Ognjen Topic’ “The kick heard around the world”

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(TFL) First and foremost, I would like to congratulate you on an extremely decisive victory, and a brilliantly executed game plan.

I know your opponent came to the table with over 200 fights. What were your thoughts going into this fight?

(Ognjen Topic’) Thank you, Nethaneel. Throughout the preparation process I felt great leading up to the fight. I was very confident going into the fight, I had complete belief in my skills and that I would have handled myself professionally in the ring against Paowarit.

(TFL) May I ask what your training for this fight looked like?

(Ognjen Topic’) Training was the same as it was for every fight.

(TFL) Anything special you all did in preparation for this fight?

(Ognjen Topic’) My coaches and I were working on more strategically/technical aspects for the fight.

(TFL) Keeping it simplistically beautiful, almost minimalist and focusing on strategy really paid off for you.

Especially after such a dominate victory, do you think that you might get that Lion Fights title shot?

(Ognjen Topic’) Yes, I am sure that it will be offered to me down the line. Although adding another title to my accolades would be great, I am more interested in fighting the toughest competition.

(TFL) So, it’s more about the personal victories then the prizes for you. That’s a Thai boxer for you (Laughs). Any words of wisdom for aspiring Muay Thai athletes?

(Ognjen Topic’) Train hard. Yes, I was born with athletic ability/talent. I know that no matter what sport I chose I’d be competing at the highest level but talent can only take a person to a certain level. At some point a person has to begin working hard to become elite. Once it’s understood that it takes hard work to get to the elite level it becomes easy work.

(TFL) How does it feel to beat such a high level guy?

(Ognjen Topic’) It felt surreal, but when I think back while I was training it really isn’t that unbelievable because I worked extremely hard in order to fight on this level.

(TFL) And it showed! If you don’t mind, I’d like to ask you a bit about your past, so people can get to know you a bit more.

(Ognjen Topic’) I was born in Bosnia and am considered a Bosnian-Serb. At the start of the war in the early 90’s my family and I moved to Serbia where we lived until 1995. At that time my father was in America working. My mother, sister and I were fortunate to move to America after my father won the immigration lottery while living in America.

(TFL) Wow, that’s amazing Ognjen. What got you started in this sport?

(Ognjen Topic’) . It was something about the fighting arts that attracted me-probably the competition/challenge. I started out in TKD when I was 14 years old. I received my black belt but wasn’t satisfied with the lack of sparring/fighting aspect. I learned about MT when I saw it on ESPN and I knew this was the sport I wanted to do.

(TFL) How long have you been training?

(Ognjen Topic’) I have been training in MT since I was 18 years old.

(TFL) Is there a personal reason why you fight?

(Ognjen Topic’) Aside from this sport giving me a challenge, I’m not sure why I fight. It doesn’t make sense-getting hurt, hurting others. But when I’m in that ring, there is no other place I’d want to be.

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(TFL) Are you a full time fighter or do you have a full time job on the side?

(Ognjen Topic’) I am both a full time fighter and a full time graphic designer. I work from 9-5 (sometimes 8-5.) After work, I go to the gym and put in about 3 hours of training time. You can check out my personal website at www.TopicCreative.com and the company I work for at www.PixlGraphx.com

(TFL) May I ask how many fights you’ve had in total?

(Ognjen Topic’) I’ve had 20 amateur fights and 10 professional fights.

(TFL) Thank you so much Ognjen for take a bit of time to talk to us at The Fighter Life.

(Ognjen Topic’) Anytime. Thank you for the support. The fans can reach me through twitter @TopicCreative

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And once again, you can follow Ognjen Topic’ on Twitter @TopicCreative

www.TopicCreative.com

www.PixlGraphx.com

Wayne Pokornik

WayneMTTitle

(TFL) I want to introduce you to a friend of mine from the TBA classic, Wayne Pokornik.
Thanks for being with us Wayne. I remember when we first met at the TBA Muay Thai Classic a couple of years back. My team had just ran out of medical tape for wrapping our hands, and you just gave us a bunch of medical tape, which was a huge help. You’re a real stand up kind of guy.
I know you’ve been through a lot, and you have fought at a bunch of different weight classes, and had your share of wars. You’re the classic never give up, Rocky Balboa type.
Tell us a little about your fighting record and history?

(WP) I am really honored to be talking to you. When we first met at the TBA I was glad to be able to help you out. It was only something small, but in the fight game tape is a big part.
When I started fighting there was no local amateur fights. I had to pray to get onto an out of town fight card. In order to take fights I paid for my own gas, hotel, whatever I needed to do in order to get a fight. I jumped around weight classes and took whatever fights were offered. I’ve always looked to find the toughest fights possible.

(TFL) Any fights recently?

(WP) I just fought March 9 here in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

(TFL) Nice! How did it go?

(WP) It went great. I was extremely pleased that I finally had the opportunity to show my skills in front of my friends, family and all the people who support me.
My fight went extremely well. I won a unanimous decision. I fought Chris Kading. It went a full 5 round distance. Chris was a tough opponent who came to win.

(TFL) So what got you started in all this Muay Thai business?

(WP) My whole life I’ve been a huge fan of martial arts and boxing. It wasn’t till I was in my twenties when I watched a Muay Thai fight. After that I knew that was definitely something I wanted to do. Then once I started training I was hooked.

(TFL) Now, I heard through “The Face book” that you recently brought home a Title, tell us about the fight and your opponent?

(WP) Ya, I won the Western Canadian light middle weight title against an extremely tough Dwain Soon.
I knew I was going to have a very tough fight.
I ended up winning the fight by knockout in the second round.

(TFL) Tell us about your next upcoming fight, your opponent, and any history about him?

(WP) I am very excited about my next fight on the StriKing card.
My opponent is Billy Clark. It was kind of funny the night I found out about the fight. Billy added me as a friend on Facebook and I wondered why he added me. Then about an hour later I got a message from Ty asking me if I’d fight Billy.
As for Billy I think he’s a very tough fighter, he has an impressive record and fight history. I am really looking forward to putting on a great show.

(TFL) And this is with “StriKing” in Oklahoma right?

(WP) Yes, it’s looks to be an exciting card very well run.

(TFL) Tell us a little about your home life, and what keeps your fighting?

(WP) My home life keeps me pretty busy. Between Char (my wife) and I, we have 6 kids.
My kids are getting into Muay Thai and are interested in fighting. My oldest son Justyn will be fighting this June in the TBA tournament.
I work full time as a heavy truck painter.
We also own our gym Pride Muay Thai. Which we try to run very close like family. We also treat it like a fight gym so essentially if you’re always training that means you’re always ready to fight.

(TFL) Wow, sounds like you have a pretty full life. Awesome, thank you so much Wayne for taking time out of your day, I know you’ve got a lot of training on your plate right now.

(WP) Thank you. It was a huge honor to talk to you and my pleasure.
I just wanted to add a big thank you to all my training partners, my coaches and my wife/head coach Charleen who continues to push me day in and day out. With out them, my fights would not be possible.

PrideMT

The Pride MT family

StriKing flier

http://www.strikingfights.com/

Adam Edgerton

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(TFL) I want to introduce you to a former opponent, formidable foe, and toughest dude I every fought, Adam Edgerton. Thanks for being with us Adam. Now, last time we saw each other, was at the TBA. You’ve fought a number of times since then… tell us how it’s been going?

(AE) It’s been going great. I have had a lot of good fights and I learned a lot from them. I fought in the US Nationals, and I won that. And, I just recently fought at the WKA North American Tournament within all 3 divisions, so I got my money’s worth for sure. I was able to fight against a lot of talented fighters and got to walk away with a title and much more experience.

(TFL) Wow congratulations, achievement unlocked! (Laughs). You’re accomplishing a lot. What do you do for a living, if you don’t mind me asking?

(AE) I work at Cross Country Distributing and I deliver building materials and I recently started teaching a beginner class at Real Fighters Gym, so I stay pretty busy.

(TFL) I bet you do, having a full time job and being a full time fighter. Your definitely what I would like to call a hard working fighter, how many fights have you fought?

(AE) I have had 20 fights and my goal is to reach 30 by the end of the year.

(TFL) That’s pretty amazing; I don’t think people understand how much Muay Thai boxers fight. Tell us a little about your history, and how you came to be a Muay Thai boxer?

(AE) I actually had no idea what Muay Thai was until 3 years ago. My cousin asked me to attend a bag class at his old gym that he used to fight for and I went just for something to do. I got there and Eric Haycraft was out of town, so Lindsey Haycraft was actually running the gym that day. I was able to work out with her and I was completely blown away with how in shape everyone was and I was getting beat up by everyone lol. I remember after that class I came back each day and Eric had to take Lindsey to Holland for a fight and they invited me to come along. I got to train at Fred Royers gym in Arnhem for a month and a half. I remember that’s where I fell in love with the sport and it was such a life changing experience for me training with all those great fighters. I was at a different event every other day and met so many fighters, so when I returned I entered the TBA for the first year and that’s how it all started.

(TFL) Sounds like you’re a pedigree, what titles do you currently hold?

(AE) I’m The 2011 TBA B class tournament champion, US National champion, and the 2012 WKA North American champion.

(TFL) Nice! Tell us about your next upcoming fight, your opponent, and any history about him?

(AE) My next fight is against D.J Miller for the USMTA Title. I actually got the chance to train with D.J a couple years ago and I have been able to watch him fight quite a few times so we know each other. He is also a TBA and WKA tournament champion so this upcoming fight should be a great one for sure and I’m very excited for it.

(TFL) And this is with “StriKing” in Oklahoma right?

(AE)Yea I will be fighting on the StriKing show in Muskogee, Oklahoma. I’m really excited to work with StriKing and looking forward to putting on a good show.

(TFL) Tell us a little about your home life, and what keeps your fighting?

(AE) I have a simple home life I workout at the gym 7 days a week and put all my energy into that so when I get home I’m really pretty chilled out. I just want to watch a good movie or the latest fights or play a good video game (Laughs).
I think a lot of what keeps me fighting is the people I surround myself with. I have an awesome girlfriend that supports and motivates me; I have my family back in Idaho that calls all the time to get filled in on upcoming fights. Real Fighters Gym also, which since my family is so far away, has become my family and they motivate me daily to get better and push myself. Especially Aaron Lehenbauer and Lindsey Haycraft – those two have been there a lot for me it doesn’t matter if they just got done fighting the day before or they’re sick I can count on them to show up and keep me going, but I think the most important aspect is my Trainer he is always talking to me about upcoming fights and long term plans and it’s those dreams and long term goals that keep me fighting.

(TFL) And last but not least, what are your goals you’d like to accomplish?

(AE) My dream is to get to fight the top fighters in the world. I don’t just want to fight in the states I want to be able to travel the world fighting. I want to be one of the top fighters to come out of the states and like every fighter I want to be remembered.

(TFL) Those are some great dreams Adam. You’re a great guy, and a talented fighter. We wish you all the best and Chok dee! (good luck).
Thank you so much Adam, for taking time out of your day to talk to us.

StriKing flier

http://www.strikingfights.com/

Bebe Laced April 6th fight for StriKing

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(TFL) Today we have a local Houston favorite, Bebe Lace with 4oz. Thanks for hanging out with us Bebe. I believe the first time we met was at the TBA Muay Thai Classic, last year, what was that like?

(BL) Last year I competed in tba Muay Thai classic. It was my very first fight, I went by myself without a gym and Tim Mousel was kind enough to corner me. Tba was an amazing experience.it was great to meet and mingle with so many muaythai fighters from all over the us&canada!!! It motivated me and reassured me that fghting is what I wanted to do.

(TFL) That was really nice of Mr. Mousel. Will you be going this year?

(BL)Yes, I am registered and will be competing in TBA classics this summer. I am super excited to show a new me. Last year I went by myself and it was before I joined 4oz. Kru bob Perez, coach spaniard and my teammates at 4oz has unleashed the animal in me and I am ready to take home this year’s national belt.

(TFL) So tell us a little about your history, what got you started in all this Muay Thai business?

(BL) Growing up in rough neighborhoods I’ve always had to fight a lot. I decided to turn this aggression into something positive. I walked into my very first gym (Hoger Mma) and asked Kru Ali to take me in, he agreed. Kru Ali really fueled my love for fighting.

(TFL) Your last fight was with Legacy FC, in their hybrid card. Who was your opponent, and what was that like?
(BL) I fought oct 6 for Legacy’s hybrid card (muaythai&mma). My opponent was, Ashley Meza of paradigm. At 4oz I Trained extremely hard everyday and also lived at the gym two weeks before the fight. So when I stepped into ring I was excited to make my friends family fans and gym PROUD. “Train hard,fight easy”

(TFL) I don’t know how true this is, but word on the Street was that The MuayThai boxers, out sold the MMA guys… how does it feel having been a part of that, and what do you think about Muay Thai in Houston?
(BL) from what I understand there’s not many muaythai cards in Texas. This baffles me because Mma fans always boo when it goes to the ground and yell for standup but they don’t watch muaythai as much as mma. Me and Ashley meza got FGHT of the night so I was really proud of that. The crowds loved the muaythai fights, and the legacy has tried to put on another card. The problem is that not enough muaythai fighters are stepping up to fill the card. I hope more will.

(TFL) Not doubt it baffles us all, and hopefully people will start to step up to the plate. Your next fight, you’re fighting for StriKing April 6th, who’s your opponent and what do you know about her?

(BL) my next fight is April 6 for Striking promotions. I’m very excited to fight for that promotion. I fight sahin kadir from Manitoba, Canada and I don’t know anything about her. We originally agreed at 106lbs and I dieted down alot until I recently got news that she wants a catch weight at 115. I quickly agreed, I just want to fight. There is no greater feeling than the feeling I get after a great battle.

(TFL) If you don’t mind me asking, how is your training going and what does that look like?

(BL) my training camp is always the same at 4oz. There’s not much different between my everyday training than training camp. I train hard year round to be prepared for any fight at anytime,I don’t wait till camp. I start with morning conditioning with my conditioning coach Terry the Trainer of HUSTLFIT. Then at night Kru bob Perez kills me with an hour of bags and pads, then my teammates beat me up for another hour. Finishing off with Kru perez’s technical Muay Thai class.

(TFL) Awesome, sounds like you guys live the fighter’s life. That’s the way to do it, life is a fight camp. One more question, and I’ll let you go. What are your dreams of accomplishing?

(BL) my ultimate dream for my muaythai career is to hold a world title. I also have Mma aspirations, I will debut Mma before 2014 and my dream is to fight for invicta or the UFC.
thank you for the interview! Please follow me on twitter and Instagram @bebelaced. I will also be fighting for the Striking women’s 105 title in August, and debuting Mma soon so stay tuned!

(TFL) Awesome, we look forward to it! And thank you, Bebe!

And once again, you can follow her on twitter and Instagram @bebelaced

StriKing flier

http://www.strikingfights.com/

Hitting the bags

How to work the bag for Muay Thai.
“ah, but bag don’t hit back” –Bruce Lee
Ask any boxer or Thai boxer, and we’ll all exclaim about the benefits and importance of pad and bag work. But in order for someone to properly implement bag work into their training, one must understand the theory and objective of how and why to work the bag.
Now, I’ll confess, sometimes I’m guilty of not getting enough alone time with my heavy bag. But let’s take a look at working the bag.
Just like in boxing you have different ranges, and different tools that correspond accordingly. The same applies to Muay Thai/Thai boxing. In close you’ll see that I use the knee or half shin/half knee… and as the bag swings out, this is your kicking range.
The idea is to effectively simulate an opponent engaging and disengaging, and practice these different ranges. I made a short video of how to work the kicks into your bag work. In this video, I want you to watch how I use the push and teep/front kick to control and add movement to the bag.
In my next blog post, I’ll talk about adding the hand and kicks, to practice your combo.