I’m pretty excited about this weekend. Most notably Saturday May 14th. It’s gonna be a pretty busy day for the Spyda Muay Thai/ Driven Gym family. First we have Amanda Herbert, Justin Kessel, Ricky Saldana and John Harrisson doing Muay Thai at the Chok Sabai’s smoker in NYC.
Let me give you a little bit of backstory about each of these individuals. We shall start with Amanda (ladies first!)
Amanda (One of the funniest girls I’ve ever met) came to us between 3 or 4 months ago. She already had one bout under her from a year ago. That bout did not work in her favor. I asked her if she was interested in stepping in that ring again if I helped her to get ready for it. She immediately jumped at the opportunity. She has worked so hard and has made a great amount of progress since then. We are so anxious to see how far she has come, and she’s very excited to get the chance to hop over that top rope.
Justin…..at only 9 years old, 70lbs and standing at 56 inches. It has been nothing short of an adventure to be able to find someone his size to face him. He’s a small kid but don’t let it fool you, he has the drive to keep him moving forward no matter what adversities are in his way and already let it be known that he’ll fight anyone. His love for Muay Thai is extremely strong…Stronger than I’ve ever seen in any kid before. I see nothing but greatness in the horizon for him.
Ricky…..The first time Ricky found himself in a Muay Thai ring, he was 17 years old, and he was facing a grown man who was 10 years his senior and a trainer at his gym. That fight showed me the true meaning of “Heart”. I don’t want to say that he was out-skilled (he wasn’t)….however, he was definitely out-powered by the brute strength of his adult opponent. The one thing I remember from that night is that he never gave up!…..That is why I nicknamed him “Lionheart”. Others call him “pretty Ricky” but that’s another story for another day.
John…….a very funny and humble man, which is rare in someone of his stature. 6’4 and fighting at 260lbs, it is no wonder that his alias around the gym is “Titan”. His skills have greatly improved in the year that he has been training with us. The funny thing is, John is in his late 30’s, so typically I figured that he had missed his opportunity and I assumed that fighting would be the furthest thing from his mind. In no way, shape or form would I have ever imagine that he would express to me his interest in competing Muay Thai. Not only did he prove me wrong, but he totally exceeded my expectations. I’m happy to call him a student and a friend.
Also, fighting on the same day is Driven Gym’s own Travis Foster as well as Spyda Muay Thai family member from one of our sister gym, Noel Arcibal. Those two will each be fighting MMA (Not each other…lol) at the Dead Serious 20 in PA. These guys have been working religiously to attain new heights. Both of those guys are pro fighters and they are going to bring down all kind of thunder on whoever they will be facing that night. We wish these two nothing but the best. James Meals will be in their corner while I’ll be in NYC cornering the Muay Thai fighters. It promises to be a great day for Driven Gym / Spyda Muay Thai. If you aren’t doing anything……..Go watch the fights…..Guaranteed fireworks.