First of all, thank you for your interest in Martial Arts & Fitness, as it’s something that has immensely changed my life for the better and something that I thoroughly enjoy sharing with others. My passion in Martial Arts & Fitness has grown and shaped who I am over the better part of my adult life and I believe it is something that people all of ages can benefit from. If you want a short & sweet of what’s below, I’d suggest checking my About section. Enjoy!
-Jonathan James Puu
I began my journey in Martial Arts & Fitness back in 2007 at 18 years old, as a recent high school graduate with a thirst for challenge & adventure. I’d planned on traveling once I graduated but found myself at a standstill financially and unable to make the backpacking adventure I had planned. I needed to find something to settle my thirst for a challenge and settle my hunger for adventure. I had heard of a martial art known as Muay Thai and it’s effectiveness for self-defense, as well as competition. I became intrigued and immediately began scouring the internet at the time (keep in mind, this was in 2007) for any videos, blogs, articles, pictures, and really anything Muay Thai related for that matter.
I knew I had found my new challenge, but how would I approach training?
It’s a rather niche martial art, and I was living in Ventura, land of surf, sun & skateboarding. Given Oxnard was known for it’s boxing, it wasn’t my deal at the time, I wanted Muay Thai; A martial art where you had 8 weapons, your fists, feet, knees, and elbows. Lucky for me, I found a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) studio in Oxnard that catered to my newfound challenge. I mustered up the courage to call & try out a free class. I was hooked. As soon as I was able to afford it, I committed with the gym for a year and bought all of my equipment.
And so my training began…
I was put through the ringer in training, never really being active in high school but having a natural athletic ability, it wasn’t the conditioning part that really took a toll on me, it was the harsh nature of sparring and dealing with my own ego. I had multiple conversations with myself and my family during these times, contemplating on quitting because I got my butt kicked and was having a hard time dealing with it. Instead, I learned a very valuable lesson in perseverance, something that I’m forever grateful for and is something that I believe no one in life should be without. I continued my training, determined to get my butt kicked just a little less than the last time. Eventually it all started to click, I wasn’t leaving with a bruised ego every sparring session and I was becoming more or less comfortable with confronting my ego, I’d persevered.
Like a wave, I continued to crash my way through the world.
Within the next year, I found myself in Thailand to train and ended up fighting as well. Something I never thought I’d find myself doing. I moved away from my family in Ventura, California to pursue my training under Kru Dej “Nokweed” Sri-Ampai at his newly opened gym, Muay Thai School USA, in North Hollywood, California. I continued my training & competing (read: fighting) as well as apprenticing as an instructor, (assisting with classes, filling in to teach, training fighters and clients) with the guidance of Kru Nokweed and Dan Mayid. I was barely scraping by at sometimes, but I wouldn’t have traded it for anything. I went as far as donating blood platelets in exchange for gift cards for groceries, having to dose myself with heavy iron supplements in order to donate. I eventually made the move back to Ventura, California and was back at square one with my training. I’d bounced around at a few places here in Ventura & Oxnard where I had friends who were training or teaching at, commuting to the Greater Los Angeles Area when I could for training as well. Part of this was due to my uncertainty with where my Martial Arts career would take me. I was freelancing as a 1-on-1 private Muay Thai instructor but didn’t want to commit at the time to teaching full-time at any one place.
Hard times precede your goals, it’s where many people quit, persevere.
After floating around and continuing my competition training, I soon found myself at Gracie Morumbi in Ventura, California. It is a funny story how I ended up at that gym (the martial arts world is VERY SMALL) but I was running the Muay Thai program there from November 2012 to May 2014. I left Gracie Morumbi to pursue an opportunity to work for myself and to be able to train more, meanwhile I was also given an opportunity to have my own private gym, in which I focus extensively on small group classes and private instruction catered towards everyone who wishes to seek the true benefits of Muay Thai & Kickboxing training.
I’ve met so many awesome people and made some great friends, this is a shout out to all of you who make what I do possible. Friends, family, fellow martial artists, students, thanks for making me love what I do. Win, lose or draw.
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