Bronx, NY native Miguel Rivera has been teaching Muay Thai for seven years. For the last two he has imparted his expertise on students of all ages at The Fight Factory Gym.
“You may not be familiar with Muay Thai; it is different than American kick boxing,” explained Rivera, 43, “Where they don’t kick below the waist. Thai boxing is called “the art of eight limbs” where you use punches, kicks, elbows, and knees; it is completely different from American kick boxing.”
Muay Thai, it is believed, is a more modern form of the older Muay Boran, or “ancient boxing.” That was a type of unarmed combat used by Siamese soldiers when they lost their weapons in the heat of battle.
Rivera, married and the father of two boys and two girls ranging in age from 12 to 19 years old, began competing in Kung Fu at the age of 16. “As I got older I started to do grappling and jujitsu. I then had my first MMA match. The problem then was, I didn’t know how to strike. The guy beat me in 56 seconds because I didn’t know how to punch or kick. It was then that I realized that I had to learn to how to strike. I started doing Muay Thai at a gym. Ever since then I have had a love affair with that discipline.
He is currently the professional Muay Thai New York State Champion. “We compete all over,” said Miguel. “Muay Thai is very big in New York. We have Friday Night Fights, there’s Combat at the Capitale, and we just had a big show at Madison Square Garden.”
Miguel has found a home here, “The Fight Factory Gym is not only tremendous, it facilitates everything you need,” added Rivera. “It’s more than to just get in shape, you can become a fighter here. There are all the different types of cardio machines on the second floor. Cardio plays a big part in the fight game. There are always different people here from the different disciplines. All the bags and rings that you need are all under one roof.