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Exploring Life & Business with Ryan Hodges of Point Muay Thai/ Muay Thai Championship

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ryan Hodges.

Hi Ryan, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
There are a lot of key moments in my life that paved the road for my “today”. Growing up, my parents were so supportive to let me try out so many sports, helping me develop as a well-rounded athlete. In high school, I really developed my passion for wrestling, which would later become the foundation for my skills as a martial artist. My journey really took off when I decided to join The United States Marine Corps after graduating Highschool. At the time, I didn’t really know what else I wanted to do, but I knew after talking to the recruiters that this would be a step in the right direction. Serving my country would be an honor. Once I told my family about the news, my older brother Daniel (my number one wrestling and sparring partner) decided to join as well. We both went to the same boot camp. Here, we both got into the MCMAP, Marine Corps Martial Arts Program which really shaped our love for MMA and combat skills. After graduating boot camp and our School of infantry, we got dispatched to different locations. Daniel went to Africa to fulfill his US Marine Reserves duties and I ended up getting deployed to Afghanistan. Getting deployed there was one of the most challenging chapters of my life, but I’m so grateful for the discipline it instilled and the strength I discovered within myself throughout the time of my service. When my term was coming to a close, I really wanted to start to shape my future career, so I decided to pursue Global Business studies in college. This really helped me attain the overall skills I needed to make something happen.

While attending college, Daniel and I decided to partner up to open our own Business, selling MMA supplies. We officially opened our first business, “Inertia Fight Shop”. College was another kind of challenge in itself because of the workload and trying to manage our business at the same time. I was able to complete my studies and graduate with a Bachelors in Global Business Management. Our first five years of business was also very challenging to say the least. We were blessed to have a friend and fellow marine of mine named Jastin help us by becoming our first angel investor for the business. We found a great location for a shop in Oceanside, CA, but it needed a lot of cosmetic work done. We signed a contract with the Landlord to move in, and he took a good portion of our Angel Investment money. We were happy and excited to say the least. We renovated the shop and made a lot of improvements to the cosmetics. The first year there really flew by, and our supply business was really starting to become popular. We were moving into year 2 of our MMA supply business when we received an eviction letter from the bank saying that our current landlord had to vacant the premises within 30 days. This is when we found out our landlord was pocketing our monthly rent payments. We were forced to move our entire shop, into a small spare room at Blackline Training Center, in Carlsbad, CA. We were determined to keep our business afloat during these unprecedent times. We finished off the year there, but our business was declining. Considering all of this, plus the loss of my friend Jastin shortly after, really reminds me how hard those first few years were for us business-wise, as well as personally.

We kept moving forward and decided to change directions with our business, starting with the promotional events we do now. In a nutshell, the events started because Daniel’s kickboxing coach, Johnny Davis, started the International Point Muay Thai Concept back in the 90’s. Daniel and I even competed in a few events while we were in the Marines. While I was stationed over in Afghanistan, Johnny had moved to South Carolina, so the few events he started came to a standstill. Once we were both out of the Marines, that’s when Daniel and I called him and decided to bring them back to CA, but it came with its challenges because no one really knew about the tournaments, let alone Muay Thai. We started with a few goals in mind. We wanted an avenue for athletes to showcase their talents and skills in a safe and sanctioned event. We wanted to eliminate unfair and dangerous smokers. Most importantly, we wanted to grow the sport of Muay Thai. Our very first event had only eight competitors! To promote Daniel, my girlfriend Jaqueline and I would drive around our beater cars to every gym in CA that we could go to, personally educating them and introducing them to our events.

Today, Daniel, My wife Jaqueline and I are so proud to see the growth and the community we have built from the ground up. We have a team of promoters underneath us and events all over the entire state of California. We just brought the events to Texas and Nevada as well, and our team continues to grow!! An average show typically showcases 100 or more athletes! I couldn’t ask for better partners and the people that we work with. The greatest part is seeing the athletes grow their careers as well. We have had numerous athletes compete for the first time ever in our events, who are now signed professionals with big promotions like UFC, Bellator, and even internationally! It’s really such and honor and leaves us so grateful for it all.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
I highlighted most of my struggles in my story, but it just felt like struggle after struggle. After we lost our business, it was hard emotionally to really want to keep moving forward. After we were evicted from the shop, we were living on our buddy’s couch in the living room and we were just trying to survive. San Diego is not cheap. It took a bit to recover and just when we felt like we were sort of recovering, ownership changed at Blackline and we had to move our shop into storage. It was a slow and steady decline to our supply shop and we knew we had to make some major changes to Inertia LLC.

Our other huge struggle once we pivoted to doing events full time was the Pandemic! Everything shut down, and we stopped doing shows altogether. It was really hard to have no work at all and to see so many businesses around us struggle. If it weren’t for our emergency saving plus a few loans, I don’t think we could have made it.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Point Muay Thai/ Muay Thai Championship?
We organize sanctioned Point Muay Thai competitions throughout the entire state of California. These are sanctioned through the athletic commission, and we are excited to welcome all levels of competitors. These are controlled, no knockout, Semi-Contact events. This allows athletes to safely compete in a controlled environment where they can build their skills from the ground up. We also just started hosting Full contact events for the more experienced athletes. All athletes are matched by our in house algorithm to closely consider all factors like; weight class, experience, training time, and records. We also just started our Non-profit organization, Nak Muay Foundation where we strive to donate to organizations in need, gear for athletes, and training sponsorships where we send select title athletes to the homeland of Muay Thai, Thailand to offer them more education, experiences and training. With growth in our non-profit, we hope to sponsor more athletes. For any athletes or people interested, here are links to our semi-contact events: https://pointmuaythaica.com/ and our Full Contact events: https://www.muaythaica.com/

We are always looking for more sponsors or anyone who feels called to donate to our Non-Profit to help our cause.

To learn more, please browse our website here: https://www.nakmuay.foundation/

Are there any apps, books, podcasts, blogs or other resources you think our readers should check out?
I personally really love the Joe Rogan podcasts because he is really inspiring and offers a wide range of content for his listeners. He also is an outstanding athlete and fighter as well and his story really motivates me.

Some of my favorite books are “The Greatest Salesman In The World” by Og Madino and “The Prophet” by Kahil Gibran.

These books changed so much for me.

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Image Credits

Photo Cred: BiggBossMuaythai Photos by Raymond Hernandez

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