Meet Canada’s Janice Lyn, relative new comer to the IFMA scene but possesses every bit as much passion for the sport as our veterans. Janice had her first taste of IFMA level competition at the 2014 IFMA world championships in Langkawi, Malaysia and the experience of elite athleticism, friendship, respect and cultural exchange fuelled her desire to become more and more involved with IFMA.
Janice believes that having the opportunity to compete against the best in her division is a major priority in her fight career, so competing at IFMA events will indeed give her the challenge. We wish Janice all the best in her future fight career path and hope that she can work her way through the important IFMA qualification events to open up the doors to a spot to compete at future IOC patronised multi-sports events such as the World Games or World Combat Games.
At IFMA, the athletes are believed to be the centre of it all so needless to say the IFMA Athletes Commission is one of the most important and most purposeful of all, to ensure that the voices of the heart and soul of the sport are heard and heeded. The IFMA executive took notice of Janice’s passion and intellect and immediately believed her to be a perfect candidate for a position on the commission. We are confident that Janice will be a fully active and committed member of the Athletes Commission.
Q & A with Janice Lyn…
IFMA: How long have you been training Muaythai and what made you want to fight?
JANICE: I have been training Muaythai for 6 years. When I first started Muaythai I had no intention to fight. Kru Darwin asked me if I wanted to fight and at the time my interests were purely fitness based. I have always been athletic and I fell in love with the workouts because they were challenging. At our gym we have different levels and I advanced from beginner to intermediate and then I started sparring and clinching with the fighters at our gym. The next option I had in advancing in the sport was to participate in what we call “demonstrations” in Ontario, which is like a “Smoker”. I had my first demo against a very experienced opponent and I really enjoyed it. Shortly after my demo my Kru again asked me if I wanted to fight and I finally said yes.
Growing up as a child I was always athletic but I never had a chance to exploit my full potential in any sport because my parents were very adamant about focusing on my studies and school. Being 25 and having obtained my Bachelors of Science and being a Masters student at the time I felt that this was my opportunity to excel in my new found sport and to try and reach my full potential.
IFMA: What do you believe to be your strongest asset in the ring?
JANICE: My strongest asset in the ring is that I am mentally strong. I’ve always approached fights with the belief that I am going to win. I like to have a fearless attitude before I fight.
IFMA: What has been your biggest challenge as a fighter?
JANICE: My biggest challenge as a fighter is finding time to rest. Sometimes it is difficult to balance rest with training, work and school. I often start my days very early (4:30am) and come home relatively late (10:30pm). I am very fortunate, however, that I love what I do (being a personal trainer and a holistic nutritionist) and that I work at the gym so scheduling time for training is more flexible.
IFMA: Your hardest fight and why?
JANICE: My hardest fight was my most recent fight at IFMA against Evelina Wikner from Sweden. Mentally I felt ready. I a good draw in the brackets and got a buy so I was fortunate to have seen a few competitors in my bracket compete the previous day. I felt so confident that I was going to win gold this year. When it was time to fight, we touched gloves and Evelina came out strong right off the bat with really basic but accurate hands. She was also strong in the clinch and very good at landing her left knee entering the clinch. I consider myself to be a physically strong athlete and I usually overpower my opponents but she really challenged me. It was only until the third round where I started to find my game but by the third round it was too late. It was a very humbling fight. I learnt that having confidence in yourself is a wonderful thing, however, you always have to be focused on the immediate task at hand to get to where you want to be. I also learnt that feeling physically strong is something that comforts me. I have to always be mentally prepared for challenging fighters that are either stronger or more skilled and remember to let my passion for Muaythai and belief in my abilities shine through in situations like these.
IFMA: Proudest moment?
JANICE: My proudest moment was winning my first championship at the TBA North American Tournament in Desmoines, Iowa in 2012. It was a proud moment because I remember the championship fight being a heavy clinch battle in the last round. In the last moments of the fight my legs felt physically exhausted and I remember telling myself just bring up your knees and leave it all in the ring. My coach told me after the last round to be prepared to fight an extra round and when the referee held up my hand in victory I was so happy to have won the belt for my Kru and for my gym. Many people think that Muaythai is an individual sport and to a certain extent it is, however, it is very much a team sport as well because there are so many dedicated people involved in establishing a fighter and making a champion. It was a proud moment because that day our entire gym won.
IFMA: What do you think is the most important thing to remember as a fighter?
JANICE: A poem called “Thinking” by Walter Winter really resonates with me. Essentially it explains that there is always going to be an opponent that may be stronger or more skilled than you are, but if you believe in yourself and your abilities there will always be an opening for victory. The best thing you can do as a fighter is to be yourself in the ring. Know who you are and where you come from and represent that person with all your heart.
IFMA: If you could rematch anyone you have fought who would it be and why?
JANICE: I would rematch Sawsing Sor Sopit from Thailand who I lost to in the semi-finals at IFMA in 2014. She is one of the top female fighters in my weight division and I would be honoured to have the opportunity to fight her again when she is back in training and competing. My goal is to be at the top of my weight class and in order to do that I have to compete and attempt to defeat the best competitors.
IFMA: Any embarrassing moments?
JANICE: I had been training at Krudar for about a year and I was finishing up my Masters thesis and under a lot of stress. One night my boyfriend and I decided to grab something to eat after training and I threw my gym bag in the back seat of my car and I totally forgot that I put my laptop in my gym bag. After our meal I approached my car and someone had broken into it and stole my gym bag along with my laptop which contained all my data collected from at least a year’s worth of experiments. The sad thing was I didn’t back up my work and I was devastated. After a week of weighing out my priorities, I decided talk to my coach about taking a leave from training for a bit to concentrate on my studies. That day I entered the gym and asked to see my coach and as soon as he asked me what I wanted to talk about I just started crying in front of everyone. When he asked me what was wrong I couldn’t answer and so he took me aside and started guessing, “Did someone in your family die?” “Did someone hurt you?” – He asked all these questions that made me realize that it was silly of me for crying about not being able to train for a while to focus on school but it also made me realize how much I had come to love the sport and training.
IFMA: Describe your daily diet from breakfast to dinner.
4:30am – Pre-training snack – 1 cup green protein smoothie
1-2 handfuls spinach and/or kale, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp triphala powder, 1 scoop Veg-Essentials protein powder, 2 tbsp goji berries, 1 tsp raw honey, 1 tbsp natural nut butter, 1 tsp Udo’s oil, 1 tsp ground flax seeds, fruit (banana and/or berries), 1 tsp spirulina and coconut milk
7:30am – Post-training snack – 1 cup green protein smoothie
8:00am – Breakfast
- 2 egg omelette with 1 handful of spinach and parsley/fresh herbs on hand with a few grape tomatoes
- Cayenne pepper, black pepper and chili powder to taste with coconut oil
10:00am – Snack – 1 handful of raw nuts or 1 fruit or veggies and hummus or homemade quark dip
12:00pm – Lunch – 3 handfuls spinach or kale, 1-2 tsps pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, goji berries, 3 oz panfried salmon or chicken or steak, dressing, 1/2 avocado, 1 tbsp hemp hearts, ¼ cup quinoa, ¼ cup lentils/beans or barley
3:00pm – Snack – matcha green tea and raw nuts or fruit or veggies and hummus
9:00pm – Dinner – same as lunch but less quinoa and lentils/barley
IFMA: How long have you been competing at IFMA events? How do you feel being part of it?
JANICE: I have been competing at IFMA events since 2014. I feel very honoured to be a part of IFMA and represent my country, Canada. Having experienced the awards ceremony at this year’s IFMA World Cup, I have come to realize that IFMA is vital to the sport of Muaythai. In countries such as Canada where we have a wealth of talented Muaythai fighters who often cannot fight in their own province because there is no proper sanctioning body, IFMA sets a standard for the conduct of competition and provides a high level competitive arena for Muay Thai. The beautiful thing about IFMA is that the saying “One World, One Muay Thai” is truly upheld as countries from all over the world come together to celebrate this martial art in its entirety by encouraging the strong cultural aspects of the sport and upholding a high standard of vital factors involved in the production of top athletes. At this year’s awards ceremony the award for coach of the year especially resonated with me. It takes a great coach with many years of his or her own experience to develop top athletes and champions for one’s nation. Ukraine consistently possesses a very large and strong national team. To be recognized as a coach that has been able to dedicate himself to the success of so many athletes is truly an outstanding achievement for Mr. Pavel Yevtushenko this year and it sets the bar for other coaches of other nations to exceed.
IFMA: What are your plans for the rest of your fighting career?
JANICE: I just started my journey in the professional world of Muaythai last November 2014.
I am currently in Thailand looking to obtain more ring experience professionally so that I can fight top level females in my weight division. I want to battle the best so that I can one day be the best female fighter. I discovered Muaythai late, so unfortunately I don’t have a lot of time but I am willing to be dedicated to the sport to fulfil my dream. With IFMA I hope to get the chance to compete at the top level at IOC patronised events like the World Combat Games or World Games.
IFMA: Have you thought about your after career?
JANICE: Yes. Using the knowledge I will gain from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition, I want to develop a more validated nutrition program for Muaythai athletes. Our athletes need guidance on what foods will help them perform their best with respect to energy and repair, weight maintenance, food preparation and methods on how to cut water weight effectively and safely for competition. I have seen far too many of my teammates and other competitors cut weight for competition ineffectively and unsafely with very serious repercussions. There is general information for nutrition in martial arts, but very little Muaythai specific information. As a growing sport in Canada and the world, I hope to expand the information available to Muaythai athletes and athletes in combative sports.
Additionally, I would like to develop a nutrition program catered towards members at our gym who are in the sport for fitness. Muaythai culture is very family oriented (ages range from 4-70) and I want to develop an educational program that keeps our community up to date and safe about nutrition. Many people at our gym express their desire to develop healthy eating habits, while others simply have food allergies or health problems that require specific diets. My goal is to make healthy living and eating easily accessible to our members so that they can fulfil their goals and pass on their healthy habits to their families, friends and workplace.
IFMA: You recently have been appointed for a position on the IFMA Athletes Commission. How do you think you can contribute and why is it important for Athletes to have a voice in IFMA?
JANICE: I am heavily involved with various projects at my home gym from fight co-ordination, event planning, personal training, nutrition consultation and fighter training. As a result, my perspective of what it means to be an athlete and the various components that are vital to athletes is comprehensive yet very receptive to new ideas.
It is important for Athletes to have a voice in IFMA because the athletes are what make the sport. They sacrifice a lot to dedicate themselves to the sport and represent their country. Their safety and health can be severely compromised if the rules, regulations and governing bodies are not up to standard. The athletes are the ones who showcase and communicate to the world what Muaythai is. If the athletes are not taken care of and their voices aren’t heard the sport will not grow.
Every country has a different way of training for IFMA competitions. Every country contains top level athletes with a wealth of experience and knowledge about competition and being a top level contender for their country. Their experiences need to be heard to inspire other athletes, to motivate others to become more involved in IFMA, to educate people about the sport of Muaythai and the type of athletes we create and to drive change where needed so that the sport can evolve to a higher level.
IFMA: Any advice to anyone wanting to start training or fighting Muay Thai?
JANICE: Preserve your passion for the sport because the journey of a fighter takes several years from start to finish. Always be open to change because the sport and your competitors will always be evolving. Never be satisfied and always strive to be better and the best that you can be. It takes a lot of dedication, willpower, sacrifice and patience – but the beautiful thing from it all is that you come out stronger, more confident and more aware of yourself inside and outside of the ring.
IFMA: Any last words? Or people you would like to Thank?
JANICE: I would like to thank Ajahn Suchart for bringing Muaythai to Ontario and for being responsible for the upbringing of over 50, 000 students, some of which who are champions and/or have opened their own gyms and have helped to maintain the authenticity of the sport and culture of Muaythai. Our national team may be small in comparison to many other countries, however, it is because of the teachings of Ajahn Suchart and his student, Kru Darwin Miranda, that I am able to participate competitively at an international level with IFMA.
I would like to thank my coach Darwin Miranda, the founder of Krudar Muaythai and his wife Danica. Krudar has taken good care of me as a fighter by providing the best place to train in Ontario, enabling me to make a living through personal training and allowing me to represent our gym in competitions locally and internationally. Krudar has also allowed me to expand my knowledge in my other passion which is nutrition. I am currently studying to become a certified Holistic Nutritionist at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition and my ultimate goal is to meld my love and passion for Muaythai with my love and passion for food and nutrition. Thank you to Kru Darwin and his Super Woman Wife who have guided me along the way and always offered their help and advice to make not only my fighting career possible, but also encouraging me to be thoughtful about my life and career after fighting. I hope that I can give back to you and the Kru-mmunity through my studies in nutrition and through my experiences as a fighter. I love you both and thank you so much.
Lastly, I would like to thank my parents. They don’t really support my fighting but I would not be the person I am today without their upbringing. They instilled basic characteristics such as believing in myself, striving for the best, being independent, being a hard worker and being true to who I am and what I want that have been key factors in my success as a fighter and an individual. I love them with all my heart and thank them for always being there for me in all other aspects of my life.