Muay Thai – Kickboxing – Children’s Classes – GRIT

A short History & Overview of Phoenix Fight Team


Phoenix Competition Team has grown from a small Canberra club to a well-known and respected national club with a consistent reputation for quality for fighters for over 25 years. Phoenix has trained state, national and international title holders across all sanctioning bodies, weight divisions, sexes, and age ranges at Muay Thai, Kickboxing, MMA and Boxing. If you compete, you are an ‘athlete’ first not just a fighter.  

Phoenix has a strong legacy of well-trained strong competitors. Phoenix athletes will be the type of people who are team members, club members first and then do the work required to be a champion athlete. Phoenix has depth, world class facilities, great coaches’, and everything someone needs to be a world champion. We want competition to be a part of your life, and not your entire life. While you compete, you dedicate everything, but you must have something before and after and something to fall back on when you retire. 

Phoenix was started by Anthony competing and needing people to train with. Anthony coached them, and the team grew. Anthony won an Australian title before he ever trained others to compete and then the team grew together based on a hard training ethic. Anthony travelled to Sydney every fortnight to train, for about 4 years, for the weekend and developed his skills competing in NSW and training with Mick Spinks (Double Dragon) and Larry Papadopolous (Boxing Works) . With no students that were fighting and nowhere to train in Canberra, this was the only way to get the required experience and to be tested at the right level. Truly pioneering Muay Thai in the ACT.

To coach competitors, you MUST compete first and have extensive competition experience. You must understand the game, the emotions, the empathy and work required to get a fighter ready. The team has always been the first approach, train together, train hard and support each other in and out of the ring. Anthony competed at Kickboxing, Wrestling, BJJ, MMA, Karate and Boxing, whilst coaching others and developing a team. Before Phoenix Anthony had numerous Karate competitions, sparring, point fights and forms. Although mostly completely rubbish development for and real fighting, it prepared him well for composure and competition and learnt what not to do. What really helped him was his own personal drive, training ethics and the military discipline to constantly improve.

Anthony’s experience also derives from formal training at leadership, coaching, formal qualifications in training/coaching, military experience, training design and a what works approach underpinned by never ending improvement cycles.

Hard fitness and the daily grind has always been Anthony’s way and is integral to everything Phoenix. Fitness is one aspect you can control so do everything you can to be fitter than your opponent. Fitness training is also character development and a solid way to determine if you have what it takes to compete. This is the bedrock of the Phoenix, go hard, go first, never quit attitude.

Anthony was the first person in the ACT to open a full-time martial art gym focused on kickboxing and ‘real’ fighting. He was also the first person in the ACT to win a professional NSW then Australian Title at Kickboxing with a national/credible sanctioning body, both the ISKA and WKA. He did this by building a team to train with and working with his coach and mentor Mick Spinks.

Anthony has trained over 200 competitors and cornered over 850 competitions and continues to pass on his experience to those willing to do the work and be in the team. Many of the Phoenix students are also now good coaches and the legacy continues in and out of Phoenix. Every advanced student at and from Phoenix was a quality fighter and developed other people as they themselves progressed.

Phoenix works hard on a deliberate practice methodology. We improve with every fight and analyze every fight. We don’t fight like we did in 1996, 2001, 2010 or 2022. We follow a constant improvement cycle. Fighters now are following an improved system and are better than any previous fighters, which is lucky because the entire industry is better and more serious than ever.

Anthony opened Phoenix with Tracey Lawler who was the first ACT female to win a NSW professional title and the first female to build our legacy of always having tough and skilled female fighters. Many ladies have followed in her footsteps and exceptional female competitors is something unique about Phoenix consistently over the last 25 years.

Phoenix has a consistent record of producing well skilled, tough, and prepared athletes. It is a funnel of development with most people lasting less than 5 fights and a few progressing to other benchmarks of, 10, 20, 30+ fights. Some of them have gone on to become coaches and further develop the legacy, others have just refocused their attention to be successful in other areas using the lessons and character from fighting to achieve in life.

The web page has every single fighter’s record whilst at Phoenix.

Phoenix has an incredible 72%-win ratio for the first 20 years of competition. For 15 years we also competed in boxing, MMA and BJJ. As a fighter gets more experienced this becomes harder to maintain because the opponents and the events get harder, making the fight closer and the challenge harder. Bigger crowds, televised competitions, marketing, and many other factors make the professional end harder than your first 3 fights. The nerves are always there, just managed better and they appear in other forms as the expectations and crowd sizes grow. When the fighter goes from undercard to main event, the pressure increases.

Every single fighter that steps in the ring has made a remarkable achievement in their life. Something they will remember as standout moment. It does take at least 3-5 fights to be aware of what you are doing in the ring, about 10 fights to start to feel comfortable with your nerves. Then when hit 20+ fights, you must be able to work with tactics and strategy and love the grind to get you there and be able to step up again, repeatedly.

For over 23 years Phoenix has built some great fighters. Most go on to have great lives and translate their dedication into other phases of their life. Many successful people have been forged at Phoenix with life lessons an integral part of competition.

Phoenix has a long legacy of athletes that have built our reputation (and theirs), with multiple fights and achievements. People who started at Phoenix, often as juniors and learnt their craft, cut their teeth, and built themselves up with the support of TEAM PHOENIX. Notable competitors include: (serious titles and extensive record required to reach the hall of fame list!) Tracy Yeomans (T3) , Simon Black (Unbreakable), Gill Dibley-Maher, Gaz Rees (Chopper), Nam Do, Joe Baird, Carina Salvemini, Arlyn Owens, Tara James, Kieran Walsh, Renato Vieira (MMA), Steve Reeks (MMA), Lee Fook, Jared Reece, Scott Bullock, Damien Lakin, Sandra Brew, Mel Perry, Pia Salgado, Zoe Putorak, Daniel Marshal, Olivia Kerr and junior athletes who competed on the world stage including Charlia Hodgson, Jayden Kingsley, Dita Singer, and more, many more. 

Team Phoenix has competed in every state and territory in Australia, New Zealand, Noumea, Thailand (of course), Turkey, Mexico, Iran, Russia, Cambodia, with more to come. 

Team Phoenix has always gone in cycles of having, more heavy weights, then lighter weights, then more females then more kids and this will continue as the training and people develop. Phoenix has had cycles of 5 National champions in every class to having a new team building for the future. The long-term training and club development requires these cycles to be part of the system. 

Injuries often stop an athlete, but a fighter can work through most injuries. Anthony had 4 knee reconstructions, 2 broken feet, a broken nose, a broken wrist and kept competing. If you want to you can, if you develop a crutch, an excuse, that is you focus on more than the grind, then you should quit because you won’t compete well. Of course, I am not being flippant, some injuries require a long time and reduce your athleticism, but it is still your choice. It depends on where you draw the line. Concussion is different to physical injuries. Whether in training or competition, you cannot afford to have many concussions, and never a serious one. This is critical to be managed and not toughed out.  (Never hide your concussion symptoms if you have them, talk to the coach. If you get serious knocks in fighting, you must consider giving it up before you get long term damage.)

The relationship between coaches and athletes can be tough and requires many facets to be managed. A great trainer cannot be your best friend to get the most out of you and be the most honest person in your life. This can be the hardest part of a 6 days a week, year in year out relationship but it can work and does work when everyone is honest and communicates as they develop and face challenges. A coach is there to build you, make a better you and get you to perform at your best. Then when you’re not meeting the standards, when the motivation slides, when lief gets in the way, and it is time to stop (or cut back), they are the ones that must get you to face up to being done. Never forget where you come from and who built you despite how challenging that can be if life isn’t going your way. NO one gets anywhere alone and the team in the early development years is you foundation of so much latter success.  

There are always many current members who are retired fighters. Tracy Yeomans was one of the first successful competitors and every female since should know she led the way and persisted well before there was established females in competition. Jared, and Scott have all been members for 15 years and have many experiences to learn from.

Other coaches in the club all contribute to a competitor’s success, and we strive to be great, based on a team approach and team support. Experienced ex-competitors and current competitors all contribute to your training and development. Everyone will be trained, supported, cornered, and advised by the team. As a competitor, learn your way, ask questions and when at first you don’t succeed, do what you were told in the first place.

Training when you stop competing. This is something that ex-fighters sometimes find hard. When the goal of competing is removed, the training grind can be affected. I have never suffered this and continue to find satisfaction in giving back, coaching, supporting and the training itself is always a great challenge. I think it is unfortunate when people stop training when they stop competition because the sport is the training, the training makes you feel better. It is what got you competing in the first place. Some people continue training and get many future benefits, others stop immediately. It is something you should think about before you compete and remember why you are choosing to compete. It is a loss to the club when people leave with experience worth sharing but I also understand how hard it can be to continue without the passion. People should never be scared to come back and train at their pace, with different expectations.

Exert from Fight Team booklet  – what ‘would be’ fighters are told. Every Fighter has lived this and stepped up to these requirements, it gives context and expectations.

A Phoenix competitor is not just someone that competes; it is something to be proud of that makes you stronger and more timeless than the competition side of the sport. It is about self and club worth and makes you a part of a team, a club and a group of people who have sweat and bled together. People who understand the real you and how tough the sport and life can be. It is about belonging to something greater than the individual before fighting, when in competition and after competition. Shared challenges you overcome, should bring people closer together for life.

Phoenix has always followed a teamwork approach to competition. Although you compete alone, you have a team behind you every step of the way and couldn’t get there alone. People who think that Phoenix is lucky to have them and are more important than the team are not welcome and even the ones that get through the system, don’t last. At Phoenix we also have a problem with ego, arrogance, and narcissistic people. The latest SM trends and instafame searching is the antithesis of everything Phoenix. Unfortunately, you need to have ego and massive self-belief to be great fighter but if this arrogance outweighs other character qualities of humility, teamwork, and respect, then your time at Pheonix may be short without self-awareness and adjustment.  We have never compromised the hard work, the teamwork, the respect, the humility and the life perspective for ego and self-indulgent fame searching fighters.

The competition team is the sharp end of the Phoenix System. Where the training is tested and proven in competition.  Every single person that has competed has developed into being the most skilled people in the club, because they are the ones who set challenges, goals and strive for them. Even when they lose, they learn and are better than everyone who doesn’t compete.

There have been numerous young men who have not wanted to train long enough or hard enough to compete and leave in the first few months because of the grind. It takes a solid 8-12 months of training to get the basics and then another 8-12 months to prepare for competition with only exceptionally athletes with a competition base taking less time. I usually say ‘shut up and train’ and talk to me in 12 months’. The goal of competition is great but it is a fantasy until you make the decision after hard sparring and being punched in the face and learnt to enjoy the grind and sacrifice required to train.

It’s not the training that’s so hard, it is the schedule, the grind and the requirement to be ready. This is what breaks most people early, they have a dream on Friday nights with their mates, watch a few fights and want that for them, without the sacrifice.

The first barrier is training long enough and with a strict schedule, then it is the fitness test. Then it is maintaining the schedule. Competition Team is about committing to your training and your team for a season of competition. The first step (fitness test) is the easiest. Now you need to stay in the team. Staying in the team requires you maintain the schedule, your program, to be a team member and work towards competing. Competition team means you are in the team, training to compete, but it does not mean you compete. We will discuss any potential competition on its merits and timing. The effort you put into training does contribute to the effort the coaching team put into coaching you, matching you and developing you to compete at your potential.

The training program for Competition Team is compulsory; training to competition is demanding and difficult as the sport is the toughest in the world. The first step is to develop your training habits, mental toughness, and discipline. How well you compete will be built on how well you train. You are also accountable to the team and need to tell me, if you are not training and why.

You MUST get a training handbook and monitor your training, how you feel, your weight, take notes on what you learn, what you do well and what you need to work on. Take positive notes on what you do well and what you bring to a competition. Record your development, weight, and progression towards a competition so you can learn from it.

We need to communicate more now you are in the competition team, so ensure you have my number, email and attend competition team meetings and everything Phoenix. One competition is not enough to be a competitor, or to test yourself, as that one competition can go either way and is very nerve racking.  Plan to commit to three competitions.

Everyone who trains to competition improves dramatically, whether they competition or not, win or lose. You are more focused and driven. Regardless of the result or time committed, you will learn more about yourself, face new challenges and have new adventures. Who knows – you may even be a state or Australian title holder one day!

Character is key to life. Phoenix athletes should always remember that it is not if you win or lose but how you play the game. Training to compete, weight cutting, living clean, competing, dealing with competition in your life are all a test. Of course, we aim to win but I have learned after many years of tough tests; toughness comes from character not victory. How you present yourself and the club is critical to your (and our) reputation. This is the most important legacy.

Teamwork. Contribute to the greater Phoenix team. When training to compete, you train more than everyone and have a lot of training commitments. More than any other members your training is not a hobby, and other areas of your life must be sacrificed. In addition to this you help, support, and assist every member of the club. Everyone  competing is to assist in classes, help around the gym and coach classes if required to fill in. When you choose to compete the coach also must do more to support you, that is well above the requirements of normal members. To give back for this you may be required to fill in for a class if a coach is sick, run a  warmup, help a new person during a class and be the best example of Phoenix.

To compete well you must be obsessed and committed to your own training but if you are ‘selfish’ and only have time for you then do not start on the competition road. If you think by competing, that Phoenix is here for your requirements and will adjust to you and give for you, then wake up to yourself! Be a team member first. Phoenix is not a steppingstone for your life to come and go to suit you. Your fees don’t cover that, and we do not want anyone in the team who starts out with this attitude. If you plan to just stop when it suits you and only be here for yourself, don’t start, and don’t bother if you are not aware of the greater team.

Commitment/sacrifice – training to compete is tough. It is challenging and requires time commitment and sacrificing many aspects of your life. I would rather you just train as often as you can in normal classes and enjoy being a member of the club. Grade, improve, spar and have a balanced and normal life with time to develop a relationship, time to work hard and save money, time to have holidays, time to have drinks with your mates and time for watching TV at home during the week with dinner at a respectable time. Live and enjoy yourself, you can get a lot of achievement and challenge from the regular classes and the grading system. You can still tell everyone you do Muay Thai, and you can be good, really good. You do not need to do competition. You compete because you want to in your soul at a very deep personal level.



If you want to compete you are representing Phoenix. You are putting yourself on the line and committing to something bigger than you and perhaps the most difficult and challenging thing you have done in your life. You represent Phoenix and you have to practice being coachable.

We put a lot of effort into you, and it won’t work without cooperation and teamwork. This legacy should live on in your heart after you stop competing, or it was never true. What you get taught and coached at goes well beyond the basic schedule and lessons you get as a regular member. It is a partnership and needs to be a strong, positive, and two-way relationship.

Look at the timetable that is expected of you. If you cannot maintain it, you cannot train in the Competition Team. We know competing is tough, training is tough, and consistency and sacrifice is tough, but we also know there are no short cuts or easy solutions. Success is sacrifice. Wanting to competition is just not enough, you must adjust your life’s priorities. You must develop a training habit first and have a committed and disciplined approach to training. You MUST listen to coaching staff and train when expected and rest when told to. Consistency is the most important part of the training. Discipline is your most important characteristic.

If you cannot make training – let the coaches know, but do not expect them to make it easy for you and accept every reason you have, or to not hassle you if you make it habit. I am not in your life to be your mother, your friend or counsellor. I am not there for you to cry to or make excuses to, they are there to ensure you are the best version of yourself when you compete. If you need hug, get a puppy. Remember YOU wanted to compete. The coaching staff know what you need to do to win and if you choose not to do it, then do not expect understanding and tolerance.  We don’t mind if you don’t compete, we do mind if you talk yourself up, but don’t measure up to your own expectations. 

If you do not want to train for competition anymore, you can stop any time and come back when you ready. No one is making you compete, and you should never compete if your heart is not in it, or you cannot meet the demands. Your life must be ‘in order’ for you to do well at anything. If you have greater pressures and responsibilities that draw you away or cannot say no to – do not compete. Excuses are bullshit – YOU CAN DO ANYTHING IF YOU REALLY WANY TO. Life is choice. If you are long term injured, get better, get strong and make a comeback. We have champions that have fought after broken arms, total knee reconstructions, broken noses, shoulder reconstructions, divorces, new jobs, new houses, new girlfriends etc etc. and more. 

You can always have a season off and join back in when you can manage your life, to enable yourself to train for competition. If something is getting in the way, or if the training isn’t what you thought, or something isn’t right for you. Speak up. Before you tell me, you want to compete, make sure you get permission from anyone in your life who is going to distract you from what you want to achieve for yourself.



ADULTS: The grading system is the syllabus, and everyone follows that path. If you set a goal to compete you have to work through to Level 2 (Novice Intermediate), then there is two requirements. Pass the Fight Team Test and meet the training schedule. As a fighter, you have additional responsibilities and expectations. A minimum of 5 training sessions per week, which will increase as you progress and closer to a fight. You are responsible for additional extra training, which will include conditioning such as sprints, mountain running and strength work. Often training 2 times per day.

You have Previous Experience: If you come to Phoenix with previous experience, talk to Anthony to join in and set some goals.

JUNIORS: Please talk to Anthony if you would like your child to compete. We recommend doing other sports whilst training at Phoenix and having balanced development physically, socially, and mentally. That any child that wants to compete should wait until they and their parents really understand the sport and what is required. That it doesn’t hurt for a child to ‘wait’ until they are older and then compete with many years’ experience training behind them. Competition for juniors is very irregular, interstate, and infrequent. It is a demanding, time consuming, full power sport that is unregulated. Very few juniors have the aptitude to compete and are put through a rigorous selection process.

We have the results to prove we are one of the premier Muay Thai clubs in Australia with numerous Muay Thai & kickboxing junior and senior champions and title holders. We bring out the warrior within if you are someone that is looking for training that works and will develop you to be a competitor. You can train at Phoenix and go anywhere, and you will be a level above and ready to go.

We are a nontraditional club and do not incorporate cultural or spiritual aspects of Muay Thai into the training. I am not Thai, my trainer wasn’t Thai and although I have extensive experience in Thailand, at Thai camps and with Thai trainers, we focus on the effective striking and martial side of Muay Thai.

Our Competition Team is Muay Thai and Kickboxing. Competition Team Coaching is led by Anthony Manning, who has been developing fighters for over 25 years and was a professional fighter for 15 years with Kickboxing, Muay Thai and MMA experience. A former multiple National Champion who also has operational military experience he can get you to achieve more than you ever thought possible.  He has been a Muay Thai Australia National Team Coach and Manager, for both junior and seniors, World Championships and knows what it takes to get in the ring and be a champion.


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