Muay Thai for Kids: 7 Benefits, Training Tips, & More

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muay thai for kids.

We’ve all seen it by now. Videos of kids Muay Thai training, sparring, and even fighting as young as 5 years of age.

While that may seem a bit crazy for Western eyes, there are lots of safe and reasonable ways for kids to learn Muay Thai without risks to health and safety. 

And that’s exactly what we’re here today to discuss: Everything you should know about Muay Thai for kids. 

Is Muay Thai safe for kids?

Muay Thai is safe for kids as long as it’s done in a controlled environment with a strong code of conduct.

By this, I mean a gym that’s not forcing kids to spar each other and beat each other up. 

Thai Boxing is awesome, but for anyone training in combat sports, especially as a child, it’s always dangerous to spar and take shots to the head. This will never be safe, even with a helmet.

Sometimes you may find videos like children’s MMA fights in Chechnya or Muay Thai fights between Thai children. 

I want to be careful not to take an ethnocentric perspective.

But I think it’s fair to say that this is usually the result of desperation or some form of misfortune the children are born into.

But luckily, the fact remains Muay Thai training in a safe environment can be great for kids.

The key is to build strong foundations.

So the focus is on learning technique and movement to develop excellent form and not taking hits to the body and head again. 

What Age Can and Should Kids Start Training Muay Thai?

In Thailand, it is common to see children as young as four in a training gym. But children are generally not forced to train. They will watch, but the actual training will only begin after a child stops watching and decides to try it. 

Kids can start learning how to hit and move as young as possible.

And in fact, it’s arguably better for kids to learn the techniques at a very young age to develop muscle memory. 

Now I fully understand the hesitation towards having a child learn how to hit at a young age. There’s a common fear they may become a bully or hit other kids. But as we’ll discuss later Kids Muay Thai training tends to improve people’s behavior. 

And as someone who started to train striking through Muay Thai at 25 years old – relatively late in life, I can attest to the difficulties in developing fluid striking movement. 

So getting a child training and learning this at a young age can be very beneficial. 

And with that let’s look at the other benefits of kids’ Muay Thai. 

What are the Benefits of Muay Thai for Kids?

Here are some key benefits for kids!


Children will naturally develop self-confidence as they train. This can be from their fitness levels but also the techniques they master. 

As they get older, this confidence and high self-esteem can translate to many areas of life. It can help them overcome challenges at school and possibly help them achieve greater success in life.

Physical Fitness

Muay Thai training is full of movement and physical activity. It can be quite physically taxing but great for a kid with a lot of energy.  

Kids classes typically start with warm-up drills that include jump rope, jumping jacks, running, etc. Students then practice techniques with shadow boxing and hitting pads. Sometimes kids classes may include practicing movement with a partner. 

Then once kids are already pretty tired and exhausted, there are basic exercises to help build physical strength, endurance, and key physical skills. 


It’s sad but true that at some point in your child’s life they may have to defend themselves. 

This can come from any number of reasons but probably the most universal and common is a schoolyard bully. 

One of the best things about having your kid train Muay Thai though is that usually the simple knowledge that someone trains a martial art is enough to deter a bully. As we all know bullies tend to prey on the vulnerable. And someone who trains Muay Thai is certainly not that. 

If anything, to a certain extent, your child will actually be able to defend weaker, more vulnerable children against bullies.

Ideally not having to fight of course, but perhaps if necessary, defending those who are unable to do so themselves.

After all Muay Thai for self defense is incredibly effective.


Muay Thai is cool. Knowing how to use your limbs as weapons will make anyone feel like a bada**. But like other martial arts requires a lot of discipline. 

Especially as a child becomes a teen, friends may get into the wrong crowds and find themselves experimenting with drugs and alcohol.

But if a kid likes Muay Thai and wants to stay in peak physical condition they likely won’t even think twice. They’re familiar with goal setting and have developed the necessary discipline to avoid unhealthy decisions. 

Mental Toughness

Training is difficult and can often require you to dig deep. Doing this consistently at a young age can be exceptionally effective for developing a strong mental attitude. 

It’s almost necessary for someone training in a martial art to be highly aware of their ego. To ‘leave their ego at the door’. And learning this as a child and being able to control their ego is an incredibly valuable skill.

This resulting ego control and mental development is something that can set someone apart from the pack in their daily lives. 

Social Skills

Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is one of the most important life skills and benefits of joining a gym or sport as a child. 

They may feel shy at first, but over time, they gain comfort in the gym environment and make new friends going after the same goal. 

A strong bond also seems to naturally develop between people exerting themselves together. Even if it’s just training in the same room together, there’s a respect and camaraderie that tends to develop.


Respect is a fundamental aspect of Muay Thai. At the start of a fight, you will see a Muay Thai fighter pay tribute to his trainer, his opponent, the audience, and the gods. 

Muay Thai is a traditional martial art and kids can learn traditional values like respect.

One way in which respect is demonstrated is by understanding that violence is not a joke. One of the first things martial artists learn is that fighting should be the last resort outside of competition.   

Fighting for the sake of violence is not cool and respect is the best way to avoid violence.

What are the potential dangers for Children Training Muay Thai?

Surprisingly little. Let’s take a quick look at the myths that give parents the wrong idea about Muay Thai for kids. 

Myths Regarding Kids Muay Thai

Sparring is necessary

Movement is key for developing self-defense skills. And sparring can certainly help with this.

Hitting pads will only get you so far in terms of practical skills. However, that doesn’t mean kids have to spar against each other. 

Usually, a kid’s class will be a mixture of stretching, basic techniques, and games. It’s common for sparring simulations to be used via drills.

If there is sparring involved, it will hopefully soon end up on the McDojo Instagram page. 

muay thai for kids training self defense.

Your kid will become violent

As we’ve discussed, Martial Arts in general teach discipline and respect. While on face value it may seem like learning a striking sport could result in hitting others, this rarely ever happens. 

In reality, the more a kid associates training a martial art like Muay thai with fitness, sports and competition, the less chance he or she will see violence as a way to solve problems. 

What Equipment Kids Need to Train Muay Thai

Unlike popular contact sports like football, and hockey, Muay Thai is an accessible sport that requires minimal equipment.

A Muay Thai gym will have the heavy weight equipment like heavy bags, pads, and the like.

But below is are some of the gear a parent will most likely need to buy.

Hint: Fairtex (arguably the most famous Thai boxing brand) offers a kids Muay Thai kit including kids gloves, shorts, and shin guards.

Hand Wraps for Kids

At some point, Muay Thai kids’ classes will involve wearing Muay Thai gloves to hit pads and bags. Just like is needed for adults, wrapping hands is important to protect knuckles and digits.

For kids, the right size of hand wraps is typically 1 inch in width and 120 inches in length.

Bigger kids will require bigger handwraps, but certainly these are a sound investment to keep your child’s hands safe. 

Muay Thai Gloves for Kids

The ideal size of protective gear for either children or adults depends on the fighter’s size and the purpose.

Bigger gloves have more padding and provide more protection for everyone.

But bigger gloves are also heavier which might be too much for a smaller child.  

Muay Thai Shorts 

The great news is that Muay Thai shorts are totally unnecessary for Muay Thai training. A kid can train just as easily in gym shorts.

The one benefit of Muay Thai shorts for kids is that we can think of is that they look super cool and your kid will definitely stand out among his classmates if he puts them on in gym class. 

What to Look Out For In a Kids Muay Thai Class

Beginner martial arts classes should be filled only with beginners. In some cases, perhaps due to a gym’s limited resources they have kids of all skill levels training together.

Unless a gym does this to have older, more experienced kids be something like a coach trainee, this is a red flag. 

Really the worst-case scenario is to sign your child up for beginner classes that ruin their self-confidence or willingness to learn Muay Thai. 

If a gym groups every kid together with 1 big class size, this is a red flag. 

If there aren’t instructional classes regarding technique and safety – another red flag. 

What you want for your active children is a positive class environment that will nurture the benefits of Muay Thai. 

This will likely require a class structure that mixes skill training with play. 

Kids Muay Thai Summed Up

If you’ve made it this far, the bottom line of this article is pretty obvious. As we have seen, Muay Thai is a good martial art for kids. It is practical, develops good health and fitness, good values and can be applied for self defense in life or death situations.

So get your kids off the couch and head over to your local Muay Thai gym with the tips we have shared. Your kid will thank you. 

And if you’d like to see how it compares with other martial arts. See our comparison of Muay Thai vs Kickboxing and Boxing vs Muay Thai.

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We're a team of fight fans and martial arts practitioners. Many of us have been involved in martial arts our entire lives.