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JAI trainer Yo has over 25 years of experience in training and fighting, and an endless passion for sharing his knowledge with his students. He is not only a career pro Muay Thai fighter, but also a trainer of champions from scratch.
I had my first fight in Bangkok when I was 9 years old. I had never trained Muay Thai before this – only watched it on TV. But I was offered 100 baht (NZD$4) and I wanted to make some money for my family.
My opponent and me weighed in at 20kg, and we both didn’t really know what to do… so we just wrestled and hugged for five rounds. It was a really messy fight. No technique and a bit painful. But I when I saw how happy my mum and dad were to get the money, I wanted to fight more.
I started training at a gym near my home and fought regularly after that.
I have had over 400 fights and about 350 wins.
My style is called Muay Femur (technical), and my signature kick is the roundhouse body kick for defence. I love to move and counter with a body kick. My favourite KO move is the elbow in the clinch and I like teaching this to a fighter. While clinching, you slap down your opponent’s guard and while they are open, downwards elbow them in the temple.
I love fighting, but I love teaching students even more. It makes me happy to see them improve. I want to teach them how to defend and protect themselves and have less chance of getting hurt.
They have some skills, but they need to learn to relax more. Sometimes when a fighter gets too excited they lose their rhythm and then they lose their technique. When you are relaxed, you are a better fighter.
Not at all. I have confidence in myself and I have technique. If you have these, you can do anything. There is no need to be scared.
The snow! I got to see snow for the first time last week. I was so excited I forgot about how cold it was.
Yes! I was so excited to see him and now I’m very happy to work with him. We’ve both grown a lot since we last saw each other. Not any taller, but about 20kg heavier!
Richard Heaps, photographer
Daria “The Boss” Smith, analyst
58.2kg ISKA South Pacific champion
56.2kg WKBF NZ champion
57kg WMC NZ champion