Have you ever wanted to learn more about Muay Thai or Boxing but perhaps a previous experience made you feel intimidated? Unfortunately, many gyms can be uninviting, but Carlsbad Kickboxing Club’s training regimen are designed to ensure that all members, from beginner to advanced, all have an equal and inviting training experience.

Nearly two years ago, the Club’s very own Joey Siplyak (who just 14 years old at the time) retained 2 championship titles in 2 different weight divisions. He is now 16 and an IFMA bronze medalist with 32 fights under his belt. We recently sat down with Siplyak to take a closer look at just a few techniques he uses that will help get you well on your way.

Carlsbad Kickboxing Club: For a muay thai or boxing newbies, instructors, fighters, and other students that might find it intimidating, what is your advice on how to get through it?

Siplyak: Work hard and train hard and if you set your mind to it, you can do it.

CKC: Do you need to be in shape to start training Muay Thai?

Siplyak: Not at all. While the conditioning drills might be challenging at first, over time, they will get easier. The sport of Muay Thai is more about skill and if you really focus on the techniques that are being taught, and have patience, getting in shape will eventually come naturally.

CKC: Does watching fights or shadowboxing help your technique?

Siplyak: You can definitely improve your skill set by watching other people fight. As for shadowboxing, it gives you the change to practice footwork, strikes, new combos and slow things down a bit. It also gives you a chance to fix your mistakes and keeps you from getting sloppy.

CKC: What is one thing I can do to be a better Muay Thai training partner?

Siplyak: Support each other—especially when your fellow fighters compete. Not only that, but learning to hold pads correctly can really help your partner.

CKC: What is one of the most useful Muay Thai techniques that you use?

Siplyak: Defense. Hands down. While using a wide range of skills are useful to having an arsenal of diverse attacks, you must know how to minimize the opponent’s efforts to land an attack.