The power and grace of Muay Thai is becoming well-known in Transcona these days.
Pride Muay Thai opened last August at its 130 Regent Ave. W. location, and since then, has grown beyond expectations.
Owners Charleen and Wayne Pokornik explained they started out looking to find a gym where Wayne could train for his fights, but when the only spaces they could find were larger than they wished, they decided to make the most of the extra room.
"(We thought) ‘Maybe it’s time to open up our own Muay Thai school’," recalled Charleen. "We chit-chatted, had big grins on our faces, and said ‘Let’s do it’."
Wayne said the response has been excellent in the early-going.
"We have a very good relationship with all the gyms in Winnipeg," added Wayne. "It’s been a good go at it. Everyone’s congratulating me for opening our own gym."
The Pokorniks hope to develop as a gym that trains high-level fighters. Wayne, as well as Derrick Fisher and Shahin Khidir, were set to attend a Muay Thai competition in Muskogee, Okla. on April 6.
"We want to get more fighters out there, get more exposure for them, as well as us," said Wayne, noting the gym is also sending a contingent to the Muay Thai Classic, the US’s largest competition with approximately 500 fighters, in Des Moines, Iowa in June. Charleen said the gym hopes to send six fighters to the event.
Wayne said running the gym hasn’t interfered with how he prepares for fights.
"The way I have the gym structured, if you come to classes all day every day, you’re basically ready to fight," he said. "As long as I can participate in class and keep on following along, I’m all set."
Fighters do have gym time above and beyond scheduled classes to go over fight-related details.
For those who aren’t looking to be quite as competitive, the gym offers Muay Thai classes geared to those who are looking to take a martial art for self-defence, but also has a cardio kickboxing class for fitness, a strength and conditioning boot camp, as well as jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts. There are approximately 20-25 regulars attending programs.
Pride started out offering kids’ classes, but temporarily discontinued them. Charleen said she plans to hold some camps for children this summer in hopes of drumming up enough interest for regular lessons.
The Pokorniks do their fair share running programs, though they also employ strength and conditioning coach Justin Bodnarchuk, MMA coach Jose Raoul Agriam, and jiu-jitsu coach Ryan Brick.
For more information, visit www.pridemuaythai.com.