Our first impression of Scott when he came in during our opening week was very vague. The guy didn’t like to talk, and seemed to preferred to “lurk” in the corner doing his own training. When you initiated conversation, he would respond politely, but never seemed particularly friendly or interested.
We weren’t sure how long he would keep training, or if he would give up when he found it wasn’t his thing.

But as the days went by he, kept showing up. We saw Scott’s skills grow. He started talk a little more… and (gasp) even crack a smile now and then. It was then, that we started to realise that what could be mistaken for indifference was actually a quiet respect. What could be perceived as arrogance, was actually being focused and determined during training time.

The Scott helping to teach now, is a different person from that guy at the back of the class over three years ago. He’s now a not only a skilled fighter, but someone whose passion for the Muay Thai is contagious in the way he teaches and speaks.

We talk to him about his Muay Thai journey so far.

How did you discover Muay Thai?

I saw on Facebook that JAI was opening in Auckland. I knew it was one of the most effective fighting styles in the world, and I liked the fact that it came with a culture of respect and not just hype. Before that, I’d only done a little karate, but I didn’t like it because at the time I thought I was too cool (laughs).

What drives you to fight?

I was here on opening day, and I already made up my mind that I was going to be a champion one day. I’ve got two kids and I wanted to be someone they could look up to. Practicing Muay Thai demonstrates how discipline and hard work pays off. It also teaches you to handle difficult situations. It isn’t so much about the hype – I like the Thai culture for the fighters to be respectful to each other.

In what way?

A person that doesn’t train can get heated quite easily and do stupid things. However, someone with fight skills knows they can cause serious damage, so they’d be likely to handle a situation more calmly.

How has Muay Thai changed you mentally?

Before Muay Thai, I kept to myself and didn’t speak to people I didn’t know. I had some trust issues I guess (laughs).… I only felt comfortable with the the people I grew up with. Training at JAI means getting to meet a whole lot of people. A lot of them I never thought I’d have anything in common with or interact with – but Muay Thai has taught me to become more sociable. I’m now friends with people from all walks of life.

And now you’re interested in training people!

Yes, I’m a structural steel erector by trade, but after seeing what a change Muay Thai has made to me, I want to help people feel the same way. I’m taking a personal training course and I want to train people and help them change their lives.

Your mum had her first session this year – did she like it?

Yes, she loved it! She works very hard on night shifts, but if when she gets the time, she’ll be back! She’s very supportive of my training – but being a mum she does get worried when I fight.


Scott sparring at JAI

Speaking of fighting, you came top in the fighter’s test recently. How do you keep going when you feel like you’ve got nothing left in the tank?

The hard training actually makes me feel good. Sometimes you feel like you’re going to pass out or throw up, but I just keep telling myself “I’m nearly done!”
And then when it’s all done, you feel like a champion.

With two kids, how do you make time to train?

In the morning I’ll wake up a couple of hours before work and run for an hour before work. My kids live with their mum so I see them on Fridays and during the weekends. Every other day, I head to the gym straight after work and stay there until it closes.

One of the reasons many people don’t want to fight is because they don’t want to give up their fast food, snacks and alcohol. Is that a problem for you?

Not really. If can cook and if I have a reason to eat healthy, I can cook healthy food which tastes pretty good. Steamed potatoes and baked chicken breast taste good and are great for you. Raw broccoli I don’t like so much (laughs). But I dip that it in poached eggs for breakfast and it tastes ok. And I still occasionally treat myself to Thai food like Pad Krapow (stir fry with basil with meat and rice) or Tom Yum Goong (Prawn Tom Yum soup).

Your third fight and only loss was against a Taekwondo champ with over 100 fights. Why did you jump at the opportunity to fight him when more experienced people turned it down?

I like the fighting people better than me because I like challenge, so I wanted to fight him because he was good. You can only get better fighting people better than you. I think I did ok – I went the distance. After the fight he told me he was trying his best to knock me out with his fancy moves, but I just kept going forward, so he was glad when the fight was over. We became friends after that – he’s a good guy.


What’s next for you?

I fell off a building at work, so I’m waiting for surgery on my shoulder. But in the mean time, I want to keep studying and training and when I’m ready, I’ll fight again.

What do you enjoy about training people?

Watching them have a good time. I like pushing them and making them give give 100%.

What makes a good coach?

Someone with a strong personality and is supportive and encouraging to the people they are training. A good coach is serious when they need to be, but knows also how to make the students have a good time and want to come in and put in the work.

At the same time, it’s also up to the individual to have discipline. If some people just joke around, I will focus on the ones who are there to train.

What qualities make a good fighter?

Discipline and self-control. They have to resist temptation and know how to say no to vices. I’m still working on that (laughs).

Scott is all smiles after at JAI’s Siam no.1 show in Auckland. His opponent may have pulled out on him, but he still won the push-up competition.