A while ago I received an email from someone named Mike (not his real name), who was complaining about his training circumstances.
Mike wasn’t happy…
Without going into much detail of the email, Mike felt that his coach was not investing enough time in him. He was jealous that other people at the gym were receiving more attention and he wasn’t developing as much as he would have liked.
Mike believed that his Muay Thai development was the responsibility of his coach – a view that is quite common among beginners.
Now, if Mike was paying his coach a full-time salary to train him daily, then yes, the coach would have a higher burden of responsibility. However, Mike was only paying for group classes and was complaining about a lack of attention he received.
When I read this email, I was annoyed. Mike’s inability to take responsibility for his own growth is actually quite common in the world of Muay Thai.
I know plenty of people who are like Mike.
If these people lose a fight, you will hear them criticize the promoter for a bad matchup, their trainer for not preparing them for the fight, or for some mysterious food they ate that made them weak.
You will never hear them accept responsibility for a loss or give credit to their opponent for a good fight. They always have a reason or someone to blame when things don’t work out their way.
However, the moment these people win or do something right, they will credit themselves and all their hard training for everything.
Nobody will care about your growth as much as you.
You are the person who decides if you show up to training early and put in the work or don’t. Your coach can’t force you to do anything, you are the one who needs to make the commitment.
The only person responsible for your Muay Thai development is you. Your coaches/trainers are there to assist you and help you grow, but you oversee where you train, who you train with, and how you train.
I hear a lot of people blame bad trainers, gyms, and promoters for the reason why they haven’t achieved the success they desired. While there are a lot of bad trainers, gyms, and promoters out there, you can choose who you work with.
If you aren’t happy at a gym, find a new one
If you feel like your coach doesn’t care about you or you don’t like the people at your gym, move on. Don’t sit back and talk shit about other people, just move on.
You are the captain of your own ship.
You get to decide where you spend your time training. If you choose to train at a bad gym because you save a bit of money or time driving to the gym, that is your choice. But don’t bitch about how you don’t like the gym and are ‘forced’ to go there because it is cheaper.
Instead of complaining about your circumstances, do something about it. For example, if you live in a small town that doesn’t have a real Muay Thai gym, make it your goal to train in Thailand.
Can’t afford to visit Thailand?
When I hear people complaining about not having enough money to visit Thailand, I can’t help but be skeptical. If you are going out on the weekend drinking with friends, and say you can’t afford a few thousand dollars for a trip to Thailand, you are lying to yourself.
If you are a single guy/girl and don’t have a family to feed, you have no excuses. All it takes it cutting back your expenses and pocketing a bit of extra money every month.
The same people who say they can’t afford to visit Thailand, are the people who are going out on weekends drinking with their friends.
Instead of saying you can’t to train in Thailand, just admit that you choose not to. It is not a priority for you.
Training in Thailand is cheap if you budget your money. You can find one-way flights from the U.S. for as little as $400, with training/food adding up to another $800-1000 per month.
So, if you can save up a few thousand dollars, you can afford to train in Thailand for a few months.
If there is a will there is always a way. Don’t make excuses why you can’t, just make it happen.
Self-awareness is an important skill to have when you are developing your Muay Thai game. At any given moment, you should be able to identify specific areas of your game that need to be improved. Perhaps, specific types of opponent’s give you problems in sparring or you know that you need to keep your hands up when you spar.
Identifying areas of your game that need to be improved, is a skill that can help you take your game to another level. Instead of waiting for a coach to identify a problem area, you should be actively looking for areas of your game that you can work on.
Being critical doesn’t mean that you should tell yourself that you suck. It simply means you can look at your game from an analytical perspective and identify areas that can be improved. Just because you can improve in a specific area, does not make you bad at Muay Thai or mean you have bad technique.
No matter how long you have been training, you should always have an idea of what you can improve. This will ensure that you always have something to work on in training.
Strive to Improve
Part of taking responsibility for your own Muay Thai development means focusing on making continuous improvements. While it is easy to improve as a beginner, if you have been training for a decade, improvements are harder to come by. After years of training, we often develop specific habits which are difficult to change.
The goal of Muay Thai is to strive to improve. If you make little improvements every day, those little improvements turn into major changes over the years. People who become complacent with their Muay Thai game, end up falling into a routine and don’t improve.
By striving to be a better version of YOU, you will achieve the results that you want.