I'm not here to ruin the party BUT...if self-defense is the OP's top priority, why choose muay thai,which is very ring-oriented, and not something that is mainly for self defense? That' s not to say that muay thai is useless for it, it certainly isn't, still it is much more focused on competition. My instructor always makes us train with wraps and gloves - I don't do muay thai, but kickboxing is just as competition-oriented- because that's how we have to fight on the ring. All the techniques and sparring are meant for the ring, not a real life situation. To be fair, I have not quite understood wheter the OP has an instructor or not, but if so, he possibly won't be receiving t that much SD education.