I feel it integral that budding competitors get get a chance to go through the experience of training for a fight and showcase the skills they’ve developed.
It is the best way for a coach to determine who is fit for higher level training. You get a glimpse of the type of fighter they will become. For some it may be a 1 time experience. For other’s it’s a path to a bigger world. The only way to develop higher level competition, in the greater Muay Thai world, is to foster the environment. The road looks like this: A competitive gym atmosphere ruled by a sense of brotherhood and belonging. A healthy and respected Somoker atmosphere, allowing athletes to experience the rigors of training and having respectable competitive match ups, and a healthy amateur circuit where we can build fighters correctly.
There are these four levels of competition. First, is standing out in class and having positive experiences in the gym. A coach needs to determine several factors when selecting a competitor. The student must be coachable, they must be training a lot, display a willingness to do outside training such as running or conditioning and be part of the vibe or atmosphere of the gym. The second level is the smoker. A non-judged event where the competitor must prepare for competition at an agreed upon weight with, hopefully, an evenly matched up opponent. The key’s to a smoker event is that they are not judged, the gloves may be heavier, wear shin guards, headgear may be required and the ref watches the athletes a little more closely. The amateurs are similar in that they must show up at the agreed upon weight, but the event is judged with a winner and the glove size and head gear vary. In the pro’s the head gear & shin guards come off and elbows and knees to the head are allowed. A more dangerous game for sure. But previous experience should be preparation enough.
Last weekend North Shore Muay Thai Academy partnered up with Redline Fight Sports to put on a smoker show for charity. There were six bouts, three of which came from North Shore Muay Thai Academy. Jason Root, Brian Gamez & Mike Jacobs. The remaining matches were inter club matches within the Redline Fight Sports gym.
Jason Root was our first match up. He competed with Mark Kenny. This was a great match up as both competitors are in their 30’s, walking around 170-185lbs at about 5’7. Both dropped their weight to 168 which isn’t so easy the older you get. Jason had a great time. As a matter of fact he was literally smiling in the corner declaring how much he was enjoying things. First time for me that happened and I certainly welcomed the positive focused energy.
Our second match up was our own Brian Gamez and Meng Mao. This was probably one of the better match’s of the evening. Meng is a South Paw, a style which had given Brian some trouble in the past. After a feeling out round in the first Brian started to come alive in the ring. That in itself was worth it for Brian’s future in Muay Thai competition. Overcoming a stationary mind in competition is big. You can never fully recapture a competition in the gym. This little venue proved its purpose for sure!
Our last competitor, Mike Jacobs, was stopped in the first. Disappointed for sure Mike was unable to transition from offense to defense appropriately. Mike fought Nick Mahoney who stands a whooping 6’4. Competing with opponents who have significant height advantages is always going to be ugly. Mike prepared for this well, his head was in the game correctly except, in the ring, he was in offensive mode only. Competition isn’t necessarily fighting – there’s things going on beyond just being aggressive. Fighting is like a vault combination. Once you figure out that combination for yourself you are on your way. It’s a smoker, a place to learn those lessons! You will never understand life in winning as much as you will through tougher experiences such as these.
All in all, it was a great night for our gym, Redline Fight Sports, the people who attended and of course the competitors. I wasn’t really able to watch many of the other fights. I hope they were approached with integrity and honer as any fighter who gets in the ring has done something others would be unwilling to prepare for and do.
I did see Phil Dasilva and Kin Moy have a go at it in the last match up of the evening. Both are from the same gym and both are great Muay Thai competitors! We will be seeing Phil at the Lion Fights in November and we will hopefully be seeing Kin at another Bellator fight card in the future.
Thank you Heather Thomas for inviting us & thank you Redline for hosting us! A good cause to contribute to – Sending Phil Dasilva to the WKA Worlds in Tuscany Italy. We will be sending one of our own to the WKA Worlds too, our very own Jon Wright! We had a great time preparing for this and hope to do another one in the coming months! This was truly, in my eyes, a great learning experience for all my guys as I hope it was for yours. We all learned great things, some easy and some hard, but learning in life, like this, is something to truly admire!