Sandgate residents are no strangers to living healthy and active lifestyles, and with such a diverse range of fitness options available locally, it’s hard to decide where to start. With the exciting recent opening of JTA Training Systems, a Muay Thai gym, right in the heart of Sandgate, there’s one more family-friendly option on the table.
Originating in Thailand, Muay Thai is a popular local sport with regular shows and competitions each month. “We use punches, kicks, knees and elbows,” owner Jojo Ancajas explained. “Hence why it’s called ‘The Art of 8 Limbs’.”
Jojo fell in love with the sport when he was just a teenager.
“I had just moved to New Zealand from the Philippines and was being bullied at school because of my accent and size,” Jojo said.
“Thankfully, I was invited to join a local Muay Thai class by a fellow student who was dealing with some of the same issues. I was hooked immediately.”
Jojo draws on his own experience to inspire young kids today to build the confidence needed to overcome adversity.
“As a teen, I was invited to compete after only being involved in the sport for one year,” Jojo said. “I thought they were crazy putting me up against someone I thought I would have no chance of winning against. However, my trainer believed in me and through determination, discipline, humility, and a willingness to take a chance - I won the fight!”
While this type of sport may sound intimidating at first, Jojo assures that it’s no more risky than playing AFL or rugby as they involve just as much physical contact.
“Muay Thai also focuses on respect, honour, and loyalty,” he said. “You’ll also burn a lot of calories as it’s quite intense - and it’s realistic for self defense should you ever need it.”
While the gym has had a great response from the local community so far, Jojo looks forward to welcoming new members of all ages and abilities.
“Guests are welcome to come down to watch and ask questions,” he said. “We are there to help, support, and educate others on all that Muay Thai offers.” For more information, visit www.jtatrainingsystems.com.