Mike Doherty is a fighter, but COVID almost knocked him out of the box.
Nine years into operating a successful martial arts club in downtown Peterborough called Dohjo Muay Thai & Fitness, he found himself closing the doors, but not for good. He found a new location in the former Move ‘N Groove Dance studio in Fraserville, featuring a large gym facility and outdoor space for training where students could meet even during pandemic restrictions. The new location inspired a new name (no one could pronounce “Dohjo” anyway) and the business became Nomad Striking Academy, reflecting the broader range of disciplines offered which include boxing and kickboxing training. The new gym opened in the spring of 2021.
Muay Thai is a full-contact, power-based combat sport where competitors use “eight limbs”: hands, feet, knees and elbows. While physical power might be the obvious attribute of the sport, it also requires tough mental discipline.
Nomad Striking Academy offers programs for all ages and abilities, providing a recreational stream or one for those who want to compete. In all classes, participants will develop self-control, discipline and technique, while building friendships, developing teamwork skills and developing a healthy lifestyle. Its popularity is growing in North America. Youngsters as young as seven can start in a recreational program where the focus is building character. Sparring begins in competitive classes. Participants are taught to protect themselves and “fight smart”, maintaining proper form, an awareness of their environment, balance, timing and most importantly to exhibit an attitude of respect for team members and opponents. In 2014, Doherty partnered with Five Counties and offered a program for participants with special needs, where students build physical conditioning and confidence.
Programs at the academy follow a grading system to ensure participants are making progress towards their personal training goals. It is similar to the Karate belting system and student achievement is illustrated in the colour of the shorts they wear. Grading is based on the physical, technical and mental skills required by the sport. It’s not an easy workout, but participants who persevere find that in addition to the physical benefits, they find improved mental health, focus and confidence.
Doherty doesn’t just teach, he competes. Earlier this year, he competed at one of the biggest fights of his career, in the ONE Championship FC in Calgary. Competing keeps him at the top of his game and inspires his students, three of whom participated last weekend at a competition in Ottawa. Their results were impressive. Two competitors were named new North American Muay Thai champions while the third picked up a silver medal. Congratulations to all!
To learn more about this local fitness opportunity, visit the website at http://www.nomadstriking.com. KG