Belal Ahmad’s Highlight Reel

Belal Ahmad began training at Eiremuaysiam at the age of thirteen and has since worked his way through the ranks, taking on some of the toughest fighters on the scene. Check out his highlight reel here for just a taste of his style and what to expect when this young man steps through the ropes.

Quarantine

We hope everyone is staying safe and staying home in these strange times. Let’s all work to flatten the curve by staying inside (or at least within 2km from your home) and let’s stay active with some home workouts.

Here’s a few at home workouts you can try next week:

What’s most important in this time however is to listen to your body and your mind. When you’re out of your element it’s hard to keep a routine, so don’t pressure yourself to train as hard as you normally to. Use this time to refocus and check in with yourself. A healthy body starts with a healthy mind. Stay safe and we look forward to getting back in the gym soon.

“It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.”

Confucius

A Closer Look with Laura Quinn

Laura Quinn helps head the ranks of the younger fighters in Eiremuaysiam, and she’s had a whirlwind experience she was all too happy to recount.  From ballet to bruises, this young woman possesses an impressive level of self-awareness that lends some insight into why she chose EMS as her second home.

“Kill em with kindness… and then actually kill them.”

When she first stepped through the metal door of Eiremuaysiam in March of 2019, then 14 year-old Laura Quinn had no idea what to expect.  She was in the middle of completing a beginner’s Brazilian jiujitsu course, which she credits with sparking her interest in martial arts, but received an invitation from one of the other people in the class to try Muay Thai, citing an interest in striking as the reason she accepted.  To her surprise, the members in the gym were more than welcoming, and her immediate love of the sport only deepened with the guidance of those she soon began to call her teammates.  The positive experience made the gym a comfortable place where Laura could speed up her progress and she now makes an effort to pay it forward, extending the same kindness she was offered to any newcomers. 

“I try my best to help newcomers if I can, especially because of how grateful I was when I first joined for people…to be willing to put time into helping me out.”

What is the atmosphere in the gym like now?

As a child, Laura took part in all the typical activities for a girl her age: ballet, dance, and gymnastics.  Now, clearly none of those have stuck, but Laura does credit the more traditional activities with her flexibility, a skill that has served her well in her Muay Thai training.  Laura is currently in her fourth year of secondary school and at times find challenges in balancing the two.  She does admit however that being a part of EMS has influenced her career path a little, as she’s now considering pursuing physiotherapy, although that is subject to change.  She has first-hand knowledge about the stresses and problems that come along with being a fighter and hopes to be able be a positive force in that world.  While Laura hasn’t picked a future career with any definitive certainty, she says her prospects as a whole have changed because she looks into options that she can connect to her sport.  On a more personal level, Laura wants to get as far as she can with Muay Thai, with hopes for an eventual pro career and spots on large promotions.  She took transition year to dedicate herself to training and fighting as much as she can, and the commitment is paying off. Laura hasn’t found too many difficulties arise in the gym, and she even views her unorthodox stance as a learning opportunity.  Her adaptability improves everyday, as she switches stances for the benefit of her partner when holding pads.  This ability to change serves the southpaw well and she loves the advantage of confusion on the part of her sparring partners.

“Physical toughness and strength can be built but mentality, it’s a whole other thing.”

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned since joining EMS?

There is no way to describe Laura’s height as anything but short.  Her stature paired with her affinity for pink, which she muses is a residual habit from her ballet days, paint a picture of the typical girl-next-door, a trope the fighter does not identify with.  People are always surprised when they find out the little lefty is a fighter, their assumptions about her shattered by that tidbit of information.  Ever the optimist though, Laura uses this as motivation to do well in the ring, determined to prove that appearances aren’t everything. She believes that the hardest thing about being a Muay Thai fighter, regardless of age, is self-belief.  In the days and weeks before you step into the ring, you have to go through the mental battle of tackling the question “can I win this fight.”  Eloquently spoken, Laura believes that mental strength is valued more than physical strength in martial arts; physical strength can be built, but the mental perseverance is a whole other ball game.  She places value in technique as well, citing the clinch as one of her favorite things to work due to the mental aspect, such as figuring out timing.  When it comes to her age and gender and any hangups that may exist around her competition in such a brutal sport, Laura takes the time to remind herself to slow down. It’s easy to feel rushed to accomplish things, especially in today’s world, but it’s important to acknowledge the years ahead of you and Laura feels she’s moving forward at a steady pace.  A good example of practicing what you preach, Laura advises other young athletes to do the same, and to not put any weight into the words of naysayers.  The now 15 year-old feels very lucky to have supportive friends, family, and teammates behind her and says that ‘someone who doesn’t support you is just another person to prove wrong.’  While she’s excited to be part of changing how female fighters are viewed, especially when even just a few years ago the idea was practically unheard of, Laura is good role model for athletes and students in all walks of life.  She feels the most important thing she’s learned since joining EMS is to aim high.  The work ethic of her team members is unmatched, each fighter striving for greatness and determined to bring their peers along with them.

“Keep learning and progressing and you’ll get to where you need to be. Keep moving forward.”

What’s your advice to young fighters?

Laura Quinn is a spitfire who insists on taking her time until she gets it right, both in the gym and in the classroom.  Her coach Rob Ng’s favored Bruce Lee quote, ‘I fear not the man who has practiced ten thousand kicks one, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick ten thousand times,’ is the embodiment of training for her, and like the tortoise, she’ll be the one to win the race, truly believing there’s no substitute for hard work and time.  Check out Laura’s last fight from Unforgiven IV on at the Limerick Strand Hotel on January 25, 2020 here.

Capital One/Lion Fight 62

This past Sunday, March 8, three of our boys shined in the National Basketball Arena in Dublin resulting in a proud night for Eiremuaysiam despite the mixed bag of results on the biggest platform of the year.

Our C class representative Steven McNutt quite literally danced around his opponents strong offense, his returning kicks and piercing knees helping him score his way to a unanimous victory. When you can’t find a mongkon a paddy hat is a suitable alternative, and Steve wore his tweed crown with pride after his spectacular performance.

Faisal Azimi stepped into the ring next, light on his feet and cheerful. This attitude never left him throughout his A Class Full Thai rules bout against an opponent with an impressive style, the pair going shot for shot briefly, Faisal taking the time to slick his hair back into between offense and defense. However, around the third round Faisal broke out his explosive kicks and turned the heat up, shown in the eight count received by his opponent, which Fasial immediately followed with a beautiful flying knee. His acrobatic efforts cinched him the uncontested win, one he dedicated to the late Brooklyn Colbert and his father, Wayne.

To wrap up our roster for the night was Jamie Morrissey in an A Class Thai Lion Fight bout. Jamie kept his opponent on his toes for the first two rounds, using his reach and knees to his advantage. However, as the fight progressed he seemed to lose some steam but maintained his active dance around the ring, refusing to be stopped. In the end his opponent got the win, but Jamie only found this to be motivation to get back to the drawing board and return to what he does best, which is dominating the game.

A big thank you and well done to all the gyms and fighters, with special kudos to all the new champions. We express our deep gratitude to Martin for the spectacular global show he put on and don’t forget to keep an eye out for our next move. We’re never long gone

A Look Back at Unforgiven IV

Just one month after Christmas fourteen of Eiremuaysiam’s fighters put on a performance to remember at the Strand Hotel. Boasting a card with 24 fights in total, Limerick came out to Unforgiven and supported their own proudly.

In the amateur division, there were fighters stepping into the ring for the first time while others made their C class debuts. The card also had four female fights on it, each with a fighter from EMS paving the way for female Muay Thai, irrespective of age or level.

With a mixed, but overwhelmingly positive, bag of results, EMS cemented their name as a force to be reckoned with on both an Irish and global stage.

The main event was the ISKA Lightweight Championship at 61 kg between EMS own Faisal Azimi and Sam O’Connor from Origins Muay Thai Dublin. The fight went back and forth and although O’Connor ultimately took the belt, 19 year old Azimi hasn’t faltered once and is back in action this Sunday, March 8, at Capital One in Dublin, along with teammate Jamie Morrissey.

Check out the video below for a brief highlight of the night and book the bank holiday weekend in August off if you want to experience the artistry in person.

Unforgiven V is already booked for August 2, 2020 once again in the Strand and it promises nothing short of greatness. Check out Eiremuaysiam on FB and IG for more info on the show and weekly training.

A Closer Look with John Gregorio

John Gregorio moved to Ireland from the Philippines when he was 8 years old and hasn’t looked back since. Now 20 and a professional Muay Thai fighter, John is proud to call Ireland home and looks forward to see what else the Emerald Isle holds for him.

“…just be true to yourself and do what you want to with your life.”

John Gregorio

John moved from the Philippines when his dad got a job in Ireland, dreaming of a better life and a better future for his family. Looking back at the last eleven years of his life, John admits his life would be very different if he were still in the Philippines. He is currently a professional Muay Thai fighter with a record of 3-0, and he works weekdays 9 to 5 before going in to training every evening and weekend. John hopes to become the best fighter in Ireland and compete on a global level. He credits moving to Ireland for inspiring his goals, admitting if he were in the Philippines his future plan likely wouldn’t include fighting.

“I wouldn’t have discovered Muay Thai there, it’s not that popular.”

Despite national identity being something tricky to define for many of those that go abroad, John says with conviction that he is Filipino at heart. However, he calls his mannerisms Irish, and he considers the island home, saying, “I embrace the culture of Ireland because you can’t get away from it.” Leaving the Philippines at such a young age means all of John’s friends are the Irish kids he grew up with, part of the community that welcomed him with open arms when he first arrived. He hasn’t been back to the Philippines since he left in 2008, but he has plans to travel there in the upcoming months for a family gathering. The only thing besides friends and family that his misses is the food, but keeping in touch with those important to him helps him fight the occasional bout of homesickness. The people in Ireland are his favorite part of his second home, and he feels he’s learned invaluable lessons from them that have helped shape him into the man he his today.

“The people are welcoming and they don’t take nonsense from anyone.”

John has had a swift start to his career, training at his gym Eiremuaysiam for just under a year and already boasting a K1 and professional record of 3-0. He found himself in the gym for the first time because he and a few friends got jumped on a night out, and he refused to give anyone the chance to one up him ever again. He has been a brilliant addition to the team according to his fellow fighters, and truly embodies the Lethwei spirit that the gym runs by, going for finishes, not decisions. While he doesn’t believe Lethwei, also known as Burmese Bareknuckle Boxing, will make its Irish debut anytime soon, he has given his heart and soul to his craft, with plans to train in Thailand in Muay Thai, and hopes to fight in Burma at least once.

“The feeling of the win is just better than anything.”

John Gregorio is a aggressive fighting machine and an absolutely pleasant individual out of the ring. He is making major moves toward a global presence and his dedication is something to be admired and imitated. Check out John’s fight from the Rumble at the Rockies card in Cork on February 16th, 2019 here.

A Closer Look with Faisal Azimi

Faisal Azimi moved to Ireland at the age of 14 and four years later he calls the island home, working part time while maintaining his status a professional Muay Thai fighter, as he hopes to continue to work his way to the top level in fighting.

“Always trust in yourself and do something good for yourself and your future.”

Faisal Azimi

In May of 2015, along with his family, Faisal Azimi moved to Ireland to live with his father, who had been working in England for more than ten years prior. Leaving behind everything he knew in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, wasn’t easy, and Faisal hasn’t been back since, but he refused to let that stop him from making a life in Limerick and planning a future he can be proud of. Four years later, now 18 year old Faisal hopes to continue to work his way to the top level in fighting. With his family finally reunited, Faisal had new challenges to face, the biggest of which being the language barrier. Faisal couldn’t speak English when he first arrived, and it took a year of complete immersion to help him become fluent. He became friends with other Afghan boys while slowly working on his language, and soon enough he was making Irish friends through school. Faisal is a professional Muay Thai fighter and began meeting people through the gym he trains at, Eiremuaysiam, which he joined just one month after arriving in Ireland.

“When I came to Ireland, after a month I started at Thai boxing, cause I didn’t really have anything to do, and I was most of the time bored as well.”

Approaching his four year anniversary of moving to Ireland, Faisal is freshly into adulthood and has a plan for his future that if he approaches it with even half the work ethic he exudes, there is no doubt he will achieve it. Faisal wants to continue to fight in Muay Thai boxing at the highest possible level, and while having a good name in the global sports arena is important to him, he has more personal goals as well, which are to have a good job and a good life. Faisal spoke about the importance of working hard to have opportunities come to you, something which is very difficult for young people in Afghanistan, where the opportunities and facilities are few and far between. Putting it as simply as “think about what you’re doing,” Faisal discusses how even if working hard and opportunities bring success, you have to be smart and ensure you’re planning for your future.

“If you don’t use your mind and not being smart I can see that you can end up with bad people and end up in a very bad position in the future.”

Faisal feels both Afghan and Irish, asserting that it depends on the people he is with. However, he undoubtedly considers Ireland home and “likes living here.” His favorite thing about Ireland is the people and how friendly they are, a sentiment shared by many that come to the island. He loves the people in Afghanistan as well, but couldn’t pick just one aspect of his home country to be his favorite, deeply appreciative of the place and the culture as well. Faisal hopes to visit home soon, but right now his main concern is finishing his last month of school, where he is currently in 6th year. He also keeps himself busy with training, and by keeping himself occupied Faisal has found an effective way to stop feeling homesick.

“I also learned that if I do work hard and be smart I’ll be successful cause I can see that now even in training and fighting I have worked hard and achieved a lot and that’s how it is in life.”

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in Ireland?

Faisal Azimi is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with and will soon be making headlines on the world stage. Everyone could learn a thing or two from this impressive young man and there’s no telling what’s to come next. Check out Faisal’s last fight on the Rumble at the Rockies card in Cork on February 16th, 2019 here.