John Wayne Parr fancied himself a bad man after about 13 kickboxing fights at 19 years old. Then he came to the Muay Thai motherland, Thailand, and found out that it was on a different level out here. In Parr’s own words,
“When I went to Thailand as a 19-years-old kid I thought, ‘I’ve got 13 fights, I’m the man. I’ve got a couple of belts, get a load of me.’ Then I got there and I remember sparring some 12-year-old kid and he just threw me around like I was just nothing. I got humbled very fast. Whatever I thought I knew, I knew nothing. These guys are killers!”
Things are just different in Thailand. Most people have been training since they were very young and even those who do not have the in-ring experience, they are still very experienced. Those who fight professionally can have somewhere in the neighborhood of over 100 fights. Take AKA Thailand’s trainers for example. Combined, they collectively have over 2,000 professional Muay Thai fights.
Parr wanted to become the best, so he figured the only way to do that was to do as the Romans do. He moved to Thailand in 1996 for four years and immersed himself in the Muay Thai life. The rest, as they say, is history.