Stephen Strotmeyer PhD Seminar at Lanna MMA: 5 Takeaways From The Muay Thai Clinch
By Ryan McKinnon
One of the biggest elements in Muay Thai that separates it from kickboxing is the
use of the ʻmuay thai clinchʼ. Muay Thai Clinching must be developed just like any other weapon in your
arsenal. Some people see the clinch and think it looks easy to figure out. This couldnʼt
be further from the truth. It requires a certain measure of timing, precision and leverage
to sweep, or off balance your opponent. Stephen Strotmeyer of Pittsburgh Muay Thai
visited Lanna MMA last Saturday to share his knowledge of the Muay Thai clinch with us. Here are
a few takeaways from that seminar.
1. Balance: The major goal of the Muay Thai clinch is to off balance your opponent, thereby putting
them in a disadvantageous position where you can either sweep or strike your
opponent. Getting to that place is much harder than it sounds. If you yourself do not
have a strong base, much like a base in BJJ, you will be at the receiving end of a
throw. Finding your center of gravity, and learning to use it against your opponents
requires practice and patience.
2. Hand position: Thereʼs a saying in BJJ, “Position before submission.” The same rule
applies for hand positioning in the clinch. A lot of fighters struggle desperately to
move their opponents with brute strength. While strength is an asset, it is less
important that leverage. Correct hand positioning not only make you appear stronger,
it will make your life so much easier when you need to get your opponent off balance.
3. Variation in hand positioning: You hand position is dependent on what youʼre trying to
accomplish. Do you need to turn your opponent to the left or right? Are you
attempting a sweep? Making space for a knee? Landing an elbow? Turning your
opponent into the ropes? You must practice various hand positions in the Muay Thai clinch, not
just 50/50 control.
4. Timing: Timing is everything in life. In the Muay Thai clinch, you must be patient, and await your
moment to take advantage of your opponentʼs poor hand positioning and balance.
There are ways to get them to that place. Learning proper timing requires lots of
drilling. The more you drill, the more you will become aware of the perfect time to take
advantage of a small window of opportunity.
5. Ringcraft: Stephen brought us into the ring to show how different Muay Thai clinching is against
the ropes versus a wide open space. There are numerous tricks to employ when your
back is against the ropes, or when you have your opponent against the ropes. You
will find yourself in these circumstances often in a fight, so it is important to put
yourself in various situations in the clinch to know how to respond, so that you are not
a fish out of water when the time comes. Just like in BJJ, you should put yourself in
bad positions, not just the easy ones, to figure out how to escape, or turn the tide in
Some of these takeaways may seem vague. You might be reading this and
thinking, “I know how to clinch.” No you donʼt. Learning to clinch in Muay Thai requires daily
cultivation of skill. You must practice all of the hand positions, and partner up with
people of different sizes, experience levels, and strength in order to find out how good
your Muay Thai clinch really is. Stephenʼs seminar taught me a lot about my own awareness of
leverage, timing, stance, and hand positioning. I am excited to take the things I learned
and add them to my game immediately.
A big thank you to Stephen Strotmeyer for sharing his time and knowledge with
those who participated on Saturday. As is the case with any seminar, if you can take
away one thing from the time you spent with Stephen, then you learned something
valuable. Furthermore, you must practice that thing all the time in order to make it a true
weapon in your game. You want it to feel as natural as breathing. Have fun with your
Stephen Strotmeyer PhD Muay Thai Seminar at Lanna MMA
Saturday April 8th, 2017 at 1pm! Only $20!
By Ryan McKinnon
I love Muay Thai. It is practical, yet complex. Playful, yet punishing. I have spent
almost 10 years learning and applying the sport. The more I learn, the more I realize
how much I have to learn. For some people, this is disheartening. But thatʼs a matter of
perspective. For as long as youʼre on this earth, youʼll never answer every question. The
best you can do is pursue the answers that mean the most to you. The same goes for
Muay Thai, and all martial arts for that matter. We will never be perfect. Thatʼs not the
point. As the old cliche states, “The journey is more important than the destination.” In
the spirit of that quote, please come out to Lanna on Saturday April 8th, 2017 for
Stephen Strotmeyerʼs seminar as part of your journey to becoming a better Muay Thai
Stephen has dedicated his life to Muay Thai, both in and out of the gym. He is
the head instructor of Pittsburgh Muay Thai, and has published his PhD thesis on the
epidemiology of Muay Thai related injuries. He is a Muay Thai philosopher, former
fighter, and trainer of fighters. He knows his craft, and continues to sharpen his skills
each day. You can look him up online, listen to interviews with him, and watch video.
He has real world experience to share with students of any skill level. The major
focus of the seminar this weekend is clinching and infighting, two aspects of Muay Thai
that go largely ignored. Many of us love smashing pads, and thatʼs awesome. There is
nothing like the crack of leather from a swing kick, or the heavy thud of a well placed
knee. But hitting pads is a very small part of our training.
Clinching is a big part of Muay Thaiʼs identity. Fights can be won with superior
clinch, and IQ of the clinch. If youʼre not clinching, youʼre not doing Muay Thai. The
same goes for infighting and the use of elbows, which is especially important against
taller fighters who utilize their reach well. When we spar or clinch with a taller fighter,
sometimes we get stuck at the end of their jab or teep, and begin to lose confidence in
our abilities. If their clinch game is strong, weʼre basically screwed at both ranges. This
seminar will be a great experience for fighters who want to level up their game.
Stephen Strotmeyer has dedicated his life and work to learning this beautiful
martial art, and he wants to share some of his knowledge with us. Please take some
time on Saturday to join your Lanna MMA family for a seminar that you wonʼt forget. It
will enhance your sparring and your overall knowledge of the sport on your journey to
becoming a better martial artist.
5 Characteristics of Mentally Strong Martial Artists
We all know Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Boxing, BJJ and MMA are physically demanding sports. They all take a large amount of cardio, conditioning, strength, and power. The training in all of these sports allows for us to work on all of those things almost every time we train. Something that is often overlooked in these sports, is the mental toughness required to make it as a fighter or even make it through a session. Since Muay Thai, boxing, BJJ, and MMA all push you to your physical limits, it’d be no surprise to learn that it can push you to your mental limits as well. The character-building these sports do can help you in your everyday life – from not getting a job, to losing a friendship, or with going through anything difficult. Muay Thai, Boxing, BJJ and MMA will undoubtedly make you a mentally tougher person.
Here are a few characteristics that you will develop throughout your training in these sports, which will all contribute to your mental toughness!
Do you believe in yourself and your abilities? Do you never take “no” for an answer? Do you quiet your fears and keep going in spite of them?
Confident people often command rooms and their own lives. People who are self-confident believe they can achieve whatever success they want, and don’t let anything or anyone stand in their way. As someone who trains in Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Boxing, BJJ and MMA, you might have felt like you weren’t the “greatest,” in the room at some point in time. However, a confident person knows that they could be! As you train more and more, you will become more confident in your abilities and those abilities along with your confidence will contribute to your overall mental toughness. Confident people know nothing can stop them!
Embracing Failure (and learning from it)
Failure. We’ve all experienced failure one way or another, at some point in our lives. The thing that mentally tough people do with failure, is simply embrace it and learn from it. People who are mentally strong, don’t give up after a loss, or after something doesn’t go their way. People who are mentally tough persevere no matter what obstacles are in the way. Accept that failures will happen in both life and in the gym. There will be days, fights, and training sessions that are harder than others. A mentally tough person simply keeps going.
When we think of a mentally tough person, we often don’t attribute patience as a characteristic that goes along with it. However, in difficult times patience is often required to get through it. This is especially true in Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Boxing, BJJ and MMA. In these sports, no one can be great overnight. You have to learn and perfect your stance, movements, combinations, and various techniques. This requires an abundance of patience of time. A mentally tough person does the work required and know they will get there eventually. They don’t run before they walk. They listen and learn from their peers and trainers and keep going despite any difficulties or obstacles.
Having control is an amazing quality to have in your everyday life. Someone who has control will believe that they have the power to shape their own destiny. Someone with control, is not affected by minor (or sometimes major) ups and downs of life. This quality becomes even more important in Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Boxing, BJJ and MMA. People with a strong sense of control are more relaxed in everyday life and this translates on the mat or in the ring. Being controlled helps you to stay calm, allowing you to think clearer and work better under pressure, which is extremely important as a fighter.
Having a winning attitude will work wonders in your life and in the gym. When mentally tough people feel good about themselves and others, it radiates through everything they do. Positive and optimistic people often have a way of lighting a room up! This is why positivity is so important, it not only helps the person being positive, but it helps others as well. This quality also translates well into Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Boxing, BJJ and MMA. There are so many perks to being positive and optimistic. Firstly, it makes others enjoy working and training alongside of you. It also encourages and fosters an environment where everybody feels good. Additionally, it sets a standard that nothing can bring anyone else down. Who doesn’t want that in the gym or their lives?
Some people are born mentally tough, and some of us aren’t. However, it is something we can all benefit from, in the gym and in our lives. The good part about it, is we can all work on it! Mental toughness is something that can be developed over time (just like we do in training). Start by using these 5 characteristics as markers and focus on each of them little by little and you will be a tough person, inside and out, in no time!
Lanna Strong: Tyya and Brenda Shine at SheFights Female Muay Thai Event
By Ryan McKinnon
On Saturday March 11th, 2017, 26 of North Americaʼs best up-and-coming female Muay Thai
fighters entertained a sold out Toronto Estonian House at 358 Broadview Avenue in
Toronto to support the movement of International Womenʼs Day. It was an outstanding
event with an equally outstanding purpose. Two of Lanna MMAʼs female muay thai athletes really stood
out amongst a roster of exceptionally gifted fighters. Tyya Emberly and Brenda Vargas
both met some of the muay thai toughest competition in their young careers, and demonstrated
amazing Muay Thai technique to secure wins, impress the audience, and gain some
Lannas Tyya Emberley fought Yueyao Zhong from Ayothaya Muay Thai in the 51 to 54kg weight
class. Zhong had competed against Brenda a few weeks prior at the Ayothaya
demonstration fights, and narrowly got the better of Brenda by scoring more frequently in
rounds 1 and 2. This was a great matchup for Tyya who already had an idea of what to
expect from Zhong. Tyya immediately established a pace for herself that was fast and
consistent. She is very good at throwing multiple strikes, which gave Zhong some
trouble in terms of how she could anticipate what Tyya would do next. Tyya also made
excellent use of distance. She knew what weapons to throw at different ranges, and
managed to stay just out of range from Zhongʼs more powerful attacks.
The one thing Tyya does very well that we could all learn from is her use of
angles and her variety of attacks. There were moments in the fight where Tyya would
throw combinations with her hands, then slide laterally to land a kick. Many young
fighters only think linearly (forward and back), but forget about using the entire ring to
land strikes. Tyya did this exceptionally well.
Tyyaʼs muay thai clinch was stronger than Zhongʼs. She made sure to stay busy in the
clinch by improving her hand and head position, and using elbows when the
opportunities presented themselves. Many fighters use the clinch as a rest period. This
was not the case for Tyya, who made every second count as she marched into a 3
round unanimous decision victory. She made excellent use of her Muay Thai by
throwing all of her weapons in different ways, and vey often. She did Lanna proud in her
victory on Saturday.
Brenda Vargas met one of the toughest female Nak Muayʼs in the GTA in Effie Chan
from Southside. Chan is known as a pressure fighter. Most of her opponents spend the
entire fight on the ropes, trying to manage Chanʼs high volume of well placed strikes.
Brenda made the intelligent decision to stand right in front of Effie, meeting her intensity
with her own. In Brendaʼs last two fights, she spent a little too much time fighting off her
back foot, making it difficult to initiate attacks. This was certainly not the case on
Saturday. If Brenda did lean back to throw a teep, she would move forward immediately
after, turning her defense into offense. This may have taken Chan out of her comfort
zone, which allowed Brenda to take round 1 decisively.
Round 2 was a little closer, as Chan poured on the offense. She stunned Brenda
a few times, but this didnʼt stop her from imposing her will on Effie. Brenda continued to
move forward, and made Effie work harder than she ever has to score points.
! Round 3 is where Brenda dug deep to edge out her split decision victory. She hit
Chan with everything she had. She landed elbows in the clinch, and made really good
use of her southpaw cross and rear kick. She had Effie backed up a few times in that
round, which forced Effie to rush forward. As she did, Brenda landed a beautiful teep
that put Chan on the mat. That simple technique may have won her the round and the
fight in the eyes of the judges. It was Brendaʼs tenacity and heart that won her the fight,
a host of support from the fans, and Fight of The Night honours.
It was a successful night for Lanna MMA. All of the fans, coaches, officials and
fighters had nothing but positive things to say for our team and fighters. It was a proud
moment for the coaching staff who have worked hard to prepare our girls for such an
amazing event. A big thank you goes out to everyone from the Lanna family for making
the trip downtown and showing support for our fighters. It was the yelling and screaming
from our corner of the venue that helped our girls dig a little deeper to win their fights.
Next weekend Kevon Singh will be representing the school at the Mitsubishi Cup
Muay Thai card at Pound4Pound in Pickering. Please come out to the event, and bring that same level
of support and intensity for one of Lannaʼs top Muay Thai fighters.
Tony Manoharan Muay Thai Seminar at Lanna MMA: 5 Tactical Takeaways
By Ryan McKinnon
Last Saturdayʼs Muay Thai seminar with Tony Manoharan hosted at Lanna MMA was a real
success. Both the turnout of athletes and the overall energy was extremely high.
Beginner and intermediate fighters got a first hand account of a professional fighters
mental approach to the strategy and tactics of a fight. Tony was exceptionally gracious
with his time, adding an extra 30 minutes to the seminar. He was clear in his approach
to the techniques, and spent an equal amount of time with each pair of students. For
myself, I was able to take away a bunch of amazing things from listening and watching
Tony. I will limit them to the top 5 takeaways that I will add to my Muay Thai game.
1. Distance: One of the major differences youʼll notice immediately when comparing an
amateur to a pro is the use of distance. An amateur Nak Muay hasnʼt developed the
body awareness and footwork to distance themselves from their opponentʼs attacks.
When you watch a pro, they know exactly how far away they need to be from an
attack to ensure that their counter attack lands effectively. For example, when an
opponent kicks, many beginner boxers move so far out of range that theyʼve missed
an opportunity to strike back. Tony stressed the importance of maintaining a balanced
Muay Thai stance, and using correct footwork and body positioning to make a
counterattack more likely.
2. Timing: When you watch amateur Thai boxers compete early in their careers, youʼll
notice that when the pressure is on, they abandon some of their fundamental Muay
Thai principles, and engage in a toe to toe war. Muay Thai is all about waiting for an
opening, and using precise timing to land strikes. Effective leg kicks are example of
using timing. Waiting for an opponent to place weight on their lead leg is the
opportune time to strike. Sometimes fighters kick either too early or too late, making
the strike ineffective. Tony taught everyone some great drills to demonstrate how
effective timing scores points and damage.
3. Points before power: Knocking someone out is a lot harder than people think. It
requires a high level of IQ and timing. Most beginner fighters spend so much energy
looking for a knockout, they forget that the fight can be won scoring points. 3 judges
are watching your every move. Win them over, and you win the fight. Not every strike
has to be with power. Striking with accuracy and speed has the advantage of
throwing your opponent off balance and interrupting their rhythm, thereby creating an
opening for the power shot. Looking for ways to distract and deceive your opponent
with less powerful attacks will pay off over the course of the fight. Even if you donʼt
get the KO, youʼve landed enough strikes to win by decision.
4. Keep striking: Muay Thai is somewhat like baseball. In baseball, if you get on base 3
times out of every 10 at bats you end up in the Hall of Fame. In Muay Thai, landing 3
out of 10 strikes is a good round. Beginner fighters throw too many single and double
combinations, and then stop. Tony emphasized the importance of throwing multiple
combinations, and continuing to throw even if you miss. The more you throw, the
higher your chances of scoring and creating openings for more effective techniques.
It is a hard concept to grasp, and requires experience. Tony showed us a really great
boxing drill to help fighters learn to continue throwing combos even when they miss.
5. Keep drilling: The only way to be a successful martial artist is by drilling techniques
constantly with a partner. Drill slowly and in real time. Make it as real as possible so
that it translates into sparring. This is often overlooked by beginner fighters who
choose to hit pads more than anything else. Drilling might seem boring, but it is an
essential part of a fighterʼs daily training diet. None of what Tony taught has any value
if it isnʼt practiced every day.
Tony shared so much with the class that it is impossible to list everything in one
article. The above 5 points highlight some of the major keys to becoming a successful
fighter. If you want to know the specifics of what Tony taught youʼll have to invest in one
of his future seminars. Follow Tony on instagram and facebook to stay up to date with
his coaching and future seminar appearances. Thanks again Tony for sharing over 10
years of professional experience with everyone.
What is BJJ? How will BJJ benefit me?
What is BJJ?
What is BJJ? Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is more than just a sport, and more than just a martial art. It is a combination of all of these things and it’s benefits can often change someone’s entire life. I know what you’re thinking. It looks really fun and interesting, but it might not be for me. I’m here to change your mind! BJJ is for everybody – women, men, and children. Before I explain HOW it will change your life, let’s start off with the basics and a little bit of BJJ history.
“Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art, combat sport, and a self defence system that focuses on grappling, and in particular ground fighting.
BJJ was formed from Kodokan Judo ground fighting fundamentals that were taught to Carlos Gracie by Master Mitsuyo Maeda. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu eventually came to be its own art through the experimentations, practices, and adaptation from the Judo knowledge of Carlos and Helio Gracie, who then passed their knowledge onto their family.
BJJ emphasises getting an opponent to the ground, gaining superior positioning and applying numerous chokes, holds, locks and joint manipulations to defeat them. By using leverage and proper technique, BJJ promotes the concept that a smaller, weaker person can successfully defend against a bigger, stronger assailant.”
Who wouldn’t benefit from that? Women, men, and even children can use and apply techniques learned in BJJ to everyday life. Here, we’re going to discuss some major key benefits of training in BJJ. There are two key areas BJJ will improve. These are physical benefits and mental benefits. Here, I will break down a few key aspects of both.
Physical Benefits of Training in BJJ
What are the physical benefits of training BJJ? Self-defence is one of the major benefits of training in BJJ, and a skill that literally EVERYONE can benefit from. BJJ was created for smaller people to level the playing field against bigger opponents. This is something that can be useful in potentially dangerous everyday situations. BJJ is great and practical for this because it allows you to neutralize a fight (even in an everyday situation) without ever having to throw a punch.
Furthermore, many techniques taught in BJJ are practical ways in how to deal with “real life” street danger. These techniques include: clinching an attacker while on your feet, defending yourself on the ground off your back, defending chokes, when and how to apply over hooks and under hooks, and escaping someone who might grab you from behind. It might feel like you won’t ever need to know these self-defence methods, and maybe you won’t ever have to use them – but why take the risk? Learning these techniques can potentially save yours or someone else’s life one day.
Additionally, BJJ is great for someone who wants to improve their overall physical health. For example, BJJ will improve your cardio game easily, especially if you are not interested in traditional methods like running. Additionally, you will be improving and expanding on muscles you have probably never used before. Your warm-ups, drills, and rolling will give you an all-around body workout like no other! Many people say you can feel the physical difference in just a matter of a few weeks when you first start training in BJJ.
The Mental Benefits of Training in BJJ
What are the mental benefits of training BJJ? BJJ will definitely improve your ability to critically think and problem solve.There are so many techniques within BJJ and everyone eventually develops their own unique style that uses said techniques. Training in BJJ, you have to learn and think critically of how to overcome your opponent and their techniques all in the heat of the moment of a training (or sparring) session. This will inevitably help you become a better critical thinking under pressure and out of it. Additionally, you often have to think under pressure – a tactic that once you’ve mastered you can apply to any every day situation. Anyone can use this at any time, in school, at work, in your relationships and friendships etc.
Another very important area BJJ will improve is your self-esteem and confidence. Overcoming challenges is always crucial to building your self-esteem. BJJ, like many other martial arts, will improve your confidence without you even noticing. Your confidence will grow exponentially when learning and mastering techniques that started out as foreign to you. Learning the techniques in BJJ will take time. You will fail and re-fail time and time again before getting it right. Eventually, you will get it! This type of perseverance is a self-esteem builder. This will undoubtedly translate to you becoming for confident not only inside the gym, but outside of it too. It will teach you how to have the mental strength to fail and keep going, something that will happen time and time again outside of the gym.
As you can see, BJJ will improve many areas of your life. Training in BJJ will give you practical knowledge you can use both inside and outside of the gym. Who wouldn’t want to be more confident, healthy, calmer, have the ability to work under pressure and deal with real life street danger? These benefits can apply to anyone, anywhere! Find out if BJJ is for you by trying a class out today! You can try out a free BJJ class here!
Muay Thai Demo Fight Night at Lanna MMA: Snow Couldnʼt Stop The Show
By Ryan McKinnon
Things got a little worrisome on Friday February 10th, 2017 when a sudden and
heavy blast of snow hit North York, threatening to put a damper on Lanna MMAʼs first
Muay Thai demonstration event of the year. As the snow continued to fall only an hour
before showtime, gyms, coaches, and fighters slowly began to trickle in, giving hope
that the event would still be successful.
Jordan and the Lanna staff had to work quickly to conduct weigh-ins, get the
crowd settled, and host the pre-fight fighterʼs meeting. Out of the 11 gyms invited to be a
part of the event, only 2 schools were forced to cancel. Perhaps the biggest
commitment to the eveningʼs event came from Loyalist MMA who made the trek all the
way from Belleville to showcase two of their female fighters. At just after 8 pm, the show
began, with 150 attendees from around the GTA gathering under the bright lights of
Lanna MMA to watch some of Ontarioʼs up-and-comers throw down.
Team Lanna had 6 fighters that participated in the event. Brenda Vargas took on
Carly “The Mayor of Munchkin Town” Rutter from Loyalist in a 3 round battle
showcasing some very slick Muay Thai. Carly showed true heart and gameness by
standing in front of Brenda and landing some nice combinations with her hands.
Brenda, who fought only two weeks prior in an event at Ayothaya Muay Thai, made
significant improvements in her southpaw Muay Thai game by creating more distance
and using her rear kick-cross combination with more precision.
Tyson made his ring debut that evening when he took on Tristan from TKMT.
Tysonʼs completion of a full Ram Muay Wai Kru before his demo fight both shocked and
pumped up everyone in attendance. He showed real heart and aggression, impressing
everyone with his willingness to stand right in front of Tristan, who did a great job
countering Tysonʼs hands with his lead hook.
Omid also made his ring debut when he took on fellow training partner Alex,
who has 1 demo fight with Lanna. Both fighters did an excellent job showcasing their
developing Muay Thai skills, and fought with excellent composure, which is something
that isnʼt normally characteristic of beginner athletes. These two young men really
impressed the crowd and their coaches by sticking to their Muay Thai, and fighting
intelligently. Alex did a great job by using the ropes and his lead teep to counter the
forward moving style of Omid, who used the entire ring to set up a variety of different
Leon and Alberto both had their work cut out for them on Friday. Justin from
Toronto Savate stayed right in front of Leon for the entire demo fight, timing his hands, and
throwing counters and sweeps when the opportunities presented themselves. Leon,
who is always exciting to watch, didnʼt back down from his challenge and fought with
real determination. Alberto took on a very athletic fighter in Mamadou from TKMT,
proving to be a real challenge for him. A sweep and an accidental foul early in the first
round didnʼt discourage Alberto from rising to the occasion, earning Mamadouʼs respect
for his power. An unfortunate TKO to Alberto cut his night short, but not without earning
the admiration of his teammates, and especially the crowd and other athletes in
attendance. We look forward to seeing Alberto bounce back from this learning
experience, and continue to evolve at Lanna.
Perhaps fight of the night honours can be awarded to Allan from Southside and
Charles from TKMT. Southside is well respected for their stable of well conditioned
fighters, who always fight with excellent technique and true heart, while TKMT has 3
locations in the city to draw some exceptional talent from. Allan did everything he could
to keep Charles from getting inside with his strong clinch and attacks to the body. Allan
hit the mat a few times in his fight, but got up with the heart of a champion and scored
some longer range weapons against Charles during 6 minutes of nonstop action.
Given that the night began with everyone being on edge due to the weather,
everything worked itself out. The night couldnʼt have been a success without the
participation of all of the schools and competitors that braved the inclement conditions
to be a part of the show. A huge thanks goes out to TKMT, Ayothaya, Southside, TKMT,
York MT, Toronto Savate, Loyalist, Kombat Arts, and Olympia MMA for their gigantic
contribution to the eveningʼs success. And a big thank you especially goes to the entire
Lanna MMA staff and students for doing their part to keep the night going smoothly and
representing the school in a positive light, which has always been the standard.
All of the upcoming amateur events in the province can be found on Muay Thai
Ontarioʼs homepage at www.muaythaiontario.org. We look forward to seeing everyone
at future events and the rest of Lanna MMAʼs demonstrations for the rest of 2017. This
event certainly set a great pace.
Tony Manoharan Muay Thai Seminar at Lanna MMA: January 28th 2016
By Ryan McKinnon
For many people, practicing Muay Thai is a daily activity to relieve stress and
push ourselves to realize our physical potential. It is our escape from our regular
routine. Then there is a small subset of people who chose to take their Muay Thai
training to another level. They are fighters, also known as ʻNak Muaysʼ in a general
translation. They have sacrificed the regular comforts of life that we take for granted to
pursue a higher calling, a burning passion to test themselves through combat. They
submitted themselves to the rigorous lifestyle that breaks down the body, mind and
spirit, and rebuilds each part to create a professional fighter with the mindset to become
a world champion. After their fighting career is over, they usually become our teachers
and coaches. When you get the rare opportunity to meet one of these unique humans, it
is a good idea to listen and observe the knowledge they can impart to you.
Tony Manoharan was born in Sri Lanka and raised in the UAE until his family
moved to Toronto in 1996. While a student at York University, he discovered Muay Thai
and literally never looked back. He trained and fought while balancing a social and
family life, an education, and a job that most people would be more than happy to settle
with. Instead of simply following the easy path, Tony felt a desire to challenge himself. In
February 2014, he eschewed the Western conventions of comfort and career by quitting
his job and traveling the world to pursue his passion for Muay Thai. He lived the kind of
life that people write about. He left behind his family and friends, his students, his
career, and all of his comforts to pursue his passion. Now he is back home, and
prepared to share some of his specialized knowledge with others.
Tony has trained and fought Muay Thai on 4 continents with some of the best fighters and
coaches on earth. You will need Google for this, but please look up John Wayne Parr,
Andy Howson, Liam Harrison, Mark DeLuca and Alex Ricci, to name a few of the people
that Tony has trained with. Some of the proudest moments in his Muay Thai career
arenʼt his wins, but the friendships heʼs made. He had the distinct honour of fighting for
John Wayne Parrʼs promotion, CMT (Caged Muay Thai) under the Boonchu Gym
banner. It wasnʼt the fight itself that meant a lot to him, but the relationship he has
fostered with JWP and his students. Regardless of how many kilometers Tony has put
behind him, he maintains a loyalty to his first coach Thomas Krogh Jensen, one of the
most brilliant minds in Muay Thai, and an integral Muay Thai instructor at Xtreme
Couture in Toronto. Before the seminar, you should definitely Google Tonyʼs name to
watch some of his professional bouts on YouTube to get a sense of his experience and
Thanks to his easy going nature, Tony has been able to open doors for himself,
and keep them open. His good nature has now become your good fortune. Without
leaving your postal code, you can soak in over 10 years of battle tested Muay Thai
knowledge from one of the greatest ambassadors of the sport in Canada.
Because of his professional Muay Thai experience, Tony will be sharing some of his most
high percentage Muay Thai techniques in the areas of counter fighting, feints and setups, evasive
defense, clinch, and maintaining correct balance while transitioning between techniques
and clinch. This is a once in a lifetime Muay Thai seminar that you wonʼt want to miss.
Glory Kickboxing 37: What is Robin van Roosmalenʼs least favourite subject? Matt ʻMaticsʼ
By Ryan McKinnon
“Let your plan be dark and impenetrable as night…..All warfare is based on
deception…To know your Enemy, your must become your Enemy”
-Sun Tzu, The Art of War
The most anticipated fight of 2017 for Canadian kickboxing and Muay Thai fans
is happening at Glory Kickboxing 37 in Los Angeles this Friday. The Canadian Thai boxing/ kickboxing
phenom Matt ʻMaticsʼ Embree looks to bring the featherweight title north of the border should he
defeat the current champion, Robin van Roosmalen. Embree emerged as a new
superstar in Glory after the featherweight tournament in New Jersey. Relatively
unknown to casual fight fans, Embree scored highlight reel wins in both of his fights that
night. The only thing standing in his way between himself and another world title is the
Dutch wrecking machine known as RVR.
It took Embree only a total of 10:21 over 2 fights at Glory Kickboxing 33 to secure his spot
against RVR. Both fights gave Embree the opportunity to showcase new additions to his
already impressive arsenal of techniques. His first bout against Chi Bin Lim was a
second round TKO via a sweeping left hook with one second left in the round. His
second fight against Giga Chikadze was a second round KO from a vicious and welltimed
right cross. The addition of power punching to his game makes him a much more
dangerous opponent to a fighter like Roosmalen.
It is hard to foretell what weaponry Embree will bring to the ring against Robin,
because he is constantly evolving. Before the Glory Kickboxing tournament, Embree fought
primarily in Muay Thai events. He had to step up his boxing game in order to adapt to
Glory rules. At the tourney in NJ, Matics showcased a power cross, and an extremely
powerful sweeping left hook to the body and head. His use of range and timing proved
extremely effective against both opponents. He used power leg kicks to his opponentsʼ
lead leg to make them think twice about getting their combinations going, and then
displayed a very interesting off-beat left hook to the body. Instead of throwing a
traditional slip/left hook to the body, Embree would slip outside of his opponent, coil his
body to the left, pause for a moment, then release the left hook, or left uppercut. We
donʼt see a lot of this in kickboxing, but Matics used it extremely well to throw off his
opponentsʼ sense of rhythm.
Probably Embreeʼs biggest and most dangerous weapon is his ring IQ. He has
fought the highest echelon of strikers all over the world. Watch his 2015 Thai Fight
Samui against legendary Saenchai on YouTube to get a glimpse of how composed he
kept himself against one of the worldʼs best strikers. He has also defeated Kevin Ross
who is one of Americaʼs best Muay Thai fighters, among many others. Experiences like
these is what sharpens a fighterʼs will to get better, and to find ways to win tough fights.
RVR can be classified as a ʻDutch styleʼ kickboxing fighter. He has a high guard, and likes to
put pressure on his opponents by getting in close and working multiple hand
combinations followed by low kicks. At Glory 34 in Denver, RVR moved down from
lightweight to capture the featherweight title from Canadian Gabriel Varga. At 5ʼ6”, RVR
is the shorter fighter, and gives up almost 5 inches of reach to Matics. Look to see
Embree beat RVR up from the outside. Matics has extremely good leg kicks and makes
use of a solid jab. Those two weapons alone are good to use against a pressure fighter
like RVR, as well as the lead teep, or push kick. It annoys pressure fighters, and never
gives them a chance to set up their combinations, which slows down their offense.
Should Roosmalen make his way inside Embreeʼs long range weapons, heʼll have to
deal with his clinch, which is easily better than anyoneʼs clinch in that division. The trade
off is that RVR hits really hard, and may afflict the necessary amount of damage to slow
down Embreeʼs attacks.
When the show closes at Glory Kickboxing 37, there will be a new champion amongst the
ranks of talented featherweights. Matt ʻMaticsʼ Embree has made fighting his life.
Nobody has worked harder and smarter to earn his title shot, and it is not something he
takes for granted. He has too many weapons, and an IQ to put them all into place.
Roosmalen may be the heavier hitter, but the Canadian fighter has the stronger will to
Muay Thai Ontario Annual Meeting
By Ryan McKinnon
Just over one month ago, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) granted
IFMA (International Federation of Muay Thai Amateur) provisional recognition. Last Sunday, Muay
Thai Ontario held itʼs annual general meeting at York Muay Thai in Toronto Ontario to discuss the
exciting year ahead for a sport that has had deep roots in the province for decades.
In attendance were some of the pioneers of Muay Thai in Ontario. The meeting
offered everyone a chance to show face and be a part of an open conversation that will
give Muay Thai a chance to grow in the province. Ajahn Suchart, a world leading expert
in the art of Muay Thai, and the true founder of Muay Thai in Ontario was in attendance,
and said a few words that truly encompass what the meeting was all about. His main
point was that it will take the efforts and strength of everyone in the room, and the
community at large to take the sport to the next level. We have finally been granted
recognition in the province and on an international level. It is everyoneʼs responsibility to
stick together as 1 family under the banner of Muay Thai to ensure that the sport has a
bright future without setbacks.
Some rule changes and amendments were discussed on Sunday, and are now in effect. Some older
rules were also reiterated. While there were many details and issues discussed, here are some
of the main points I took away from the meeting:
1. 30 days notice must be provided to the Ministry for events. No last minute
2. A promoterʼs fight card must be submitted to MTO 3 weeks prior to the fight in order
for officials to research the fightersʼ backgrounds.
3. ʻDemosʼ (demonstration fights) count as part of a fighterʼs record. This includes
kickboxing and boxing.
4. Fighterʼs may receive a 30 day suspension for providing inaccurate information.
5. Open class has gone from 25 to 20 fights. Open class means no shin guards, no
head gear, and 10oz gloves.
6. Open class is no longer 4×3 minute rounds. It is now 3×3 minute rounds.
7. Blood work and medicals are mandatory for any athlete over 16 years old, and are
good for 1 year.
There is still a grey area with respect to Demos. Meetings between MTO and the
Ministry will occur over the next few months to talk about the regulation of
demonstration events. One can expect that Demos will be overseen by the MTO, and
will eventually require the attendance of an MTO official at demonstration events.
The annual meeting was a great step forward in providing information to the
public about where the sport is going in the next year. A big thanks to Kru Jen, Kru
Brian, and Mike Reid for their tireless efforts as board members of MTO. For more
information on rules and regs, you can visit www.muaythaiontario.org
The year ahead looks bright for Muay Thai in Ontario.