Bryan Popejoy has found himself at the forefront of American Muay Thai since the 1980’s, literally involved from Illinois in the East, through Arizona, to California in the West.
His experience both as a Muay Thai fighter himself (in the early “Wild West” period of American Muay Thai), and as a coach to some of the best fighters in the US, provides a valuable insight into what it takes to succeed in Muay Thai on the world stage.
In this episode…
Bryan Popejoy, coach and owner of Boxing Works Gym in California, a former IFMA Gold medallist Thai boxer himself, and the first US coach to have a fighter win a One Championship title, with Janet Todd. And not to mention a Muay Thai Golden Era aficionado!
You can follow Byan on Instagram @bryanpopejoy https://www.instagram.com/bryanpopejoy/, and follow the Boxing Works Gym @boxingworks https://www.instagram.com/boxingworks/
And check out the Boxing Works website https://www.boxingworksofficial.com/
Full show notes for this episode with further references and resources below!
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Each episode revolves around my Four Big Questions…
- What’s Your Story?
- What’s Your Why?
- What Makes A Champion?
- Challenges And Lessons Learned?
Digging into the answers to these questions helps uncover and share both the commonalities, and the differences in the journey to become a champion. And can help inspire and fast-track your journey too.
During this informative episode, these are the points you shouldn’t miss…
0:00 – Intro and how Bryan Popejoy got into Muay Thai, from punk rocker to the skinny fighter from the magazines.
6:52 – Does this work? Post High School chapter – from self defense to competition
9:11 – Muay Thai from Illinois, through Arizona, to California
11:14 – Boxing Works Gym… Ending up with a gym, well before he deserved to?!
12:01 – Stable of fighters: Janet Todd (ONE Championship), Jackie Buntan (ONE Championship) and Nathan Ward (Glory Kickboxing).
13:37 – Intrigue… Hard training and strange cultural aspects!
17:26 – Appreciation for the people in Muay Thai
19:38 – Going in, all or nothing as a coach to those Bryan loves.
22:58 – Using fighting to get know the real you – willingly putting yourself at risk
24:20 – Flow state for fighters is where it’s at!
27:30 – Don on using flow to accidentally KO an opponent
31:10 – Using your own fight experience to empathise with your fighters
33:38 – The differences a fighter should expect when stepping up to fight on events like the One Championship
37:37 – Bryan shares what makes a champion?
39:40 – Having the right amount of “selfish” as a fighter
42:44 – The hidden energy demands that can sabotage a fighter
48:10 – General adaptation syndrome and HRV
52:03 – Balancing the fighter’s instinct just thrash themselves all the time
55:45 – Do you need to replicate the Thai training/lifestyle outside of Thailand?
01:00:06 – Fighter’s cultural taboo
01:02:44 – The challenge of finding domestic fighting opportunities for high level female fighters in the US
01:05:17 – Balancing the business side of the gym, with the fighting side, and family life!
01:08:31 – Evolving from cookie cutter training approach to an individualised one
01:12:30 – Recognising you’re not always ready to learn something yet
01:17:14 – Bryan’s advice to achieve whatever you set out to do
Founder of Heatrick Strength and Conditioning
Don Heatrick is a family man from the UK, former mechanical design engineer, European Muay Thai silver medallist, former pro Thai boxer (ranked 4th in UK while aged 40-years), a Muay Thai coach, podcast host, and the go-to expert on Muay Thai performance training with over 25 years of coaching experience.
Don helps ambitious fighters and coaches take their game to the next level by bridging the gap between Strength & Conditioning, Performance Science, and Muay Thai.
Follow Don Heatrick on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/donheatrick/
Hi Don excellent pod cast really enjoyed it I found it very informative.
You may be interested to look up https://www.riddlersgym.com.au .I had the great pleasure to train under Darren Reece and his wife Caley Reece for over 6 years.I think you would have a great podcast talking to Darren about his evolution from being a fighter living in Thailand to owning a gym in Perth and having a very developed a very successful stable of Australian World champions including his wife Caley Reece. He would be one of the best Thai Trainers in Australia. The wealth of knowledge he passes on to all his students and the way he conducts himself and the way he treats his fighters is awesome.
Hi Ian, thanks for your feedback mate and I’m glad you found it useful.
And great shout regarding Darren Reece at Riddlers! I’ll add him to my Hitlist! :)