Sailor kicks fitness into high gear with Muay Thai
He carefully wrapped his hands in the fabrics to conceal as much flesh and bone as possible.
Trusting that his hands were protected, he brought them before his face, which was padded in hardened foam, matted with sweat and bruised in shades of purple and blue; ready to begin the final bout of the Grachan Amateur Competition.
It was there, under the bright stage lights, and the screaming of fans and friends that the years of practice and hard work finally paid off for Aircrew Survival Equipmentman 2nd Class Daniel Goul.
“It was exhilarating time for me,” he said. “After practicing and working for so long, it was so worth it, it was incredible.”
“It hasn’t been just weeks or even a few years,” said Gouls sparring partner Christopher Martin. “Dan has been practicing Muay Thai since he was a teenager and he’s got the skills to prove it.”
While working his first job as a movie theater attendant, 16-yearold Goul was introduced to Muay Thai by a coworker and hasn’t stopped training since.
“My first instructor was an Olympic athlete, and I’m not exaggerating,” said Goul. “He worked us over night and day, always pushing us to be better fighters and competitors, and to be better people than the ones who had walked through the door.”
It would seem that same drive and spirit has never left him. Almost a decade later, Goul continues to train and work hard to be the best fighter he can be.
As he sat, preparing for another bout with his opponent, he made one thing clear; it’s not just about the fighting.
“Muay Thai is more than just some blood sport for people to beat each other up. It’s spiritual; a full body experience and a way of life,” he added.
Muay Thai evolved from Muay Boram in the early 15th century, much in the way Sumo wrestling evolved in Japan. It’s now considered a traditional form of entertainment in much of Thailand, explained Gouls Muay Thai instructor Far Flysky.
“That’s what this has been all about, pushing yourself to be the best you,” Goul added. “I only wanted to be fit, and with Muay Thai, I’ve found a great way to do that and have a lot of fun too.”
In his first six months of training at NAF Atsugi, Goul has done more than just get fit. He was able to drop more than 50 pounds, going from 196 lbs. to 146 lbs. to be prepared to fight in the amateur leagues.
“Muay Thai is all about self-control,” said Flysky. “Having that skill and the power is important and Dan has done a great job at showcasing that skill. We want anyone who thinks they’ve got it in them to come out and give it a try.” The first class is free and the cost to continue the class is $80 per month. It is open to all members of the NAF Atsugi community.
“This is a class that Far and I started almost five years ago,” said Martin. “I really want for this to continue and the only way we can make that happen is to get more people to come out and see what this sport is really all about.” For Goul, that was all it took to get him hooked into coming back to practice with a newfound family.
“For me, I know it’s more than just getting fit and staying having fun,” said Goul. “These people are my family, and we do a lot together, and I cannot imagine having spent my time here in Japan any differently than with these guys and gals. I want people to know that if they’re looking for a family while stationed in Atsugi, the Muay Thai club is a great place to start looking.” For more on joining the Muay Thai class, call 264 – 3619 or stop by Halsey Gym Wednesday through Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. or on Saturday, from 10 a.m. to noon.
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