Two Red Deer athletes have been busy training to enter one of North America’s largest and longest running Muay Thai (Thai boxing) tournaments in Des Moines, Iowa June 21st to 24th.
Jenn Wiebe and Stephanie Schmale have been training four to six times a week, three to four hours a day to prepare.
“They’re training their butts off. They’re ready to kick some ass,” said Will Quijada, coach and owner of Absolute Fitness.
Schmale, who’s been training at Absolute Fitness for over two years, entered the world of boxing when she was 16 and had her first ring fight at that age.
After taking a break to go to school and later having a child, she came back to training in full force.
The category one enters in a tournament depends on the number of fights the fighter has done and the experience they have.
Schmale will be entering into Class A as she’s had over 10 fights, while Wiebe will be in Class B as she’s had under nine fights.
“It’s a really vulnerable sport so you see a lot of pitfalls but with the high risk comes really high reward,” said Schmale about her interest in the sport.
She added she’s also grateful for the training at her gym.
“Will is not only our Muay Thai coach but he’s also our strength and conditioning coach so we’re really fortunate to have an all-in-one in one little gym.”
For Wiebe, she’s done tournaments through karate and kickboxing in the past and used to teach at Absolute Fitness.
She’s now been doing the training side of things and has been with them for around five years now.
Her love of the sport started when she was just four years old after watching The Karate Kid.
“I loved it so I started karate with Arashi Do in Sylvan Lake and then moved into Red Deer into Arashi Do and then started Muay Thai,” she said.
She added that the sport feels like it’s a mediation for her.
She also feels like she has a goal and puts herself all in. “It’s fun to hit people,” she said with a laugh.