The Fighting Pride of the Irish, the Son of Texas Michael “Chase” Corley

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I’d like to take today to highlight IFMA, Toyota tournaments and Lumpinee Stadium and Challenger Asia Superstar, The Fighting Pride of the Irish, The Son of Texas…

Michael “Chase” Corley.

The talented young man that put his work in overseas and abroad returned home to Houston in recent years to mentor many Coaches and Fighters in the Houston area, as well as UFC rising star Andrew “Highlight” Craig, who’s Muay Thai and boxing picked his opponent apart in his latest showing.

There is no doubt that there is one man, which we all want to see fighting in Lion Fights, that man, is the modern day James “Cinderella Man” Braddock, that man is Michael Corley.

Watch the Highlight and you’ll agree.

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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