In our last article titled, “5 Reasons you Should Fight,” we talked about specific reasons why you should fight. This article will talk about why you don’t have to fight if you love the sport.

With the growing popularity of Muay Thai around the world, there are increasing opportunities to have fights. While some people enjoy fighting and competing, the majority of people who train do not have aspirations to enter the ring.

Just because someone is training Muay Thai and loves the sport, doesn’t mean they want to test themselves in a fight. Everyone has their own reason why they train: some people love the fitness, self-defense, and social aspects of the sport, while others love the competition and fighting side of Muay Thai.

In Thailand, Muay Thai is only way of life for many young Thais in rural areas. Most Muay Thai fighters come from poor families who use Muay Thai as a way to provide extra income for a struggling family. For some of these young fighters, Muay Thai will provide them a source of living for the rest of their lives.

In contrast, people in the West train because they want to, not because they have to.

“Everyone has their reasons for why they train, the main purpose is that you enjoy what you’re doing and for some, competing will take that aspect away.” – Damien Trainor

With that being said, here are 5 reasons you shouldn’t fight:

#1: You Don’t Want to Fight

Not everyone wants to get into the ring.

Photo Credit: Michael Howarth

If a person does not want to fight, they should not fight. It is simple as that.  There is nothing wrong with training and not fighting. Fighting is not meant for everyone. The fact that a person decides not to fight does not make them any less of a man (or woman) than someone who fights regularly. Don’t ever let somebody pressure you into fighting if you don’t want to do it.

I’ve seen people get pressured into having a fight when they were extremely reluctant to get into the ring. Most of the time, these people regret (not always) the decision later on. A person who doesn’t want to fight is more likely to put on a lackluster performance. This often happens because the fighter does not have the right motivations to be in the ring.

Training in Thailand

If you happen to train in Thailand expect every trainer to ask you to fight, regardless of your skill level. The Thai trainers have a financial incentive for their students to fight. I’ve seen guys who had no business stepping in the ring, being told they should fight.

If you don’t plan on fighting make sure you keep a thick skin and prepare to tell your trainer/trainers an affirmative no. Don’t beat around the bush and say maybe later, just say no and be firm. Trust me, no matter how good you are, they will pressure you to fight. So don’t be fooled if they say, “you win, sure!”

#2: Fighting is Not Your Priority

"Priorities" Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.As much as you might want to eat, sleep, and breathe Muay Thai, it might not be a reality for you. It is perfectly fine to admit that you have more important priorities in your life. People have family, work, and school commitments that can make it difficult to train. Not everyone can afford the time required to improve and get to a level where they are ready to fight.

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If you have other commitments that are more pressing, don’t feel bad for turning down a fight. The best time to fight is when you don’t have family, work and other priorities that can take away your focus. That is one of the reasons why people take time off work to live and train in Thailand. People who are training full time can dedicate everything they have to getting better and focus on fighting.

#3: You have Health Issues

Health issues muay thai Injuries and health issues can prevent you from fighting

Health issues muay thai
Injuries and health issues can prevent you from fighting

While age should never be the reason you don’t fight, some people have legitimate health concerns that prevent them from entering the ring. Fighting is not a walk in the park. You can get seriously hurt. If you have health issues then you should avoid stepping in the ring. You are responsible for your own well being, so don’t expect your training to make the decisions for you.

Obviously, fitness is a big aspect of Muay Thai. If you have certain health issues that prevent you from doing certain techniques, you can still get a great workout by focusing on other aspects of the sport. For example, if your knee is injured, you can work on your boxing while you are recovering from the injury.

#4: You don’t like to Compete

A lot of people love training and getting in shape.

A lot of people love training without fighting.

Competition is not for everyone. If you don’t have a competitive side, then fighting is the last thing that you should be doing. Someone who is not competitive, will not feel the need to push harder if they are losing. Competing hard is an essential component of fighting, without a competitive side, you will not perform well in a fight.

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There is nothing worse than seeing a fighter give up in the ring when they are scared or don’t want to continue. If you think you don’t have the drive to fight and compete, your instincts are probably right.

#5: You are Training for Fitness

A lot of people love getting in shape

A lot of people love getting in shape

A large percentage of people who are training Muay Thai do it because of the fitness benefits of the sport. Given the fact that Muay Thai is one of the highest calorie burning workouts you can do, it is not surprising that is attracts a very large fitness orientated crowd.

Anyone who is training Muay Thai for the fitness benefits, will not have fighting as a priority. If you want to burn as many calories as possible, technique isn’t going to matter. As long as you are happy with your results in training, continue doing what you are doing.

The Final Word

At the end of the day the decision to fight comes down to you. You have to ask yourself what are your goals for the sport. If you want to be as good as you possibly can be, then fighting is a natural step to becoming better. If you love the sport, but don’t feel that fighting is for you, then don’t fight. Getting in the ring is a personal decision that every student has to make for themselves.

Fighting is definitely not for everyone, so don’t feel bad if you have no desire to step in the ring. Just because you aren’t getting ring experience, doesn’t mean you can’t continue to improve and get better.

Everyone trains Muay Thai for different reasons. Whatever your motivation for training, the important part is that you enjoy doing it.

Related Articles: Make sure you check out 5 Matchup Scenarios You Will Face in Thailand