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Humans of Chopper


An addiction to fitness and a fighting spirit drew this champion to Chopper, meet Marty

What do you do outside of training?  I’m currently one of those weird/creepy mature age students as I’m studying a double degree in psychology and sport science.

What is one key event that changed your life in a positive or negative way?  Last year I quit my long-standing public service job and ended up travelling the world for 5 months. I blew most of my money and made a lot of mistakes, but the experience was priceless. Previously, I was obsessed with the idea of running away to live and work overseas but while I was travelling I realised that you can run away from home, but you can’t run away from yourself (deep). I then decided to come back to Canberra and change my life so that I could follow my interests and passions instead of just wasting time working in a soul-destroying office job. I have a lot less money in my bank account these days but I’m much happier.

What is your ultimate achievement?  I single-handedly emptied half a bar in Nashville on Karaoke night when I got up on stage to sing Seal’s classic R&B hit ‘Kiss from a Rose’. It was nerve wracking, but I did it to impress a group of women - the country lovin’ folk there were not impressed.

What is one surprising fact about you?  I have an extremely addictive personality and I get obsessed with things really easily (did anyone else play Runescape for 6 hours a day in their early-mid teens or was it just me?). I don’t know the meaning of moderation either - one week I could be following some kind of paleo diet and the next week I’m binge eating 2 tubs of ice cream a day.

Why did you start doing muay thai?  When I started at Chopper I had no previous combat sports experience, I mainly wanted to lose weight because I’d ballooned up to nearly 100kg after some rugby injuries (had two separate shoulder reconstructions in consecutive years). For a while I only came in once or twice a fortnight and then I got addicted and started coming in most days with the goal of fighting in mind.

What advice can you give to new students joining up who have never trained?  Be patient and don’t get frustrated, whether you are an aspiring fighter or just someone looking to have fun and gain fitness in a supportive environment: It takes consistency and discipline to learn the techniques and there will be many times where you think to yourself “I suck!”. Keep pushing through and you will be surprised with how much you have improved in a matter of months.

Describe the people you train with at Chopper They’re all super chilled out, fun, friendly people, except for that rotten egg Simon Gillett who has thankfully now moved to the Northern Territory (jokes).



The love of sports brought this Super Woman to Chopper... Meet Kaylie

What do you do outside of training?  I am studying my masters of nutrition and dietetics. I currently work at the Department of Health in a policy taskforce. I also play ice hockey and do competitive cheerleading. When I’m not busy with uni and sport I love just hanging out with friends

What has been your greatest adventure so far?  the greatest adventure of my life was when I was 18. I moved to Canada without my family or friends to go to uni and play ice hockey. I really didn’t know anyone or have a plan in place for where I was going to live or what I would do for work. While I was living there I met some of the most amazing people, had one of the best jobs I’ve ever had, and created so many great memories. Looking back on the experience it really taught me a lot and changed my life for the better. I stayed there for 2 years before moving back to Australia

Describe the top 3 priorities in your life?  1. Family - family will always be the most important priority in my life. 2. Friends - my friends are such a massive part of my life, they are always there when I need them. I had a pretty rough year in 2016 and my friends really got me through it. It showed me how important strong friendships are. 3. Sport - playing sport is what I live for, if I didn’t have sport I think I would be pretty miserable.

If money were no object where would you live?  Definitely Hawaii! I was lucky enough to get to compete in the global cheer games in Hawaii earlier this year. It was one of the most fantastic experiences. The people are so friendly and all of the activities we did there were amazing. We went hiking, snorkelling and did lots of swimming. I can definitely see myself living there it’s beautiful!

What do you enjoy about Muay Thai?  I enjoy everything about Muay Thai! I especially love the fitness, the discipline, the stress relief and the people I train with.

Describe the people you train with at Chopper?  the people at Chopper are amazing. They are so friendly and helpful. I’ve been to other gyms where this is not the case. It’s so nice to train somewhere like Chopper where there are no egos and no judgement.

Do you want to fight?  Yes, one day I would love to fight but I think I have a lot of work to do and a long way to go before I’m ready.



Grit and hard work, Chopper's undefeated fighter... meet Simon

What do you do outside of training?  During the week I'm a youth worker at Bimberi Juvenile Detention Centre and on weekends I do security at Hopscotch. I also have two fat Labradors I love to take down the lake for a swim. Life Related Questions:

In 10 years I'll be...  The undisputed UFC Middleweight Champion of the world.

What was the best advice you were ever given?  A wise old man once told me you can 'create your own fate' so with a bit of grit and hard work I honestly believe you can achieve anything you want.

What has been the greatest adventure of your life?  I think it's just about to happen as I've joined the academy for the Northern Territory Police Force. I'll be heading up north soon to cowboy and adventure around top end Australia.

Favourite fighter and why?  From Muay Thai it's Sombat Banchamek aka Buakaw 'Dog out of Bankok'. Love his leg kicks from hell. From UFC can't go past GSP, Bisping the champ and the Diaz brothers 209, the true grinders of the division.

Describe the people who train with you?  Silent assassins. Everyone is so friendly and rocks up to training with a smile but are deadly killers as soon as they put on their gloves. The words dedicated and humble come to mind too.

What is your favourite part of class?  Fighting the heavy bag at the end of class. It's one of the hardest workouts both physically and mentally I think you can do and it never seems to get any easier.



A drive for challenge and passion for training... meet Edgar

What do you do outside of training?  Outside of training I enjoy hanging out with friends, relaxing and from time to time, I enjoy going on international holidays. I also don’t mind sitting in front of the TV and watching sport, especially if the mighty Canberra Raiders are playing.
I currently work as an Aeronautical Information Specialist at Airservices and have been doing this for the past 5 years, and it definitely keeps me on my toes but I do enjoy my job.

If Money and Career were no object, where in the world would you choose to live?  I would have to say Thailand, I think it would be such a great experience to go over there and immerse myself into the culture and train everyday - twice a day!

 TV Show you secretly enjoy?  My wife got me into it but I don’t mind the Real Housewives of Sydney and Melbourne. I don’t have much time to watch them at the moment due to work and training, but I can always find time if my wife records it.

What was the best advice you were given?  Always face your fears head on and never give up, no matter how tough things get.

Favourite fighter and why?  My favourite Muay Thai fighter is recently retired, Yodsenklai Fairtex. I remember watching him on Contender Asia. I admired the way he carried himself in and out of the ring (courage, respect and honour) he was the reason why I started doing Muay Thai.

Which class do you like best?  My favourite class would have to be Sparring. It’s a great way to challenge yourself and friends in a controlled environment, and execute everything you have learnt from the other classes.

What is your favourite part of class?  Seeing like minded people bring the best out of each other and support each other, I think this os why Chopper Muay Thai stands out from any other Muay Thai gym in Canberra, everyone at Chopper is willing to help each other.



Chopper's first female boxer... meet Britt

What do you do outside of training?  I'm on holidays at the moment, so outside of training, I'm training haha! I just left my job at a vegan cafe and I'll be working at my mums patisserie when it opens. I model for drawing classes every now and then too.

What is a surprising fact about you?  I once got accepted to be on a reality TV show.

Where do you draw your inspiration from and why?  The boss ass babes in my life. My incredible mum, who inspires me every day with her work ethic, talent and creativity. She is AMAZING. My best friends too. Some have moved interstate, one is a new mum, one is running a popular cafe, some are studying at uni. All gorgeous, strong women and I'm so inspired by everything they have overcome and achieved so far in their lives.

If your life were a book, what would be the title?  'I Once Purposefully Tipped Coffee Into My Hand In Front Of The Guy I Was Dating And Other Embarrassing Tales'

Why did you start doing boxing?  I used to love the boxing class at my gym above all others on offer, but it was pretty relaxed and I really wanted to learn proper technique. I had tried out the Muay Thai classes at Chopper before and although I really liked the people and environment, Muay Thai wasn't for me. When I saw that Chopper was offering boxing classes, I signed up STRAIGHT AWAY and haven't looked back.

What advice can you give to new students joining up who have never trained?  It's normal to feel awkward or self conscious so don't stress, just concentrate on what you're doing because everyone around you felt that same way when they started. Focus on what your coach tells and shows you, take your time. Practice the things you learnt when you get home (find a sibling and let loose), be patient with yourself, come to training regularly and DO NOT GIVE UP!

Do you want to fight? Why or why not?  I do want to fight, but I have a long way to go before then. Right now I have aspirations to compete in a Bikini Comp, but the more I train at Chopper, the less sure I am about that goal..



A gifted academic and ruthless in the ring... meet Rei

What do you do outside of training?  I am a Graduate Landscape Architect at Enviro Links Design and a student at UC, completing an Honours degree in Landscape Architecture. In my spare time, I am usually out eating and trying different types of food or either at home binge watching TV shows.

Where do you draw your inspiration from and why?  I draw my inspiration from my Grandmother in the Philippines. She is one of the most loving, humble and caring people I know, who manages to see the good in everyone. No matter what obstacle comes her way, she always manages to get through to make sure everything will be OK.

Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by?  I live by the famous bible verse Philippians 4:13, “I can do anything through Christ who gives me strength”. Whenever I’m in doubt or am struggling to do something, I always think of this verse and it always gets me through. Hence, why I have it tattooed on my chest.

TV show you secretly enjoy?  I wouldn’t say secretly, but I love the TV show ‘Suits’. It is seriously just one of the best shows. If you’re after a show that has a mix of drama, comedy and something with a good twist, this is it! Just know, once you start, you won’t stop! Cliff-hangers will keep you going.

Why did you start doing muay thai?  After playing a few years of Rugby League throughout high school, my Asian genetics simply didn’t cut it by the time I hit Year 11 (I was literally like a fly next to some of the big forwards in the team). So, I decided I was going to get back into martial arts after doing Taekwondo when I was young. Fortunately, my uncle Ysh introduced me to Muay Thai at a gym in Sydney. From then, I was hooked.

Describe the people you train with at Chopper?  Metaphorically, it’s like the Fast and Furious crew. Chopper Muay Thai is like family. Everybody cares for each other and everybody works hard to craft their skills under Gaz’s guidance, and library of knowledge in the sport.

What is your favourite muay thai move or combo?  The question mark kick!!