Name: Paige Gill
Gym: Sparta Indy located in Fishers, IN
Fight record: 0-1
1.How long have you been training Muay Thai, what made you want to become a fighter?
I’ve been training Muay Thai for roughly 10 months now. There were a few major factors that made me want to be a fighter. I was getting pretty restless with my life for one – I’m a supervisor of a finance team and a grad school student, which is cool, it pays the bills and I like learning. And I would lift 5-6 days a week when I got home. But I felt bored. What was I training for? I’d played soccer for most of my life and missed being a competitive athlete. And about this time last year, I went through a pretty crazy experience in my personal life that finally made me say enough is enough. I’ve always admired people who had the guts to just go for it so why not do the same thing? I never would’ve guessed that I would grow to love Muay Thai and being a fighter so much. It didn’t take long at all for it to completely change my life and change me as a person in so many positive ways. Even on my worst day, deep down I’m all good because I’m doing what I love.
2. What has been your biggest challenge as a fighter?
So far I think my biggest challenge has been being patient with myself and my progress. I had played soccer for most of my life, and with most things, once you do something long enough you don’t have to really think, the muscle memory and instincts are all there so you just go out and do your thing without having to wonder if your technique is right, the timing, etc. So having to start from square one with something and feel unsure about my skill and technique in general was unsettling. But I’m loving the journey and being able to see and feel my skill level increase.
As far as my strengths go – physically I’m strong for my 5’3 frame and I’m a natural athlete. Mentally, I’m relentless and a quick learner. I’m constantly visualizing and mentally going over techniques, strategy, combos, you name it. “Quit” simply isn’t part of my vocabulary.
4. What do your friends and family think about you fighting?
At first, most of my friends and family kind of freaked out and were pretty shocked. I got the standard “What about your face?!” and “You’re too pretty to fight!” which was funny for all of about two seconds. I explained what made me want to fight and let them sort the rest of it out on their own. Not everybody will always understand that paths you take and that’s just part of life. I will say that my dad was probably the least shocked person.
5. What has been your proudest moment?
This is a tough one. I think it’s a tie between the first time I sparred with Kru Jamie Bradley and after my first fight ended. Sparring with Kru Jamie was the closest thing to a real fight that I’d ever had and I was in pure survival mode the entire time. I’d been training with Marcus for a few weeks and it was time for me to be tested and prove that I had it in me to truly pursue this. After the last round I remember shedding a few tears and trying to shake off the adrenaline and just feeling like total crap. Kru Jamie and Marcus both gave me some words of encouragement and that was that. I showed up the next day like normal and we went to work. Like I said before, I just don’t quit.
And after my first fight, I was spent inside and out. I lost by a split decision but I gave it everything I had, and later found out it was my opponent’s 6th fight and that she held a title in another promotion. We were originally informed that it was also her first fight. So knowing that I took the fight to her for all three rounds and visibly inflicted damage just kind of reaffirmed in my mind that there really isn’t anything I can’t do with continued training and hard work. Plus, I think fighting a more experienced opponent made me step up my game and it’s cool to look back on footage from the fight to see what I was able to pull off on 9 months of training.
There’s nothing really superstitious or anything, but I do like to watch the old Star Trek movies. We used to watch Star Trek all the time growing up so it always brings back good memories and it’s easy to just kind of zone out a little bit and not overthink things about the fight.
7. If you could fight on any promotion in the world what would it be?
There are some great promotions right now, I don’t know if I could pick just one! Lion Fight would definitely be amazing!
8. What are your goals as a fighter?
One of my biggest goals is to inspire others to just grab life by the horns and go for it, whether that means training for the health benefits, training to fight, or just following their dreams and passions in general. I was so nervous and anxious about what I wanted to do as a fighter when I started training. I felt that if I truly went for it that I could go as far as I wanted. But I also knew that meant I was going to have to make sacrifices and really put myself out there and put it all on the line. But by some miracle I just said screw it, this is what I want and I truly love this crazy, beautiful sport, so I’m just going to go for it. And I’ve honestly never been so happy. I get to do what I love literally 7 days a week. I travel, connect with other fighters and people in the fight community. It’s amazing how much different my life is now compared to this time last year, major plot twist!
Another one of my goals is to be the best damn fighter that I can be and never stop learning and improving. I feel limitless, there’s nothing that I’m not capable of doing or learning. I want to compete in and win at least one international Muay Thai tournament before focusing a little more on MMA. But Muay Thai absolutely holds a special place in my heart and I’ll keep fighting and training until my body won’t let me do it anymore.
Right now it’s looking like I’ll be fighting in an amateur Muay Thai bout at the end of June in New York at the Melrose Ballrom for ECF MMA (www.extremecagefighting.org). Due to what my coach wants to focus on for the next couple of months I’m not sure if I will have a fight before then, but I would definitely love to.
10. What would you say to anyone wanting to learn Muay Thai or become a fighter?
I would stress the importance of patience. You’re not going to be awesome overnight, but do your best to not get too frustrated with yourself. Take it one day at a time and do your best every training session. Oh and be brave. It’s scary sometimes for various reasons, but it’s so worth it to push through whatever fear you have.
Anyone you would like to Thank?
I have to thank my dad for sure. He’s my biggest cheerleader and always keeps me in check so that I’m making the best choices that I can. So many of my friends and family have been incredibly supportive, it’s great.
My coach Marcus and Kru Jamie…I could ramble and spill feelings all day about how thankful I am for these two incredible people. Marcus saw me training at another gym and convinced me to check out Sparta, and Kru Jamie believed him when he told her that I had what it takes and gave me the opportunity to try out a few classes. Moving my training to Sparta Indy was a definite game changer and I will forever be grateful to Marcus and Kru Jamie for the opportunity to join the Sparta family. The quality of training and the overall environment are so conducive to growing and improving as a fighter and as a person.
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Interview By Natasha Sky, March 2015, Photos supplied
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