Forty Year Old Man wants to Fight Muay Thai

I am a forty year old ex-drunk who wants to fight Muay Thai. This might all seem like an impossible dream; you might even think that I’m a bit reckless to even consider it – these thoughts have crossed my mind too. Thai kick boxing is one of the fiercest fighting arts on the planet, and entering a ring with somebody trained in this art is probably not the most sensible way to be dealing with a mid-life crisis – but there it is. This idea has been playing around in my head for a few years now and it just won’t go away. The idea of actually going through with it scares the shit of me, but also fills me with a great deal of excitement too.

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As well as seeming crazy and impossible, stepping into a Muay Thai ring seems a bit inevitable – my life is like that. I don’t know how exactly it is going to happen, but wheels are in motion to take me to that day. It might take a couple of years, but that’s where I’m heading. I have always found that the best way to deal with an impossible goal is to break it down into manageable little goals. Sometimes this break down into little goals happens without any conscious effort from me. My recent act of trying to get back into shape by purchasing a punch bag now seems like a small step on the path to my final goal.

So why does this 40 year old want to fight Muai Thai?

Before alcohol took over my world a big love of mine was martial arts. Throughout two decades of pissing my life away I would often stop to wonder about what would’ve happened if I’d have just kept at the martial arts. Looking back then it seemed like the only time I’d been happy in my life. I felt like I’d really missed out and I loathed myself a bit because of it.

Here I am over twenty-three years since my last martial arts class (unless you count Tai-Chi) and a part of me wants to recover that thing I lost to alcohol. Of course, I could just join a Karate class here in Bangkok; that would probably be a much more sensible choice for a middle aged person like me. This doesn’t appeal to me so much though. I want to be challenged, and Muay Thai is certainly going to do that. I also want to face my fears and the idea of learning Muay Thai here in Thailand is going to involve overcoming many of these.

Can a Man in Middle Age fight Muay Thai?

The one thing that I’ve found in recovery from addiction that anything really is possible. This is what happens when we give up booze or drugs. We get to live the life we were meant to live and we get to watch our childhood dreams come true. This is what makes life in recovery so great and it is why every drunk and addict owes it to themselves to escape addiction and love life.

The fact that I’ve made my secret dream public knowledge puts even more pressure on me to make it a reality – that’s part of my reason for publishing this post. I don’t have any real plan of action except that I want to get into better physical shape over the next few months. I’ve read the Muay Thai books and seen the videos and now is the time to take some real action.

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37 thoughts on “Forty Year Old Man wants to Fight Muay Thai

  1. Why not? Randy Couture fought in the octagon until well into his forties and you know how brutal mma is. Think you are doing a great thing–otherwise you will always wonder what could have happened.

    By the way, I am a 51-year old 5th Dan in Kenpo who spars with my students, sometimes point and sometimes full contact. I love it! It keeps you young.

    1. Great topic

      Training MuayThai in NE off Thailand
      Great fun and a great condition…but realy hard to keep up 3 min off 5 rounds tooooo tired
      I did try any cardio to build more performance .nothing works
      Joe

  2. I appreciate the encouragment Matt. It is good to know that we can still get a lot from martial arts after forty. I think you are right about keeping people young.

  3. well its a month later and i hope you been keeping to what to , what you want to do, i am 32 and have been doing muay thai for 2 years , before i started i was worried i was going to be the oldest guy in the class , you know what i was and i didnt care because i was doing the one thing i allways wanted to do, i was getting knocked around by young guys and sometimes did not feel good but i knew id get there someday , and you know what nobody knocks me around anymore, so if you really want it you can achieve it, good luck and hope you achiece all you want to.

  4. i am 39 for last november 6, only this december i am starting to learn how to box, all my life i wanted to this but time was a matter, and i was a alcoholic addict too. in my mind i don’t feel i am late to learn, i am sure i can be a bit older to be a professional, but i will not give up. i will find a ring either to beat some one or to get beaten up, it will energise me, make me happy, my fears will go away, certaionly it wiull keep me young

    1. Hi Thasleem Mohamed Reza, thanks for commenting. I’m not sure that wanting to beat people up or get beaten up is a good path to happiness, but learning to discipline mind and body is a good choice for anyone. For me martial arts is not about fighting other people, but about fighting who I was yesterday.

  5. hello Paul,

    i am 44 years old. I have taken up Muay Thai Since 2009, traveling to train in Sinbi Phuket for a few weeks, Sor chitlada now and then. But like you i still think i am not ready to fight.

    I got married 2 years back and planning a family. so need to take all these into consideration although it would be my ultimate dream to step into a muay thai ring to fight a real fight.

    i am very intrigue with you website and the challenges you face and overcome them. keep it up !

      1. hi Paul,

        i really need to have at least one pro fight before i drop off from this earth. I am training everyday in my muay thai gym in malaysia and going to phuket. Most times i train at Sinbi. hope they can get me a fight.

        regards,

          1. i go to this gym, SINBI and they are great. i shall be there this april, likely on the songkran week. hope to see you there!

            i will be in bangkok from feb 14-17 on business. hope to be able to visit and train in one of bangkok’s finest, any ideas? i will be at sukhumvit 21

          2. There are some good options in central Bangkok. Fighting Spirit Gym is apparently good – that is near Lumpini. I highly recommend Sitsongpeenong, but it might be too far from where you are staying.

  6. Its also been a dream of mine to step into a ring, I’m 39 and been training for about 9 months and absolute love it. I’m now just as fit or even fitter than the young lads in their early 20s. I want to have a fight hopefully by early Summer 2012, so I’ll be slowly increasing my training regime. It doesn’t matter about your age as long as you can keep up with the others and your confident in yourself your be fine. Good luck!

  7. Hi guys, im adam 28 from uk
    What an interesting blog i found it by chance when
    Googling ‘im i ti old fir a fight career’ ive been
    Martial arts on and off through mylife abit flakey if
    Im honist! 6 years ago i went from western kickboxing
    To MUAY THAI….. Now im obsessed! Have been ever since
    Ive been planning to to Thailand for a few yeara now and at last
    I have chance to do it, so ive sold up and off to pesue fight career
    Who know i might get my asses beat….but MUAY THAI Is in the heart!!!!

    I think you guys are amzing! I hopf im still throwing elbows at 40
    Why slow down! Like the majority! …. Good luck guys all the best

    1. Hi Adam, it is good to hear that you are going for your dreams. I don’t think you are too old for a fighting career at all. You sound determined so I’m sure your decision to move to Thailand will be one you won’t regret. There are some dreams that we just can’t give up on.

  8. I am fixing to be 38 and have been fighting pro Thai for 9 years. You can be in condition to fight into your 40’s but the concern would be bone density and overal recovery. Calcium and vitamin D will help and bag bag bag. Go get em!!!

  9. Hello Paul – I am also an ex drunk and friend of Bill W. I have been sober two and a half years now. Like you described, I spent most of my 20’s and all of my 30’s in the bottle. 2 divorces, numerous jobs and a ton of personal and financial wreckage in my rear view mirror. Since I quit drinking life has come to mean so much more. I don’t think it’s easy to understand unless you have come out of the hell of addiction. It truly is like being re-born. I am eager to improve myself and face new challenges. I came across your origanal post about beginning training in Muay Thai and was curious as to your progress. Has it been what you expected? More or less difficult? I have my first session next week. I am 43 and have ZERO martial arts experience. I am excited and of course nervous. Looking forward to your response. James, Oklahoma, USA

    1. Hi James, I was training for about 18 months and full-time for a few of those months, but I haven’t so much as aimed a knee at a punchbag in over a year. Muay Thai does feel like unfinished business to me so maybe I’ll have a chance to return to training at a later date. I sort of miss it. Good luck with your training.

  10. Hi guys, its so good to read so many differences and experiences, Im 45, just in Love with Muay Thay…As a Brazilian Woman, could exist without Tasted, have some concerns about the age….but..Im just go foward.

  11. I am 38 and been involved in Muay Thai since I was 15. Like many I had potential but never saw it through to conclusion (titles). I have restarted again after 5 years away. I don’t feel like I ever left. I don’t think I’ll be able to let the dream go until I fully pursue a title shot even just a national. Unfinished business never goes away, even at 38. All you can do is try. Nothing is worse than taking a dream to the grave.

    I am a Sports/physiotherapist and Personal Trainer who thinks the world is changing. People in their middle years are becoming more exercise savvy. I see a new age of people in their 30’s and 40’s becoming champions. If you have the heart, the body will follow, regardless of age.

  12. Hi Paul,

    Just wondering how far you got in your dream of wanting to fight Muay Thai?

    Either way, was admirable reading your determined statement from a few years back.

  13. Hi Paul,

    I happened to chance upon this blog. I hope its not too late to salute you for getting yourself out of the problems that you have had and I hope you are into Muay Thai now. I am 50 years old, have 3 grown-up kids, living in Malaysia and have been practising Muay Thai for the past 2 years. It’s not easy for me as I am not really a sports person and the training was extremely painful to me. There were times when I was wondering when my heart will burst out or my legs dislodged from me. My trainer, Kru Watcharachai was extremely supportive and had me sparring in the ring (him being a veteran of over 220 fights with an approximate record of 180 wins and only 40 losses and a former WMC champion, 2000 Thailand Fighter of the year and Rajadamnern stadium fighter of the year) with him after 5 months of training. Believe me, Paul, all these training not only gave you a perspective of life, but I was rather proud (with a slightish smile on my face) when my son told his friends that his dad practises Muay Thai and they just went “oooooo!!!!”.

    Hope to see you taking the next step, i.e. into the ring.

    1. Hi Eddie, you are inspiring. I haven’t been training in recent months, but I am itching to get back to it. I would like my son to be able to tell his friends his dad practices muay thai.

  14. I am going to be 50 in July. I have been training boxing for a year in 2013-2014 and now training Muay Thai for whole year. I have no intention to stop for another 3-4 years and then I will see. Still love to drink my beer on weekend though :-)
    Guys keep kicking and punching! Whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger!

  15. Hey there Paul.
    Just read your post and loved it. I’m 43 and have been training Muay Thai for the past 5 months. I’m not a recovering alcoholic but a middle aged guy who felt something missing in his life. I would wake up, go to work, come back watch tv go to sleep -rinse and repeat. I absolutely love the sport and passionate about it. This martial art has really made an incredible change in my life. I train with guys from all ages although admittedly i’m one of the older guys. I feel stronger more confident and lost alot of weight. Loved to hear that others from my stage in life share this passion as well. All thr best.
    Benny

  16. Hi Paul,

    Loved your blog post.

    Where do I start, I, like you have always been into martial arts, since I can remember. I use to watch enter the dragon, bloodsport, kick boxer literally all the time, huge Bruce Lee, Van Damme, Jackie Chan fan. Anyway, I first went to thailand in 2010, where i trained for the first time Muay Thai. I was 28yrs old then. Through out my late teens and 20’s I have been a heavy pot smoker, and addict. That is where my money went. I am 33 now, turning 34 this year, I have now not smoked anything for a good few months. The first month i wanted to kill myself and didn’t see a way out, there was no light. I couldn’t sleep, sweats, shakes, vivid dreams, it was absolutely horrible. I can now see light though, and coming through it, i have found what i want to do, and have been wanting to do for a long time. That is to pack up here in the UK and head over again to Thailand, but this time to train full time for 1 year and see where it leads me. I’d like to change my life around and become a fitness trainer one day.
    I feel sometimes that 33 is too old to start Muay Thai training, probably because paranoia is set in my head still from years of abuse. I think that i obviously am not conditioned and even if i trained and conditioned myself through out a year, if i was up against someone who has been conditioned for say 2-5 yrs, he would snap my bones in terms of shin kicks etc. This may just be a head thing that i need to get around. Believe me i am scared to hell of the thought of going in the ring, but on the other hand, the excitement and the buzz ill get from just getting in the ring for the first time i think will have a profound effect on me in a good way.
    I am planning my trip to head out and literally do muay thai full time, 6 days a week, live on camp, and change camps every 1-3 months to meet new people, techniques and trainers, and also blog about it lol.
    Reading your post and the many comments has made me think it is possible for sure.
    I have family back here, but nothing else really, i need to find myself if that makes sense and i have had this urge in me to fight / train since i was very young. It’s now come back even stronger to the point i think about it at work everyday, when i get home, etc.
    Addiction was hard to overcome, it was hard for me to admit i was an addict, when i use to say i just smoke to chill out, but it was a much deeper problem.
    Really happy i found your blog man! How are you doing now a days? In 2016 are you training still? Have you been out to thailand to train at all?
    Be great to hear how things are going in regards to this. Did you ever train in Phuket?
    Anyway, my blogs up, its empty at moment, but would be great if some of you guys can check it out later in the year.
    I have purchased everything i need for my trip, cameras, go pro, MacBooks, clothes, set my bank up so i have enough funds to do this. Man i am so bored over here with groundhog way of life you know. I need to live lol, and knowing you are a bit older than me, and some of the guys in here who commented are also, I feel now that i am not that old to do this.
    Anyway, sorry for the long message, got carried away. Hey at least you have shown me inspiration :) Take care man, be good to hear from you.

    All the best

    1. Hi Kei – it sounds like you are about to set off on an amazing adventure. I think 34 years old could be a great age to do some full-time training. I continue to live in Thailand (I’ve been here 16 years), but I haven’t done much Muay Thai recently (unless you count skipping for 30 minutes per day). I do sometimes miss it, but I have other priorities in my life now. The idea of getting in the ring doesn’t appeal much to me any longer – it was more the training I enjoyed. I did do a little bit of training at Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket, just a few days, and it was an exciting place to visit. It will be interesting to hear how your adventure works out – enjoy.

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