Posted by Sean On February 04, 2014
Best 5 Tips For Your First Muay Thai Fight
#1. Understand Your Opponent Is Human Too
Very rarely during my first few fights did I ever consider how my opponent was feeling leading up to fight night. After some experience, deep thought and reflection I realized that my opponent goes through the same emotions that I do before stepping into the ring.
Once I realized this it gave me a sense of relief. I’m not the only one going crazy, getting anxious and doubting myself before I fight, my opponent is too! He/she has to fight the same demons that go inside my head and have to go through the same phases of training camp leading up to the fight. Knowing that my opponent is a human and gets nervous/scared just like me, helps relieve my anxiety and gives me confidence that I can win my fight.
#2. It Is All Part Of The Process
The emotions you get leading up to your first fight are SUPPOSED to happen. If you don’t feel anxious, nervous or scared then there is something wrong with you because that’s fucking crazy. Try to understand that everything you go through leading up to the fight is all part of the journey. Without the challenges, emotions and stresses then it wouldn’t be so rewarding when you do get that first fight under your belt (or better yet first WIN).
#3. Fight Your Heart Out
It sounds corny as hell but you really can’t “lose” a fight if you give it your all. I mean, technically you can lose according to the judges or by getting KO’ed, but if you put the time, hard work and effort into training and fight with everything you’ve got until the end, I don’t consider that a loss.
A REAL loss is when you give up, quit or stop fighting. It’s the worst feeling in the world when you give up on yourself and you let yourself down by not putting it all out there. It’s even worse disappointing your trainers, training partners, friends and family! You know how you can avoid all of this? Fight like it’s your life on the line.
I personally believe this is one of the crucial tips for your first fight because IT WORKS!Going through the whole process of the fight event will help alleviate the anxiety you get when you actually get to the venue and hear your name called to fight. From walking through the doors of the venue to getting your hand raised after a tough fight, visualization can help in more ways than one. Here are a few ways/places I like to practice visualization to help me prepare mentally for a fight:
At My Gym: Whenever I get a chance to be alone inside the ring I love to go through the whole fight from beginning to end. I’ll enter the ring, seal the corners, acknowledge the crowd, hear my name announced, get the instructions from the ref and then fight. When the fight starts I’ll shadowbox what I want to implement into my game and try to focus on my technique and be loose and fluid. After the fight I like to even visualize getting my hand raised and hearing my name called… it’s a great feeling.
At My House: Whether I’m laying in bed, sitting on the couch or taking a hot bubble bath (yea I take bubble baths, so what) I like to sit in silence, close my eyes and picture the entire event in my head from beginning to end. From actually arriving to the venue and walking in the front doors, to the rules meeting, to getting my hands wrapped, to my warm up, to the fight and everything in between. Like I said, this helps me feel comfortable, calm and relaxed when I actually do go through all these situations.
At The Venue: Before the fights happen (either at weigh-ins or hours before the fights) I ask the promoter if I could use the ring and walkway to visualize and usually they have no problem. I’ll do my walk out with my headphones on and the same walkout song I’ll be using that night. Then I’ll go through the entire process AGAIN. Go over the top rope, acknowledge the crowd, seal the ring etc. And of course I’ll finish up with getting my hand raised and thanking the invisible crowd
Here is a video I shot at weigh-ins from one of my fights. I like to video it so when I go home I can watch it and picture the whole walk to the ring in my head:
Take the time to visualize and mentally picture the fight in your head. It’s proven to work by sports psychologists, all types of athletes and myself so give it a try!
#5. Train Your Ass Off!
Probably the most important of the tips for your first fight is this one: Train hard, train often. All the other tips for your first fight mean nothing if you don’t put in the time to prepare for a war. Hard work, dedication, sacrifice, consistency and eating a healthy diet will pay off more than any amount of visualization will.
Not to mention if you train your heart out and put the time and effort in at the gym, you will feel more confident stepping into the ring for the first time because you will know that you’ve done everything you’ve possibly could to be prepared for this fight. Being well trained and in great shape is one of the best ways to relieve anxiety and build confidence going into the fight.