Muay Thai – Kickboxing – Children’s Classes – GRIT

Loyalty, lineage and how it benefits your training and life.

At Phoenix we encourage loyalty to the club you train at for your benefit. Loyalty is a positive character trait and if you are loyal to who trains you, who trains with you and commit as part of the team you will benefit. You can train at Phoenix and be a member at any other club at the same time, whether that is fitness or martial arts. What you do with your time is up to you.

Asa long term trainer I can assure you, people develop and progress when they commit to training with one club faster than those who don’t. I can also attest to the fact that people change more than the coach does and this can lead to people leaving to go on with another aspect of their life, which is great but also sometimes to continue training at another club, which is not so great. Loyalty should be extended beyond your training time at one club and hopefully you can always look back at your time with fond memories. If you can’t then you are partly responsible for how you left and the guilt of being disloyal, when it suited you.

Competition is different. If you want to compete at Muay Thai, then you can only train with Phoenix, and we will not train you to represent another club at any like styled combat sport. Kickboxing, boxing etc.

General Comment. Our Combat Sports and Martial Art programs are developmental, structured and programmed for your progression.  You are welcome to do any of our programs in conjunction with any other martial art that you feel improves your ability. The caveat on this is that you really shouldn’t if you want to be good at anything you do. If you have limited time, be good at what you do. Do not dabble in multiple things. No one who balances two styles, two or more coaches and two clubs training methods will be good at anything.  I recommend trying and experimenting for what feels right for you and then commit to it. This is better for you; loyalty has its own rewards, and you will never experience them until you are loyal for a long period and through short term tests of your interest.

If you train at another club when you join, try for a month or two and then pick what you prefer. Regardless of if it is Muaythai or Tae Kwon do. If it is Tae Kwon Do type McDojo style, go and get your money back if you can. None of the training will translate into what we do. It is like stepping from tennis to Rugby and not related on any level.

There are a number of reasons why being loyal to your club will benefit you. Being loyal to your club, the trainers and the other students will benefit everyone. The club is a system and everyone at the club was developed through the system. The depth of teamwork is hard to see at first, but you will improve when you are more experienced and realise that. A common mistake is to have a favourite trainer and think they are better for you. There is a head coach and a team, and everyone works together with a common goal and different roles. Of course, you will prefer a pad holder, someone’s advice, someone will be nicer than someone else, you will click with someone more than another, but this is not how you will be your best. Be in the team and loyal to the club and team first; warts and all, good and bad because fighting is a tough sport and a coach that is your best friend and good for a cuddle is not going to get you far. If you feel like you don’t fit or could do better with another team, then great, follow your heart and be in a team that you can naturally fit in.

If your current team is not meeting your needs, bring it up! Talk to your mates and coach. A good coach is not your best friend and has always had your best interests at heart. You should always look at your home first and work it out and never just up and leave and train somewhere else, unless you are moving interstate of course.

How often are you going to train? If you do anything two days a week, you will be unlikely to get very good at it unless you do it for many years. If you can train 3-4 days a week, then focus on one thing. Compare it to learning a musical instrument. You have 1 hour a day to learn, and you pick 4 instruments and do one a day. After 3 months you will still be crap at all of them but if you focus only on guitar, you will get the foundations and start being competent.

The main reason loyalty is important is the quality of the coaching. We do not believe that you can be good at what you do with conflicting messages, coach directions, different instructions, or conflicting philosophies. Whether this be in your martial arts training or any sport. Be in one team for you and the team to thrive. It also takes time to learn and develop a solid coaching student relationship. Remember a great coach has trained thousands of people and you need to earn your place and trust as well. It is given 100% because you joined and pay. A coach for 30 years has seen it all and heard it all. What we want to see is results, efforts and coachability.

You do not deserve 100% from your trainer if you are not giving 100%, over time, in good and bad and for the long haul, not just when it suits you.

To be loyal is to commit to the club and yourself and that will give you the best chance at being as good as you can be. If you are being coached by more than one person then you are not committing to either coach or club which will limit your learning and development.

Sure, overlap your training. Try some other things but then choose and commit to something and be a student, a coach can give their best to at whatever you choose to do. We do not just coach martial arts, we live it and what we do is far more than just coach a style. It is our life, and we coach to share it with you.

We don’t do BJJ or wrestling so if you want to do MMA seriously, great. Do your striking at Phoenix but talk to Anthony about how to integrate your grappling and fighting training because you will only do yourself a disservice if you get mixed messages and training advice.

At Phoenix we will NOT grade you to an intermediate level at any of our programs if you train at another style. Experience what we do. Try what we do but you will not progress to intermediate levels, do advanced training, compete, or progress without loyalty. Coaching and development go both ways. If this applies to you, ask your other Instructor what they think as well.

What I really think based on experience.

Meet at the club, develop relationship at the club, the club is integral to that, respect it. Many positive relationships are developed including lifelong friends, even marriages and family connections. If your favourite trainer leaves, that’s their choice, it shouldn’t be yours and they certainly should never encourage you to leave with them. That is an obvious character floor and a sign of how you will be treated in the future.

Remember, you only met because of the club, you only developed a connection because it was facilitated at the club and a part of the club’s operation. Everything your favourite trainer learnt, they earnt from the club and have been passing on to you. They were giving a role coaching to be part of the team and develop you. Them leaving and encouraging you to leave with them because your connection is only manipulation based on grooming and probably some gaslighting built in. I would question anyone’s ethics who feels their loyalty is to the coach not the trainer and the trainer’s integrity if they ‘encourage’ students to leave when they do. They wouldn’t even know each other without the club in the first place. If they didn’t like being there, they should have left earlier.

I have spent my life being a martial artist and evolved to where Phoenix is today through experience, development, trial, and error, sweat and sacrifice. I give everything I can to my students and hold nothing back. I cannot coach someone passionately if they are not a committed student. I do not want to coach someone that is being coached by someone else or believe their personal interests out way the interests of the club.

In a world where you pay for service, we do not accept that members here just pay to be trained. We certainly do not hold to that belief. If you feel it is not appropriate that we have a loyalty rule; do not be a member. Membership is voluntary but it is not without obligation and rules. I consider all types of martial arts, including the ones we do, if taught somewhere else as conflicting to your development at what we coach. If this pertains to you – stand up for yourself and choose.

Ethics is a massive aspect of Combat Sports and Coaching. Loyalty is a character trait. Stylistic choices of training are not just about what is best for you, what is the most effective. It also about the ethics of the club and instructors. Loyalty, commitment, and honesty are traits I believe we should aspire to regardless of where you train. Some clubs have strong ethics as Phoenix does and they are 100% committed to what they do.

Phoenix believes in loyalty as strongly as we support our other beliefs. We do not believe in recreational drug taking, drinking to excess, violence in society, bullying or criminal behaviour of any kind either. Students cannot pick and choose which aspects they want to follow and which they do not. It is a not, I want to learn jabs but not work on my kicks type of club. This is not about style or club but what type of person you want to be as you develop your skills.

The perception that different styles do not conflict is a belief held by the inexperienced or the selfish. If you want to be good at something, commit to it. You need to do something for a long time to be good at it. A long time is many years not months. In martial arts it can be measured in decades. Many people think that you can be good at something in a few months or years, and it helps your experience to do a few different things. It will help your experience, but it will not help your skills or ability. In my years of training, I constantly see people who think they are good at something because they have done it a bit longer than most people. Being a beginner at a few things will only reduce your chances at being good at anything. Until you get to an advanced level where you own your technique subconsciously; your skills are perishable.  I have done BJJ, wrestling, mountain bike riding, shooting, swimming and hiking, all for over 15 years, but I only coach Muay Thai.

Many coaches these days have done short courses, have certificates and even ‘experience’ at a few styles. Knowing a little more than others combined with marketing does not make you an expert. Martial Arts is an unregulated industry, and anyone can profess their skills and experience without proving it or testing it. A qualified Instructor or qualified black belt is qualified by who? Their own organisation, themselves, who? Probably you-tube. What was required to achieve this level? These days you can do a pad holder course in 2 days, an MMA fitness course over a weekend and Instructor self-defence courses over 2-week periods. Be aware and ask questions. Muay Thai is not immune and has many 2 weeks course options for training or coaching. Experience is measured in decades, experience and achievements.

Muay Thai is also varied and has no single system. Does your club develop and train ‘their own’ fighters, over years with constant and routine success? That is the measurement, not Instagram.

I would prefer every student choose what they do based on knowledge and experience. Never follow the crowd or be too scared to question yourself and what you do. People should then train at what they believe in the most and what suits them the most. You should try different styles, experience different things but do not just sit back and think it is ethical or appropriate to just accept that you can just pay and take what suits. We are a martial art club not a retail outlet.

I do not think that Muay Thai at another club, Kudo, Capoeira, body combat, Karate, Kung Fu, Kali, boxing, Tae Kwon Do, Krav Maga, Judo or any other name for a martial art style is that different from what we do that it is ok for you to do it. I believe that we do what is the best mix of martial arts to do. We believe it works and is the best out there. If I thought for a second that any other method of training was better than what we have at Phoenix, I would do it.

I am passionate and fanatical about what and why we do what we do. I am someone that has tested themselves and everything I have been taught. I have a lineage and coaches I am proud of and still work with for over 50 years. Honest lineage of any ‘pop up’ club is critical to determine their honesty and character behind what and why they do what they do.

Quick CV. I have trained seriously for 30 years and been a full-time coach for over 25 years. I have reached this point through Karate Black belts, Kung Fu training, BJJ training, professional competition, and training all around the world. My martial art experience is truly martial, and I have been in gun fights, knife fights and real self-defence situations. I have trained elite military and government personal at self-defence, unarmed combat and to how to survive hostile situations; not just Australians, but British, Israeli and Thai’s aswell. I know what works and I believe in it because it is proven. It has never been a hobby for me or something to do after work. I am here to coach and pass on everything I have learned so you can be as good as you can be. I hold nothing back and will never use you to grow my name or followers. I do more than Muay Thai and coach more than that, but it is the best!

There is many great trainers and clubs. I have spoken to many Instructors in the last 30 years of training and the one thing in common is they all say loyalty is essential. It gives me confidence in my position to have never heard an experienced instructor does not rate loyalty as a critical aspect of development and integrity. Regardless of style, they think the same thing loyalty is essential.

Many lessons we train and develop are personal and character developing. Your first year is only scratching the surface. Regardless of style, we are much more than that and the real lessons take years to understand. If you want to be as good as you can be then you will understand the rule. If you do train at another martial art – ask the instructor there what they think about it.

What we do at Phoenix will add skills and experience to your knowledge. Some people have trained here to be better at what they do somewhere else; if this is you, you have your priorities wrong. If what you train at isn’t enough, don’t train at it. Do not take from Phoenix to improve your ego somewhere else.

People train at different styles for many reasons, socially, personally, friendship groups etc. People want variety and find it hard to stick with something for many years. That’s normal life but while you are on the Phoenix bus, be loyal to those on the bus with you. We do not want blind loyalty and do not indoctrinate or make you drink cool aid, be you and believe in you.

Anthony Manning – Head Coach – Phoenix Muay Thai


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