Tony Cummings: A Coach for Our Coaches
You may have noticed a different air about the Easton striking coaches lately, a kind of electricity, as though they’ve been reinvigorated with a new enthusiasm for their craft. As several of them prepare for upcoming fights, they’ve been working harder than ever, training together several times a week, and pushing each other hard to be their best. The fight team energy is through the roof, and it’s the beginning of an exciting new chapter for Easton Muay Thai.
What could be the source of this sudden shift? Enter Coach Tony Cummings. A state police investigator by day, Tony spends his evenings making Muay Thai monsters. Growing up, Tony was influenced by his father to take up boxing. His love for martial arts grew, and before long, the practice became an important part of his daily life. In the years since, he’s added Enshin karate, kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and Krav Maga to his arsenal. For Tony, combat sports are both a passion and a purpose. He’s been coaching for fifteen years, and was originally drawn to teaching because he recognized the power of a good coach to change people’s lives.
He first connected with the Easton Muay Thai community when Tony reached out to Coach Sean Madden to work with his protégé Ashley Accord as the two fighters prepared for the World Kickboxing Association National Championship in March. They began training together weekly, then twice a week. After their success at the tournament (they’re both headed to the World Championship in November), they continued to train together under Tony’s instruction. Over time, these sessions expanded to include the other Easton Muay Thai coaches, and Coach Tony now runs regular fighter training sessions at ETC Boulder and ETC Denver. Sometimes these sessions are light and tactical, other times they are fast-paced and full of hard contact. But they are always are rigorously structured, and full of technical drills designed specifically for Muay Thai and kickboxing rules. By incorporating elements of traditional Thai style, Dutch style, and western boxing, Tony is teaching the coaches to utilize a variety of techniques in their fighting. He wants his students to be able to take a fight at any time, regardless of the rule set, and with full confidence in their conditioning.
Tony brings an element to Easton Muay Thai that our fight team has never had before–a head coach. With a stacked coaching staff of active fighters, we have a truly unique opportunity to build one of the best fight teams in the country. Until now, the Easton fighters have mostly had to train themselves. When Tony first started working with them, he immediately recognized the team as a group of people with a great deal of raw talent, and wanted to help develop them into a competitive group. With his guidance, they now have someone to oversee their training, structure their schedule, and most importantly, someone to answer to. The difference is clear. In the short period of time that he’s been working with them, results are already apparent. Everyone on the team has shown improvements in their technique, and a beautiful crispness in the ring.
Tony has a unique style of fighting and coaching, which is new to the Easton fighters. Having fresh material to practice has been an invigorating experience, and they’re all eager to learn more. Tony enjoys being a part of this environment, and tries to convey more to his fighters than just technique. He says, “Coaching is a huge responsibility so you have to take it seriously or you do a disservice to your students,” and he emphasizes giving his students the tools they need to grow and become successful at whatever they do. He firmly believes that the discipline and commitment you show in the gym is the same discipline and commitment you will carry into your personal life, and that the respect you show to your teammates is the same respect you should show to everyone. He wants his fighters to understand that nothing comes easily, that the team comes before any one individual, and that they stand or fall together. He sees fighting as a true test of who a person is, both physically and mentally, where it is impossible to lie or pretend.
Tony is confident that the Easton fight team will be one of the best in the country if they continue to put in hard work every day. He wants them to compete on a local, national and international level, establishing a program that focuses on the development of in-house talent. Over time, this will also mean grooming the amateur fighters into high-level professionals, and establishing a reputation for the team. Tony wants people to take notice when there is an Easton fighter on any card, and know immediately that it’s going to be a tough fight. Looking to the future, Coach Sean Madden says, “We have the talent and resources, now we have the structure, so the sky is the limit for our team.”