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Ken likes to portray himself as a bad-ass, and while this half-centurion IS pretty badass (when you see him training), he’s also a pretty funny and patient trainer. With seven fights and decades of competitive sporting experience in a variety of fields under his belt, he knows what it takes to be an athlete – no matter whether you are training for fitness or competition. Ken loves to help all levels of students, especially those who show the passion to learn and be pushed. Together with his partner-in-crime Angela, who can be found at reception, they create an integral part of TEAM JAI.
As a young lad I really enjoyed the physicality of Rugby League which has come in handy with this sport. I have also played Rugby, softball, boxing, S&C, CrossFit and distance running.
My partner Angela introduced me to the sport 8 years ago. Since then have travelled around NZ following the sport and supporting others as part of TEAM JAI. I have also trained a few times in Thailand.
I like the multifaceted aspect of Muay Thai- it’s is great for overall fitness and conditioning. It is always a challenge because you never stop learning and improving technique. Because there is always something to work on, it never gets boring or old. I also realised quickly that Muay Thai is all about respect for your trainers, peers and family. This is part of what draws people to the sport.
Is it ever too late to start training?
I started this at 42 and ended up having seven fights. I guess it shows that Muay Thai really is for everyone no matter your age or skill level – although I sometimes wish that I had started this at a younger age. It would have been great to see how many fights I could have worked up to.
My favourite: The feeling of euphoria after a fight and the buzz you get after training.
The worst: Eating a clean diet leading up to a fight has not always been a high point for me (laughs). Luckily, the feeling from finishing a fight makes up for it.
It really is a great place for consistent authentic Muay Thai and caters for all abilities and age ranges. There is a positive energy and “everyone can do it” philosophy. On the practical side, the facilities are modern and clean, and the timetable is varied to cater for most people’s schedules.
A strong mind set, good attitude and never give up attitude are what you need to prepare for the ring. It’s not easy… if it was, everyone would be doing it.
How has Muay Thai changed you as a person?
It made me realise that I could train harder than I thought I was capable of. The fitness you get from Muay Thai is really hard to beat. The more you put in, the more you get out of it.
Someone with a selfless passion for the sport who wants to see people get the most out of it. They need to have the patience to teach and the ability to adapt to other teaching styles as not everybody learns quickly or easily.
Work smart and hard, stay focused and keep your mindset on your goals. Keep trying when it gets tough and practice what you need to over and over until it’s second nature.