Okay, Jason. Here we go. Let’s get a little deep.
We want to know more about you, what makes you tick!
We know you are a trainer by night, but what do you do during the day?
Computer programmer (how stereotypical can I get =p)
When you really want to cheat, what’s your fave?
Popeye’s “spicy” chicken
How long have you trained Muay Thai? How long have you been at Tampa Muay Thai?
I started training in Muay Thai at TMT 7-8 years ago. After training in Kung Fu for 9 years, and moving from Jamaica to Tampa for school, I found that there was no real solid martial arts school here that I enjoyed. I tried finding another Kung Fu school, tried Capoiera, Shotokan, but nothing measured up to my old school. After 4 years of training with friends in various martial arts, one of my friends told me to try out Muay Thai at TMT. SO… I gave it a shot, came in and did my intro with Dato …. And had to unlearn everything I had learned in Kung Fu. Muay Thai was almost the complete opposite of my old fighting technique, from the fighting stance, to the allowed strikes, and circular movements. Kung Fu is a side stance, while Muay Thai is straight forward; open hands, sweeps, take downs in Kung Fu and gloves, simpler kicks, and no ground work in Muay Thai; circular trappings with Kung Fu and more direct strikes with Muay Thai; defensive art vs offensive art. It was a new challenge, and something that I have and still continue to learn.
When did you become a trainer? Why?
May 10, 2012. I had no actual thoughts of being a trainer. I just remember Ray one day coming up to me and saying something along the lines of, “Hey, how do you feel about becoming a trainer here?” I honestly don’t remember what I said, but knowing me, it was probably something like “okay” or something. I guess Ray saw some potential there.
Have you fought before? How many times? Do you still fight?
Yes. I have fought Muay Thai 2x. Before that, I fought in San Shou (Chinese kickboxing) and continuous sparring. And sadly no, I don’t still fight. Since becoming a father, I don’t have the time to commit to the training required to do fight camp. But hey, I can live vicariously through our new champs. *wink wink nudge nudge*
Here’s the big one, what does Muay Thai mean to you?
My old Kung Fu trainer used to say Kung Fu means “Hard Work.” I believe that is the same for all martial arts, including Muay Thai. It means conquering myself, physically and mentally. It is my release from the mental and physical stresses of the day. When I am hitting the pads, or working the bag, or working with my fellow KMTers, it helps me get refocused, unload the strains of my brain, and calms, destresses me. People have asked me how I can remain calm, and I tell them, if I didn’t do Muay Thai, you wouldn’t see the person you see now. Martial arts on a whole has changed my many perspectives on life, and my current therapy now is Muay Thai. If I was doing another art, I would probably be saying the same thing about it. Would it be the same passion that I have for that art? That’s hard to say, but I can say that my therapy, physical and mental, is Muay Thai, and I am glad that it is.
What’s your favorite part about being a trainer at Tampa Muay Thai?
When you are learning at KMT, you don’t think about the techniques much, you just do them. When you’re a trainer you have to think about it more, “How is this technique? How can I use it?? Why would I use it now? Can I use it in this situation? How else can I use it?” I really enjoy thinking about that, as it helps to expand my range of thought and technique.
But my favorite thing about it is seeing the progression that the students make. I love seeing others get better in what they do, and I love being able to help them in any way I can. For everyone who comes in and out of those doors, this is a part of their journey in their life. Whether their time here lasts a week, or for years to come, it doesn’t matter. Literally just this past weekend, I saw a picture of Layal when she started, and how she is now. Her demeanor has changed (in a good way) and she is growing into a great young lady. Then when I read her post and she says that I had a great positive influence on her, you get a great sense of pride. We as trainers get to be a part of that, and hopefully, we help them achieve their goals, whether it be directly or indirectly. And THAT is a great thing.
When you aren’t punching and kicking things, what do you like to do?
I really enjoy drawing and listening to music.
Hit us with two truths and a lie:
I love running. My other past time is drawing. Bacon is my pet.
And what’s one thing you don’t think we know about you?
I’m a huge fan of going to anime conventions.