Mastering Muay Thai 

The martial arts are ‘part of culture and beautiful’, 16-year-old Henry March tells me, as we discuss his inspiring love and passion for Muay Thai. Until meeting Henry, I had never heard of Muay Thai or ‘Thai boxing’ but hearing about how popular it is; according to, over 80,000 men, women and children currently participate in Muay Thai on a regular basis in the Uk, especially for teenage boys now, made me interested- what are the benefits of Muay Thai? 

 Henry tells me that in terms of his physical fitness, the strength and conditioning involved in Muay Thai has shown him clear results of an increase in his power, agility and stamina. This strength is illustrated when, at lunchtime, Henry makes his mark in a broken, seemingly solid metal bottle. He hits the hefty bottle with his thoroughly conditioned elbow, making a deep dent, as if he was elbowing a soft, feather pillow.  

What interested me the most was the mental benefits of Muay Thai, which, after chatting to Henry, feel numerous. He tells me that Muay Thai has helped him hold himself accountable: ‘You are on your own in the ring, so if I lose a fight in sparring, I know that it is down to me doing something wrong and there is no one else to blame’. This means, he tells me, that after a lost fight, he reflects on his performance to focus on the small details that led him to lose, and he applies this method to studying. Admirably, he says ‘I enjoy failing on the small scale because, the more you fail, the more it gives you an opportunity to learn and become better’. Muay Thai has taught him this mindset and helped him learn how to overcome difficult challenges. Using precise, intricate hand gestures to reflect his passion, Henry tells me: ‘Improvement is a linear passage, it is a simple schedule, I do something wrong, identify what is wrong and then I can correct what I have done wrong to improve myself in the long run’. After only 2 years of Muay Thai training, it is astounding the impact it has had on Henry. It is uplifting to hear that certain sports can provide you with such key life skills and is a reminder of how important exercise should be in our lives.  

Unfortunately, the UK could be doing much more exercise, with the UK average being 90 minutes of exercise per week according to ukactive, in comparison to the NHS’s recommended 150 minutes. Henry encourages more people to get involved with martial arts, suggesting that you should watch a short video on the different types of fighting, to see which one appeals to you. He warns against comparison saying ‘when you first start training, don’t think down of yourself because you aren’t good yet, a lot of people quit early when they see everyone else training as they look so much better, but you need to remember this comes from practice, time and improvement. Enjoy the process.’