It can be said that the KYN Muay Thai gym story began in the year 2006, at the Lam Sai Hotel on Koh Yao Noi, when Lisa turned to Hlukhin and said “there by the sea, imagine our own Muay Thai gym here”.
But what sort of story would that be, over in one paragraph, with no introduction to our:
- main characters (Hlukhin, Lisa, and Harry),
- location (the Lam Sai hotel on Koh Yao Noi), and
- backstory (a lifetime’s martial arts training)?
So let us go back in time to find out how we got to this point in 2006.
And we can start with one of our main characters – Harry. He’s the oldest, but if you’ve ever seen his video “never too old for Muay Thai” you’ll know that means very little in this world. Harry has spent a lifetime in fighting martial arts with over 100 fights in Kyokushinkai, Boxing, and Muay Thai.
Harry also has a daughter, called Lisa (more on her later). And over the years spending time in Thailand, Harry came to the (then) very remote island of Koh Yao Noi and took over operation of a hotel on the island. Harry definitely had an eye on the future here, as at the time no tourists and their foreign cash were visiting the island and there were (maybe!) ten foreigners living there.
Our next character is Hlukhin – Hlukhin started training Muay Thai at 9 years of age, at a time where even young boys could earn enough money to make a significant difference to their families. If asked the question on how many fights he’s had, it’s unlikely he could say. But it’s his highlights reel that tells the true tale. Hlukhin is an authentic and famous Muay Thai champion in his country’s national sport.
And at this point, we meet our third character – Lisa. Raised by a father (Harry – you may recall we met him earlier) with a lifelong interest in martial arts. Lisa had decided to come to Thailand to fight. Not to simply train as many of the KYN students do, but to become a fighter in what can be considered one of the toughest fighting styles in the world.
Trained by Hlukhin, Lisa became a successful professional Muay Thai fighter and if we say they later married, and young son Payu also became an important part of this story, then you’ll see a key link in the chain of events that led to the formation of KYN Muay Thai gym.
But back a step or two in this chain (no Payu yet) – The year is 2006 and Harry has his hotel on the remote island of Koh Yao Noi. Hlukhin and Lisa are training together on another Thai island. One day on holiday they come to visit Harry. It was on this day, maybe at sunset, that Lisa said those groundbreaking words to Hlukhin – “there by the sea, imagine our own Muay Thai gym here”.
We could leave our main characters there in 2006 and say the rest is history. But no good story finishes without a few a struggles through circumstances, so let’s visit a few of them before fast forwarding to the gym as it stands today
An idea in 2006 is one thing, but how do you finance such a vision? For our plucky heroes, it was a decision between the (small) amount of money in the bank which was the safety net if anything went wrong in their lives, and risking it on a dream of the future.
The risk was taken, and the most basic of old-school Muay Thai gyms was established. There was one bag and a few free weights. They trained on old carpet. They had no ring.
If you recall Harry’s story and the “potential” of the hotel, you’ll see that this is probably not the best time and place to start a training gym. There are no tourists coming who wanted to have some fight training on holiday. So at this time it was only 10 local boys and Lisa being trained by Hlukhin, in this most basic of gyms.
And Lisa was training with a purpose. She had to fight. Her fight purses were the only money coming into the gym at this time. Putting her body on the line in order to keep their dream alive, month after month.
For two years, they kept this dream alive, and slowly the most adventurous of backpackers began to find them and pay to be trained as part of their authentic Thailand experience. Which meant better and more equipment could slowly be added.
Moving beyond just word of mouth and repeat visits from the original adventurers, the first KYN Muay Thai gym website was built and the numbers of visitors began to build – all of this just in the nick of time, as Payu announced his arrival (at conception plus two months) by slowing Lisa down significantly in a boxing fight.
And on arrival Payu became a key part of the KYN Muay Thai story that all students know today. The story you will hear over and over again in reviews of KYN Muay Thai gym.
If you would like to be part of this story too, then our cast of characters (Hlukhin, Lisa, Harry and now Payu) welcome you to KYN Muay Thai Gym. Where you can stay on a quiet island, in a hotel by the sea. be trained by authentic Muay Thai fighters and become part of the KYN Muay Thai family.