Muay Thai News: Austin Lingo in training for upcoming War of the Heroes IV in Santa Clara, California on October 10th
Muay Thai News: Austin Lingo in training for upcoming
“War of the Heroes IV”
in Santa Clara,
California on October 10th
Interview as told to Todd “Jake” Jacobson, Jake at Ringside
Austin Lingo, a fifteen year old from Plano, Texas, is in training with Saekson Janjira, a six time world Muay Thai champion from Thailand, for the upcoming “War of the Heroes IV” competitions.
The “War of the Heroes IV” is scheduled for October 10th in Santa Clara. A win here puts him on Team USA with world championships scheduled for Nov 27th - Dec 5th in Bangkok, Thailand.
Austin also competes at the expert level in jiu jitsu tournaments, recently receiving a bronze medal at Abu Dhabi. He does boxing, tae kwon do, submission grappling, and has had an MMA fight as part of a reality show called “The Fight Life” scheduled to air regionally on NBC in February. Austin regularly trains with pro MMA fighters and I’ve been told that he holds his own with them quite well.
I recently had the opportunity to interview Austin as he prepares for his upcoming fight.
Jake at Ringside: First, let me congratulate you on your fine career so far. For a young man you have obviously come a long way very quickly. Although I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing you fight from reading your accomplishments so far you obviously are developing a strong foundation in a lot of different combat forms. Quite impressive.
Austin: Thanks for the opportunity to speak to you.
Let’s get started. First, tell me how you got into combat sports in the first place? Did you play other sports such as football, basketball, baseball, etc., first, or did you jump right into combat sports?
My friends and I were being dumb and fighting each other and my dad saw a video. He took me to a boxing gym and thought that I would get beat up a couple of times and then not want to fight anymore. But, actually, I loved it. I had played almost every sport before including baseball, soccer, swim team, basketball, football, hockey, and even skateboarding. I loved hockey but they folded the league and I was even sponsored in skateboarding but it was nothing compared to fighting.
Of the combat forms that you have trained in, is Muay Thai your favorite? Is it the form that you are best at?
I don’t know about best at. I love the stand up part of fighting and I really like competing in jiu jitsu. It’s really hard to say which I’m best at since they are so different. I would have to say if I had to give everything else up and focus on one thing it would probably be Muay Thai.
I understand that you have already made the “Team Texas” MT team and that you will be fighting for the MT national championship on October 10 in Santa Clara. What is your Muay Thai record? How many rounds will the fight be? How many minutes per round?
Yeah, I’m really excited and fortunate to be invited to compete for a national title already. Texas doesn’t have organized, sanctioned Muay Thai fights for amateurs yet but that will be coming soon, hopefully as soon as October. So, all of my experience to date has been in smoker tournaments, exhibitions and the talent searches conducted by the MTAT. I competed in three of those events.
Is Muay Thai popular in your area? Are there local promotions either amateur or pro for MT bouts? Are there gyms that have strong MT programs?
There is a pretty good interest in Muay Thai in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and several gyms in the area that have pro and amateur fighters. It’s still a fairly unknown sport. But, the surge in popularity in combat sports in general is making more people aware of it. I personally train with Saekson Janjira, a six time world champion from Thailand. He’s considered by many to be one of the top trainers in the country.
Let’s talk about your training for a little bit. I see that you 5’7 ½ and 128. From your picture, you look like you are in excellent shape. Can you tell me a little bit about your training generally and in particular about your training for your upcoming bout?
In general I train 6 days a week. I actually train at many different gyms because I think that I learn a little bit from each one and when you put it all together it makes me better. I train in boxing, muay thai, jiu jitsu, submission grappling, wrestling, mma, tae kwon do, judo, kickboxing and several other combat sports. I drop into a new gym at least every couple of weeks to try something different. It keeps it interesting and I usually learn something from each one.
I’ve changed my training lately for this fight to focus on Muay Thai. I still do Jiu Jitsu but my main focus is on Muay Thai. As far as road work, I was a mid distance runner and I like the running part. I generally do it once a week including running a couple of miles followed by sprints and then hills. We sometimes carry weights, heavy bags or people for some of the cardio conditioning. I stay away from weight training right now until I’m 17 or 18 but I do some strength and conditioning with several different personal trainers at various gyms. I do some kettle bell training as well as isometric training with a Russian guy at one of my gyms. I do some plyometric training to improve my speed. With all the gyms I go to and all the various workouts I think I cover a lot conditioning methods.
Please tell me about your diet. Do you have anyone who helps you with your nutrition? Do you consume a certain amount of protein in a day for example?
I don’t spend as much time on my diet as I should. I try to eat healthy, but I still like fast food. I’ve been to several nutrition stores and have gotten a lot of information about what I should be eating. The only things special that I do right now is that I take protein shakes once or twice a week. I only weighed 113 pounds last year and I was trying to gain muscle mass. I’m now at 128 or 130 but I’m fighting at 125 so I’m not even doing the protein shakes now.
How about today, is there a fighter that you particularly admire?
I like Anderson Silva and George St. Pierre. I think their styles are closer to what I want to be like than some of the other fighters.
Getting back to the issue of combat forms, generally. You have trained in many combat forms. Tell me more about the differences and the combat effectiveness of the different forms. Which combat form do you think is most beneficial for an MMA bout using current MMA rules? Which form is most effective for an out and out street fight? It seems that ju jitsu and submission grappling have really taken off now that MMA has become so hot. Are these skills critical to success in MMA competition?
I think each one has its strengths and that’s why I train in so many. Most people say it’s a mistake to train in all of them at once but I think the next generation of MMA fighters will be very well rounded. As far as stand up I would have to say I believe Muay Thai to be the very best. I train in boxing as well to add power and technique to my hands as well. Karate or Tae Kwon Do tend to get a bad rap but there are some very effective techniques that can be used in MMA from these forms.
As far as takedowns are concerned, wrestling and judo are important. With those skills you can decide where you want the fight to take place. On the ground, wrestling with ground and pound, submission grappling and obviously jiu jitsu.
As far as street fighting goes, all of these are sports oriented martial arts and there are more effective self defense systems like Krav Maga for that. Which do I think are critical for success in MMA? Some people say all you need is wrestling and boxing. Some say Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu. Some say ground and pound and wrestling.
What I think is that any of these can beat any of the others depending on the fighter. That is to say, it is the fighter that will win the fight, not the form, at least to a certain extent. I train in all of them and try to compete at the highest levels in all of them because you never know who your opponent is going to be.
Let’s talk about lifestyle for a minute. Do you find it difficult to maintain your grades with the heavy training schedule that you are under? Does the discipline that you learn as an athlete help you in school? Do you have any other thoughts on the benefits to you as a person of the work ethic and discipline you learn as an athlete, and particularly as a combat sports athlete?
I’ve always struggled in school even without fighting. I go to tutoring before and after school to keep up. The discipline has really helped my behavior in school but not my grades. It comes down to applying myself. I think I’ve learned that you can do amazing things with hard work, discipline and focus. Sustaining that requires a lot of interest though. I believe that I could be successful at anything if I apply myself the way I have in training. My dad gave me this saying that; ability is what you CAN do, motivation determines WHAT you do and attitude determines HOW WELL you do it. We all have abilities but having the right attitude and motivation determines whether we are successful.
Is their anything else you would like to share with the fans of combat sports that may read this article?
I love this sport or sports. I’m just glad there are people that like it and want to see entertaining fights. I’m training to be the kind of fighter that people want to see.
Well, thanks Austin. I appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions. Good luck with your upcoming bout at the “War of the Heroes IV” on October 10th!
Thanks. I know it’s going to be a tough fight. My opponent is from Peru and represented USMF last year in South Korea as a member of Team USA in the World Championships. He also has a world title so I know I’m going to have to fight hard to win.
Todd “Jake” Jacobson
September 15, 2009
Contact email for Austin Lingo