To the best of my knowledge, Muay Thai first arrived in Sabah in 2009, when 3 Krus started teaching Muay Thai at 3 different clubs (Trinity Self Defence (Kru Antonio), Core Fitness (Kru Gallen) and a club in Dongonggon). However, due to reasons unknown tilll today, lessons at these clubs stopped a few months after the first lesson. Mr Jumat Lias Mansor and Mr Mohamed Nazim, were students at Trinity Self Defence.
In September 2009, Mr. Jumat Lias Mansor (known as AJ Vaa), flew to Kulim, Kedah to learn at Boxxwarriors Gym, Kulim and upon completing his training stint there, flew further to Thailand to train at Sinbi Muay Thai, Phuket.He is now fighting professionally. Meanwhile, in Sabah, Mr Julian Lee and his friend Mr Kyo Kaede, (students of Kru Gallen, and the Sabah Street Fighters, respectively), formed a club known as the Kinabalu Fight Club, and practised Muay Thai. In between fight camps, Mr Jumat, a personal trainer, started teaching Muay Thai to his clients (myself included) on a one to one basis, 10 sessions per package. For the record, Mr Jumat founded a club known as Sabah Muay Thai, logo designed by Hatta Dahli.
Realising that the main problem faced by Nak Muay in Sabah is shortage of Muay Thai instructors and affordable Muay Thai classes, Mr Mohamed Nazim sought help from Kru Azman Abdul and Kru Raja Ahmad Talmizi (of the Anak Naga Api and Sitkrumat Muay Thai camps, respectively). Help came in the form of the 1Malaysia Authentic Muay Thai Kickboxing Seminar, Kota Kinabalu, where 50 Nak Muay, were literally made. The event organised by Kelab Anak Naga Api ( Persatuan Tomoi Gombak) and Sitkrumat Muay Thai Camp with the cooperation of a few other Clubs from Peninsular Malaysia, literally jumpstarted the Muay Thai machine in Sabah. A few weeks after the said seminar, the Royal Malaysia Police, Sabah organised their own Muay Thai Seminar,wherein Mr Bernard Radin, of the Head Hunter Gym, Ipoh trained 8 participants (consisting of 7 policemen and 1 civillian) in Muay Thai. The Royal Malaysia Police' (Sabah)'s zeal and enthusiasm in quickly making Muay Thai their own exclusive sport, stands as testament to the effectiveness of Muay Thai. None of the Kinabalu Fighters and Sabah Muay Thai were able to participate as the seminar was organised at the 11th hour, without their knowledge and was in conflict with their existing schedules.
Subsequently 6 Sabahan Nak Muay, all students of Kru Antonio, Kru Gallen, Kru AJ and Kru Bedu (of Boxxwarriors), underwent an Instructor's Course organised by Kru Azman Abdul, in the Sitkrumat-Naga Api style of Muay Thai. This is an part of a joint effort to ensure that there is a local pool of Sabahan Muay Thai trainers. Kru Azman's kindness in sharing his knowledge, shows that fighters do have pure hearts. Where some trainers hid their knowledge and only shared 20% of what they know to their students, Kru Azman shared all of his Muay Thai knowledge with the Sabahan Nak Muay and warmly welcomed them to the Sitkrumat-Naga Api brotherhood , ensuring that there will be continuing Muay Thai education for these local trainers.
Kru Mohamed Nazim Maduarin is a lawyer in Kota Kinabalu and President of Sabah Muay Thai.