Doug And Naomi Owens
Fans of UFC fighter Anderson Silva and any movie with Tony Jaa (Ong-Bak, Tom-Yum-Goong) may be disappointed to know that Muay Thai fighters are actually really nice guys.
Don’t believe it? Tiger Muay Tai gym owners Kru Doug (instructor) and Naomi Owens are ready to prove the tough-guy persona stays in the ring at their upcoming Spar-AThon fundraiser.
“This sport is not violent,” says Doug, who also is trained in Isshen Ryu Karate and American kickboxing. “People think this sport is so bad because they saw such-and-such movie. A movie is a movie, real life is real life.”
“We have all different types of people who come in here: plastic surgeons, real estate brokers, even one lady who’s 56!” says wife Naomi.
Adds Doug: “I’ve had a ton of people who have said their life has been better since learning Muay Thai. It focuses your energy to where it needs to be.”
Right now their energy is focused on next weekend’s event and raising money for national children’s charity Hopeful Tomorrow, which provides scholarship opportunities in physical, cultural and fine arts programs for at-risk and disadvantaged youths. Naomi says that all proceeds stay in Hawaii so that local kids can find a positive outlet for their energy at Tiger Muay Thai or any of Oahu’s other martial arts gyms.
“We’re trying to help raise money to help the parents be able to keep the kids in (Muay Thai) school so they’re not taken out of school and have nothing to do at home,” she says, explaining that scholarship requirements include maintaining a minimum 2.0 GPA and completing an essay. “We’ve got some good students in here. Hopefully we can have more than one of our students benefit.”
The event is free, but the Owenses ask that attendees donate as much as they’d like at the door. Those who give more than $5 will receive two free raffle tickets for gift baskets/certificates from nearby businesses. Masseuses from Aiea Massage Supply also will provide free massages during the event. Tips will be donated to the cause.
“It’s to get people out to see that everyone participates in Muay Thai (even MidWeek publisher Ron Nagasawa),” says Doug. “Everyone can be involved in it, and to help the kids.”
The Spar-A-Thon begins with a Muay Thai demo at 5 p.m. Feb. 6 before the main event at 5:30. (Tiger Muay Tai, located at 98-023 Hekaha St. Unit 4 in Aiea, is the only gym in Hawaii that can hold sanctioned Muay Thai fights under the United States Muay Thai Association.) Closing ceremony is at 7. For more information, call 489-7440 or visit http://www.tigermuaythaihawaii.com. -Sarah Pacheco
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