Muay Thai Arts: Cultivating a Mature Relationship Mindset

Two men engaging in competitive Muay Thai arts
Take inspiration from Muay Thai arts. It’s not just a sport, it’s an art filled with life lessons.

Do you know the number one requirement before entering a relationship? Maturity.

Being mature doesn’t mean letting go of spontaneity or playfulness. Instead, it refers to being in charge of your emotions, understanding other people’s perspectives, and making responsible decisions.

However, maturity is hard to attain, as it requires a change in mindset – from resistance to change to embracing growth, from pride to humility, and from self-limiting thoughts to constructive self-talk.

But it is possible.

In Thailand, they use sports to cultivate a mature mindset.

For example, their national sport, Muay Thai or the art of 8 limbs, may seem like any other fighting sport because of its competitive nature and physical demands. However, it is an art that helps you cultivate a mature mindset that you can apply throughout your life, especially in your relationships.

That being said, here is how Muay Thai arts can influence you.

The Art of 8 in Muay Thai

Muay Thai translates to Thai boxing and is known as a stand-up fighting sport, where both athletes strike each other instead of wrestling on the ground.

Because of this, many confuse it with kickboxing.

Although there are many differences that separate Muay Thai vs Kickboxing, the most prominent one is that the former uses 8 limbs to strike, while the latter only uses 4.

Moreover, Muay Thai athletes use the clinch and sweep technique. In the clinch, they grab their opponent’s head, allowing them to execute their attacks. Meanwhile, in using the sweep, they knock down their opponent by “sweeping their feet” from underneath them.

A woman learning Muay Thai or the art of 8 limbs
There’s a lesson in every strike. Apply what you learn in Muay Thai or the art of 8 limbs, inside and outside the ring.

Due to the greater variety of techniques that opponents can employ, athletes of this sport often need to adjust their strategies and approaches depending on the situation.

Moreover, embracing the concept that Muay Thai uses 8 limbs for striking, athletes often need to be open to new techniques that they can incorporate during a fight.

Like Muay Thai athletes who frequently practice open-mindedness, adaptability, and versatility in their sport, you can apply these qualities in your relationships. This will allow you to navigate conflicts more effectively and help you and your partner in finding a middle ground.

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Being Humble and with Good Intentions

Before attempting to learn Muay Thai, many people ask the following questions:

Is Muay Thai the deadliest martial art?

Is Muay Thai the most dangerous martial art?

Some ask because they want to protect themselves, while others ask out of a desire for revenge or to boast about being a dangerous opponent.

While there have been several cases of the latter, Muay Thai is historically and traditionally known to be a humble sport.

In 1238, there were various wars between tribes and neighboring kingdoms. As a result, the first Thai army was created.

Like many other soldiers, they were taught how to use weapons. However, they were also trained in using their entire bodies to fight. This eventually became known as Muay Thai.

As Muay Thai arts emerged due to the threat of war, many tried to learn it for self-defense. Meanwhile, others learned it as a form of exercise and a means to cultivate their discipline.

As time passed, Muay Thai transitioned into a competitive sport.

For poor families, it became an alternative path to sending their children to university.

That being said, Muay Thai athletes mainly come from humble beginnings and approach the sport with the intention to protect and provide for themselves and others.

Just like in a relationship, it’s best to enter with positive intentions like companionship and love, rather than selfish desires such as wealth or status.

Also, like how certain Muay Thai athletes learned the sport for self-defense, discipline, and self-improvement, try to approach relationships with a growth mindset. This means working on yourself and supporting your partner’s growth as well.

Men learning the art of 8 in Muay Thai
There are numerous combinations used in the art of 8 in Muay Thai, just as there are in relationships. Stay open to diverse possibilities.

Building Your Focus

Is Muay Thai the best martial art?

The answer to this question is debatable and depends on the techniques and forms used.

However, if the question is more along the lines of “Is Muay Thai the most effective martial art for building focus?” most would agree that this is indeed the case.

In a Muay Thai competition, athletes are required to perform a ritual known as the Wai Kru Ram Muay before they start sparring.

The first two terms originate from the word “Wai,” which is the gesture for the traditional greeting in Thailand, and “Kru,” a form of paying respect to elders.

That being said, in the first segment of the ritual, the athletes perform a prayer wherein they circle the ring and bow down three times, each to show respect to their coaches, training partners, family, and the divine being.

Afterwards, the athletes perform a dance called Ram Muay to pay tribute to the characters in Thai folklore. Once the dance is over, the athletes go back to their corners and have their trainers remove and bless their Mongkhon (headdress) with a prayer for good luck before returning it to them.

A Muay Thai athlete who seems to be focusing in his training
Is Muay Thai a good martial art? Given its benefits to your physicality and mental maturity, many agree that it is.

Aside from its traditional roots, the dance is also intended to keep the athlete’s focus in the ring, leaving behind external distractions.

In this sense, they learn to let go of elements beyond their control, such as the opinions of judges and the crowd, variations in their opponent’s fighting style, or unexpected injuries.

Athletes are only expected to concentrate on their strengths, weaknesses, and the strategies they have developed during their training.

What matters most is that they enter the fight fully prepared, enabling them to confront their opponent head-on without reservations.

Similar to entering a relationship, you need to focus on creating a bond with your partner by letting go of external distractions.

For instance, if there’s a significant age gap, refuse to let your relationship be defined by societal expectations. Or, if you’re in a long distance relationship, don’t let yourself be overwhelmed by potential challenges.

To navigate the complexities of your relationship in a mature manner, focus on what you can contribute and be willing to be vulnerable when necessary, aligning your approach to how you can address your issues.

Is Muay Thai a Good Martial Art?

For many, Muay Thai arts goes beyond the typical aspects of a sport, extending beyond its physical demands and competition.

This is because Muay Thai athletes cultivate more than just sparring techniques; they develop a mature and disciplined mindset that can be carried into their daily lives and relationships.

However, you don’t need to learn the sport to enter and maintain a healthy relationship.

Rather, adopt the positive qualities and capabilities that Muay Thai athletes acquire - like open-mindedness, adaptability, versatility, humility, and focus - and incorporate them into your own approach.

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