Name: Jazmine Gallate Weight: 65kg Gym: Chokchai Muay Thai Age: 17 Fight Record: 18f-15w-3l
1. How long have you been training Muay Thai & what made you want to become a fighter? I have been training Muay Thai on and off for the past 15years, starting at 5 years of age. My mum put me in Muay Thai for self defense reasons and I ended up falling in love with the art. What drove me to become a ‘fighter’ was watching all the big guys around me training for their fights and attending fight nights on a fortnightly/monthly basis… I didn’t understand why I trained too but wasn’t allowed to fight, haha. My mum and my trainer always told me once I was 16 I could have my shot at it if I still wanted. At 9 years of age send a message through to JWP and asked what it meant to do a novice weigh in, and then sent through my details and told him we would be coming to weigh ins that Friday; JWP then called my trainer to confirm and I got in a whole load of trouble… I ended up fighting a girl a whole lot heavier, freezing up in the 2nd round and my trainer threw in the towel. I threw the biggest tantrum afterwards because I wanted to get back in there and give it another shot, being 9 I didn’t really understand. Angie and John came and spoke to me about losing and how everyone has to deal with it at some point. I grew so much from this experience, and it reminds me so often why I do what I do: that feeling of stepping in the ring. Doing what we love. Chasing our dreams no matter what.
2. What has been your biggest challenge as a fighter? My biggest challenge has been finding matches. A couple years ago it seemed like there was barely anybody to fight, plus being in the 60+ weight category never helped, but that’s just what my body sits at naturally, and being so young my trainers never pushed me to really lose weight. Now, so clearly the game has changed and there a plenty of girls out that that are also easy to find – but still, securing matches in Australia is a big headache. We even had a bit of trouble over here in Thailand for a bit. Girls seem to think because I’ve trained for so long (near 15years now) that I’m some sort of expert ninja or something, and that’s totally not the case! I’m still learning everyday, and have soooo much to learn. I have had huge breaks throughout these years from broken bones, torn muscles, school reasons, etc. Only in the past 4 or so years have I actually been training on a 5-6 days per week/2 times per day basis, and even then, I’ve had a couple weeks off here and there due to torn things and assessment periods. I am no Muay Thai genius, in the Thai world I’m still very much a beginner and I am willing to fight anyone, any time, at any healthy weight, with any experience.
Before the fight? – Always super chilled, people often comment on how crazy I must be, and how weird I am for being so calm, haha. Makes me laugh every time. I love what I do – the only thing that really makes me nervous is messing up my Wai Kru, which could show disrespect to my trainers/family/Buddha. I just keep my mind in a pretty zen state, as I naturally am; and focus on the task at hand. I know what I need to do, I know what I’ve trained so hard for, and I’m going to go in there and read her like a book.
During the fight? – “What is she doing…? Is she trying to hide any injuries…? Oh, I got you now. She looks tired now, haha, I’m not tired, let’s go! Oh, your leg is sore? Let me kick it some more.” I try to zone in on the voices of my corner. If my corner is pretty quite it usaully means I’ve got what I’m doing right, and to just keep doing what I’m doing… If I start to feel like I’m missing something or doing something really well I’ll listen to how the crowd is reacting/what people are yelling, then I’ll zone back in on the voices of my trainers. I continue to read her.
After the fight? – It doesn’t matter if I had the best fight of my career so far, I am always very skeptical. I over-analyse eeeverything. I’ll check on my opponent, thank them and wish them well. And my trainers and I will have a sit down after photos and talk about what I did well, what we need to work on and how we’ll do it. I usually go back to training either the day after or the day after that. Knowing what I need to work on makes me way too eager to get back in the gym.
4. You have been training in Thailand, how do you think that has helped you as a fighter? Training in Thailand has been a dream come true, literally. I’ve learnt so much. There have been so many amazing things happen, I’ve met so many beautiful souls, and I literally love being here, sooo much. My technique has improved, I’ve gotten more fight experience, I’ve grown so much, both mentally and physically. It hasn’t all been sunshine and rainbows, but I’d rather not mention the negative when 98% has been nothing but super positive!
5. If you could fight on any promotion in the world what would it be and why? The promotion I’d most like to fight on right now is one that we’re actually all working to try and get alive! Awakening Fighters’, Rew Mitchell, is trying to get an all female promotion started featuring women from all over the world. I’d also love to fight on Thai Fight, Lion Fight, and the King’s Cup & Queen’s Cup.
6. What are peoples reactions when you tell them you are a fighter? They question me… A lot. Or they just stare for a bit and kind of shrug it off like they’ll try get their head around it later or something, haha. Often when I tell them what I do they’ll tell me how much I don’t look like a fighter (apparently we must be all related or something, did you know this?), they’ll ask me how long I’ve trained, not believe me, then they’ll ask me how many fights I’ve had, and not believe me, then they’ll ask how old I am, and not believe me. Oh, and my all time favorite “I wouldn’t like to run into you in a dark alley.” Like WTF does that mean, why are either of us in a dark alley, and why do you immediately assume I’d hurt you? Seriously, gets on my nerves so much every time, ‘wooosaaaa’.
7. What are random 3 things people might not know about you? No.1 ~ I am Tongan, Greek & Aboriginal – super proud of my heritage. No.2 ~ I’ve worked as an entertainer, a waitress, a bartender, cashier, English teacher, nanny, etc – I’ve worked extremely hard to get where I am. No.3 ~ I was brought up by very young people; my mum gave birth to me at the age of 16 and had worked my whole life in security, full time until just 1.5years ago. I was brought up around skaters, fighters, stoners, surfers, drag queens, entertainers, hippies, metal-heads, etc. I wouldn’t trade my childhood for the world; all these people helped form me into the young woman I am today, and for that I am forever grateful.
8. What do you think are the most important things to remember as a fighter? The most important thing to remember is that you are not the only person you affect, what you do affects everyone around you, and everyone you come into contact with will affect you in some way. Your trainers/pad holders put in just as much effort and heart as you do, never forget that. Never forget how far you’ve come, and what is really important. Don’t let yourself get side-tracked, always have your mind on the goal, but remember to cherish every minute along the way.
9. Have you got and fights coming up? My next and nearest fight is on the 29th, I’ll be fighting a woman from Costa Rica. The promotion is Sinbi Taewoong’s, held at Sinbi Muay Thai. I’ll also be fighting the same night as my trainer Tukkatatong Phetpayatai, a former and current champion from Bangkok! So excited.
10. Any advise for anyone wanting to start training or fighting? Go for it! Don’t hestitate. You might have to go on a little hunt for the right gym that fits you though. More often you’ll find that it’s who you’re surrounded by, not what you’re doing that really affects your life. Make sure these people are a nothing but positive influence on your life. If you’re wanting to fight make sure you are ready both physically, and even more so mentally.
Anyone you would like to Thank? I would love to thank my momma, Lisa Fakaanga for everything she does and has done to support not only myself but the whole Muay Thai community. I’d like to thank my trainers, both past and current. My supporters and fans, my family and friends. I have so much love for you all, don’t you ever doubt it.
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Interview By Natasha Sky Nov 2014, Photos from facebook
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