A knee injury from playing soccer may have led Jordan Sasley to the sport of his dreams.
On June 30, the 18-year-old St. James resident won the 2013 USA Thai Boxing Association Sanctioning Authority (TBASA) Men’s Light Middleweight Tournament title in Des Moines, Iowa.
Missing his graduation ceremony for the sport, he won three fights in three days.
Two and a half years ago, Sasley joined Double Dragon Kickboxing & Muay Thai because he was forbidden from playing soccer due to a knee injury.
Six years ago, "I got an injury that was really hard for me to train with," Sasley said. "No one would let me play."
But Sasley did not sulk around.
"It’s kind of weird. I wanted to fight the fact that no one would let me play soccer, so I wanted to actually fight," Sasley said. "No one could say I can’t do it if I’m doing it myself."
Though it was extremely painful to begin with, Sasley said his knee just started to feel better only recently.
"It never goes away 100%, though," Sasley said. "I feel fine and really happy now, but some days I’m still in a lot of pain."
Muay Thai is a type of martial arts that originated in Thailand. Master Jerrick Hodge of Double Dragon Kickboxing & Muay Thai explained it’s a combat sport that uses all parts of the body, but many of the techniques involve the knees and elbows.
"If you go back thousands of years ago, they used it in war back in the days when there wasn’t any guns and stuff like that, but now it’s just for sport," Master Hodge said.
Under Master Hodge’s teachings, Sasley has developed quickly as a fighter.
"Now he’s a North American champion," Master Hodge said.
Waking up at 5:30 a.m., Sasley trains four hours a day, six days a week. He rides his bike to and from the gym, even in the winter. He runs anywhere from 10 to 18 kilometres as part of his exercise routine. He eventually became the assistant teacher for kids wanting to learn Muay Thai.
"He is 100% sure of himself and a very confident young man. He’s just an all-around good person. Perfect person for the sport," Master Hodge said.
Master Hodge said while Muay Thai is a style of fighting, the intent is not to use it for violent purposes.
"It’s mostly to be sure of yourself. It makes you a confident person overall. Think before you decide to want to fight. You don’t have to use it on the streets and stuff like that. I think in Muay Thai it is important to stop, listen, and learn," Master Hodge said.
Sasley does not plan on returning to soccer.
"I plan on making this my profession," Sasley said about Muay Thai.
Sasley is also enrolled in the Academy of Broadcasting, and will begin his studies this fall.
"They’re both Plan A. I want to do both for the rest of my life," Sasley said.