The warriors heart

-The warrior’s heart

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As usual, I love to ponder. This past week has given me some extra time to slow down and think; Time to think about family, sport, spirit and put pen to paper. This year we’ve been very active this year for our team. We just love to fight, doesn’t matter where.

I must admit that we are a society that is very driven and obsessed with victory, and our contempt for losing is unparalleled. Everything is about winning. If you don’t think so, go to a book store and take a quick look at the top sellers. Turn on the TV and watch some reality TV, everything we do is about winning, and I wonder how much of it has more to do with us compensating for our mental and spiritual inadequateness.

Seriously, I often find it interesting and perplexing how a fighter can loses a couple of matches and all the sudden the fans turn on them. “He’s a bum” or “he’s finished, he needs to retire”… I don’t get why we let couch-potatoes judge our careers. As if these guys know the sacrifice that fighters make. After all, how can you hold a scoring system that is judged like a beauty contest seriously against someone?

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Michael Jordan

And that’s where the lore of boxing comes in, were they have a long history of failures and underdog coming back to win or overcome life obstacles.

Speaking with a friend who just popped in from NYC, after training, we were just chatting a bit and he made the comment that “there’s a lot of heart in this sport”. This really resonated with me, because in Muay Thai… it’s not about the KO; winning is nice (don’t get me wrong, I like to win) but it’s about the fight. It’s about the exchange between two strong wills. It’s about who can dig deeper. It’s about two gods locked in immortal combat. It’s when we get to see the human spirit at its finest, and our resolve at its highest determination. Anyone can apply eight pounds of pressure to someone else’s chin, but it takes a champion to push forward and pressure an unrelenting opponent they just can’t seem to vanquish. Everyone gets knocked down from time to time, but champions get up. And that is the difference between success and failure; rather you have the heart and will to get up.

I was caught in the first round for a fight a couple of matches ago… and my buddy was telling me that when I got up he jump out of his seat, as if I had risen. Rising from defeat and refusing to fail is just as much as an accomplishment, and there is no loser in that kind of fight.

Greatness isn’t how many trophies’s, belts and titles you hold, it’s defined only by the size of your determination and perseverance.

TheKrastaGroupMuayThaiAddict

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Bayou Throwdown… Be ready, Brah!

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Nete August23rd

 

MMA
170lbs Jaime Garcia(BushiBan) vs Don Rasika Dissanayake(MetroFC)
170lbs Paul Garza (Team Tooke) vs Don Mayora Dissanayake(MetroFC)
125lbs Elezar Escareno(MetroFC) vs Jacob Norsworthy(BushiBan)
135lbs Steven Vera(MetroFC) vs Jonathon Villareal(BushiBan)
145lbs Matthew Longoria(MetroFC) vs Donovan Carrasco(AthleticLab)
155lbs Eric Charalambous(MetroFC) vs Issac Cruzado(Fusion)

Muay Thai
147lbs Oliver Jimenez(MuayThaiCorner) vs Robert Bailey(TeamTookeC)
140lbs Carlos Garza(SitSiam) vs TBA
160lbs Chris Jackson(SBA/Izzy) vs David Kelly(TheFightLab)
165lbs Jeremy Milbourn (TeamTooke) vs Elliot Bush(Paradigm)
165lbs Joel Haesecke(TBD) vs Gregory Sanzo (Revolution)
140lbs Jennifer Guerrero(Revolution) vs Caressa Kibler(Team SudYod) -NAMTF Tite
160lbs Nethaneel Mongonia(Revolution) vs Kebba Marenah(TeamSudYod)
110lbs Bebe Laced (4oz) vs Gabbi Maxwell(TBD) -NAMTF Tite
140lbs Tue Salianekham (Garland) vs Alex Chang(4oz)

NAMF – North American Muay Thai Federation

Muay Thai Kingdom 2 Aug 23 at Bayou City Event Center

Sorry I’ve been away for a bit.

I wanted to drop some big news!
Muay Thai Kingdom 2 will be held Aug 23rd, at the Bayou City Event Center. This will be my first event in Houston, after four long years of traveling and fighting. the following is a tentative card posted by Michael Corley.
stay tune for further details.

Aug 23 Bayou City Event Center – Card Subject to change
1) 147 lbs Oliver Jimenez (Muay Thai Corner) Robert Bailey (Team Tooke C)
2) 140 lbs Carlos Garza (SitSiam) Uriel Figuero (Revolution)
3) 155 lbs Daniel Ortega (McCall) TBA
4) 160 lbs Chris Jackson (SBA/Izzy) TBA
5) 165lbs Jeremy Milbourn (Team Tooke) Elliot Bush (Paradigm)
6) 165lbs Joel Haesecke (TBD) Gregory Sanzo (Revolution)
7) 140lbs Jennifer Guerrero(Revolution) Caressa Kibler (Team SudYod)
8) 160lbs Nethaneel Mongonia(Revolution) Kebba Marenah (TeamSudYod)
9) 110lbs Bebe Laced (4oz) Gabbi Maxwell (TBD)
10) 140lbs Chuy Salianekham (Garland) Alex Chang (4oz)

Part two of the IFMA series

USA

For the next day on the itinerary was registration. There were a lot of countries there, and while 101 countries had notified IFMA that they’d be in attendance, we had another 47 countries show up unannounced and ready to fight. So needless to say the registration team was a bit overwhelmed.
So what do you do?…you grab a chair and hang out with some really cool people on your team, and make it a good time with some laughs. We finally got the team paid for and registered, after some confusion. And once again it was head back to the hotel. This time we got out and enjoyed the beach a little bit, went for a run, hit pads and trained with some awesome people. Getting to hit pads again felt great, but I could tell my body still wasn’t awake from the trip yet.
The next day was weigh-ins and due to the large amount of combatants, the initial weigh-ins was split between two days. Obviously we wanted to have that second day as a rest day. Equally overwhelmed was the medical and weigh-in teams, due to the unexpected high volume of last minute show ups. Finally we got everything sorted and it was time to relax… a little. We ate dinner and had a couple of laughs, and went to bed.
The first day of competition, and everyone made weight like champions. Sam and one of the juniors were up to bat, however due to a reshuffle we all were reseated in our brackets. Come to find out a group of 4-5 competitors didn’t check the brackets the night before, and thought that they were weren’t supposed to fight that day and didn’t weigh in. so these guys were booted for failure to make weight.
Fortunately, we had a Team coordinator (Cheryl) and coach (Thiago) that were diligent in monitoring the brackets for change. They would be up at 12-1am to watch the bracket’s, only to wake up at 5-6am to start getting ready for a day that didn’t end until 10-11pm.
It was nice to have the first day off, it gave us a day to just watch the fights and see how things were going to be run. We had a blast cheering and watching some good fights.
The days started to blur together, and it didn’t matter. We had such a great team of individuals, that we just had fun and made the best of everything.
Finally the day was upon us; Ethan fought first and did a great job. He put on a great fight but was unable to score enough rounds to win the decision. However, he did get to show off his combos, and foot work. You have to give him props for jumping in the deep end and swimming with the sharks.
Next up was me; I was fighting someone from the home town team, Malaysia. My opponent, far more experienced than I was, came out fighting a slickster kick style. I took the first round to study his game a bit while working a kick game. The following round, my corner-man/team coach (Thiago Azeredo), figured out his weakness and had me start working my footwork and counters, and then applying pressure… sure enough we started to see the cracks appear in in that second round, as we took that round. Third round came up and my corner had me pour the heat on more, and as he started to weather I saw my opportunity, and force him to place his hand and landed it… a right elbow, spot on the button. I felt the elbow go through like butter, as all my kinetic energy was delivered. I saw him fall back and his eyes roll back into his head. So I knew he was out. Walking back to my corner, I knew he wasn’t getting back up… but my corner called for me to go to neutral corner anyways. The ref just walks up and took my opponent’s mouth piece out and called for the doctor. While standing in the neutral corner, I realized that he hadn’t really moved yet, and then I started to worry. Once he started to stand up, I felt a lot more relieved that he was ok. We’ve all been knocked out, and that pretty much what we both are trying to do… but you know, you don’t want to be responsible for someone’s death or ending their career. I have to give him a lot of respect; he was a tough and smart guy. He fought hard and earned his country a lot of respect.
Afterwards, several people came up and said that that was the highlight reel KO of the event… I don’t know. Anyhow, it was a good fight. It was technical… not wild and sloppy. And getting the opportunity to fight like that was amazing and an honor. After the win there was no time for excitement, as the rest of the team was still coming up to bat the next day and I was looking down the barrel of fighting Algeria/France.

TheKrastaGroupMuayThaiAddict

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Sitmonchai IV: a recap

Run

 

Review of my trip to Thailand, and Sitmonchai. Roni and I headed out from Bush intercontinental airport April 11, 2014. While waiting for our plane, we were informed that our plane had to make a medical emergency stop in New Orleans to drop of a passenger. So our first flight was delayed by an hour. After boarding and taking off, the pilot hauled ass to Doha Qatar and got us there in time to make our flight, which we thought we were going to miss. However, our connecting flight decided to leave 30 minutes early, and stranded us in Doha Qatar. Doha is a very conservative country, and my wife is not wearing a head gown and has short hair… two strikes against us, haha. Anyhow, we were about to catch another flight to Bangkok five hours later, at like 2am Saturday. We then flew 6 hours to Bangkok from Doha, and that flight ended up leaving the airport late and getting to Bangkok late, oh my god. Our poor driver waited on us for several hours, and was about to head home when we landed and were about to send a message to our friend Garry, that was at the camp, who notified them that we made it. Saturday, we made it in to Sitmonchai after a grand theft auto drive through the mean streets of Bangkok. We then got to meet everyone, paid for our stay, ate dinner and then headed off to bed. Saturday morning Garry met Roni and I outside; we sat and enjoyed a cup of horrible nestle instant coffee (Laughs) but the morning was so peaceful and calm, it didn’t matter. We enjoyed our slow start and kicked off our morning run. On our morning run, Garry and Roni did the smart thing by pacing themselves. I however am a bit of a meat head. I thought to myself “if P-nae and Jun can run third bridge… so can I” (Laughs). In all honest, I felt great running the third bridge. To give you an understanding of the scale, third bridge is 10k or 6.21371 miles. After my run, it was training time. I’m so used to hitting it hard; I forgot that I need to save some gas for the evening training too. So the structure is a longer run in the morning and a lighter pad session in the morning, more technical based. The evening was a shorter run, around 4 miles and a more intense and longer pad session, followed by bags, clinch or sparing. I think my favorite part is the attitude towards training, they were laid back and allowed everyone to training at his or her own pace. This is great, because it allows the fighters to listen to their body and take active rest days and rest days as needed. Now don’t get me wrong, these guys work there asses off. But they have the common sense to not run their fighters into the ground. One guy “Jimmie” was frustrated that Pee-A and the gym wouldn’t let him train or go for a run, two days out from his fight. This proved to be a smart move, and you can tell from the fighters performance’s that they look 110% and well rested when the get into that ring to work. I think what really impressed me, was that the gym treats everyone like family. You all train together, eat together… and often hang out together. Getting to work next to Pornsanae and several other fighters, sparing and clinching with the Lumpinee rising stars was amazing, guys like Lay and Jimme. Following our training, Chris, Garry, Roni and I had to have our post training roasted bananas from the Banana lady. These little treats, while not super sweet, were caramel’y goodness, and the perfect post workout snack before breakfast. After returning, at first we would go with Garry to amazon to get a decent cup of joe. But by the end of our training, we had traded our ceremonial cup of coffee for a siesta! 12-2pm naps were great, ditching out on the hottest part of the day, and getting rested up for that afternoon run and training. Some days, when my body said enough, I traded my run for a jump rope and shadow boxing session. And when the trainers noted I was blasted, they would work technical work with me. I definitely enjoyed the technical work the most. Anyone can show you a cartwheel kick or a wild flying move, but Kru Juab and Kru Kong Fa have the eyes of a master level coach… and would walk me through some of the finer nuances of the foot work and post-contact foot placement. Just like in boxing, you should always be able to throw or evade a punch, the same holds true for the science of eight. The finer details we worked really made my offence and defenses look a lot sharper. Never underestimate a highly trained eye.

 

 

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Anyhow, one midweek day we got the chance to see Jun “Thepnimit Sitmonchai” fight at Raja. That was a wonderful experience. Garry and I decided to place a bet on him. I mean what the hell… I’m standing back stage with one of our all-time favorite fighters, while he gets his hands wrapped. It’s a once in a life time experience. Jun came out strong landing the combos he wanted to land. In the second round he got rocked, and was stumbling back on his feet… I thought for sure he was going to get finished off, but somehow this really tough guy weathered the storm to the bell. Coming out to answer for round three was intense. I thought for sure he was a goner, until I saw him started to land hard shots and combos again. I realize we had a fight again, and just like that with in a split second, like a sniper Jun caught the guy with a right hook followed with a left leg kick that connected the right spot. His opponent started to limp, and once he saw that he poured the heat on and sent his opponent crashing to the mat. What a great fight that was. Following the excitement of the fight, we return to the camp for some rest.

 

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On one of the days, we got to see Lay (who is one of Lumpinee’s new rising stars) fight at a festival at the Wat about a 40 minute drive away, in the next village. Lay picked up an opponent that was a bit shorter and stocky. Lay being a tall lanky but strong fight quickly went to work utilizing his reach with kicks and long knee’s. Often his opponent attempted to rush and force an inside fight with him, but Ley was well prepared with his counter right hook and clinch game. Other than eating one or two hard crosses, Ley completely out classed his opponent and won all five rounds. It’s exciting to think about the future this guy has… I can’t wait to see this kid at Lion Fight or GloryWS one day. Continuing on I work a bit with a younger trainer, Ma. He was a good guy, and I enjoyed working my combos and reaction with him. Thankfully at home we’ve adopted a free flowing style of pad-work that models an actual fight. This allows the fighter to control the fight, instead of the fight controlling the fighter. So keeping Kong Fa and Juab’s corrections in mind, I got to free flow a lot more with hand and kick combos. He also took the time to show me some really slick stuff, which I’ll keep in my back pocket for later. Continuing on my training was pretty rough, but nothing worse than home. Getting the chance to split my training between the morning and afternoons was awesome, and I would kill to be able to do that here. Sadly, I have to cram all 5 hours of work in, in the afternoon. Oh well. Training at Sitmonchai, I actually gained a bit of weight. I made the mistake of challenging the Aussy (Matt Waldron) to a eating contest. Which was good, it allowed my body to adapt to the training schedule prior to cutting my caloric intake. Once I cut my intake a bit, the weight just melted off and I was pretty much ready for IFMA. All and all, if I could have redone it, I would have scheduled it a bit of time away from IFMA so that I could fight in Thailand. That’s ok though, Roni and I plan on going back soon. I’ll get my fight at Raja then.

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TheKrastaGroupMuayThaiAddict

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Adventures at Sitmonchai II

Sitmonchai II

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Sorry I haven’t been posting about all the good stuff in a couple of days. I intended to post something for you guys everyday, but between training, sleeping and seeing Bangkok yesterday, I’ve dropped the ball.

Anyhow, so on day two Kru Kongfa called me into the ring. Yeah, found my guy. Kru Kongfa is a much bigger guy and able to catch my kicks with the pads. I really like working with his style, we mesh really well. On our first rounds together, he helped me fix my knee a bit… he made the same correction to my knees, that I have been making to Jenn and the rest of the teams. It’s good to know that we’re on the right path.

Just a side note, Kongfa has fight Sudsakorn and had a great career.

The Thai’s have a different style of boxing with the hands. once I realized that the hooks and upper cuts were coming from the same angles as the elbows, the combos and the power started to fall in place.

in the states, we always work western boxing with the hands. it’s always good to learn a different style, and it’s understandable why the Thai’s throw a lot of power shots with their hands. The scoring system doesn’t really score the hands, unless the boxer is doing damage with them.

So I took a lot of what I worked on in the morning and afternoon training, and spent sometime working them on the bags. Needless to say, I had a great training day.

I can’t state how much I am enjoying my stay at Sitmonchai. everyone is really nice, and Pee A and Abigail take really good care of everyone here.

 

Day III

After putting in the equivalent of four days back home, my third day was a rest day. It was nice to sleep in a bit, and watch the fighters train. Just hung out and learned a lot of god stuff.

after morning training, we eat and headed into Bangkok for the day. Bangkok was a blast. first we wen’t to the boons store. Garry flagged down a scooter taxi… cost us ten Bhat, and the guys knew where the store was. Garry not flagged them down, we probably would have spent the day just looking for the Boons store.

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After our dare with death, we went to MBK. which is a giant mall in downtown, that you can reach from the sky tran. we went at watch Jimmy fight. Jimmy looked good, sharp and strong. in the first round Jimmy felt his guy out for the first half of the round, then started to punish the guy with leg kicks. and in the second Jimmy started landing his hands a bit more too. up until half way through, Jimmy was rocking it, when he ate a kick to the knee just right that twisted his ankle and ended the fight.

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we then rushed to Raja to see Jun fight. we got to hang out in the warm up rooms, and take pictures with Jun. what a fight! Jun came lout strong in the first, landing his combos at will. in the second, more of the same, until his opponent caught him with what looked like a left hook. Jun was wobbly on his feet, and for a moment I thought that Mr.Knockout was about to be KO’s… then the round ended. Coming into round three, what a hell of a come back. Jun landed a right hook to left leg kick that stop his opponent in is tracks. once Jun saw that he followed it again for a TKO.

we returned to the camp for the night. what was suppose to be a rest day, ended up being a day of walking. Haha.

 

 

*On a bit of a serious note, please keep my friend’s father-in-law in your thoughts. he just had a heart attack, and a bypass. The Mongonia’s hope and pray that all is well in the Kunstman household.  :/

TheKrastaGroupMuayThaiAddict

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Sitmonchai day one

Welcome to the Fighters Life, and thanks for following us.

Sitmonchai Day one:

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Roni and myself made it in to Sitmonchai sunday, hung out with Garry and met some really awesome people that are staying here with us. Everyone is super nice and friendly, we’re definitely enjoying ourselves right now.

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Garry showed us around the village a bit; he showed us the Tesco/local small super market and the village banana treat stand. We were a bit tired after being up for 30 hours on our flight, so we started nodding off at 8pm, we called it a night and crashed a bit early. Which was sad, because my buddy Cody Moberly was fighting on the ThaiFight card that night, and we just couldn’t stay awake.

 

about to go for a run… but first, let me take a selfie BUUAHAHAHAH

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Monday morning, we were rested up and ready to work. We started our morning with a nice run; Roni and Garry did the smart thing by pacing themselves. I however, got a bit over zealous. I did the third bridge, which everyone says is 10k. personally, it felt like 8k. The temp here is really nice, it’s just like home in Houston. At 6am when we wake and have a cup of coffee, it’s a comfy 65-70 degrees. Which makes it really nice for sleeping, and for peaceful mornings. people have complained about being woken by a chorus of dogs and roosters, but I’ve been sleeping like a baby, and I think I was only woken once but the dog here at the camp, as he sounds freakishly like a human, with zombie undertones. (Laughs) but he’s a supper sweet dog.

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The heat and humidity is great during the day, as it’s feels just like Houston. It really helps to keep you from getting cold and stiff when you stop for a rest. Just stay hydrated. After our morning run, we wrapped up and got ready to hit. Just like home, you’re responsible to work at your own pace, big boy style. I worked with Kru Jaa and Roni has been working with Kru Pan “Pon”. My first session, was great. he was very technical, and I really enjoyed working with him. We worked on foot work and he help me with adding a bit more power to my knees, elbows and leg kicks. Got some really cool stuff for the students at home. I kind of felt a bit smothered with the boxing, but I just kept working with it and I finally started finding my range.

I started noticing he was wincing, once I started landing my power. Poor guy couldn’t weigh more then 135-145lbs, so I kind of felt bad.

After the morning training, Garry, Roni and I went by the banana stand and got some awesome treats. Oh my god, it was so freaking good. Also, a guy comes around on a scooter cart, and he makes these sweet scramble egg crapes wraps that are amazing. Anyhow, we did our afternoon run around 3:30pm,  it was hot, around 100-105, but nothing worse then home. I cut my run in half, because the evenings are the harder rounds and there’s sparing and clinching.

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After returning from our afternoon run, it was time to hit.

Kru Jaa held for me again, and we worked a lot of the same stuff. I love working at Sitmomchai, straight up meat and potatoes Muay thai, just really good sold fundamentals. “Good fundamentals are what win fights” – Kevin Ross

He spent some time working on some of my technical stuff dealing with leg kicks. They really liked my leg kick, but added a few more things to optimize the power level. It’s definitely going to take some time to implement some of the stuff he showed me. good thing I documented everything. I felt really bad, because I was just to big for him to work with. All and all, it was a great day of training. also I got to spar with a Lumpinee rising star Pech. really good kid and really strong, he’s another to watch out for in the next couple of years.

On another note, I got to meet and hang a bit with Moo before his big fight in turkey this weekend for Glory 15. I’m definitely excited for him, he’s earned this shot.

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There’s nothing flashy about this gym, it’s not a tourist spot, and that’s we I love this place. I highly recommend it if you’re serious about training in Thailand. This will be my home gym for every trip I make to Thailand hence forth. I’m just having a blast, and everyone is treating us like family.

Well, sorry to cut it short, but I’ve got to go and get ready for tuesday afternoon training. Afterwards we’re hitting up a night market/bazaar that opens once a week.

Thanks for reading.

You can follow my pictures posts on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/nethaneel.mongonia

 

TheKrastaGroupMuayThaiAddict

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Ali Salami: Muay Thai, The Global Experience.

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Ali Salami

Ali Salami is an enigmatic figure who is well travelled and takes an intelligent, thoughtful approach to Muay Thai. Salami is currently involved in helping supervise the Muay Thai training at Gracie Barra Westchase, in Houston, Tx.  Gracie Barra is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu organization, and one might be surprised that the school has a thriving and growing Muay Thai program. “I am supervising the training and advising until i get my visa, so i can teach and train MMA fighters from Gracie Barra one on one”.

A lot of fighters in the US have learnt in the US and haven’t had the opportunity to train in Thailand unlike a lot of the fighters from Europe, Salami has trained at different gyms particularly at Sor Vorapin gym and Sasiprapa gym. “I landed in Bangkok in 2006 for a month and I stayed for more than 2 years, before that i had some boxing training and two amateur fights, also i had on and off knockdown karate training (Kyokushinkai ) and a lot of sparring experience taking part in  interclub competition in this style. Before i went to Bangkok, I had just spent a year in France finishing a bachelor in business, I had stopped for five years after studying an associate degree, when my dad was diagnosed with leukemia, i took a job in Liberia, and then left after war.”

For Salami war has sprung up during his lifetime, and impacted his choices. “Five days after i returned back home to Beirut, a war started, and five days after it ended, i was in Bangkok.  After i arrived in Bangkok, i said to myself, ‘I can’t leave now’, i felt thirsty for Thailand as a whole; Muay thai, food, culture, people, the life, i wanted to know more and to experience all those things. In my first month of training my ankle was badly injured by a trainer who swept my standing foot while asking me to kick pads with the other leg. I couldn’t train for six months, an injury that came as a blessing in disguise because instead of training and kicking pads being taught nonsense like most foreigners are trained, not taught, i could watch, and learn and understand; I immersed myself in Muay Thai without training, without realizing what was happening. I was at the camp every day, on YouTube every day, at the stadium often. At the same time i was doing many things to support the cheap cost of living, I maintained myself there from teaching English to kids, to working as an extra on movie sets and local commercials. I also had a small shop with my brother in Beirut where I’d buy stuff in Bangkok and send it to him to sell.”

It was through this turn of events, and Salami’s devotion to Muay Thai whilst being unable to train that Salami started to really develop an appreciation of the art. “The second year was the year where i really started training; I had already understood the biomechanics, the rhythm and the tricks, by taking the time to observe and watch. In 2008, i had six fights, won four and lost two, all matches ended by knockout, i was 80 kg (176lbs). I left to start a Thai restaurant in West Africa with my brother as the opportunity arose; I had one fight there, and then only trained alone occasionally on Sundays. The restaurant business is a tough one; I worked sixteen hours a day, six days a week for five years until a war started and the business died. We re-opened six months after war stopped, worked for some time then learnt that we had a fake lease from a fake owner, it’s a long story. Here i am a year later today in Houston, training and helping at Gracie Barra Westchase. I can speak four languages including average Thai; I am learning Spanish which will be my fifth.”

Salami is heavily influenced by the time he spent analyzing and breaking down the Muay Thai he saw.  “My style would be what I call Muay IQ, due to the tricks and tactics that i can pull off. It is rare to see a 200 lbs guy fight with a total Thai style, i have that. My goal was never to be a professional or a fighter but rather to learn, master, and excel.  I am always doing business and train on and off, I fight when i get the chance and time to train and fight.”

Not everyone can teach an art such as Muay Thai despite having trained it and in some cases despite being a good fighter. “I have a gift for teaching because I can break down techniques and explain why you do it that way. I understand communication, nlp (neuro-linguistic programming), and bio mechanics. I was scheduled for a heavyweight bout at Muay Thai Kingdom 2 on March 22nd but the opponent pulled out, it was the same opponent who pulled out of our fight at Muay Thai Kingdom 1. There’s the WKA North American championships in Virginia in March , there’s the TBA all American Muay Thai classics in June in Iowa and the IKF world classics in Orlando in July. I plan to be on all these tournaments. The promoter of Muay Thai Kingdom has me on the spot ready to fight for him every time if they have an opponent at 200 pounds. I want to stay in the States so that I can compete and develop my Muay Thai career, that’s really why I’m looking to focus on the national and regional championships, and also from here represent Gracie Barra at the IFMA world championships in Malaysia.”

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For Ali Salami, his journey in Muay Thai has been a self-motivated one. “My motto would be: Train alone, fight alone, win alone. I showed up at the Prince’s Cup in 2008 alone, no team mate, no trainer, no corner, representing Lebanon. Everyone was there in teams of ten to fifteen members with their flags, i took silver.”

Thailand is a country with interesting colorful sights and experiences to be had, and it is not unusual for people to fall in love with different aspects of the country. “My favorite things about Thailand, in Muay Thai it was being a  ringside spectator at Lumpinee stadium, the Mecca of Muay Thai, you are transcended, you can hear the blows, it is the peak, the creme de la crème, just like a Paquiao- Mayweather. Secondly the street cooking: i am an addict and thirdly the Loy Krathong festival celebrated every full moon of the twelfth month; lanterns floating on mini boats will be set by the people onto the river thanking the spirits for life.”

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You can tell a lot about a nak muay by who he likes to watch. “I like Yosdenklai Fairtex for his rhythm, patience, intelligence and simple approach. I like Sudsakorn sor klimnee, he has a cool temper yet is very vicious; Bovy sor udomson for the killer instinct and punches. Attachai Fairtex, he is so fluid and smart. Those two are retired now. A new guy I like to watch is Armin Punpanmuang, he has got it all, power technique, iq, etc. As for muay thai fighters who fight in kickboxing i wouldn’t trade Giorgio Petrosyan for anyone, he is the greatest kickboxer of all”

TFL correspondent,

-Lance Edwards. 

Thanks Lance for your submission

-Nethaneel

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