August news at Diamond Muay Thai

It is about that time for another update about the ‘going ons’ at Diamond Muay Thai. The last 6 or 7 weeks has seen plenty of fighting action and of course some seriously tough training/ strength and conditioning work for the fighters.

Dam Chalam Kaw has fought and beaten 4 high calibre opponents on Koh Samui and in Suratthani respectively. Dam pushes his body to the limit every day. It is great inspiration for everyone else and it is always a spectacle when he is freestyle training on the pads with Mon. Bangkok should be calling soon and it will be a return to fighting on TV for the ‘Great White Shark’. He deserves it.

Somsak (Stuart Jackson) and Fabio have both had two fights in the last month. Somsak scored two classy victories beating larger opponents on Koh Phangan and on Koh Samui whereas Fabio is consistently improving against tougher opponents. Fabio’s record now is 4 wins and no losses and he has fought at Petbuncha Stadium several times now. Nut and myself have also had wars recently and come out victorious for the team.

At the gym there is a lot of work being done building accommodation for our students. These thatched two bed bungalows are  in demand and we have taken deposits already for students arriving in September. We are also modernising the gym with new puzzle mats, bags and a host of traditional decorations which will really add a touch of flare to the ‘spit and sawdust’ gym as it is currently.

Family life is good and although the last 4 weeks or so has been a bit quiet in terms of students arriving, there has been more one on one time for those training and fighting. This month it has just started to pick up again with quite a few girls training also which is great- be it for self defence or serious training. Other than that the weather has been sunny and there has been positive vibes all round.

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The first 6 months at Diamond Muay Thai

It’s been a while since the last blog but I guess sometimes the best intentions (ie writing a post every week) fall foul as there is always so much to do at the Diamond. As i mentioned in the last blog it was In November that Diamond Muay Thai was ready to open. We started slow as it was low season on Koh Phangan and we had very little marketing in place -just our Facebook page really. However, I think that benefitted us in the long run. We had no experience in running a gym, Mon hadn’t been a head trainer before and we were unsure of where we wanted to take the gym- even what kind of gym we wanted to be. The quiet start meant that we had a good adjustment period and time to think about our training methods and to learn how to attract students to our gym. Our main aims were to learn how to give students the best possible training, how to cope with different student numbers and students of different abilities.

We had a few students coming to the gym at the start of November but we were lucky enough to have World Champion Shuki Rosenzweig arrive to stay and train with us for a month. Initially Shuki came down for a holiday and to escape the Bkk floods but after a few weeks he decided to fight for us. Shuki gave us invaluable advice on running the gym and how to increase the quality of training which definitely elevated our team of resident fighters and improved the structure of Mon’s training sessions. Shuki fought for us twice- once on Koh Phangan and he and Dam also fought on Koh Lanta. This was a cue for a great road trip and two awesome victories for Diamond Muay Thai.

I think the Koh Lanta trip was really when Dam decided to have another serious attempt at getting back to the top of his game. Although already a decorated fighter the hunger returned and he is now on a 13 fight winning streak beating guys from Bkk, visiting Malaysia and beating their number one fighter and beating anyone who has been put in front of him (even those outweighing him by over 6kgs).

From December onwards Diamond Muay Thai got busy. In those early days it was a struggle and hard work to structure training sessions. We were able to do so, provide great training and keep the friendly, family element that we wanted. We have always had a mix of student abilities and I guess being on an island such as Koh Phangan we always will have. However, we have a strong team of resident fighters and many of our students have gone on to step into the ring. Notable fights have included Greg Lake’s victory over Jasper from Sweden, Rocko and Ollie’s first fights when they were both given strong opponents and Markus’ fight against Bansak…..and who could forget the classic Jessie versus Bansak fight!! Ken, Stuart (Somsak), our trainer Pi Nut and I have also fought some top level opponents. Pi Nut’s 6yr old son also stepped in to the ring for the first time winning by KO in the first round.

Overall, to sum up the last 6 months we have learnt a great deal about how to run Diamond Muay Thai not only from the training perspective but business wise and provided an exceptional level of training to everyone who has walked through our door. It’s been an adventure and a steep learning curve but we are enjoying every minute of it.

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Diamond Muay Thai Koh Phangan-Us.

This is the first Diamond blog, I’m not sure how it’s going to go. For sure it’s gonna be rough, honest and basically like a gym diary of what is going on here on a weekly basis. I’m not going to spend ages editing it, doing research blah blah blah and this blog is for potential students who are coming to Diamond and guys and gals that have left and want a snapshot of how we are doing.

First blog, where do we start?? Introductions I guess. The gym is jointly owned by Mon and myself, Simon. We have known each other for over 5 years now and Mon was actually the first person who trained me on Koh Phangan- coincidentally!! Mon originally arrived on the island to sell fruit and get by… as many of the Thai people you meet on the streets do. He was recognised by Muay Thai Chinnarach and taken on board as a trainer.

I met Mon about a week or so after he joined this gym and built up a great rapport with him and Stuart (Somsak is his Thai given name). We trained here together and Somsak and myself taught Mon English and generally trained hard, had some fights and lived a great life for a few months.

It quickly became apparent that Mon was the stand out trainer at Chinnarich and he alone trained South Thailand Champ Dam (Chalam Kaw) who is now with us as a trainer and fighter at Diamond. Mon was meant for greater things and the lack of money being paid to him ensured that he left the gym and of course myself and Somsak followed.

In the last few years me and Somsak have been backwards and forward doing stints of work so that we could return and train with Mon who was getting by on the yearly Durian harvest that his family produce and the occasional student. About 2 years ago Somsak and I were able to spend about a year on Phangan and I would say that was when Diamond Muay Thai was really born. We travelled around all of the gyms on the island with the owners allowing Mon to train Somsak and I so that we could earn a bit of cash. We were also able to grow a student base due to the word getting around that Mon is such a great pad holder. The owner of ‘The Best Gym’ allowed us to train at the spit and sawdust facility he had if we provided fighters for their fight nights and things started rolling.

Training at the Best Gym on Koh Phangan

Having said that, we still had no money and lived in a cramped shared house with up to 11 people crashed out there….but hey that is Thai style! Sleeping in a Thai kitchen isn’t the greatest experience but we all look back on those times fondly…..eels for breakfast….sudyod!

Last year– around Songkran 2011, I came into a little bit of money and Mon and I decided to invest it in a gym…found land, got planning permission, got Mon’s family to help us build it along with our friends on the island and registered Diamond Muay Thai as a company. Dam Chalam Kaw quit his job as a top chef in Phuket. Now we had a gym, the best fighter on Koh Phangan, the best trainer on the island and myself- attempting to control the finances and business. We opened the doors of the new Diamond Muay Thai gym in November.

The next blog will be coming soon. Until then, check us out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DiamondMuayThai

Yours,

Simon Diamond

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