Members of Team Bastian spar during practice at Pure Fitness on Shoppers Row in Campbell River. The team will be holding an upcoming fundraiser Nov. 27 at Acropolis Cuisina Photo by Jocelyn Doll/Campbell River Mirror

Former Muay Thai World Champion reflects on a lifelong love of martial arts

Sandra Bastian started kick boxing when she was 28.

Her son wanted to do karate and she wanted to try martial arts, so she found a gym where they could do both. Kick boxing graduated to Muay Thai and next thing you know Bastian was fighting.

“There is more to it than just the sport, it is a very spiritual sport, if that makes sense,” she said. “Even though you step into the ring and you know the person across from you is going to try to knock you out and you’re going to try to knock them out, it is a very respectful sport. It teaches you and pushes you beyond any limit that you thought that you would go to both physically, mentally, emotionally.”

Now she trains a Muay Thai fight team at Pure Fitness in downtown Campbell River.

“I live and breathe this sport, it has brought so much for me that I just want to see it grow,” she said.

Bastian’s career skyrocketed in 2003 while representing Team Canada at the World Kickboxing Association’s North American Championships. She met Janice Johnson in the ring and knocked her out in the first round, winning the North American Lightweight Kickboxing title.

In 2004 she represented Canada at the International Federation of Martial Arts World Amateur Championships.

“My goal at that point, for myself anyways, I just wanted to win one fight,” she said. “I actually walked away with the silver.”

She came back to win the championship in 2006.

Two years later she was the WKA World Lightweight Muay Thai Champion and she won bronze at the IFMA World Amateur Championships.

In 2009 she was scheduled to represent Canada at the World Championships in Thailand once again.

“At that point in time they had an age limit, and one of the coaches reported me as being too old,” she said.

Though that door was slammed in her face, another door, a better door opened—the president of the International Federation of Muay Thai invited her to fight at the Kings Cup.

According to Bastian, the Kings Cup is the largest Muay Thai event in the world. It is held in Bangkok and over 300,000 people, including the royal family, attend.

“It is a huge honour to be invited to fight on the Kings Cup,” Bastian said.

Bastian won her fight, and went on to fight as a professional a few more times before retiring in 2013.

But her passion for Muay Thai hasn’t stopped there.

Bastian worked as an assistant coach in Calgary until moving to Campbell River two years ago. Now she has her own team at Pure Fitness, and it has grown from six to fourteen people in the last year or so.

“I kind of feel like I am the parent and they are the children,” she said.

They spend a lot of time together, growing physically, spiritually and emotionally, becoming like family.

“To listen to these guys cheer each other on during a drill when one of them is working so hard and they know that they have to cut weight or they have a fight coming up cause emotions run high at that time, they will be crying when they are hitting pads with me,” she said. “To hear everybody else stop in the gym and cheer them on and push them on, it’s quite something to see.”

Muay Thai is known as the art of eight limbs—hands elbows, knees and feet.

In Thailand the fighters wear headpieces blessed by monks and perform a ceremony to seal the ring from evil spirits before a fight, followed by a ceremonial dance type warm up that pays respects to their camp (club) and kru (coach).

And then the fight begins, but it is more like a chess match than an all-out brawl.

“I always tell my guys, you’ve got to be smarter than the guy in front of you,” Bastian said. “And fighting is, really it’s 75 per cent mental, 25 per cent physical, because if your mental game isn’t into it, it doesn’t matter how good a shape you are in you could lose.”

Members of the team are starting to participate in fights in and around the Island, and are preparing to go to the IKF World Championships in Florida in 2018.

“I’ve got guys on my team right now who I would like to see register for nationals,” Bastian said. “I think there is potential out here, she says, looking around the gym.”

Team Bastian is hosting a fundraiser on Monday, Nov. 27 at Acropolis Kuzina.

For tickets contact Amanda Rogers at amandarogers06@gmail.com or reach out to the team on Facebook at Team Bastian Muay Thai.

 

Former World Muay Thai Champion Sandra Bastian is now coaching her own team out of Pure Fitness. Photo by Jocelyn Doll/Campbell River Mirror

Just Posted

Confusion in Campbell River on first day of cannabis legalization

Some users puzzled as dispensaries close just before pot becomes legal across Canada

Aquaman star spotted around Campbell River as production ramps up on See

Jason Momoa, best known for his role in Game of Thrones, is in town to film television series

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

Man injured in Vancouver Island racetrack accident meets, holds son for first time

Kayden was born the day after Jonathan was crushed by car at speedway

Campbell River school enrolment up over projections

End of September count finds 65 more students in the system

Mellow opening to B.C.’s only legal pot shop

About five people lined up early for the opening of the BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops.

Jagmeet Singh says marijuana pardons are not enough

Trudeau government will streamline pardon process for Canadians convicted of simple possession of marijuana in the past

Caregivers banned from smoking, growing cannabis around children-in-care: MCFD

Ministry has limited cannabis use for caregivers, stating it may “pose a risk to children and youth.”

Cheaper strains sell out within minutes on online BC Cannabis Store

Province says new strains will become available in the coming months

Only 40% of B.C. car dealerships have electric cars available: report

Researchers found buyers frustrated at the lack of options

VIDEO: Millionaire Lottery returns to give back and win big

Since 1996, Millionaire Lottery has raised $52 million for the VGH+UBC Hospital Foundation

Test case challenges a politician’s right to block people from Twitter account

3 people say Watson infringed their constitutional right to freedom of expression by blocking them

‘A little odd’ B.C.’s biggest city celebrates cannabis without a legal store

On the streets of downtown Vancouver, notably the Wild West of illegal marijuana, not a single legal store opened Wednesday, making for a rather anticlimatic kick-off

Most Read