A Rundown of 2014 and Preview of 2015
2014 was a solid year for me.
The year started rough with the death of my girlfriend’s mother who lost her battle with cancer. It was a very difficult time, especially for Liz, but a few short days after her mom’s death, we were blessed with the birth of my nephew Liam (who I’ve already bought multiple Muay Thai shorts for).
We didn’t get too spend too much time with Liam since Liz and I already booked our flights to Thailand. We booked one-way tickets and had a rough idea of an itinerary, but thought it would be more fun if we just went with the flow and took it one day at a time… so that’s what we did!
Needless to say, Thailand was an amazing experience.
We got to travel throughout the beautiful country, meet amazing people, and experience the rich Thai culture in more ways than one.
First, we stopped by to see a friend of mine Anita, at her new gym Nitah Muay Thai in Patong. We were welcomed with open arms by everyone there including the owners of Cafe Siam, Chez and Dana, who were kind enough to let us stay there for the month while we trained and explored.
After our time in Patong, we traveled up to the Surin province with our trainer Daam to spend Songrkan with him and his family. Again, we were welcomed with open arms and treated like an extended part of the family. We went to temple with them, explored the countryside, went to Muay Thai fights and were served delicious Thai meals… that I miss so, SO much!
Our next stop was to Koh Phangan, which was a loooong trip south but well worth it.
When we arrived on the island, we were immediately surrounded by serene beaches and tropical trees… it was perfect.
After staying a few nights at DaKanda Resort, we explored the island and found a perfect spot to stay for the month at Siam Healing Center, which also happened to be a yoga studio where we met my favorite yoga teacher of all time, Katie.
Siam Healing Center was a perfect spot because it was affordable, high quality, and a great location being next to town, the beach and the gym I was going to be training at, Diamond Muay Thai.
Training at Diamond Muay Thai was great. Mon, the head trainer and owner, is one of the coolest dudes you’ll ever meet. His English is good, his technique is impeccable, and the way he explains everything is very detailed oriented and relatively easy to understand and implement.
Besides Mon, the other owner was Simon, who I spoke with prior to going to Koh Phangan and was as welcoming and friendly as he sounded through email. Besides Mon and Simon, all the other trainers were super friendly, very easy going, and very willing to help Liz and I improve our technique and conditioning. It was a great time there!
After about a month in Koh Phangan, I decided that I wanted to take a break from training (due to a nagging injury) and Liz wanted to explore more of the country. We decided to head up north to Chiang Mai and spend time up there volunteering at a dog shelter called Care For Dogs.
Honestly, the month we spent volunteering at Care For Dogs in Chiang Mai was probably one of the best parts of the trip. You wouldn’t think picking up shit and breaking up dog fights would be a fun thing to do… because it wasn’t. But, what was fun and very rewarding was spending time with the dogs, taking them for walks, bathing them and getting to know the personalities of them all.
Besides volunteering, we made sure to explore the northern country. Although we did a majority of our exploring on our little motorbike, we also ended up taking some tours to see things like The White Temple in Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle near Laos and Burma. It was amazing.
A month passed and we came to the conclusion that we wanted to go back to the pristine island of Koh Phangan. I know most people associate Koh Phangan with the Full Moon Party, but believe it or not, we didn’t attend one party since we were focused on living simple, healthy, active lives which Koh Phangan was perfect for.
My injury being all healed up, I decided to take a couple fights during our second stay. I ended up winning both fights with 2nd round knockouts but felt a little discouraged since I was being matched up with Thai fighters who were a weight class or two below me. It was a bit frustrating, but it’s how many of the fights work in Thailand, especially on the outer islands.
While I was doing my training, Liz was doing her yoga teacher training at It’s Yoga Satellite. I don’t know if you do yoga or if you know how hard it can be, but this girl was doing 2-3 yoga sessions a day for anywhere between 4-8 hours… which is insane! Needless to say, she was enlightened, confident, and in great shape after the 4 weeks of yoga teacher training.
After that, we took a look at our savings and realized that we were starting to run a bit low. On top of that, we were both feeling ready to head back to the states and be closer to our family and friends… especially little Liam.
But before we left, we decided to adopt a dog from Care For Dogs that we absolutely fell in love with. Her name was initially Dao Koh To, but we changed it to Suay (beautiful). She’s been a great addition to our little family and has adapted well to living the “life of luxury” she’s not used to on the streets.
When we arrived home it seemed like so much was going on. I just released my first video course Clinch King, we had to buy a used car and we had to sign a lease for an apartment so we didn’t end up camping out in my parents basement for too long. On top of all that, I decided to take my first pro fight against a seasoned fighter in Turan Hasanov… and in hindsight, I probably should have waited to get settled in before fighting.
Obviously if you’ve been following Muay Thai Guy, you know I lost the fight via first round TKO. Turan is a tough mother fucker and hits hard as fuck and I don’t want to take anything from him because I think he’s a great fighter. That being said, I’m loaded with excuses/reasons/whatever you want to call them for losing the fight.
First reason was because he was a better fighter than me that night. Plain and simple.
The second reason was because I didn’t train nearly as hard as I probably could’ve since I was focused on so many different things. A majority of my focus was on creating and releasing Clinch King, which I ended up releasing the week of the fight. Looking back at it, doing that was pretty stupid of me because most of my attention was focused on making sure that the launch was a success and not that I had to train hard and focus on my professional debut coming up.
Another reason was because of my fights in Thailand. Not only were they mismatches, but the pace of fights in Thailand are drastically different than the pace of fights in the states.
With that being said, I knew Turan was going to come out hard at me and try to knock me out. The thing about that is that even though I knew he was going to come like a tornado at me, I wasn’t present or aware enough during the fight to do the things that I planned to do… which were to clinch, kick, and keep to the outside. I did exactly what I told myself not to do, which was stand in the pocket and exchange punches with him.
But hey, you live and learn right?
That loss was tough to swallow. Not only was it my first pro fight in front of my family and friends, but it was also my only loss via TKO and my only loss (without gear on) in over 2 years. It really, really sucked losing and I felt like the whole world was crumbling beneath me.
But you’re not defeated when you lose, you’re defeated when you give up… and I wasn’t ready to give up.
However, I was ready to change my perspective on things, shift my priorities and figure out a smarter, more efficient way to go about building my website and improving my fight career simultaneously.
First off let me say that I’m not sure if you know exactly what goes into creating and running a website, but let me tell you, it’s a fucking lot. Besides writing blog posts, making videos and doing podcasts (which take up a lot of time and energy) I also have to answer emails, update social media, create graphics, build links, and do a ton of technical stuff that I won’t bore you with.
Anyway, the conclusion that I came up with after my loss is that I can’t put 100% into both my website and my fight career at the same time. It’s impossible. Although I might think that I can do both with all my heart and effort, in reality, focusing on both areas of my life at the same time limits my potential.
I did a lot of soul searching because of my loss and came to the conclusion that I needed to change the way I do things and focus on one thing at a time. So that’s exactly what I’m going to do in 2015.
My Plans For 2015
The first half of 2015 I will be primarily focusing on building my website and creating a ton of awesome content. My main goal will be to help you and the rest of Muay Thai Nation improve your skills and training in every way possible.
I’ll be coming out with The Heavy Bag Blueprint course (which I’m super stoked about) in the next few weeks and I’ll also be looking to create another video course shortly after – maybe on counters and defense? I’m not sure yet.
On top of that, I’m going to be heading to Colorado in mid-January to train with professor Duane “Bang” Ludwig and do another podcast with him, UFC champ TJ Dillashaw, Joseph Benavidez, Danny Castillo, Chris Holdsworth and Lance Palmer. Word also has it that Bas Rutten is going to be there too… I can’t wait!
Then, March 15th-22nd I’ll be hosting a Muay Thai retreat in Nosara, Costa Rica. Words can’t explain how excited I am for this trip! With a mixture of Muay Thai, yoga, surfing, hiking, relaxing and spending time talking with other passionate people, I’m confident that anyone who attends this retreat will come out of it feeling refreshed, reenergized and motivated to continue living a healthy, active, meaningful life. If this goes well, I’ll definitely be hosting more retreats in the future!
After the retreat, I’m not sure exactly what will be next, but I have a handful of ideas that I’d like to do. One of them being a cross-country road trip where I rent a camper van and visit a ton of Muay Thai gyms while exploring the US… but that’s still just an idea for now.
As for the 2nd half of 2015, I plan on getting back in the ring with 100% focus and intensity. Knowing that I put the first 6 months into building my website would give me a clear mind to train and fight with.
Although I love training here in NY at Stockade Martial Arts with my trainer JJ Russo and Chris Mauceri, I’ve also messed with the idea (depending on my life situation and savings) to have a 6-8 week training camp at Ludwig Martial Arts in Colorado.
At the moment, this is just a dream scenario and depends on a lot of things, but I feel like if I were in that type of atmosphere with one of the best coaches ever, it will help me reach my goals of becoming an elite pro level fighter.
Another reason I think it would be a great training camp is because I would be away from any distractions back in NY and I wouldn’t have to worry about doing too much work on Muay Thai Guy (besides maintenance and occasional content posts.)
Regardless of what happens in 2015, I’m confident moving forward into the New Year knowing that I’m surrounded by a loving family, passionate fans, great training partners, and an awesome dog. I’m thoroughly enjoying my life right now and plan on doing more of the same even if the online trolls and haters try to stop me.
Anyway, I figured I’d write this post because I’ve had a lot of people ask me when I’ll be fighting again and what I have planned for the future. It also helps just writing my ideas/plans out because it gives me more focus and makes me put the ideas/plans that are in my head into the universe.
As always, thanks for the continued support because without the fans and followers of Muay Thai Guy I wouldn’t be where I am today. Here’s to a passionate, inspired year in 2015!
If you want to read more of my training journals, you can check out my older entries here.