Recently, Canadian Muay Thai fighter, Kevin Acheson, came to train with us for a month in preparation for one of the biggest fights that has had to date. He has previously won the WAKO North America championship and is currently the WKF -67kg National champion.
We sat down with him to talk about the fight, his preparation and what it’s been like for him to come to Thailand and train at Master Toddy’s Muay Thai Academy.
Q: Can you tell us where you’re from and what your name is?
Kevin Acheson: My name’s Kevin Acheson and I’m from Canada, Brampton, Ontario to be specific. Representing Legends MMA.
Q: How did you hear about Master Toddy’s Muay Thai Academy?
KA: My Sensei, or Kru or Sifu or whatever you want to call it because he is all of those things certified, Sensei Billy, he found Master Toddy online. He meticulously went through a whole bunch of Muay Thai camps ‘coz he specifically wanted the best he could get, and his resume spoke for itself, so Sensei decided to come here [Master Toddy’s Muay Thai Academy] and he’s been out here twice now to train with Master Toddy and sent me down.
Q: What fight is it?
KA: The WKF National Tournament
Q: Could you tell us why you’re here? For example, are you on holiday, for general training or to train specifically for something?
KA: Oh definitely no holiday to it; Um I’m here getting ready for a national tournament. We usually do 6 week training camps back home. This was my first four weeks and I’m going to go back to Ontario and taper off for 2 weeks before the fight.
Q: What makes Master Toddy’s different to any other gym you’ve trained at?
KA: The intensity [laughs]. Back home we do two, one hour classes in a row, but here we’re doing, well for me specifically I was doing two 90 minute classes a day with a one hour private in the middle, so I’m basically doing 3 [lessons] a day here for the whole month. It was, uh, brutal… you sweat a lot, like a LOT and it doesn’t help that it’s like 35,000 degrees all the time! [Laughs]
Q: What was your biggest weakness you would say you had before coming to the academy and how has the training helped you change that?
KA: Biggest weakness… my defense was sub-par, I got punched in the head a lot! So I’ve learned really just a lot of basic defense and counter-attacks. Erm, I wouldn’t say it was a weakness but I wanted to work on my lead foot teep [front kick]. I use my back one a lot, it actually won me a fight, but my left is all… I haven’t really felt confident in it and now I can safely say my left teep is on par with my right.
Q: What’s the biggest single lesson that you’ve learnt whilst being here?
KA: In the camp or in the country?!
Q: Both?! [Editor laughs]
KA: [Laughs] Erm… as far as here [the Academy]… easily don’t look where you want to attack. That was also a hole in my game and Master Toddy has drilled it into my head meticulously not look where I want to strike, hide your weapon, don’t give away with your eyes and for the first 2 weeks I’m sure he wanted to knock me out himself because I just didn’t get it!
But, now I have a pretty good understanding on that, I think I’m going to land a lot more shots when I get home, just simply because I’m not going to look down at the leg when I want to hit the leg and I’m not going to stare at the belly when I want to punch the stomach, so, yeah, overall I would say not looking where you want to strike.
Thailand’s been a trip! Thailand is very, very different than Brampton in the sense that, like, well obviously the heat, the weather. One of the hottest recorded days in Canada is an average day here! I have never, ever seen a scooter travelling northbound in a southbound lane and ducking cars and sabai, sabai [Thai for ‘relax’] it’s all good. So that was really, really different!
Erm, everyone here is very laid back, very chill. Everyone back home is kind of… there’s always someone in a mood for no good reason and that just doesn’t fly out here. You don’t see guys getting mad on the street over nothing. Everyone here is a lot more relaxed.
Q: Can you describe your experience in one word?
KA: [Laughs] Describe my experience in one word… erm… I’ve got a series of one words! If I had to pick one I guess I’d settle on awesome. It’s been nothing short of a good time since I’ve been here. Informative would be another one if we’re still sticking to single words.
And also humbling; I’m one of the higher ranked fighters in my gym back home and I was right back down to the bottom here, so it was a very humbling experience, just a reminder that there’s always someone better and always someone who can put you on your ass! Sorry for my language. I got swept by guys that are a lot older and a lot shorter than me, the whole 9. So humbling, different, awesome if I’m going to pick any individual words!