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Campbell River Muay Thai gym hosts in-house tourney

Spar Wars provided opportunity for new fighters to test skills in safe environment
Ish Hasan (yellow head gear) walks down Trevor Mahalek at Heart and Soul Muay Thai’s Spar Wars on Saturday, Dec. 4. Ronan O’Doherty/ Campbell River Mirror

Prospective fighters at Heart and Soul Muay Thai were afforded a chance to find out what it’s like to showcase their skills under the bright lights on Saturday, Dec. 4.

The gym hosted an in-house tournament for 18 of their members.

Kru Sandra Bastian refereed the bouts in the gym’s back room ring, ensuring everyone remained safe, and that the matches didn’t turn into brawls. Her partner, Chris Fair – dressed snappily in a black suit – acted as M.C.

A disco ball hung above the ring, and rhythmic Muay Thai horns played over speakers.

The event, dubbed Spar Wars, was a first of its kind for the club.

“I believe everything went really well,” Bastian said.

“Everyone had fun, and experienced the whole fight day routine – from having to weigh in, to a ring name, to a walk out song, to competing in an actual ring.”

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Bastian was most impressed by how calm the fighters seemed.

“They all showcased good technique, great sportsmanship, and they all seemed so relaxed,” she said.

One of the goals of the event was to foster more camaraderie among members.

“Everyone was helping each other out, cheering for the person they may have just lost too, and realizing that we grow and get better together.”

Ish Hasan, who has been frequenting the gym for six months, said he signed up in order to push himself to train harder.

He called the experience, ‘intense.’

“As soon as you’re in the ring and you notice the music playing, things change,” he said.

“You’re thinking of all the things you’ve learned, and trying to put them into practice, and you’re looking at (your opponent) and you know they’re doing the same thing you’re trained to do.

“All of that takes as much energy as the kicks and punches. It’s a mental exertion that kicks in.”

Bastian said she hopes to organize more events in the future.

“We would love to eventually have actual fight cards,” she said.

“Those days are coming.”

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