wall art of MTAI; Phot by  L. Cotte '98

Wall art of MTAI;  Photo by L. Cotte '98

wall art of MTAI; Photo by L.Cotte '98



Wild cat Logo of MTAI; Photo by L. Cotte '98


USMTA Instructors Course; Review Of The Academy

  Photo's   L. Cotte III

...Friday the 17th of April sent two USMTA Senior Executives winging there way across the country from the National Headquarters in New York City,  to sunny San Jose in California, some 2'600 miles away. The intrepid duo arrived in San Francisco and were picked up by   one of Kru Suuan Nirmalya Bhowmick's students from the Muay Thai Academy International, in preparation for the next two days instructors grading test to be held early in the following morning at the Academy...

Da boys from Da Bronx H & C in Santa Cruz

The 2'500 square foot training facility  is the only  U.S. National grading facility for the USMTA, and is preparing instructors for the next millennium. The academy was in the planning well over two years ago for the grading of instructors and these students were the first to become licensed instructors certified by the USMTA. Plans are ahead of the time at this moment, as Muay Thai throughout the world and the United States  is progressing at a formidable pace,  the certification of  U.S. instructors will become apparent in the next two years, as we close this century and enter the next.  For those of you who do not know of Kru Suuan Nirmalya Bhowmick, allow me to bring you up-to-date. For one, he is one of the first Senior Vice Presidents of the USMTA, way back in 1992 where he was Regional Director for California North, and Senior Vice President Kru Suuan Paulo Tocha looked after the Los Angeles area  and South California.

  Like Paulo Tocha, Nirmalya is a very special person, not only in his training abilities or his expertise in the protection arena, but also as a formidable fighter earning the fight name of Wild Cat" hence the school logo,  (see USMTA school directory), in the  "Black Hole", Calcutta, India.  He has been a personal friend for many years, since arriving in the USA,  a perfect gentleman as many will tell you, and a perfect host at the most top level.  through trails, tribulations and tragedies, of all people to make it in America, one has to respect a man  who has learned the art of pain and death, to become a man who teaches the art of life and the  protection of it. 

The Muay Thai Academy International does not quite look like the type of training gym one expects from the outside, its only when you enter do you see the real size of the training facility, which holds a full sized boxing ring five or six large training bags, a full container of new  training equipment, gloves,  head gear etc. The gym was clean bright and had some great art work on the walls depicting several Thai fighters and the 'Wild Cat' logo emblazoned in the middle of the wall. The only thing missing was the smell of Thai fighters liniment that would have given it the full flavor of  a Thai training gym.

Outside the entrance of MTAI under the hot San Jose sun

The tenacious looking cage, a favorite of Kru Daniel Sambrano

Inside MTAI  easly holds the 120 students who work out and train at the gym with plenty of room to spare.

Kru Danny Kelly looks on as students practice on the big bags

In the corner next to the boxing ring stood  a metal cage a favorite tool of Kru Daniel Sambrano, a former grappler, who likens to squeezing the life out of you, as he stated that "working on the gym floor is one thing, but when you enter the cage and try to do the same things,  it works out a lot different, which makes you have to think all over again.  Its a great teacher when you have to defend yourself in tight corners and small areas, this is where close combat work, such as elbows, locks chokes and holds become an advantage."  Kru Sambrano, stands at least 6'2" and weighs in at around 240lb or more, is a quite mild mannered man with a great sense of humor, and a respectful demur, which belays his appearance. We found him to be a gentleman in our presence as were all Nirmalya's students. In our line of business, it's nice to have nice people around you

Students at the San Jose camp include computer executives, artists, writers, Professional fighters, male and female, and a host of others. Their ages range from 18 to mid 50's and all find a place within the gym. The flip side of the camp relates to the training of modern bodyguards.  Policemen as well as executives are signing up to learn how to protect themselves in street fighting methods. 

 Nirmalya stresses to them that  "even after you know all about weapons, Thai Kick boxing and  Karate etc., physical training is at the core of  instruction, and that theoretical training is just as important, because the right  knowledge can be crucial in any dramatic situation."  In the photo's on the right, Kru Suuan Nirmalya Bhowmick takes of  his shirt soon after entering the gym, and living up to his old fight name of 'Wild Cat' puts the  tough and tenacious Danny Kelly through some fast action Thai pad work, keeping Danny on his toes as Nirmalya quickly   launches in towards Danny then just as quickly switches from left to right as he prepares Danny for his last kick boxing fight before he retires, coming up soon.

Training at the gym is not regimented like most other martial art facilities, students come in and get down to it. Each knows what they have to do, and Nirmalya's instructors, coaches and an excellent managerial staff under the guise of Mr. John " The Hammer " Harris, have played a major part in the gyms success. This in its self has taken a great pressure of Kru Suuan Nirmalya, allowing him the time to work with his students at - an easier pace. 

John Harris was a great host to both of the Senior USMTA officers and a friendship was struck  between them, which will no doubt last until the next time he gets a thigh slap or feels the ancient art of the deadly  waxy  finger!!    A sharing of techniques was abound during the stay in San Jose, with some fun and some interesting ploys, and as Kru Sambrano will tell you, the world is a dangerous place, when young martial artists  on bicycles can ride up to you on the street and tell you that the late great Bruce Lee can't beat god?. And that break dancers make great fighters? Huh?? We are still trying to work that one out...

Kru Suuan Nirmalya Bhowmick & Danny Kelly

Kru Suuan Nirmalya Bhowmick & Danny Kelly

Kru Suuan Nirmalya Bhowmick & Danny Kelly

Gender is no barrier at the gym, and student  Yoko Washington (Right), training with Lenny Westerman can pack a mean punch!

Size don't matter in the ring as a student Peter Mouttata  (red shorts) spars with Danny Kelly

Kru Richard Izutsu recieves his certificate from Khun Clint Heyliger & Kru Suuan Nirmalya Bhowmick

Our Sincere best wishes go to Nirmalya and to Maria  (the blanket maker) who looked after us far, far better than they should have done, ( forget we are home boys from Da Bronx..),  and I will treasure the special gift presented to me, which they both know  holds a very special place of honor. Khap Khun Krap Sawadee!! 

Three new instructors receive there certificates after the two day grading course; (L) Daniel Sambrano, (C)  Richard Izutsu, (R) Danny Kelly from the Executive Vice President of the USMTA Khun Clint Heyliger, and USMTA  Senior Vice President Nirmalya Bhowmick chief instructor of the Institute. USMTA Director Lucas Cotte III taking the photo's,  also took an active part in the proceedings of the grading course during the two days, where he witnessed the Instructors grading.

 Mr. Cotte has been active in Muay Thai, for many years, he has  trained with Arjarn Tony Moore of England and with British & European Champion Thai fighters Kru Paul Bates and Paul Hamilton of the British Thai Boxing Council and has been a senior Director with the United States Muay Thai Association since its early  formation in 1991 and is the official photographer. Too soon had the course ended and we had a couple of hours to ourselves, with the help of camp manager John Harris, ( who took us out the night before for a couple of quite drinks, you know... just to relax....), and who kindly drove us up to Santa Cruz to clear our heads,  I mean to take a peek at the sea.

 California seals taking a quick dip at Santa Cruz harbor     We're still trying to work out how this seal got up there?     A view from the harbor overlooking the Theme Park at Santa Cruz

One  cannot go to California without seeing the Pacific ocean, and at least meeting some of the natives can one?  Coming from New York City,  the only seals we get to see are at the Bronx Zoo. It was a great day, the sun was out, we got a quick tan and picked up a couple of souvenirs for the folks back home.

All in all, it was a great trip, and the guys and girls in San Jose were the best. It appears that a second course is scheduled for October '98  where several other students are going to be graded. I take my hat off to Kru Suuan Nirmalya Bhowmick and to all his staff, they made us feel right at home, so much so we didn't want to leave, and I guess the airline felt the same way too, but that's another story....


Copyright 1998 USMTA Inc. All rights reserved. Revised: October 16, 2004.