Starting Saturday, June 15th at 2:00PM, we’re launching our weekly $10 Muay Thai Community Classes.
In an effort to reach a wider range of members in our community, we hope that the price point on this special class (60% off our standard class pass) helps us in our mission to share Muay Thai and physical fitness.
This 60 minute class will be taught by a instructor or coach in-training, and will feature a beginner friendly curriculum, modeled after our Fundamentals class.
Congratulations to Lotus Fighters Charles Chen, Cory Liu, Andy Tran and Callum Adams for outstanding performances this past weekend at Muay Thai Ontario Provincial Championships 2019 at Ryerson University.
On this International Women’s Day, we’d like to feature Caroline Jankowski – Lotus Fitness & Thai Boxing’s most experienced competition team member. She has been training with Kru Clifton Brown for many years before they both joined Lotus in 2018. Under Kru’s tutelage she has fought many of Canada’s top female Muay Thai practitioners in her weight class (many of whom have gone on to represent Canada on the international scene).
After a 2 year hiatus from fighting, Caroline returned to the ring at Cold Warz III and came out victorious! Here is our chat with Caroline:
How long have you been doing Muay Thai for? And what drew you to the sport? I’ve been training Muay Thai for almost 11 years. I was in University, looking for fun ways to get some exercise and get fit, and my boyfriend at the time suggested we try out a class at a local Muay Thai gym. I remember sitting there during my first visit and watching the more experienced girls hit pads, and I just thought “wow… I want to do that!”
Muay Thai had such a positive effect on my life after I began training – aside from the obvious benefits of regular exercise, I gained confidence, self-discipline, a strong work ethic, and I met some of my closest friends through the sport as well.
What made you want to go from practicing Muay Thai on pads and bags to stepping into the ring and fighting?
My decision to fight was based on several different reasons. I was seeing a lot of improvement in my technique so I began sparring classes and really enjoyed them; it was almost a natural progression to fighting after that. However, I was so nervous about fighting that it took me years before I finally stepped into the ring.
I think what really gave me the courage was watching my best friend train for fights which I found so inspiring, as well as being surrounded by incredibly skilled and disciplined fighters at my gym. I also had gone through a challenging year in my personal life, so I figured I had nothing to lose which lead me to stepping into the ring (actually, tripping over the ropes) for the first time.
At Lotus there isn’t much of a gender gap in our classes or even our Fight Team, however, when you first started it sounds like there was. What was it like being one of the few women who would train in Muay Thai? And how did it feel to be one of the few women on a competition team? Or did it even bother you?
When I think back, I never really let the gender gap bother me. I didn’t want to be treated differently just because I was a girl. But being one of the few women in a male-dominated sport definitely had its challenges. You would hear things like “man up!” or “you hit like a girl” being thrown around all the time, sometimes even directed at you; and when you got emotional, you would try to hide it because it made the guys uncomfortable.
The few women that I did train with were these strong and confident women I looked up to, and we would inspire and motivate each other all the time. I think because our group of girls was so supportive, it diminished any of the negative effects that came along with a gender gap.
With the changes in the demographic of Muay Thai students, do you feel like female athletes still need to work harder than male athletes to prove themselves?
I think that female and male athletes need to work EQUALLY as hard to achieve their goals. If you don’t do the work, you don’t get the results; however, I think us females put a lot more pressure and expectations on ourselves because of the gender biases that exist in a combat sport. This pushes us to work harder overall. We tend to feel guilty more often than men for letting people down if we don’t succeed, which drives our work ethic.
Congratulations on your brutally beautiful win this weekend! How did it feel to enter the ring after almost a 2 year absence from it? Was there anything different in your training camp or the fight itself that you hadn’t experienced before?
Thank you! It was a challenging fight with a very skilled and tough opponent.
Stepping in the ring after two years felt great even though I was so nervous leading up to the fight! I was worried about “ring rust” but I think the two year break from fighting was just what I needed. I felt sharp and in control, and much more calm than I remember feeling in my previous few fights.
I really enjoyed the training camp itself; I had made it a goal to have a fun camp and not over-train or let it consume me. It’s hard to strike a good balance between training, a full time career, and family obligations, and I think this is an issue that a lot of female athletes struggle with as well. It’s important to surround yourself with people who support you and help you work towards your goals.
Do you have any advice for women who want to step into the ring themselves?
My advice to aspiring fighters would be the same advice Kru Clifton tells me regularly; believe in yourself and believe in your training. If you have thought about fighting but feel too nervous, there is no better reward than facing your fears and overcoming them. There is so much personal growth that you gain, and once you’ve been able to challenge yourself in the ring, EVERYTHING else seems possible.
Have you always wanted to learn how to do kickboxing or Muay Thai, but something has held you back?
Our members tell us they feel empowered and strong every time they punch, kick, knee, and elbow. But the hardest thing was getting started.
Here’s the top THREE fears our members have told us they had to overcome to start…
FEAR NUMBER 1 – I’M NOT FIT ENOUGH
It’s okay, we’ve all been there. Everyone, even our top fighters remember what it was like their first time. A bit overweight, not having exercised since high school gym class, couldn’t run a single kilometer. Our new members are relieved when they realize that we split up our classes so newer members in our “Fundamentals” class have the same techniques and drills, but taught in a less intense format.
It’s alright, we’re all students, learning forever! Our first time members get a 30-minute orientation where we go over the basics BEFORE your first class start, so they didn’t feel totally overwhelmed in the flow of the class. Martial arts is also based a culture of community, so everyone helps each other learn. It’s a supportive team where we grow together.
FEAR NUMBER 3 – I DON’T KNOW ANYBODY THERE
We know what it’s like, almost like being a transfer student in a brand new high school. But don’t worry, there’s no Mean Girls “you can’t sit with us” here. A lot of new members found it easier if they came with a friend! So share this with a friend and invite them to try this with you. — So why wait? Take the plunge and give it a try.
HOW TO START?
We’re just at 450 Dufferin Street in Toronto, north of Queen Street. If you live in West Queen West, Liberty Village, Parkdale, or Brockton Village, you’re a short walk to our facility.
Give us a try on us! Get a free class pass by filling out the form to the right:
So you’ve taken up Muay Thai, have at it for a couple of months, and are getting hooked. Maybe you’ve seen the more experienced students and fighters and see all their equipment – Muay Thai Shorts, shinguards, mouthguards, cups, etc. and wonder where to get it all from? It’s not like you can stroll into a department store and go to the Muay Thai section (hint: there isn’t one).
This post is all about how to get all your gear when you’re based in Toronto, including local tips and online shopping suggestions!
Our custom Lotus gloves from Kimurawear are an excellent starter glove. In 16oz (14oz for smaller women), they are suitable for sparring as well. Moving up to a higher end, genuine Thai brand, most people like Twins, Fairtex, or Top King gloves. Having a smaller size (12oz) for padwork, and a larger size (16oz) for sparring is sensible so you have different gloves for different purposes.
Muay Thai Shorts
Look good, feel good, fight good! The stretchy waistband and extra wide cuts of Muay Thai shorts make knees, teeps, and swing kicks easier. Thai shorts are inexpensive to buy in Thailand, so if you know anyone travelling there — tell them to stock up for you! Keep in mind, Thai sizing is different, for example, “Large” thai shorts are suitable for people with a 32″ inseam, so size up. Online, these shorts can be ordered from Thailand for really cheap, but shipping increases the total to-door cost.
Domestically, many people love the cuts, designs, and look of shorts from InFightStyle.
We also love the look and feel of the Kimurawear shorts, including our own custom designed black and white shorts:
Cheap “boil and bite” mouthguards are fine when you are starting. Your local Sport Chek has boil and bite mouthguards from the $10-$20 range.
After that, we strongly recommend saving for a custom-made mouthguard. Locally, we have Smartguards hold clinics to do custom impressions of your mouth and make a custom mouthguard (design included). These custom mouthguards are far superior for fit and safety than boil and bites.
For sparring, it’s best to get full-sized leather or synthetic shinguards to keep your shins (and your training partners) safe.
To protect yourself from “knee on knee” clashes during sparring, really helps. Volleyball Knee Pads from Sport Chek can be purchased for around $25.
Plastic “jock cups” used in most sports (brands like Shock Doctor) can be fine to start, but most serious practitioners will get a traditional Thai Steel Cup or specifically engineered cups like the Lo-Bloo.
For downtown Toronto, this is pretty much the only local game in town that carries genuine Thai brands like Fairtex or Yokkao. If you just need one or two items and want to buy from a local store in Toronto, Warriors is a good option. Their prices are slightly on the high end, but you pay for the convenience.
In Pickering, this store stocks great quality equipment and has very competitive pricing and genuine Thai Brands like Fairtex, Twins, etc. They offer free shipping on orders over $99. If you find yourself in the East end of the GTA, it would be worth paying a visit!
Amazon.ca is worth scouring for both genuine Thai brand equipment (Twins, Fairtex, etc.) Some equipment is actually 1-day ship/eligible for Amazon Prime.
Muaythaifactory.com carries a large catalog of Muay Thai Shorts, gloves, shin guards, handwraps, etc. They ship using DHL air, and packages from Thailand often arrive in under a week. The prices are extremely low, but shipping is quite high, however, if ordering a complete kit or putting together a large order with a group of friends, the shipping cost per unit goes down considerably.
Infightstyle.com has arguably the most stylish short/equipment designs; they ship from the US. The pricing is premium but their gear is incredibly sharp looking!
Travel to Thailand:
Of course, you could just plan a trip to Thailand… 🙂 Arrive with an empty suitcase, come back with an entire kit of equipment.
Did we miss any places in Toronto get your Muay Thai gear? If so, comment below!
Congratulations to Poo Choi Charles Chen for his win at the main card event at Siam No.1’s Thai National Day Fights!
That evening, Ajahn Suchart recognized a number of important people in our Muay Thai community, including our own head coach, Kru Yai Clifton Brown, recognizing his accomplishments as the first Canadian to reach the level of World Champion in Muay Thai.
Hyedie Hashimoto was scheduled to fight her first B-class fight, but unfortunately the match fell through, but they were able to put together a Demo/Exhibition match on short notice. Although Demos are non-judged events with no official winner, the ref ended the exhibition early in the third round due to damage Hyedie caused to her opponent.
Thank you to Siam No.1 for inviting us to participate and for putting on this great event, as well as our opponents for fighting, and for everyone in the Lotus family for coming out to support!
Project Comfort supports Fort York, Liberty Village City Place and Queens Quay neighbourhoods by addressing the needs of the homeless in our community.
We’re proud to be part of their winter clothing drive initiative!
Please bring your previously loved, good condition warm winter clothing to fill up our collection bin at Lotus!
Also, if you represent a not-for-profit or community organization looking for support, contact us at email@example.com and we’ll see if we can help you with your activities. Supporting our community is an important part of our mission!
Learn more about Project Comfort (including how to get involved and volunteer) here:
Please join us in welcoming Kru Clifton Brown as Head Coach at Lotus Fitness & Thai Boxing! Kru Clifton is Canada’s most decorated Muay Thai practitioner and a 5 times World Champion, attaining 32 knock outs, out of his 43 wins before retiring in 2010.
During Clifton’s competitive career, Clifton trained exclusively at Siam No.1 Muay Thai Academy, under the tutelage of Ajahn Suchart Yodkerepauprai. Clifton also trained with Professor, and Muay Thai Grandmaster, Kru Yodtong Senanan, at Sityodtong Muay Thai Camp in Chonburi, Thailand.
In April 2017, MuayThai Canada nominated Clifton Brown as the first head coach of the Canadian National Team. He’s also coached and cornered members of our fight team to success at recent MuayThai Ontario Provincial Tournaments (Hyedie Hashimoto, 2018 Gold Medalist 57kg C Class, and Charles Chen, 2017 Gold Medalist, 57kg B Class).
Many of us have been training under Kru Clifton’s tutelage for a while and we can’t wait for everyone at Lotus to learn the traditions and culture of the art of Muay Thai from such a venerable and esteemed teacher.
We believe that practicing Muay Thai provides innumerable benefits – physical, mental, and spiritual. It helps strengthen character, resolve, increases confidence, and helps you realize your true potential.
Our mission is to share our passion and enthusiasm for the Art of Muay Thai (Thai Boxing) with our community.