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Behind the Fight : With “Combat Fitness”

Carlos " The Virus " Galvan. Kickboxing Champion. Combat Fitness.

Carlos ” The Virus ” Galvan. Kickboxing Champion. Combat Fitness.

It was a warm October afternoon when I pulled up to Combat Fitness of
Concord, CA, to film our second episode of Behind the Fight. Nestled
in a set of industrial warehouses, it sat with it huge roll up doors
wide open welcoming those interested in to come watch as the current
and future champions the gym had produced and trained like gladiators
of ancient times on their craft of combat. Shortly after entering you
can feel the atmosphere of an old school fight full of Nak Muays
(thai boxers) each working the specific skills needed for their own
separate individual fights. It seemed as their was a coach to work
with each fighter training. Each with their own specific specialty.
And even though each fighter and coach were in their own area working
a vibe of unity flowed throughout the entire gym.

We were introduced to the gym by it’s owner George “T.N.T.” Tsutsui. A
four time former world champion who learned the art of Muay Thai
training with the legendary camp at Fairtex San Francisco, George was
filled with the knowledge of the “Wooden Man” Jogsanan Fairtex, and
the late great American kickboxing champ Alex Gong. All world
champions trained by Bay Area legend Ganyao, affectionately known as
“Dr. Knee” (I can only assume from the many ribs he has rearranged
with his deadly knee strikes). George, although not the tallest of
men, cast a shadow about 10 feet high. But like many great Muay Thai
trainers, has a gentle warmth about him that makes you relaxed to be
in his presence. He’s a true master who feels no need to intimidate in
order to earn respect.

After George, who everyone in the gym simply refers too as “Sir,”
regaled us with several stories of how it was to train at the lions
den that was Fairtex SF, we entered the gym to the coaches yelling
instruction between commanding their fighters to smash the long thai
pads that looked to be all holding on tightly to their last of
threads. Sir’s command of his fighters was evident as he instructed
them to move from one drill to the next almost demonstrating this
control he had of his team for our cameras. He’d tell his boys, “why
don’t you guys hit the bag for a few round,” followed by, “gear up and
do some light rounds of sparring for these guys.” Each command would
be promptly followed by his fighters without hesitation or question,
just a quiet “yes sir” followed by action in the direction ordered.

The two fighters Sir was commanding happen to be two of his best. A
135 pounder, Carlos “the Virus” Galvan, who fights pro in both MMA and
Muay Thai. And a 160 pound top Muay Thai amateur, Jarred “Slim”
Pierce. Both men preparing for rematches of tough and or controversial
fights in their last outings. Carlos, coming off an MMA loss in a very
short notice fight against another extremely talented fighter out of
Unlimited MMA/Kickboxing, Josh San Diego. And Slim, who’s last fight
was ruled a DQ no contest to another Unlimited fighter Sonny Sing.
Jarred still being an amateur was hit with a knee to the head, which
is an illegal blow in IKF amateur rules, and was unable to continue
and therefore the fight was stopped. Things were said by the opposing
camp to dispute the validity of the ruling so to settle things, the
rematch was set.

Jarred was the first of the two fighters we had the pleasure of
interviewing. Jarred is what you’d call a quiet killer. His eye’s
piercing and his demeanor very calm. Once in the ring, he becomes a
different animal. When asked about his camp in preparations for this
fight, Jarred said he and his team where working hard as always just
to improve every day and put on the best performance he could come
fight night. I asked him how he felt for the last fight to have ended
the way that it did he replied simply, “You never want a fight to end
like that,” and that “I just want to prove that I can beat him the
right way.” Next up to be interviewed was Carlos “the Virus” Galvan.
Carlos, an immigrant from Mexico who relocated to the US in 2003
credits his big brother for getting him into fighting by bringing him
to his first Jiu Jitsu class. Carlos, now a purple belt found Muay
Thai roughly 5 or so years ago, and like Slim, has always trained
under the tutelage of coach Tsutsui at Combat Fitness. Carlos although
starting his martial arts journey in grappling feels now that the
stand up game is his strength. When asked about his upcoming Muay Thai
rematch with San Diego he said, “I want a chance to show him that I
can beat him in my game, the stand up game.”

Carlos fights this November 1st at the up and coming Muay Thai Global
event in Sacramento California. And Jarred “Slim” Pierce will be
fighting for the Bay Area IKF amateur title at the Bay Area Challenge
event being held in Petaluma, CA, on November 22nd. Both fighters with
something to prove, look to put on some of the best performances of
their careers.

Combat Fitness and the coaching staff directed by George Tsutsui are
to put it simply all “Champion Minded.” Slim is going for the Bay Area
IKF title, and Carlos is the former MTG 142 lbs. Ammy Champ. Fighter
Charles Rodriquez is aiming for his 3rd title this year, November 15th
for an IKF World title. The stable they have developed is no doubt
carrying on the legacy that George and his former teammates at Fairtex
SF created and have continued to pass on over the past 2 decades. Be
on the look out for these young up-and-comers. Although this may be
the first time for you hearing their names, it defiantly won’t be the
last.