Six days a week you’ll find Cameron Johnson training at Darkside Muay Thai.
The 11-year-old Elmira resident has been practicing the sport for two years. And practice seems to be paying off.
Last month he won his third fight, making him undefeated thus far.
“It was really challenging. At the start of the match I had a very big upper hand with my kicks. He didn’t see that coming at all. And then the second round he was throwing me to the ground, but I didn’t let him get me that far. And then for the third round I was punching, kicking and did a lot of combinations,” Cameron said.
He says he was surprised to win because his opponent was putting up a good fight. Also, he was taking on someone he’d never been matched up against before.
Originating from Thailand, muay thai involves different kinds of kicking, punching and blocking. It’s sometimes referred to as the art of eight limbs because competitors use eight points of contact through punches, kicks, elbows, and knee strikes. A judge decides the winner of a fight.
Cameron and his younger brother Declan train every day except Sunday at the Kitchener gym. Cameron notes he spars every Wednesday, but fights come up less often.
His dad, Shawn explains there’s a fight board where you can sign up to show interest in a fight. Cameron watches the fight board and if he sees an opponent he’d like to face, he puts his name down.
Cameron says the appeal for him to participate in fights is “to meet new opponents and have a lot of fun.”
Shawn introduced the boys to the sport after finding Darkside’s website. They’ve been hooked ever since. Cameron says he enjoys learning self defense through the sport.
“It really helps you for your future life in case something happens like you get caught in an alleyway and some guys tries robbing you, you can just give him a big one two.”
Now he’s also learning some Brazilian jujitsu techniques. For example, the sport teaches athletes grappling techniques and how to defend yourself when you’re on the ground.
“I’m trying to learn those submissions in case I go in an MMA fight; I’m going to get him on the ground hoping to knock him out and maybe even submission him,” Cameron said.
He says the biggest challenge in his training is remembering to keep his hands up and think on his feet about what to do in a fight. His main goal is to become a master in muay thai and he recommends that other kids give it a try.