Archive for the ‘Muay Thai’ Category

The Great G.O.A.T. Debate

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

By Matt Larkin

Guest Writer

Any time a superstar in a sport gives a signature performance, it’s common for fans to start up a “Greatest of All Time” or “G.O.A.T.” discussion. MMA is no different from any other sport; after Anderson Silva’s decimation of Yushin Okami last Saturday, people are wondering if it’s safe to call him the greatest mixed martial artist of all time.

It especially helps The Spider’s cause that (a) Fedor Emelianenko has destroyed his legacy over the last year to the point where he’s not even in the running and (b) Despite his continued dominance, Georges St-Pierre has lulled us into forgetting how good he is because of his conservative, uninspired efforts of late.

To me, the interesting part of the G.O.A.T. debate in MMA isn’t whether or not it’s Anderson Silva. To me, there’s no question right now. He holds the record for consecutive UFC wins and title defenses and he has never lost in the Octagon.

The more fascinating hot topic I’ve stumbled upon lately is whether or not MMA is old enough to have a G.O.A.T. Some people believe that, because MMA is so young, it can’t have a greatest of all time yet. People of this mindset believe that we haven’t even scratched the surface of how good mixed martial artists can be, and that the next superstars, physical freaks in the Jon Jones/Rory MacDonald mode, will be far superior to guys like Silva when their careers end.

Personally, I think it’s ludicrous to say that a G.O.A.T. can’t exist. It’s implied that the greatest of all time is always the greatest of all time so far. Even if MMA was one year old, it would still have the right of having a “greatest.” Royce Gracie held that honor in the 1990s, and deservedly so. He was an innovator whose Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu changed the sport forever.

Anderson Silva deserves his G.O.A.T status just as much. He, too is a trailblazer because of his amazing grace, evasiveness, accuracy, showmanship and finishing ability. He’s a Muay Thai version of Muhammad Ali.

The best way I can close the debate on whether or not a young sport can have a G.O.A.T: saying that Anderson Silva doesn’t deserve the title yet would be like saying in 80 years ago that Babe Ruth didn’t deserve it in his sport because “baseball was still too young.”

Shawn Tompkins: Death of a Canadian MMA legend

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

By Matt Larkin

Guest Writer

Hearts are heavy in Canadian MMA this week. Shawn Tompkins, the legendary Canadian kickboxer-turned MMA trainer, died suddenly of a heart attack on Sunday at age 37.

His loss is a major blow the sport we love. But nothing can bring him back now. All we can do is celebrate the man Shawn Tompkins was and what he did for mixed martial arts.

Shawn was a teacher and mentor to numerous high-profile fighters, known for his Muay Thai expertise. He taught Canadians Mark Hominick and Sam Stout; he was married to Stout’s sister, Emilie Stout. Shawn also taught Brazilian striking legends Wanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort.

Shawn really made a name for himself over the last several years, starting in 2007 when he took over from Bas Rutten as head coach of the Los Angeles Anacondas in the Independent Fight League. He migrated the Anacondas, plus his Team Tompkins from London, Ontario, over to Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas.

Shawn became Xtreme Couture’s head instructor. In 2009, he left there to become a team trainer at the TapouT Research and Development Training Center. Despite taking on a new job, he remained closely tied to all the fighters he trained, consistently cornering them. He was particularly thrilled when MMA finally gained Ontario sanctioning and cornered several of his fighters’ first bouts in the province.

His sudden death leaves a massive void among the fighters he mentored and most of all, with his wife. It also begs the question: did we celebrate his contribution to Canadian MMA enough while he was alive?

Canadian mixed martial arts is still in its infancy. Naturally, Georges St-Pierre put it on the map like no one else, and several other fighters have risen to prominence since. But there may have been no more respected Canadian MMA trainer than Shawn Tompkins.

Just look at the reactions among the MMA community:

“Shawn is one of my best friends, one of the best if not the best striking coaches on the planet, and I mean this,” said Bas Rutten. “He always puts his students and friends before him, would do anything for them.”

“Sad to hear the news about Shawn Tompkins,” said Chuck Liddell. “My condolences to his family. He was a great guy and coach.”

“RIP Shawn Tompkins – your impact on MMA and this world will be remembered by millions,” said Shane Carwin.

“Big loss for our sport,” said UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta. “Shawn Tompkins. We will miss him!”

Looking at that list of names, it’s clear Shawn was revered around the world. In hindsight, I wish Canada did a better job honouring such a meaningful contributor to MMA.

It’s not too late, however. We can still pay tribute to him by celebrating his life and accomplishments. Here’s hoping someone makes a documentary to tell his amazing story. It would be a major step toward doing him justice.

R.I.P., Shawn Tompkins, and thanks for what you’ve done for our awesome sport.

MMA Training Toronto, North York, Brampton, Etobicoke, Markham, Mississauga, Oshawa, Peel Region, Pickering, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Thornhill, Vaughan, Woodbridge, York, York Region Ontario Canada.

Could Koscheck/Daley be fight of the year?

Friday, May 7th, 2010

Everyone is, naturally, discussing Shogun/Machida II. It’s understandable given the brilliance of striking technique they displayed in their first light heavyweight title battle (which I still believe Shogun won, but I digress). There’s also plenty of buzz about fan favorite Kimbo Slice facing off against fellow alumnus Matt Mitrione, whom everyone loves to hate.

But what about Josh Koscheck and Paul Daley, who may be fighting for No. 1 contender status in the welterweight division? I’m seriously wondering if they’ll treat us to the best UFC fight of 2010 – for four main reasons:

1. Fearlessness. There’s absolutely no risk of an Anderson Silva/Demian Maia display here. Each of these guys is brash, fearless, and willing to put himself in harm’s way to launch an offensive attack. We should thus see a ton of action.

2. Punching power. Will either man put on a technical boxing clinic any time soon? I doubt it, but there’s no denying how hard Paul Daley and Josh Koscheck hit –especially Daley. They’ll throw fastballs at each other all night long.

3. Athleticism. These are two strong fighters with good cardio; that means they’re likely to give us an entertaining three rounds if neither guy can stop the other before then. Koscheck in particular brings real strength and an NCAA division-1 wrestling pedigree to the Octagon.

4. Trash talk. The purists may not agree but I always enjoy pre-fight verbal jabs, and few do a better job of that than Daley. He’s already gone on record with a “trivia question” about Koscheck, asking “For 10 points: Name that clown with the stupid hair who is the only guy ever to get knocked the f*&$ out by Paulo Thiago?’

Watch for my pick on this fight next week and be sure to watch UFC 113, as these two 170-pounders seem destined for a war.

By Matt Larkin
Guest Writer

Muay Thai North York,  Toronto, Brampton, Etobicoke, Markham, Mississauga, Oshawa, Peel Region, Pickering, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Thornhill, Vaughan, Woodbridge, York, York Region Ontario Canada.

Which Martial Art is Best? Part 4: MUAY THAI

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

After a short hiatus, it’s time to continue our discipline-by-discipline analysis of which martial art is best. Next up is one of the more popular and exciting forms of striking today: Muay Thai.

Muay Thai’s true origin is unknown but most sources claim the art dates back 2,000 years and that ancient Siamese warriors used it when disarmed in battle. We know undoubtedly that Muay Thai also evolved from Muay Boran – ancient boxing – and that nations like Thailand and Cambodia spread the art throughout Asia.

Dubbed “The Art of Eight Limbs,” Muay Thai uses perhaps more body parts as weapons than any other form of striking, including knees, elbows, feet and hands. As a result, Muay Thai practitioners can explode on opponents with deadly combinations.

Another key component of Muay Thai – arguably one that places it above other forms of striking – is clinch work. Some of the most potent Muay Thai strikes come from tying opponents up in a clinch by grabbing their neck, then delivering devastating knees to their jaw or midsection.

Famous Muay Thai practitioners: Anderson Silva, Wanderlei Silva, Mauricio Rua

It’s hardly a coincidence that so many MMA fighters incorporate Muay Thai into their gameplan, as it allows them to launch offensive attacks from anywhere, be it several steps away (flying knees) or inches away (clinching). Brazilians like Anderson Silva, Wanderlei Silva and Mauricio Rua have enjoyed immense international success using Muay Thai, scoring countless knockouts and thrilling fans in the process.

As I’ve stated before, everyone has a unique opinion on which martial art is best, but I’ll put myself on the line and say that Muay Thai is, in my opinion, the most effective form of striking in practice today. Whereas boxers or Karate fighters aim to score points from a distance and must keep strong grapplers or wrestlers at bay, Muay Thai fighters can engage any type of fighter because of their clinch game. At least when standing up, Muay Thai is perhaps the most versatile form of striking used in MMA.

By Matt Larkin
Guest Writer

Muay Thai Training in North York,  Toronto, Brampton, Etobicoke, Markham, Mississauga, Oshawa, Peel Region, Pickering, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Thornhill, Vaughan, Woodbridge, York, York Region Ontario Canada.

Kickin’ it Old School

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Old School Muay Thai establishes local not-for-profit At-Risk Youth Program in Toronto.”

In an effort to help and offer a safe place for Toronto’s at-risk youth to train body, mind and spirit,  James Hines, “Kru” (instructor) at Old School Muay Thai is pleased to announce the establishment of a not-for-profit incorporated division. 

Already working in partnership with local organizations, the goal of the at-risk youth program is to identify and help kids that can enjoy the many benefits of this self-affirming martial art including physical, mental and spiritual aspects.

As James tells it, “The program offers at-risk youth a place to meet after school, access to caring and supportive mentorship and a pathway to good health and self-realization.”

Financial support is needed and welcome in order to create an environment filled with positive role models who can mentor at-risk youth through martial arts programming, inspiring them toward personal fulfillment, excellent physical health, and ultimately encourage integration into the community at large as citizens with respect for themselves and others.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available and can be made by sponsoring an individual student or a group of youth.

Please contact James Hines of Old School Muay by calling 416-436-0226 or e-mailing

About Muay Thai
Muay Thai– also known as Thai Boxing and Thai Kickboxing – is a striking martial art and excellent form of physical fitness.  In addition to being an effective form of self-defense, Muay Thai also teaches respect and humility.  Read More…