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Interview with Centennial Muay Thai Department Head JD Hardwick

What got you started in Muay Thai?
After getting out of the army I wanted a challenge, I wanted to compete athletically and I thought if I put my mind to it and surrounded myself with the right people, I thought let’s see what I can do. Muay Thai is honest, it’s interpretive and complex, it’s contradictory and simple. It’s human, it’s violent and it’s beautiful. I love it because somewhere along the way it became who I am, more so than I even intended.


When and why did you get into coaching? I was an NCO in the army and had spent every year after my first year as a leader. Coaching came naturally as I trained everyday 3-4 times a day, living off my 401k. After a year I went to Thailand for six months and when I came home I took over the Muay Thai program at Zingano and joined Elevation Fight Team. Coaching completes the cycle, the most important piece, to give back.


Do you think coaching has changed your game? Enhanced it, deeper understanding and respect for it.

Who would you recommend Muay Thai to? Humans, all of them. If you train BJJ instead, I think that’s a fair replacement. I find it hard to fully dedicate myself to both although many do it beautifully. Self defense, confidence, and self-sentenced suffering are important to healthy character and the living of a good life. Martial arts is therapy, physical training, it’s a community that has your back and pushes you to be a better, stronger, healthier person.


What advice would you give to someone who is scared to start training or to someone having a hard time starting out? Consistent effort is the secret. Give your best and do it consistently. It doesn’t have to be the best you’ve ever done or seen. If you come in six days a week, sometimes 2x a day for five years and give your best effort each session, you’ll be good. All that matters is that you go in and do it. You’ll feel better, then you do it again, again.. again. Then you’ll wonder why you ever hesitated.


Why do you think people quit? They find the excuse they were looking for. We all have them, if you look hard enough you’ll find one too.


What do you find are the benefits of training? Health, community, discipline, self defense, my dog is trained by someone at Easton, I hung my bag at home with help from someone at Easton, I got a job at Easton because I was a part of this community, if my car broke down I have ten people at Easton I could call for advice, I’m a new Dad and I have 1000+ perspectives available to help me be a good father. There are a lot of benefits to training but none can touch the benefits of this community and how it uplifts everyone. Day one or year 12, Easton is family.

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