Sunday, 07 June 2020


Muay Thai classes in Cooks Beach

By Jack Biddle

Vaughn Condon was born and raised in Whitianga, but now resides in Cooks Beach with his wife, Rahira and their three children.

Local knowledge with a little bit of “been-there-done-that” thrown in, has made Vaughn realise that while Cooks Beach is a great place to grow up in, at times there isn’t a lot to do for the young people of the Mercury Bay South area (Cooks beach, Hahei, Hot Water Beach and Whenuakite). That made him decide to offer Muay Thai classes in the newly renovated Cooks Beach Hall.

Vaughn has trained extensively in the art of Muay Thai, which is the combat sport of Thailand. It’s often referred to as the “art of eight limbs” because of everything it involves. It’s characterized by the combined use of most of the main parts of the body to ensure a good, all-round physical condition is attained. For those who take the sport to the ultimate level, there’s the opportunity to move into full-contact fighting.

 “The kids in our area are all good kids, but it does become very easy for them to gravitate towards their electronic devices and become coach potatoes when there are few other options available to be active at certain times of the year,” says Vaughn. “That was the main reason I decided to provide an activity that would get them away from their screens for a short spell on a regular basis.

“I also know from past experience that a large majority of them will leave the Mercury Bay area at some stage to further their studies or to find fulltime employment or set out to discover life in general away from home. While having a good early education is vital, feeling self-confident is also an important part of one’s makeup when taking those first big steps into the unknown.”    

In an effort to upskill himself more, Vaughn is heading over to Thailand shortly for a two week training camp.  He says it will be a great opportunity to learn more skills which he intends to add into his classes.     

In keeping with the traditions of the Muay Thai art, all Vaughn’s classes start with warm-up exercises - skipping, stretches and shadow boxing - before moving on to more technique-focused drills. Certainly all those eight limbs the sport focuses on get a solid workout.  

To help get his classes off the ground, Vaughn applied for, and was granted, funding from Pub Charity. This helped with buying gear and contributing towards the costs of hiring the Cooks Beach Hall. “It was awesome to receive the funding, which enabled me to organise a venue and obtain some of the essential training gear required,” says Vaughn.

Classes, which are run on Monday and Thursday nights, are broken down into three age groups - seven to 11 year olds, 11 to 18 year olds and adults. The youngest group starts at 5:15pm, followed by the 11 to 18 year olds at 5:45pm and the adults at 6:45pm. 

There’s a $2 per session charge for the two younger groups and a $5 per session charge for the adults, with all funds raised going back into the purchasing of new gear and to cover costs. All are welcome, not just children and adults from the Mercury Bay South area.

To find out more contact Vaughn on 021 0821 8782.


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