By: Kyle Gilmore
How many times have you heard “You’re going to the gym AGAIN?” “Why do you waste so much time/money/energy on that stuff?” “What’s the point, you’ll never need it.” I know I’ve heard it more than once (usually from my lovely wife, but that’s another story). However, I’ve reached a point in my life that I realize that the answer to the “why” question is “because you never know.” You simply never know when you’ll need all those hours of training. I fought amateur Muay Thai and other combat sports from the time I was just a kid until just a few years ago. After an unsuccessful amateur fight career and an ACL reconstruction, I turned my back on Muay Thai for years. I had poured my heart and soul into training, throwing kick-after-kick, and knee-after-knee. For YEARS there had been days that I hated going to the gym. There had been days that I was scared to fight with sparring partners at the gym. There had even been days that I stayed composed at the gym, but as soon as the session was over, spent the ride home crying, convinced I was not making the kind of progress I felt like I should have been.
So I took a break from constant training.
In 2010, I took a job as a Sheriff’s Deputy in a small county in southeastern Illinois. (Now, before you say “man this guy’s a cop, I’m not reading anymore of this”, hear me out.) A couple of years had passed since I’d given up a serious training regimen, and I decided to get involved with Muay Thai. I trained periodically, and continued to attend an annual seminar at my old gym, where my former coach hosted Ajarn Chai Sirisute. I worked all of this into my schedule, training in Muay Thai as casually as one without an actual fight career can train. I also participated twice in a charity boxing event, and trained for that on my days off from work.
One night I responded to a call with another officer. The initial call had come in from a nearby neighbor who reported that two drunken individuals were fighting in the middle of a county road. The other officer left the scene to give one of the two guys a ride home…leaving me alone with the second guy, who was very, very intoxicated. So here I was, stuck with the other drunk guy, who was an absolute mouthpiece. I attempted to reign in Mr. Mouthpiece’s expletive-loaded rants about “dirty cops” and threats regarding the neighbor who called the police in the first place, and I warned him not to make any threats or advancements to the neighbor. At this point Mr. Mouthpiece’s brother showed up at the scene to give him a ride home. If Mr. Mouthpiece had simply accepted the ride from his brother, the story would end there, him with a headache and me moving on with my shift. Unfortunately, before we could convince Mr. Mouthpiece to get into his brother’s vehicle, the neighbor who called in about the fight strolled up to the scene.
Up to this point Mr. Mouthpiece had been less than cooperative with my requests to comply—including my request/command that he not make threats to his neighbor, who was a witness at this point. His next move was completely consistent with his previously sparkling personality, especially the part where he threatened to slit the neighbor’s throat. Suddenly, Mr. Mouthpiece appeared to realize that he had used up any good will I might have had up to that point, and he attempted to get into the passenger side of his brother’s vehicle…all while the neighbor is shrieking that he wants Mr. Mouthpiece arrested.
I walked over to the passenger side of the vehicle where Mr. Mouthpiece was sitting and opened the door. I requested he get out to be placed under arrest. Now you might find this hard to believe, but Mr. Mouthpiece did not want to get out! Shocking behavior from such a model citizen, I know. I attempted to grab Mr. Mouthpiece’s legs and pull them out of the vehicle, at which point he kicked me. From the moment Mr. Mouthpiece made his final threat to the neighbor, and even without being aware of it, I went into “fight mode.” I was readying myself for whatever Mr. Mouthpiece might bring at me—keeping in mind that I had no backup, his brother was an unknown, and the neighbor had already displayed poor judgment. After the kick to my torso I responded with an upward punch into Mr. Mouthpiece’s side. We were now outside of the vehicle, and I was able to trap him against the passenger side with my elbow pressed into him (clinch training anyone?). Mr. Mouthpiece would still not comply with my requests to be placed under arrest, so I secured him in a clinch with my hands behind his head. I executed a straight knee into his stomach, causing him to buckle over, then fired another knee to his face. Mr. Mouthpiece threw a wild haymaker, punching me in the face. I had been training for the charity boxing event at the time of this incident, and thankfully was conditioned for the punch. I responded by taking Mr. Mouthpiece to the ground, where he continued to resist, and placed him in handcuffs.
I write this story to you today, not to tell you how I’m this Clint Eastwood character that saved the Wild West, and I’m sure that there are some out there that could argue that I am some badge-heavy douche for the way I handled the arrest with too much force, etc. (‘cause everyone can critique something-until they’re in a similar situation). This was not a case of police brutality. This was a case, where I had to not only protect a witness, I had to protect myself. If you’re reading this, you probably train Muay Thai. Maybe you’re not yielding the results in the gym you had hoped; maybe that fight you trained so hard for, did not produce a win. Remember me telling you about all the heartbreak and hard work I had put in earlier in the article? Well all that training paid off, in a different aspect in my life. Sure I got beat up in the gym. Sure I lost fights. But I came away with my life intact in a dangerous situation. Muay Thai is a journey, and no matter what your occupation or goals are, don’t turn your back on it…the hard training you’re putting in could potentially save your life!