Sharna Mercer drilling knees in training.
Sharna Mercer drilling knees in training. Contributed

Martial arts students enjoy international training trip

STUDENTS from Gladstone Martial Arts Academy recently returned from Thailand after experiencing world-class training.

Academy coach Rob McIntyre took students Kaela Banney, Sharna Mercer and Dylan Barsley on the international training trip and he said they fell in love with Thailand and the training from day one.

They were there to learn more about the fighting art of muay Thai or Thai boxing.

Although McIntyre said he had travelled to Thailand to train five times, the latest trip was something special for him as he got to watch his young charges train like professional fighters and then actually fight in professional fights in front of thousands of spectators.

After visiting the famous Lumpini Stadium to watch fights in Bangkok, the inspired young martial artists travelled to Phuket to train at a camp called Phuket Top Team.

"I chose this camp for our team trip because not only do they offer muay Thai training, but also Brazilian jiu jitsu, mixed martial arts and wrestling with top level coaches from around the world," McIntyre said.

The dedicated students had two three-hour training sessions each day, starting with a 5km to 10km run then pad work, bag work, shadow sparring, grappling and sparring. "They didn't miss a day or even a session of training."

McIntyre said Kaela, 15, was the first to step into the ring on December 28 to take on a Thai opponent much heavier and more experienced than her.

"Kaela stepped it up and began to let loose with hand combinations and elbow blows that stunned her opponent," he said.

And, despite losing, McIntyre said the fight won her respect.

Dylan had his first fight on January 2 against a Thai opponent who had had 14 fights previously.

Dylan dropped his opponent and got a KO victory.

McIntyre said Sharna, 15, had her first ever fight against an opponent who had more than 15 fights.

He said Sharna was on the front foot for the entire five rounds.

 



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