Coaches

Episode 67 – Kirian Fitzgibbons

In the first episode of 2018, we decided we needed to start off the new year of The Striking Corner right! And who better to kick off 2018, then CSA Gym owner and head coach extraordinaire, Kirian Fitzgibbons! “Coach K”, as he is known to his many students and peers, is without a doubt one of the top striking coaches in North America, coaching the likes of Kevin Ross, Gaston Bolaños, Zoila Frausto, Zach Bunnell, Eddie Abasolo, Alexis Davis, Miriam Nakamoto, and the list goes on and on. Coach K has been a huge part of the growth of Muay Thai and Kickboxing in America for quite some time. He knows all the players and has seen it all. He is very passionate about combat sports, his students, and his brand. He pulls no punches when giving his opinions, takes no bullshit, and we love him for it. Yet for some, his take no prisoners attitude rubs them the wrong way however the success of his gym, his fighters, and his system cannot be denied. In this episode, we discuss everything from his background in combat sports and defensive tactics to the state of Muay Thai and Kickboxing in America. We also discuss why many fighters need to stop bitching, understand that in combat sports you have to learn to promote yourself and that there truly is no secret to success, it’s all about hard work, structure, and the occasional usage of the term “motherfucker!” Enjoy!

Episode 66 – Bryan Popejoy

In this episode of The Striking Corner, Eric and Vinny speak with the Head Coach of Boxings Works in Torrance, California and the USMF National Team, Bryan Popejoy. Bryan is considered one of the top Muay Thai coaches in the US and the guys we were definitely honored to have him as a guest on the podcast. In this episode, we discuss Bryan’s background in Muay Thai, the history of Boxing Works, the California Muay Thai scene in the 1990’s, the definition of “Traditional Muay Thai”, fighting with pads, and much more!

Episode 65 – Eric Haycraft

In this episode of The Striking Corner, Vinny and Eric speak with one of our good friends and one of THE BEST coaches for Kickboxing in the U.S.; Eric Haycraft, head coach and owner of Real Fighters Gym in Louisville, Kentucky. Eric Haycraft is truly one of the most knowledgeable striking coaches in the United States today, especially in the realm of Kickboxing, sometimes referred to as “Dutch Kickboxing”. Having trained extensively throughout his career with the likes of Rob Kaman and the late Ramon Dekkers, Eric has spent years trying to elevate the level and status of the sports of Muay Thai and Kickboxing in America. We discuss the “state of the union” for Kickboxing and Muay Thai in the U.S., why American fighters should stay amateur longer, the growth of the US Muaythai Federation and the big strides they have made in pushing Muay Thai forward, and so much more! This podcast is stacked with great conversation! And if you are a die-hard Muay Thai and Kickboxing fan, we know you will enjoy it.

Episode 60 – Patrick Rivera

In this episode of The Striking Corner podcast, Eric and Vinny speak with head coach and owner of Valor Training Center in Stockton, California, Patrick Rivera. Patrick is also currently the co-director of the Youth Development League (YDL), which is the USMF’s Youth Program designed to get America’s youth Muay Thai fighters prepared for IFMA style competitions and world championships. Patrick has had incredible success with his youth program at Valor Training Center and also has youth fighters that have gone on to win medals at both IFMA Youth Muay Thai Championships (2016 & 2017). Patrick discusses why youth development is imperative to the growth of American Muay Thai, what the YDL’s mission is to grow the youth Muay Thai scene in the United States, and we also discuss different ways of teaching Muay Thai to kids that will get them ready for IFMA and other fight competitions. We could have gone on for quite sometime with this podcast as Patrick has a wealth of knowledge and great ideas when it comes to the future of Muay Thai. There was so much more we could have talked about so we will definitely have Patrick on in the future. After all, he and Eric share the same last name, so you know Eric was excited about that, because well, he gets excited about everything! Enjoy this episode and share it you maniacs!

Episode 59 – Kate Allen & Charlie Cottone

In this episode of The Striking Corner, Vinny and Eric speak with Muay Thai power couple Kate Allen and Charlie Cottone. They are the owners and instructors of 8 Limbs Muay Thai in Philadelphia, PA. Kate and Charlie discuss how they started in Muay Thai, how their relationship began, and their eventual decision of opening up their own Muay Thai gym together. Kate also talks about competing in the 2017 IFMA Muay Thai World Championships, leaving her career as a dental hygienist to focus on Muay Thai full time, and the decision of wanting to fight but also wanting to start a family. In addition, Charlie discusses the dynamic of being Kate’s husband while also being her coach, We had a great chat with Charlie and Kate. This is was a fun podcast for us and we hope you will all feel the same! Enjoy!

Episode 58 – Lonnie Beck

In this episode of The Striking Corner podcast, Eric and Vinny are joined by Muay Thai trainer, BJJ Purple Belt, and 5th Degree Tae Kwon Do Black Belt, Lonnie Beck! Lonnie runs two very successful gyms outside of Philadelphia and he discusses the ins and outs of the martial arts business, the ups and downs of running a gym, his learning experiences, and how traditional martial arts and combat sports can coexist in the current combat sports hungry environment. They also discuss McDojo’s, large Martial Arts franchises, staying in your lane as a business, and much much more! If you dream of opening a gym one day or are a current gym owner looking to better your business this podcast is for you