Legacy Fight Club opens in Barrie with focus on Muay Thai style
Matthew Booth recently started at the Legacy Fight Club, but says he loves the Muay Thai training regimen. MARK WANZEL/PHOTO
Earlier in his life, Bao Luu was adrift.
He had just graduated university and wasn’t sure what he wanted from life.
“I was at home playing video games, simply lost,” Luu said.
He said he wanted something to focus on, and soon enough he discovered the combat sport of Muay Thai.
“Boxing is only one weapon, your fist,” Luu said. “In Muay Thai, there are four. You have your fists, you have your shins, your elbow and your knee. So it’s the use of any of those weapons."
And Muay Thai means, translated into English: The art of eight limbs.
The sport has been practised in Thailand for more than 2,000 years and now, according to Luu, it’s starting to gain steam here partly thanks to the rising popularity of mixed martial arts (MMA).
It’s even starting to creep into the repertoire of some UFC fighters, such as Jon Jones and Anderson Silva.
“They’re starting to bring Muay Thai in. They’re not 100% Muay Thai — there are techniques in traditional Muay Thai that don’t transfer over well to UFC … but it’s starting to transfer over now.”
Luu might know a thing or two about the sport; he’s been practising since 2006 when he finished university.
“I found a gym down in Kitchener-Waterloo,” Luu said. “I went there for a trial class and I was hooked after that. I just dedicated the next five, six years of my life just training everyday.”
He even made his way to Thailand when he spent six months training and fighting competitively.
So, naturally the next step for Luu was to open his own gym, which he did in July when he started up Legacy Fight Club.
In Barrie, Luu saw a city hungry for a dedicated Muay Thai gym. Plus, it’s conveniently close to CFB Borden where Luu works full-time as a cook.
Luu shares his space at 420 Leacock Dr., with a martial arts school and his classes run Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings. Business has been good and Luu has attracted a wide variety of clientele, ranging in age from 13 to 57.
One of those students is Barrie resident Dylan Lopes who said the smaller class sizes drew him to Legacy.
“A lot of other gyms in Toronto, they have classes where it’s like 20, 30 guys and like one teacher,” Lopes said. “But like here, it’s just Bao and like five to 10 guys, sometimes 15.”
Much like any other school, smaller classes allow for more one-on-one instruction, which is important to Lopes.
“You get a lot more intimacy, a lot more attention to detail in what counts,” he said. “A lot of other gyms, you have no one there to put it together for you, you have to put it together for yourself.”
Of course, there’s only so much an instructor can do. In the end it’s up to the students to push their own bodies.
“You just work your way up,” Luu said. “I’ll tell the guys to do 50 pushups in that session, 50 pushups. But it’s up to them if they want to do 50 proper pushups or you want to do 20 proper or 50 half-assed.
"It’s all up to them how much they can do and how much they can push themselves.”
Anyone interested in signing up for a class should visit Legacy Fight Club’s website at legacyfightclub.ca or give them a call at 705-309-9292.