StriKing Muay Thai Championships

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StriKing Muay Thai Championships

Wow!  What a weekend.  So much great things to about that it’s hard to decide where to start.  The Pride Mixed Martial Arts Fight Team had six fighters enter the StriKing National Muay Thai Championships.  Three of our fighters won the title: Kenna Chamlee, Kannon Manis, and Jack Manis.

Two of our fighters made their debut this weekend.  Even though they didn’t win, they showed courage and perseverance.  Lauren Nixon fought a much bigger, stronger, and more experienced opponent, who went on to win the title for the second year in a row.  Her opponent was tough and gave Lauren a lot of respect.  Lauren pushed hard, but it wasn’t enough this time.  I am convinced Lauren has what it takes to be a champion in the ring.  She is already a Champion as a coach, a role model, and a friend.

Cade Garrett also made his fighting debut this weekend.  Man, this kid has heart.  Also fighting a bigger more experienced fighter he put it all out there in the ring.  Nerves really took their toll on Cade.  He didn’t fight his game. There were moments where when he did, but they were few.   The first time out there is tough.  Stress and anxiety are the meanest opponents you will face, Cade met them and they won the first two rounds.  Cade came back like a madman in the third round.  Fighting with emotion and determination he made us proud.  In the end it wasn’t his time.  He will be back.  He will be Champion.

Vicki Coulson fought an aggressive opponent.  She got knocked down with a good hard knee and made the decision not to push through it.  I feel Vicki was the better fighter.  I believe she is more skilled and definitely more talented.  Vicki lost to Vicki this weekend.  I always tell my students, “YOU are you’re toughest opponent.”  What I appreciate about Vicki is she recognizes that’s what happened, offers no excuses, and will come back stronger from this.  If you have never competed in a combat sport, it’s hard to comprehend the anxiety and stress you face.  The nerves, the fear, the doubt can be paralyzing.  All fighters face this, and all fighters have suffered losses from it.  Vicki’s biggest challenge is she doesn’t realize how good she really is.  Once she does- WATCH OUT!  She will be back.

It was great to see so many make the long 2.5 hour drive out to Muskogee to support our team.  We are so blessed to have so many great families at Pride.  I want to give special thanks to the Vann’s.  These guys went above and beyond this weekend.  Brandon Vann is part of our team, but couldn’t get matched up.  The family still came out early to the weigh-ins, helped organize getting supplies, and food.  Video taping fights, taking pictures, doing everything they could to help make things go as smooth as possible.  Their involvement this weekend definitely helped make this a better experience for everyone.

Coach Jessie is a superhero.  From braiding hair, wrapping hands, to drying tears she is the glue that holds the Pride team together.  She is the organizer, the planner, and the maker of things happen.  Without her, we have no team.  Our success is due to the selfless giving of her time, energy, and skill.  She is truly a blessing and inspiration.

We saw great victories and heart twisting defeats, but win or lose we fought as a family.  When one of us wins we all win.  When one of us loses, we all share in the lesson.  No one makes excuses for their losses and no one brags on their victories.  It’s hard to push through the emotion of a loss and still be their for your teammates.  Our team does a pretty good job of doing that.

Kannon Manis pretty much put on a Muay Thai knee clinic.  I feel like I should have paid him for the the seminar he put on in the ring.  He fought two very tough opponents.  Both of his fights were exciting to watch and were full of action.  I am consistently impressed with how he improves every time he fights.  Congratulations to the 2014 StriKing Men’s Flyweight National Muay Thai Champion.

Kenna Chamlee is a beast.  She finally got a chance to fight someone as tall as she is and it was awesome.  This is the first time fighting under Muay Thai rules.  She still has a lot of work to do, but clinching and kneeing is definitely one of Kenna’s strong suits.  She pretty much smothered her opponent and kept a heavy, strong pace for three rounds.  Very proud of her performance.  Congratulations to the 2014 Striking Girl’s Bantamweight National Muay Thai Champion!

Jack Manis had two of the most exciting (and one of the most controversial) matches in the tournament.  His first match he fought a scrappy little fighter that wanted to turn it into a wrestling match.  His opponent, a champion wrestler, threw five illegal throws in the first round.  Jack kept his cool and kept boxing and kicking.  Finally in the second round after the 7th or 8th illegal throw the referee took a point away from the other kid.  In the third round each attempt to throw Jack (with yet another illegal throw) was met with the ref stopping the throw- but no warnings or point deductions.  Thankfully the judges recognized Muay Thai we were competing in Muay Thai and not MMA and scored appropriately.  His second match was against another tough kid who brought the heat.  it was back and forth and a very close fight.  Jack came out on top to secure the win.  Congratulations to the 2014 Striking Boy’s Roosterweight Muay Thai National Champion!