Muay Thai boxing facility trains team of young fighters
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Childhood friends Peter Arcalas, 26, and Michael Perez, 25, both have a deep-seated passion for Muay Thai boxing.
It was only natural, then, that the two would run into each other at a sanctioned Muay Thai event in Niagara Falls last August after having lost touch for a few years.
“My brother was fighting and he lost,” says Arcalas, adding “I was frustrated because he didn’t have a chance to train properly.”
It was at that fight in Niagara Falls when Perez and Arcalas first talked about opening a gym dedicated to teaching Muay Thai, a form of martial arts that emphasizes the use of hands, elbows, knees and feet.
“Both of us had the dream to open a gym. That day we just united, and from there we were like ‘OK, let’s start looking for a place,’” says Perez.
Fast forward a few months and Arcalas and Perez have realized their dream. Southside Muay Thai And Submission is located south of the 401 on Midland and is open seven days a week. Arcalas, who has experience teaching Muay Thai, is the gym’s head trainer, while Perez has taken on the role of business manager.
“The gym is owned and operated by young people, and it caters to young people,” says Perez. “We know what they want.”
“I’ve looked at other gyms and what they have, and I know what I would want in a gym. So that is what we’re trying to bring to here,” adds Arcalas.
Southside offers Muay Thai courses every night, grappling (or submission) courses three times a week and combat cardio courses four times a week. There are also courses available that are specifically designed for kids.
Both Arcalas and Perez point out that the two main disciplines taught at Southside, Muay Thai and submissions, provide the perfect base for anyone interested in training in mixed-martial arts, a style of fighting that has been made popular by TV’s Ultimate Fighting Championship.
“The goal is to be the new MMA facility in the city,” says Arcalas.
But don’t worry if your knowledge of Muay Thai or the UFC is lacking, Southside gym is more than willing to bring in beginner level students. “Whether your goal is learning martial arts, maintaining your fitness, or wanting to compete, we’ll help you get there,” says Arcalas.
And, for those people who are worried that Muay Thai and mixed martial arts are a bit too dangerous, Perez and Arcalas say they have a full equipment policy for anyone who gets into the ring.
“We would never encourage anybody to get into the ring if we feel they are not comfortable, or ready for it,” says Arcalas.