other hand I think that youre an experienced enough martial artist that you should have been able to figure out that there is a risk on accidental groin shots without being told on the third hand, youre aiming to be an instructor and its not a bad thing for an instructor to have experienced a groin shot or two along the way just to know what they feel like. Not anything I would recommend making a habit of though.

Regarding the having fun getting punched in the face isnt fun for most of us. There are exceptions, but they tend to be on the crazy side. Im crazy but not that crazy. But you can get (somewhat) desensitized to it. Im to the point where when someone nails me with a clean punch to the head that my natural response is to smile and congratulate them with good one! But I avoid sparring with up-and-coming young pros who have something to prove about how much damage they can dish out. I stick to either the amateurs that I can match with skill or the older pros who have the ability and willingness to keep things at an intensity I can handle.

(BTW, that desensitization does not depend on you being some sort of naturally tough guy. I started out as the biggest wimp possible and I ended up making it through a couple of full-contact fights in the ring. I would have had more if I hadnt already been in my late 30s when I got into Muay Thai.)

If you really dislike the whole experience, theres nothing wrong with skipping it. But as youre aiming to eventually be an instructor with your own school, its not a bad thing to have at least spent a little while pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. It will give you useful insights for guiding your students, even if you dont plan on putting them through hard contact sparring with head shots.
 

HighKick

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I've been doing BJJ for the last year and a half, Muay Thai for the last several months. Both at the same gym. The Muay Thai coach is one of the black belts in BJJ.

I absolutely love BJJ. I am 100% planning on continuing BJJ. But I'm not entirely enjoying my Muay Thai experience. I really dislike the sparring. I don't like getting punched in the face, which is pretty much a given. Yesterday, I took a bad groin shot. A little bit of drama between me and my coach about protective gear. He gave me a hard time about not wearing a cup, but he also has never told us to put more on than gloves, shin pads, and a mouthguard. He sees it as our responsibility to decide what gear to wear (we're adults), I see it as his responsibility as coach to at least recommend the appropriate gear when he tells us to put gear on. When I mentioned I don't want to spar anymore, he seemed to begrudgingly accept it, but gave me a hard time about it.

As some of you know, I would eventually like to open my own TKD school. I much prefer the TKD style of sparring (at least, the TKD sparring I'm used to). No head punches, no head kicks before you're an upper belt. You can punch and kick to the chest as hard as you want, but the chest can take it. I always had fun in TKD sparring. I always have fun in BJJ rolls. I don't have fun in MT sparring. It doesn't help that I'm 5'5 and pretty much always the smallest person, especially in terms of reach.

As a counterpoint, there are three reasons I'm thinking about not quitting. 1) I do enjoy the rest of the class. I like learning different ways of doing technique than we did in TKD. I also like seeing a lot of the things that are done similar to TKD. 2) I want to make sure I'm not just reacting to the bad shot I took yesterday, and that I'm not happy as a whole. 3) I feel like if I can't handle Muay Thai and open a TKD school, it kind of makes me a fraud. Although at the same time, one of the reasons I want to open up a TKD school is because I think the in TKD is safer and more fun than the sparring in MT.

I don't know if the purpose of this post is to vent or to get advice, but it's there if people want to comment.
All these years of martial arts experience and you can't anticipate how to gear up for sparring? C'mon man.
Male or female, groin protection is an automatic whether standing or rolling.

It sounds like this may be your first real endeavor in stand-up sparring. That is a good thing. And there will be a steeper learning curve since you already have some experience. Both in the current class expectation and in your own mental perception. Just be smart about things and don't take an entitled attitude. Never assume someone is going to tell you what you need.

Remember, none of us are too experienced to learn. And no matter what your age is, safety is paramount.
 

Tony Dismukes

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Male or female, groin protection is an automatic whether standing or rolling
I actually made the decision a while back to stop wearing a cup while rolling in BJJ, because I found it was leading me to bad habits in terms of not protecting my groin properly. (Also wearing a cup is against the rules in most BJJ competition because it can be used as a weapon, but that wasnt a primary concern for me.) I do recognize that if that lack of protection leads me to get accidentally nailed in the nuts, thats my responsibility.
 

jks9199

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So, with years of experience in TKD... getting kicked in the groin sparring didn't occur to you? It didn't seem slightly possible that full-ish contact sparring might sometimes lead to getting a shot in the nuts? Sorry, no sympathy there. Kind of like we tell kids at a woodshop where I volunteer when they hit their thumb with a hammer... It's just a part of the activity.

As to getting hit in the face... If you like it, I got worries about you! But it, too, is part of the game. If you've never been hit in the face, your training has, quite honestly, been incomplete. You don't have to like it; you don't have to get good enough at it that you try to claim you're blocking punches with your face... but it leads to lots of bad habits and false confidence. Take it as a lesson, and work harder to make sure it doesn't happen in the future.
 
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its not a bad thing to have at least spent a little while pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. It will give you useful insights for guiding your students, even if you dont plan on putting them through hard contact sparring with head shots.
I kind of feel like I've been doing this already.

It's kind of like when I feel I've got nothing left, still do another roll or two after that, and then I'm completely exhausted. That's when I go to sit out, and someone says, "You gotta push yourself on these rounds where you feel like you're done." True, but I've been silently doing that already the last 2 rounds!
You don't have to like it; you don't have to get good enough at it that you try to claim you're blocking punches with your face... but it leads to lots of bad habits and false confidence. Take it as a lesson, and work harder to make sure it doesn't happen in the future.
This would be a long-term effort with no guarantee for success. I'm perfectly fine with less realistic training if it means I'm not getting punched in the face regularly for the next few years.

It's sort of a catch-22. In order to get the best training to avoid getting beaten up, you need to get beaten up. I can get beat up less by not training.
 
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All these years of martial arts experience and you can't anticipate how to gear up for sparring? C'mon man.
Gear is different between different martial arts. We wear no protective gear in BJJ. We wear different shin protectors and gloves and no chestguard in Muay Thai.

Half the time we don't even know we're sparring when we grab our gear. He'll say "gloves and shinpads" and then when we get on the mat, he says, "Sparring, 2 minute rounds." And that's the point, he tells us explicitly to get gloves and shinpads. It may not be his intention that that's all that's recommended, but it's the way it comes across.
 

Tony Dismukes

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It's sort of a catch-22. In order to get the best training to avoid getting beaten up, you need to get beaten up. I can get beat up less by not training.
This is indeed the core paradox of martial arts.

My approach is to build students up progressively in terms of intensity and contact so that they dont get concussions while developing the skills to keep from getting hit in the head.


I kind of feel like I've been doing this already.

It's kind of like when I feel I've got nothing left, still do another roll or two after that, and then I'm completely exhausted. That's when I go to sit out, and someone says, "You gotta push yourself on these rounds where you feel like you're done." True, but I've been silently doing that already the last 2 rounds!
Yep, thats doing it in BJJ. In BJJ a lot of the stretching your comfort zone has to do with pushing through exhaustion, frustration, confusion, and the claustrophobia of being stuck in bad positions.

In striking arts like Muay Thai, you add the necessity of getting past the fear of getting hit. (Also building the willingness to really hit someone else, for those of us who are pacifistically inclined.)

As I mentioned, I prefer to build students up incrementally so they dont get hurt or traumatized before they develop the skills and mindset to handle someone coming at them hard. But some instructors lean towards tossing students into the deep end of the pool. That approach helps select for natural fighters who will do well in competition. My approach is better for building up people who are not natural fighters and probably need the training more if they ever have to use it for self-defense.
 
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As I mentioned, I prefer to build students up incrementally so they dont get hurt or traumatized before they develop the skills and mindset to handle someone coming at them hard. But some instructors lean towards tossing students into the deep end of the pool. That approach helps select for natural fighters who will do well in competition. My approach is better for building up people who are not natural fighters and probably need the training more if they ever have to use it for self-defense.
I think my coach is trying to do this, but it's been hard because it's mostly new folks. We spend a lot of time drilling combinations and counters, but not a lot on defense itself.
 

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Life is too short to continue doing things you dont like. Devote your limited time to the things that make your heart soar!
 
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drop bear

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I kind of feel like I've been doing this already.

It's kind of like when I feel I've got nothing left, still do another roll or two after that, and then I'm completely exhausted. That's when I go to sit out, and someone says, "You gotta push yourself on these rounds where you feel like you're done." True, but I've been silently doing that already the last 2 rounds!

This would be a long-term effort with no guarantee for success. I'm perfectly fine with less realistic training if it means I'm not getting punched in the face regularly for the next few years.

It's sort of a catch-22. In order to get the best training to avoid getting beaten up, you need to get beaten up. I can get beat up less by not training.
Up to you but your mind will break before your body does. (And by the way the next guy you meet who has this "killer" mindset. See if they still have it after a couple of hard rounds.)

And if you don't wish to wear a cup. After a while your groin will develop a callous. So you should be right.
 

jks9199

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As I mentioned, I prefer to build students up incrementally so they dont get hurt or traumatized before they develop the skills and mindset to handle someone coming at them hard. But some instructors lean towards tossing students into the deep end of the pool. That approach helps select for natural fighters who will do well in competition. My approach is better for building up people who are not natural fighters and probably need the training more if they ever have to use it for self-defense.
I probably run a middle ground. There comes a point students have to get hit. Depending on the setting, that might come earlier. Teaching recruits at the academy? I'm all for hitting them in the face early. They have to learn fast that they can get hit and keep going. A typical Monday to Friday cubical farmer? Take your time. Start with drills that aren't making contact, just getting them used to seeing things coming at them. Gradually increase the speed and contact over time. If they're doing full contact, I would rock 'em at least once or twice in training by design. I wanted it to happen under my control, not in the ring!
 

drop bear

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This is indeed the core paradox of martial arts.

My approach is to build students up progressively in terms of intensity and contact so that they dont get concussions while developing the skills to keep from getting hit in the head.



Yep, thats doing it in BJJ. In BJJ a lot of the stretching your comfort zone has to do with pushing through exhaustion, frustration, confusion, and the claustrophobia of being stuck in bad positions.

In striking arts like Muay Thai, you add the necessity of getting past the fear of getting hit. (Also building the willingness to really hit someone else, for those of us who are pacifistically inclined.)

As I mentioned, I prefer to build students up incrementally so they dont get hurt or traumatized before they develop the skills and mindset to handle someone coming at them hard. But some instructors lean towards tossing students into the deep end of the pool. That approach helps select for natural fighters who will do well in competition. My approach is better for building up people who are not natural fighters and probably need the training more if they ever have to use it for self-defense.

There is a thing I do if the student is super flinchy. Or super hesitant. But really wants to break that out of themselves. Where I just grind out high pressure rounds untill they crack the sads and just fight to hurt me.

But there is nuance. I tell them that is the method. And it is pretend competitive.
 

Xue Sheng

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So, with years of experience in TKD... getting kicked in the groin sparring didn't occur to you? It didn't seem slightly possible that full-ish contact sparring might sometimes lead to getting a shot in the nuts? Sorry, no sympathy there. Kind of like we tell kids at a woodshop where I volunteer when they hit their thumb with a hammer... It's just a part of the activity.

As to getting hit in the face... If you like it, I got worries about you! But it, too, is part of the game. If you've never been hit in the face, your training has, quite honestly, been incomplete. You don't have to like it; you don't have to get good enough at it that you try to claim you're blocking punches with your face... but it leads to lots of bad habits and false confidence. Take it as a lesson, and work harder to make sure it doesn't happen in the future.
I have said most martial artists are crazy.... we get kicked, knocked down, punched, thrown, and injured and when most sane people would get up, say stop and leave...we get up, saying that was cool, lets go again....
 

jks9199

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I have said most martial artists are crazy.... we get kicked, knocked down, punched, thrown, and injured and when most sane people would get up, say stop and leave...we get up, saying that was cool, lets go again....
You do have a point there...
 

Kung Fu Wang

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Thinking about quitting Muay Thai​


A professional MT fighter told me that the average MT fighter only have 6 years in ring fight.

If you don't quit MT at your age of

- 30, you may quit MT at your age of 40.
- 40, you may quit MT at your age of 50.
- ...

Full contact is just not for all age. But I strongly suggest that one should have done that when he is still young.

I don't like getting punched in the face,
If you spent 80% of your effort to prevent your opponent from punching on your head, is that hard to do? Try to change your thinking a little bit. If your opponent cannot land any punches on your head, you already win that fight (assume you can take body shot).




 
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JowGaWolf

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I really dislike the sparring. I don't like getting punched in the face, which is pretty much a given. Yesterday, I took a bad groin shot. A little bit of drama between me and my coach about protective gear. He gave me a hard time about not wearing a cup, but he also has never told us to put more on than gloves, shin pads, and a mouthguard. He sees it as our responsibility to decide what gear to wear (we're adults), I see it as his responsibility as coach to at least recommend the appropriate gear when he tells us to put gear on. When I mentioned I don't want to spar anymore, he seemed to begrudgingly accept it, but gave me a hard time about it.
Lecture time. You getting hit in the face is your fault. Work on your defense. There's a way that you can spar where you aim for the head but don't land the punch. This only works if you accept thst the punch would have landed. It requires a lot of resets.

But if you are getting hit in the face to the point where you don't want to deal with it then you are probably sparring at too high of an intensity. And you seriously need to work on your defense and or just ask your sparring partner to ease up on the head shot contact.

In terms of wearing a cup. That is just standard. After you spar and get a feel for people then you'll be able to measure the risks. The lighter the sparring the less you have to worry about it if your partner has good control. But sometimes the attacks that you do increase the risks of getting kicked in the groin.

UT the good news is that you now know you need to wear a cup when you spar in their school. But groin shots are just natural sometimes times it's your opponent's fault, sometimes it's your fault, and sometimes it just bad timing.

I know Muay Thai gyms are different than how I train others. For me if I see a student taking too many heads shots, then I'll pull that student from sparring and help them to train and improve their head defense. I think something like that would have been more meaningful for you.
 

JowGaWolf

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3) I feel like if I can't handle Muay Thai and open a TKD school, it kind of makes me a fraud. Although at the same time, one of the reasons I want to open up a TKD school is because I think the sparring in TKD is safer and more fun than the sparring in MT.
No such thing. Don't put thst standards and qualification on yourself. You are valid if you know why you are eating punches and know what doesn't work is promore important than knowing what works. @Tony Dismukes kept getting me in a headlock. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong and how he was successful with it. I stopped and immediately as him what he was doing and why I kept failing. He told me. Now I know.

Before you quit as you Muay thai sparring partner how is he able to punch you in the face so much. At least get that understanding of things before you quit.
 
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There's a way that you can spar where you aim for the head but don't land the punch. This only works if you accept thst the punch would have landed. It requires a lot of resets.
I'm not in charge of the class. I don't set the sparring rules. I don't have the ability to magically make my partners spar this way.

If this were how sparring was, I wouldn't complain. And there are a few people that spar this way, and I don't hate sparring with them.
Lecture time. You getting hit in the face is your fault. Work on your defense.
I never said it wasn't my fault. Although the fact you then went on to say that if my partners are sparring at too high intensity would suggest that there's more to it. I never said I didn't need to work on my defense. I said I don't want to take hits to the face for months or years in the hopes that I will develop enough defense against it.

And don't start off a comment with "lecture time". It makes you look arrogant, and makes it much less likely the person you're talking to is going to accept your advice.
 
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