• Call Us
  • Nicholas Mann is Straight Blast Gym Buford’s Martial Arts Student of the Month for July 2021


    Nicholas just competed in his first Muay Thai competition at age 38 😲.

    Muay Thai is oftentimes thought of as a “young man’s game”. It’s understandable, especially if you watch competitive Muay Thai or Kickboxing where most of the martial arts athletes are in their 20’s. At that level, the guy who is 35-years-old is considered the old, grizzled veteran. Sure, 35 might be on the older side for professional Muay Thai, but for someone looking to get in killer shape and learn an amazing new skill…you’re never too old to start training.

    Nick Mann didn’t even begin training in Muay Thai until he was 37. Like a lot of men in their 30’s, Nick had done all of the traditional workout routines at all of the traditional gyms and fitness centers. He wanted something different; something fun; something effective. What he found was Muay Thai.

    Nick’s wife, Ashely, told us about why her husband decided to join Straight Blast Gym Buford:

    “Nick was an athlete all throughout his childhood, through high school with baseball, basketball, and football. He was a member of a Lifetime Fitness gym for a while and just didn’t like it. He started looking at a lot of different kinds of martial arts and gyms and decided that he liked Muay Thai the best. After he visited SBG he loved the vibe and the community, and he’s been going ever since.”

    Not long after Nicholas came on board, his wife and son joined the Tribe too, training in SBG’s Fitness Kickboxing, Fitness Performance, and Kids Jiu Jitsu classes.

    “We saw how much my husband was enjoying himself and Nick gave us lots of encouragement. He squashed any fears we had. We decided it was time to make some lifestyle changes for everyone in the family. We haven’t looked back not only do each of us feel better we are seeing results.”

    After about a year of training in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Nick wanted to compete against other martial arts practitioners and test his skill level. An opportunity presented itself in the form of the Combat Sparring League; a local event that allows amateur Muay Thai athletes in the Buford/Atlanta area to compete against each other.

    Preparing for the competition, Nicholas was at SBG Buford 5-6 days per week taking Muay Thai classes and training/sparring with his teammates. On the day of the competition, he was poised, relaxed, and ready to test his skill.

    After 3 very hard-fought rounds, Nicholas lost a split decision (one judge scored it in favor of Nick, the other two judges scored it for his opponent). While the decision was razor close and could have gone either way, the outcome of the contest wasn’t nearly as important as the effort Nick put forth. All of his martial arts training was on display as he was a part of one of the best Muay Thai fights in the entire competition.

    Recognizing that Nicholas was the oldest competitor at the Combat Sparring League Event, the promotor presented him with a special award that was signed by all of that day’s attendees.

    Muay Thai Coach Jim Sheppard said this about Nick’s performance that day:

    “My expectations were relatively low for Nick, as they are with all first-time competitors. Of course, you want them to do well, but getting out there in front of a bunch of people and fighting another person can intimidate a lot of people and cause them to perform poorly. Nick looked just as good, if not better, out there than he did in the gym during practice. He was incredibly relaxed and stuck to his game plan. He might not have gotten the outcome he wanted but everyone recognized how awesome his performance was and that’s what really matters. He worked hard, showed up, and did the thing.”

    The following week after the competition Nick was right back in the gym and participating in Muay Thai practice. He is a fantastic representative of the SBG tribe and proof that you can not only start but excel in martial arts in your late 30’s. A lot of people let the fear of “I’m too old” stop them from ever participating in Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, or Mixed Martial Arts, but Nicholas Mann is proof that the “I’m too old” mentality is simply false.

    Congratulations Nicholas!

    Jim Sheppard

    is one of the co-owners of Straight Blast Gym Buford and Straight Blast Gym Atlanta. He has been training / coaching / competing in Muay Thai since 2013 and holds a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.