Kings Combat Fitness gym in Rego Park, Queens, is branched into two separate but equal rooms. To the right is the Strongman space, where athletes lift weights and participate in other activities to build their strength. On the left is the mats, where Muay Thai and JiuJitsu training takes place for both children and adults. Pawel Zawistowski, an NYC pro Muay Thai fighter and long-time athlete of Kings Combat Fitness, utilizes both facilities as he prepares for his final fight of the year on Friday Night Fights.
Zawistowski works with the variety of coaches that Kings Combat has to offer, including head coaches Dave Moy and Andrew Rivera, as well as assistant coach Luciano Olmedo.
“It was at NYJJ in SoHo where I met Dave Moy for the first time,” Zawistowski says. “I was 22 years old, when he first kicked my ass badly. He dropped me with a left kick and taught me a lesson. Eventually I followed him when he opened his own gym. Kings Combat is my second home. I’ve been there since they first opened their doors and everyone is my friend, even Dave... And what makes him different than other coaches is that we are friends, but when it’s time to fight, it’s time to fight. Also, his training regimen is very different. He will say, "Today is an easy day,” but as always, it turns out to be hard as fuck! Whoever comes and is in camp, knows him for that!”
Zawistowski has been fighting for the last several years and has been a regular competitor for the longest running Muay Thai show in America, Friday Night Fights. With a combined amateur and pro record of nearly 40 fights, he also maintains a full-time day job in construction. He manages his training schedule around his job, as well as being a family man to his wife and son.
“I love competition sports and fighting. I think fighting is the most competitive sport of all,” he says. “I know lots of it is team work, but when it comes down to the actual fight, you are on your own. Adrenaline, winning, and the urge to be the best is what makes us, the fighters, do it.”
His coaches are tough on him, but the atmosphere at Kings Combat is both playful and disciplined. Coaches Moy and Rivera push their athletes beyond what the fighters thought was possible. In breaking them down, they teach their students how to build themselves back up and become stronger than before. They pull the best from their athletes due to their ability to motivate them to leave everything on the mats.
Zawistowski wants to illustrate what he has gained from martial arts for his young son, who often comes with him to training.
He says, “Every father is a role model for their children. Kids mimic us in every step of the way. My thing is that I won’t force Muay Thai onto my son, I will let him choose when he gets older. He sees what his dad loves and maybe one day he will continue the legacy.”
Zawistowski fights this Friday at the Broad Street Ballroom, his fight will be streaming live here.
NYC Muay Thai fighter Carmen Corchado has quietly been paying her dues for nearly the last five years. On Friday evening, she steps into the ring once again, this time under the brightest lights of all—at Madison Square Garden. Fighting an acclaimed opponent from Canada on Triumph Kombat, Corchado is unperturbed and focused. She’s on the hunt for another 125 lb title, in pursuit of adding to the two she already earned this year, from Friday Night Fights and No Boundaries.
As she prepares for her long-time coach, Kru Aaron Fisher of Kings Thaiboxing, to hold pads and train her, Corchado concentrates on wrapping her hands and warms up. With a record of 10-1 over the last two and half years, this is something she’s done time and time again.
“I already knew that I was going to join Kings before I entered the door,” Corchado says. “My brother used to train and fight with Aaron and I knew that if that was where my brother became a fighter, then there was nowhere else I wanted to be. There is no bullshit with Aaron. No beating around the bush. He tells me what to do and I do it. No questions asked. He is who is he and you need that kind of person in your corner.”
As they train in Kings’ ring, Fisher keeps Corchado honest, thumping the pads against her hands every time she drops them. He pushes her to hit and move, get in the pocket then get out, to go even faster, to not show when she’s tired. He lets her take a deep breath at the close of training, but makes her work hard the entire time during.
“He’s someone to put all your trust into,” she says. “Someone who is transparent and will tell you if you’re fucking up or not. Not someone to feed your ego. I need someone to keep it real with me and he does 100% of the time.”
Corchado’s ring temperament is tough and ready to scrap. Aggressive, exciting, she pressures her opponents to bend to her will. Watching her preparations, it’s clear she’s always hungry to fight, and her team at Kings Thaiboxing are eager to teach the promising fighter everything they know.
Shot on behalf of USMF
7/29/18-8/10/18 in Bangkok, Thailand; at both Khongsittha Muay Thai Gym & National Stadium
Link to full article: https://www.pari-cherry.com/fightingwords/2018/6/15/putting-the-bang-a-rang-back-into-combat-sports-inspired-clothing
Walking the line between having a normal life and being encompassed by training, Jon Bianco is relentless in his pursuit of being a champion MMA fighter.
Skilled in various martial arts and a former Muay Thai fighter, he put to the side what he already knew how to do and instead chased a new dream. This has led to the sacrifice of having a life outside of training, but he continues anyway.
After losing his last 3 fights, any other person would consider that the sport was not for them. However, with each loss, Bianco became hungrier and more driven. Working alongside his coaches Jamie Crowder and PJ McMahon, they meticulously prepared him for this last bout, of which he walked away the victor.
While Victory tasted sweet for Bianco, he knows there’s much more to do and there’s still many lines to be crossed.
Brazilian JiuJitsu Black Belts and mad scientists Alex Ecklin and Van Flores run their donation-based academy, Masterskya, in two secret locations in Brooklyn. One studio is all-white, the other is all-black, but perform like laboratories with their dedicated students churning out experimental ways of practicing The Gentle Art. By giving back to their community and allowing those who may not be able to afford training the opportunity to learn, Masterskya is Brooklyn.
Renzo Gracie Academy, January 2018
Anderson's Martial Arts Academy, January 2018