The Passion for Muay Thai

Naomi Owens of the famous Tiger Muay Thai Camp of Hawaii, talks about her husband, his passion for the  sport, and the people he has walked with on the path  to  world recognition....

Naomi Owens has trained in  Muay Thai  the sport she loves..  Like her husband Naomi wants to continue promoting the art of Muay Thai in Hawaii.   With the help of the Muay Thai community and her husband, they both want to promote Muay Thai and hold proper controlled and sanctioned events.  The  Island  of Oahu is known as the gathering place, this is where Naomi had envisioned gathering competitors from around the globe for Muay Thai world championship quality competitions. Naomi  became a USMTA Representative for the State of Hawaii  in 2008 and  is a member of the PAL (Pacific League).

Naomi Owens           

Doug Owens

My husband Doug and I moved back to Hawaii in 2005 from Buffalo New York. One of the first things on Doug’s 'things to do'  list, was to get in shape and to quit smoking.  The only thing that he could think about was Muay Thai training, and the search was on.  It was a very disappointing search for Doug; because there was no one on the Island of Oahu whose training program was anywhere close to the intensity of Kru Anthony Mills’ training  program had in Buffalo.   What accounted to a lot of the frustration Doug was feeling was towards the lack of focus on proper Muay Thai technique taught at many of the Muay Thai school/gyms.  The training regimen wasn’t the same as what he was used to, and he also felt that the history and respect for the sport wasn’t being taught. 

Kru Owens with Competitor in New York      Doug Owens

Tiger Muay Thai Camp

Two years later we opened Tiger Muay Thai in 2007, and training started at 5pm.  At that time I was no longer the wife.  I was a student like everyone else. And for the first few weeks we rarely did anything related to Muay Thai.  We worked with muscle strengthening drills that caused a lot of pain which usually lasted for two days.   There were nights when I was questioning myself if this PAIN was really worth it.  I would literally have to crawl out of bed  to get ready for work, and  at work I moved like an old lady who just crapped in her pants.  I would moan, groin, whine and cry. I even tried to pull the “wife” card but that wasn’t happening in Doug’s gym.  But when I realized I dropped 15 pounds and was starting to see muscles I FINALLY started enjoying going to the gym.  When I was able to kick the bag without feeling like a retard I understood that “hunger” to come back to the gym the next day for more punishment.  I started liking hitting things...    

Doug Owens in Upsate NY with Kru David Battaglia    

In the back of my mind I questioned Doug’s training program.  Did we really have to train this hard and do these crazy drills just to learn Muay Thai?  Well, in June of 2008 my question was answered.  We had the honor and pleasure of meeting One of America's top Muay Thai instructors Arjarn Tong Trithara of Missouri, who came to Hawaii.  Arjarn Tong was Kru Anthony Mills’ Muay Thai instructor.  Tong wanted to do a Muay Thai Seminar  at the Tiger Muay Thai Gym, but before he held the seminar exclusively for the Tiger Muay Thai students, 

he watched Doug go through the drills and instructing the students.  He told Doug that he was doing a good job and was instructing Muay Thai the correct way.  Doug was relieved that Arjarn Tong approved of how he was teaching our students.   I was put to ease about the training that the students were getting.  He wanted to observe the way Doug instructed his students and the drills that he gave them.  Arjarn Tong wanted to see their techniques so he knew what techniques he could work on at the seminar.   The night before the seminar we had dinner with Arjarn Tong.  He expressed how he was happy with the respect that they had for their Kru, respect for the sport, the techniques they displayed, and the hard work they put into their training.  Filled with confidence and pride from Arjarn Tong’s visit, Doug started pushing for forward with promoting Muay Thai in Hawaii.

Naomi Owens working out

We joined the USMTA in 2008 to be a part of a Muay Thai organization that was going to help us promote Muay Thai, our gym, and students.  The president of the USMTA, Arjarn Clint Heyliger, answered any questions that we had about the organization.  Arjarn Clint’s help, advice, and motivational conversations are very important to us as we plan for future Muay Thai fights in Hawaii.  Recently Arjarn Clint  who  has known Arjarn Tong  for  more than 18 years,  appointed Doug  as the state of Hawaii director of the USMTA.

Prior to opening Tiger Muay Thai Doug told me stories of the crazy workouts that Kru Mills put them through, and the things they used to kick.  He said that at the time it was crazy and hard but somehow it was rewarding enough to make me come back in the next day for more.  As he continued with the stories of Kru Anthony Mills I could see that their bond was more than just coach and student; it was more like a big brother or  father/son type of relationship.  I saw that Arjarn Tong and Kru Mills had that same type relationship.   And seeing their relationship first hand made learning and doing the Ram Muay and the Wai Kru so much easier because now there was a meaning and  was not just a another drill. 

Ararn Tong Trithara  instructing At Tiger Muay Thai

Doug and I are taking “baby steps” to get Muay Thai events going in Hawaii.  We started holding “smokers” also known as exhibition matches.  and  began networking with other Muay Thai gyms in Hawaii, California, and in New York to get fights organized in hopes to have championship matches between the states.  

I learned that Muay Thai is a sport you have to be passionate about.  You have to love it in order to do the workouts.  The conditioning alone is very humbling.  Muay Thai is not only a physical demanding sport but mental as well.  The joke at our gym is you have to be mental to stand there and let someone kick your legs and ribs so your muscle gets used to the pain.  You have to be crazy to actually smile and tell that person to hit you harder.  You are a mentally strong person to come back tomorrow and train again because you like it! 

 They all wanted to learn something new, get in condition, and lose weight.  A third of our students are from the military.  Unfortunately a lot of them can’t stay long because they have to go on deployment. 

Ararn Tong Trithara  instructing At Tiger Muay Thai

When soldiers come back in from deployment, getting back into the gym is one of the first things on their “things to do list.”   It is very humbling to hear the soldiers say that getting back to the gym was always on their mind.  I get chicken skin listening to students tell us how much our training has helped them and touched their hearts. I learned that Muay Thai is a sport you have to be passionate about.  You have to love it in order to do the workouts.  The conditioning alone is very humbling.  Muay Thai is not only a physical demanding sport but mental as well.  The joke at our gym is you have to be mental to stand there and let someone kick your legs and ribs so your muscle gets used to the pain.  You have to be crazy to actually smile and tell that person to hit you harder.  You are a mentally strong person to come back tomorrow and train again because you like it! 

 They all wanted to learn something new, get in condition, and lose weight.  A third of our students are from the military.  Unfortunately a lot of them can’t stay long because they have to go on deployment.  When soldiers come back in from deployment, getting back into the gym is one of the first things on their “things to do list.”   It is very humbling to hear the soldiers say that getting back to the gym was always on their mind.  I get chicken skin listening to students tell us how much our training has helped them and touched their hearts. 

I learned that Muay Thai is a sport you have to be passionate about.  You have to love it in order to do the workouts.  The conditioning alone is very humbling.  Muay Thai is not only a physical demanding sport but mental as well.  The joke at our gym is you have to be mental to stand there and let someone kick your legs and ribs so your muscle gets used to the pain.  You have to be crazy to actually smile and tell that person to hit you harder.  You are a mentally strong person to come back tomorrow and train again because you like it! 

 They all wanted to learn something new, get in condition, and lose weight.  A third of our students are from the military.  Unfortunately a lot of them can’t stay long because they have to go on deployment. 

Young student Working out in the gym

 When soldiers come back in from deployment, getting back into the gym is one of the first things on their “things to do list.”   It is very humbling to hear the soldiers say that getting back to the gym was always on their mind.  I get chicken skin listening to students tell us how much our training has helped them and touched their hearts. 

Doug Owens sparring

Out of respect to Kru Anthony Mills, Arjarn Tong Trithara , his instructors and anyone else who love Muay Thai, we had to make sure we continue to pass on that passion to our students.   Since we have been  open for two years, we have had a lot of students come in a lot of them did not know nothing about Muay Thai but were all willing to learn. 

 It’s comments like these that keep the passion of Muay Thai alive in our hearts....

 

 

Copyright © 2009 USMTA Inc.  All rights reserved. Revised: March 10, 2010