WASHINGTON, D.C. – The first ever muay thai fight team try-outs at BETA Academy of Martial Arts was held on January 12, 2011 by head instructor Nakapan Phungephorn (POON-Porn). The event drew over 30 participants including aspiring fighters, instructors, and current muay thai team competitors on a cold wintery evening. The event lasted approximately two hours and was held at the lone representative school of the Thai Boxing Association of the United States in D.C.
The muay thai candidates were hand selected by Khun Kru Nakapan Phungephorn based on time in the muay thai program, required skill level, and a desire to compete and fight through adversity. The event pitted the thai boxing candidates against the coaches who were instructed to push them to extreme limits through multiple rounds of physical challenges. At stake was the opportunity to train with the fight team and represent the academy in muay thai.
The sparring went off to a fast start and blood was shed on the mat. Another fighter’s tooth went flying, only to continue in the melee after refusing to be pulled from the round. Candidate fighters had to recompose themselves and understand that they were not in “Kansas” anymore. This is a weed out process that had been carefully thought out. “They’re going to have to push through pain and exhaustion,” said Instructor Rudy Telles. “…a person won’t ever understand the depth of the process unless they get in there and do it themselves.”
“To be honest, I thought at least a few of the new guys would give up,” said Carrie Moskal, who currently trains with the muay thai team. Moskal also stated that “…everyone gave 100% and showed a lot of heart…”
Kru Nakapan, the WKA Amateur Muay Thai World Champion (2001 Welterweight), also participated in the event by pushing the candidates during sparring rounds. At the end of the event, he addressed the participants stating that “This is the first fight team training we’ve had so you should really be proud of yourselves.” He also said that even in defeat when you have done everything you can for your preparation, you have to “keep that confident mentality.”