One criticism that is sometimes made against us by our competitors is that our members don’t regularly fight on local shows. We see this as a positive rather then a negative and in this blog I’m going to explain why.
Our club has a fantastic training environment that is conductive to learning and training Muay Thai. Everyone is equally important regardless of ability and everyone helps each other to improve. When you have a class that has fighters and non fighters, the fighters generally get more attention. This is especially so if the fighter has a fight coming up, often the class will be tailored to him/her at the detriment of the other paying members. Often the fighter isn’t concerned with the progress of other members as he has to concentrate on his own training and gains some special status at the gym.
On average we have an older client base then most gyms. Our classes aren’t packed with angry 17yr olds and our average age for a beginner is 34yrs. A 34yr old can definitely still fight if they’d like the experience but they’re unlikely to become a world champion as they started 20 years too late. Most Thai boxers in Thailand retire in their mid twenties after 200 fights!
Life outside the gym
A lot of our members work alongside the public. It would be unprofessional for them to be going to work with a black eyes and would negatively effect their profession and income. Some of our members are self employed so if they get injured they can’t work and make money for their family.
When you have a gym full of fighters they need to spar hard, they need to be acclimatised to receiving hard shots and dishing them out or they’re going to have a hard time in the ring. The average person who just trains to learn a new skill and get fit doesn’t need that level of contact at all. Martial Arts should improve the quality of your life not make it worse!
Everyone’s a champion!
I’ve lost track of how many world and European titles have been created locally. It seems everyone you speak to is a world champion nowadays. It’s very easy to set up a local fight night and have world titles for that organisation but they mean bugger all. Alarm bells should be raised if you have a world title fight and one fighter is from Dorchester and the other from Yeovil.
There’s very few legitimate world titles and they’re not held by anyone local. I’m hesitant to be involved in these organisations as it devalues the real champions achievements.
Fighters are selfish
To be fair I know some fighters who are lovely people but to be world class at any sport you need to be selfish. Your training and nutrition has to come first often at the detriment of your home life and training partners.
Some of the greatest fighters in the world haven’t had the best upbringing and that’s what gives them that fire and anger to fight. Guys who have a good family and job don’t tend to have that fire but I know who I’d rather train with twice a week if I’m just looking to get fit and have fun.
If a member at our gym wants to fight then we will support them 100% but we will not alter the culture at our gym or turn it into a room full of 19yr olds training with their tops off kicking the hell out of each other. I want my gym to remain a place where everyone can train regardless of age or ability and still have fun and make progress. Once you turn your club into a fighters gym you exclude 98% of the population.
A member who’s just joined my gym looked at another local gym first. He spoke to the instructor who proceeded to tell him how all his guys were killers and fighters and how many titles they held and then asked “when would you like to start?”. They had no beginner class, no 121 program, new members were just thrown into the group class and probably expected to spar on day one. Luckily he didn’t join, he found our gym, went through the 121 beginner program and will hopefully still be training in ten years time.
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