Muay Thai is Life speaks with Ky Hollenbeck about his win over Jordan Watson, The MPL, and the critics!

Ky Hollenbeck seems to have taken on the role of the “all around nice guy” of American Muay Thai. While some fighters aren’t known to pull any punches when it comes to talking about things that may bother them, Ky seems to be the more soft spoken and affable of America’s current Muay Thai elite. Consistently praising his opponents, while also taking every fight as a learning experience that will further fuel his growth as a Muay Thai fighter, Ky rarely, if ever, speaks ill of opponents or has a negative opinion on anything for that matter. Maybe it’s because Ky doesn’t come from the somewhat chaotic hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, the concrete jungle of New York, or the sandy adult playgrounds of Las Vegas. Maybe it because Ky lives and trains in San Francisco; the birth place of an American Renaissance that culminated with the 1960’s Summer of Love but still remaining synonymous with the bohemian free loving, free thinking, and laid back philosophies of modern American counterculture.

Ky Hollenbeck is far from ever being labeled a “hippie” but his unique and unorthodox fighting style, which currently has him enjoying an undefeated Muay Thai record of 25-0, is definitely in tune with the uniqueness of his hometown.

I had never spoken to Ky before conducting this interview you are going to listen to below, and while Ky has pretty much always been a nice guy, the criticism he sometimes gets is anything but nice. Because of his unique fighting style, more traditional Muay Thai practitioners tend to scoff and downplay his accomplishments. However, in the end, as different as his fighting style may be, he is consistently defeating seasoned Muay Thai fighters and only looks to continue doing so. Being a traditional Muay Thai practitioner myself, I have to admit that I sometimes don’t think Ky’s style is the prettiest demonstration of technique I have ever seen but regardless this is a sport where what you do in the ring, and not what people say outside it, is what really matters. And in that case Ky has truly earned every accolade he has attained in his career.

I found Ky to be a very down-to-earth guy that loves to fight, loves to represent his country, but overall looks to continue to learn from every fight and every opponent. He is definitely a genuine character and I definitely became a bigger fan after speaking with him. He is a great ambassador for the sport and has without any doubt earned his place as one of America’s top nakmuays. Check out the interview below!

Julie Kitchen speaks with Muay Thai is Life about the MPL, being “The Queen of Muay Thai”, and more!

We just recently had the honor of speaking with non-other than 13x Muay Thai World Champion, Julie Kitchen as part of our ongoing series of phone interviews titled “Muay Talk – Interviews with Muay Thai’s Champions”. If you are an avid Muay Thai fan or practitioner than Mrs. Kitchen needs absolutely no introduction. Hailing from Touchgloves Gym in Penzance, Cornwall, UK, Julie is a veteran in the sport of Muay Thai with over 50 fights and a title belt in just about every important Muay Thai organization you can think of. Now, if you are a fan of Muay Thai is Life then you know that I have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with anything and everything from the UK.

I’m a sucker for English Premier League Football (Soccer for the yanks), dry English Humor, and probably wouldn’t survive if I didn’t start out my day with a “healthy” English breakfast. With that said, when Julie accepted our request for an interview, I became giddy and nervous for a multitude of reasons. One, given the fact that Julie’s nickname is “The Queen of Muay Thai” (and for good reason!) I became nervous as I know that all encounters with any form of royalty have to follow strict guidelines and protocol. I was distraught because I didn’t know whether or not I had to bow my head when we spoke or if I had to address her as “Your majesty” or “Your Royal Highness of Muay Thai badassery”.

My second dilemma was that, unbeknownst to Julie, I have a completely platonic and schoolyard crush on her. This was disconcerting because knowing that we would be seeing each other through Skype, I was consistently wondering if my hair was stylishly disheveled or if the lighting in the room was soft enough to accentuate my good side while hiding my flaws. In the end as I look back, I definitely know that I probably looked like a total scumbag, so I’m really sorry Julie and I hope my interviewing skills made up for my unpleasant appearance.

Last but not least, because Julie is from Penzance, during the interview I had to consistently fight the urge to breakout in song and sing “I am the very model of a modern Major General” from Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance. Now if you don’t know what I’m talking about, the song is hilarious and has been parodied on many occasions…plus it’s awesome…and if you don’t believe me, see for yourself

Anyway, regardless of the diatribe I just subjected you to, the fact still stands that Julie Kitchen is the #1 ranked female Muay Thai fighter in the world. She has not lost a single fight since 2008 and is currently enjoying a very healthy 15 fight win streak. She recently fought Martina Jindrova at the Muaythai Premier League’s inaugural event in Long Beach, California and will be fighting for the MPL again on November 6th in The Hague, Netherlands. Before you check out the video below we have to apologize for the sound issues during the interview, the Skype connection was less than ideal for some reason but we hope to rectify that when we speak with Julie again after her bout in November. A big thanks to Julie for being a trooper through the technical difficulties!

Part 2 of Galen Okazaki’s MPL “Stars and Stripes” pictorial – Simon Marcus & Nathan Corbett

Part 2 of Galen Okazaki’s pictorial of the Muay Thai Premier Leagues inaugural event at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, California on Sept. 2nd, 2011. This set features shots from the match ups between Simon Marcus and Artem Vakhitov and Nathan Corbett and Tomas Hron.


Pictures by Muay Thai is Life’s Galen Okazaki of Muaythai Premier League’s Stars & Stripes – Part 1

Muay Thai is Life’s photographer extraordinaire Galen Okazaki, made his way to the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, California this past weekend to capture what was without a doubt the biggest Muay Thai event ever held on U.S. soil. With a stacked fight card featuring names such as Buakaw Por Pramuk, Artem Levin, Nathan “Carnage” Corbett, Julie Kitchen, and many more, the Muaythai Premiere League was a star studded affair that brought some of the best in the sport of Muay Thai to the U.S. Below you can see a few of the shots Galen caught during the Buakaw Por Pramuk vs Warren Stevelmans fight and the Julie Kitchen vs Martina Jindrova fight. Stay tuned for more pics from this great event!