Picture this: you’ve started Muay Thai lessons a few months ago, and you’re getting pretty good at it. You’ve now been told by your instructor that you’re ready for your first sparring session against an opponent.
After stepping into the ring, though, you’re suddenly paralyzed by fear. You begin sweating, it takes all your strength not to shake, and your mind is spiraling with all kind of thoughts.
What if I get really injured? What if I’m not good enough to fight this other guy? What if everyone watching laughs at me?
Fear is pretty much a given for any martial arts. For a full-contact sport such as Muay Thai, however, it can be very gripping and hard to shake.
The good news is fear is all in the mind and therefore, something we can control.
Read on to learn about how you can conquer fear in the Muay Thai ring.
Master Your Thoughts
Dr. Wayne Dyer once said, “Thoughts are mental energy; they’re the currency you have to attract what you desire. Learn to stop spending the currency on things you don’t want.”
Dyer believed that your thoughts create your beliefs, which then create your reality. It’s a message that many self-improvement and New Age gurus have driven home for decades.
This means you need to start thinking new thoughts that don’t include fear into the equation at all but instead are positive thoughts of courage and confidence.
Writing down and saying positive affirmations out loud will start to make a big difference in reshaping your sub-conscious mind. Affirmations such as, “I am good enough”, “I am a champion”, and “I am courageous” will become your reality the more you say and believe them.
This takes practice and work, though, as many of us have been conditioned to think only negative thoughts. Just remember to catch yourself and replace the limiting thought with something that makes you feel good. Do it daily, and soon you’ll be thinking of yourself in a whole new way.
You Can’t Predict the Future
Many of us have everyday worries such as losing our job, a loved one, facing a health crisis, and more. In the Muay Thai ring, you may be worried about getting hurt, being humiliated, and being told you’re not good enough to name a few.
Why do we worry, anyway? It’s our built-in preventative human mechanism to prepare us mentally for the possibility of something really bad happening.
The problem is, we have no idea if anything we worry about will come to pass.
We cannot predict the future. Each time you step into the ring, you really cannot predict if you’re going to be injured. Therefore, all you can do is stay in the present moment.
By reminding yourself to stay in the present, you have all the power. You’re not thinking about the past or the future. All that any of us have is the present moment, as we don’t know what tomorrow will bring.
Try to also remember that worrying just feeds energy to the possibility of the outcome you don’t want. Focus instead on what you want to happen. That brings us to the next tip you can use to be fearless: visualization.
Visualize Your Success
Visualization is such a powerful mind tool. It’s been used by athletes from every sport to win medals and championships. And Muay Thai fighters use it, too.
Visualization just means imagining and more importantly, feeling what you want to experience. So if you want to experience a triumphant sparring experience, all you have to do is close your eyes, take some deep breaths, and start to see the scene through your own eyes.
You could visualize yourself having a successful sparring match where no one gets hurt. You can feel yourself putting your arms up triumphantly in the air. Hear the applause and cheers from spectators surrounding you.
The key to successful visualization is to see the scene through your own eyes. Don’t make it like a movie screen where you’re watching yourself as a third party. Think of it like playing a virtual reality game where you slip on goggles and suddenly you’re in another world.
Think of What Could Go Right
Instead of thinking of what could go wrong during a Muay Thai fight, try instead to think about what could go right. Look for evidence to support that.
Let’s say you’re terrified of getting hurt while in the ring. Sure, some fighters do get hurt every day in a sparring match.
But there are others who don’t. And you’ll be wearing some equipment and have a referee there to make sure things don’t get out of control. So you already have some evidence that you could not get hurt.
You can also remind yourself that not every Muay Thai injury is a serious one. Most of them, in fact, consist of bruises and minor scrapes and strains that go away with self-care.
Use Meditation and Hypnosis
Meditation and hypnosis are two powerful tools to help you become the Muay Thai fighter you want to be.
Meditation, in particular, quiets your mind, gives you control of your breathing, and will allow you to visualize yourself as a successful fighter.
Hypnosis is another tool to help you gain control of your thoughts and beliefs.
Rene Bastarache of the American School of Hypnosis has a technique that has worked wonders for many of his students and followers: imagine your fear as something tangible.
Fear, of course, isn’t something we can touch, taste, feel, or smell. But by making it so, in our mind, we can more easily get rid of it.
Bastarache’s online hypnosis has you imagining that you’re holding a box that contains your fear. Imagine what color and smell you might assign to your fear. Your box may be heavy or light depending upon your preference.
Now picture yourself opening up the box and poof, the fear has vanished. Rinse and repeat the exercise as needed.
It’s a simple mind training trick but one that can be highly effective.
Talk to Other Muay Thai Ring Fighters
All Muay Thai fighters – even professionals – have experienced fear at one time or another. Don’t be afraid to ask them and your instructor how they’ve conquered it. They just may have some techniques that haven’t been discussed here.
Reserve Your Spot
Now that you know how to conquer your fear in the Muay Thai ring, what are you waiting for? Check out our schedule to find a class that’s right for you.
We look forward to having you!