Like I promised in an earlier post, here’s some writing from someone other than me. This first response is verbatim from my teammate Ramon Cortes. It’s “mOn” through and through. Funny. Insightful. And full of heart. Enjoy.

“As with any sport one chooses to pursue, there is always one initial question one must ask themselves; WHY? Why would I decide to put in the hours required to learn, understand, practice, respect and showcase my chosen sport. Furthermore why would I consciously decide to put my mind, body and soul through the rigors the sport demands? Well before I answer these questions for myself and more importantly for you, let me share a bit of personal stats:

Ethnicity: Puerto Rican

mOn (left) and Stephen (right) in pre-fight rules meeting

mOn (left) and Coach Upchurch (right) in pre-fight rules meeting

Age: 33.5

Status: Married

Dependents: 8-month-old son

Out of everything I could have possibly shared why these four? Because they are part of what drives me. If we analyze all four points I outlined, it actually provides more of a reason why I shouldn’t be a Thai Boxer. It’s true I am not from Thailand where Muay Thai is the national sport, I am almost 34 which implies I am definitely not young, and more importantly I have a wife and child that I have to make sure I provide for, which demands my health. So there, I said it, I shouldn’t be a Thai Boxer, but guess what; I AM and in my 34 years of life which have been filled with my numerous organized sports both intramural and semi-professional, I have never been prouder of any other title like I am to consider myself a Muay Thai Fighter, no matter how novice my skills currently are.

So let’s get down to business, why Muay Thai:

Top Notch Instructor
Having an experienced and relevant instructor is key in any Endeavour and I consider Stephen Upchurch one of the best. Neither because he trained in Thailand nor because he practices what he preaches with his personal endeavors BUT simply because of his teaching ability and love for the sport. Additionally he has a natural skill of recognizing individual strengths and weakness both physically and mentally and making sure that all of them are addressed in a manner that sets us up for success in and out of the ring. He also understands that his teaching ability grows with us opening his mind up to suggestions while staying stern on the fundamentals. The more we learn, the better he gets.

Team Dynamics
If you have never experience a training session with team Upchurch in Midtown, one of the star qualities is our group dynamics. We have been able to bond and build together as a unit faster than anything I have experienced before. We truly are vested in each other’s success and push each other to make sure that we are at the top of our game. Whether it’s conditioning outside of practice or discussing outlooks on life, we have truly become a family.

With hard work come great reward and the conditioning that we go through in and out of class has positioned me in the best shape of my life. I have loss an excess of 30 lbs and have turned a lot of unnecessary weight into functional body mass. Not only have I dropped from 232 lbs to 195 in a matter of 10 weeks but I have also developed my stamina and my fighting strategy through numerous conditioning work outs, conversations and fighting scenarios that occur during training.

So there you have it, a small glimpse of about 500 words on not only why I shouldn’t but more importantly why I AM.



P.S. Besides the Ballerina class at the Y (YMCA) was full!”