Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What's your martial arts motivation?

I've been pondering that question a lot lately. What motivates me to continue training and teaching? What keeps me coming into the gym 3 to 4 times a week to teach muay thai to people, many I hardly know.

With 10 years of marketing experience you'd think I'd have been monetizing the crap out of the current MMA / muay thai craze, but I haven't. The google ad revenue from this blog covers the hosting fees for my domains. I haven't tried to sell DVD courses, and I haven't tried to start a clothing line like a lot of other people. Maybe I should.

Logically, money should be major motivator. However, every week I keep coming back to the Muay Thai Academy International where all of us instructors teach for free. Muay thai is a part of who I am, the school is my Cheers, and I'm it's Norm.

I love the feeling of satisfaction when a concept 'clicks' for a student whose been struggling with a certain technique, or the beam in a new student's eye when I show him something he's never seen before.

I love sharing what I've learned from my experiences with others. If I can find a way to make a living off of it, bonus. But my passion for the unique style of combat oriented muay thai is what truly motivates me to give what I can to who I can, without hesitation.

Boiled down: Enabling people to protect themselves and their loved ones from multiple assailants without reservation, efficiently, through overwhelming, destructive force is my motivation - and perhaps my mission statement.

Enough self-serving banter from me. I challenge you to examine your training and explore the internal drivers that motivate you. I encourage you to look beyond the ego and really be honest with yourself as to why you're doing what you're doing. You may be surprised with what you find out about yourself.


  1. It's refreshing to see such sincerity in a world full of Tap Out gear and walking UFC encyclopedias.

  2. "Enabling people to protect themselves and their loved ones from multiple assailants without reservation, efficiently, through overwhelming, destructive force is my motivation " BRILLIANT

  3. I love your approach and teaching style it comes from the heart.I wish i could train at your gym but it is a 45 hour drive ... yea man S Fla. Wish you much luck and success

  4. Thanks a lot folks. It's good to know that there are others like us out there.

  5. Well if you ever do sell a DVD - I'll Buy !!! Wish I could train with you as well but its a 40 hour drive for me ......central fla. Keep up the great work Donnie!

  6. I am truly honored to be your student Donnie!

  7. Yeah Donnie you make a training series for all of us who don't have direct access to your gym and you'll be a hero to us all.... more than you already are. Maybe like something like a ditstance learning course where you just post a weekly video and we pay you to do it :)

  8. My Muay Thai instructor feels the same way as you do. And it's wonderfully refreshing to know that there are other Muay Thai instructors like you, Donnie. My instructor told me that her classes is her "Muay Thai Utopia" and that us, her students, are the reasons why she loves teaching. But, she warned us that not all Muay Thai instructors/gyms have the similar philosophy that you and her seem to share. And that's unfortunate.

    I live in Los Angeles, and I've yet to have an opportunity to train at your gym but, believe me, your perspective on Muay Thai has made a great impact on my own training and outlook. Through your blog and videos you've reach beyond the confines of your school and influenced others; that's something to be proud of.

    Until, I can hit up NorCal, keep doing your thing.

  9. Honesty is a good quality, but not often with financial gains (I'd be rich otherwise!)

    I find it interesting that in the 'commercial' west instructors find it hard to get by, and will teach for selfless motives, love of the art, sport and other people. This is the part true essence of teaching and martial arts...

    Then I look around me in Thailand and see all of the muay thai gym cattle markets pumping the western cash cows through their doors with sub-standard levels of teaching, many of which realise too late that they could get actually learn more from their friendly instructor around the corner back at home...

    Why not do an online learning service? With technology these days (social media, webcasts, youtube) the old boundaries (and stigma - 'you can't teach MA online! - hey dude, aren't you're doing it already?) which prevents good people from getting out there, and leaves a void for the less honest, less qualified people to fill. I think that you could make a modest living, there certainly seems enough people (look above) to make it worth your while. Value you what you do, and don't be shy to make money out of it.

    I hope you find a way of balancing your desires and needs m8, your a diamond in the rough ;)

  10. Thanks for sharing this about yourself -- what an amazing site and what an amazing teacher you are. You have answered many questions not covered by the increasingly commoditized muay thai scene. As a trainer similarly passionate about the essence of muay thai as a warrior path, I'd say your post echoes my own situation and feelings -- except that I am not so amazing.

    The light of ancient wisdom is fading in the artificial light of modern society. I hope you stay on this path. I hope it continues to support you.


  11. I have watched (and subscribed) to your Youtube channel for some time, and I really enjoy your coaching style, sense of humor and frankly the no BS/posturing you and your clientele have.

    I belong to a similar minded group of coaches and individual with the Crazy Monkey Defense Program. I am so happy to see other martial artists and coaches putting this out there and promoting martial arts for what it should be, and standing as an example on what sort of character a true martial artist is.

    Function meets Philosophy. Awesome stuff. Keep it up.

  12. Stumbled across some of your vids on youtube and found the blog via your shout out at the end of the clip. I am in school and my reason for jumping into Muay Thai was civilian life had made me fat fat fat. I enjoy your clips and blog. Wonderful resource. The ability to jump online and check out different approaches to what I learn (or was unable to learn) in the gym is great. People get so hung up on different approaches needing to be wrong. Sometimes a different approach is just that, not wrong just different. I was not familiar with old style muay thai until I found your stuff. Think it is a common sense compliment to the sport style that I am learning in the gym.

    Keep it Up!


  13. I've been trying to find out more about this Muay Thai Academy in San Jose and I've heard great things about it. Reading this makes me *really* want to go. But I'm under 18 and I've never had any martial arts training ever in my life. I'm guessing I probably can't go, can I?...

  14. You know, we have been known to take on students under the age of 18 on a case by case basis. Since I'm not the owner, I don't make those decisions , but if you really are interested at training at Muay Thai Academy International I suggest you come by the school and talk to Nirmalya, the owner. We aren't in it for the money, so you're not going to be pressured into anything. But FYI, if Nirmalya decides to let you join, he will want to meet your legal guardians and receive they're approval. Our address is on

  15. Thank you so much! I have my mind so set on these classes because it sounds like you guys really take the time for students. I really appreciate the help. =)

  16. No classes Anonymous, it's an open gym where you work on your own program with private/semi-private basis. I invite you to stop by and see for yourself, its hard to explain without seeing it.