TBA 2023 Muay Thai Expo-Recap and Lessons Learned

TBA 2023 Muay Thai Expo-Recap and Lessons Learned

I just want to thank everyone for an amazing time in Iowa at TBAs. It was a wild ride, and I learned some lessons I wasn’t anticipating and want to share some of those things with you now.

I have always believed that this sport is rooted in respect. That is from an outsider’s viewpoint. This is my viewpoint because my gym experience and community in Nashville has been so positive. The coaches and students almost always bring good vibes to the place. It is so good that I often forget that the atmosphere and culture at other gyms is not always that great, and that even though my personal experience is good, it does not mean students are immune to slip ups in character and respect. I saw multiple cases of disrespect from one fighter to another, and from fighters to their opponents’ coaches. I saw a lack of sportsmanship and disregard for the rules.

I saw people who were injured and could not fight in the championship ridiculed and disrespected by gyms on their social media for “being a pussy” after dislocating a knee. There's no place for that, but how you respond to these things reflects on your gym as well! Your tone, your comments, they all come back to the gym. Why go instigating? I am not discounting killer instinct and ego as bad, they are an important part of the sport, but there is a line that is crossed in these instances that sets the bar so low for their students. Am I a fighter with a ton of fights? No. Am I a human that can see the bad apples that are bringing a bad name to the sport? Absolutely. Some of the most dangerous people I’ve ever met in the sport are the kindest and most respectful. It can be done. I just can’t imagine being a coach and setting an example like that.

How you conduct yourself on social media, in the ring and out of the ring reflects upon your gym, whether you want it to or not. Especially if you are competing. When you choose to break the rules and kick someone while they are already down or you go act like an ass out in town, it reflects upon everyone at your gym. If you train martial arts like most of us, to better yourself, to see what you are made of and to level up in your life, why would you put yourself in a situation that sets you back? I’m challenging you right now to build stronger character within yourself, to make better choices and lead a life that will make your teammates and coaches proud. Let's set and keep the bar high.

On another note:

I feel lucky to have made so many friends that are competing regularly at TBAs, but I realized it is super hard to catch everyone’s fights. It is hard enough just to see my teammates' fights. Now that I’m sponsoring and partnering with different fighters as well, seeing everyone is super tough. I would like to apologize to everyone I wasn’t able to catch, especially my good friend Trinity Gonzales out of Ambush Muay Thai and Jess out of Cellar Gym who both took home belts. I’m super stoked for your hard work and support. Thanks to everyone that came by and said hello!