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1041 S Edgewood St
Arlington, VA, 22204
United States

703-521-1000

Pentagon MMA is a community of fun-loving, adventurous folks of all ages and walks of life who have a passion for Muay Thai (also known as Kickboxing or Thai Boxing), Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), and mixed martial arts.

Pentagon MMA News and Updates

Updates from Pentagon MMA in Arlington, VA

Filtering by Tag: muay thai

Pentagon MMA Goes Global: Kru Vivek Nakarmi Wins in Thailand

Diana Nakarmi

Behind the scenes, Kru Vivek Nakarmi has been working hard to make connections in the international mixed martial arts world — and all that work paid off last month when he received a call inviting him to compete in a Muay Thai fight in Thailand.

It was a moment he had been waiting for, but it was with little notice that he had to pack his bags and go.

“Everyone was surprised I had to leave on such short notice. But I said, ‘I have to seize it,’” Vivek said. “I’m in good shape, and I’ve been training well, so I said, ‘Let’s do it.’”

Fortunately, Vivek was able to make travel arrangements and arrived in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with a few days to spare. That decision to arrive early turned out to be invaluable, he said, since the travel, change in climate and time difference took a huge toll on his body.

“The first week was hard. I was so tired, and it was so hot,” he recalled.

Where some might take the time to explore and sightsee, Vivek was laser-focused on the fight ahead of him and being in the best shape possible. He was able to train at a friend’s gym in Chiang Mai ahead of the fight.

“I woke up in the morning, trained, went back to sleep, worked out in the afternoon, then trained some more, then ate, and that’s it,” he recalled. “I didn’t go anywhere, because I just wanted to focus on the fight and my training, and rest. That’s why I went out there early—I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t be jet-lagged and tired later in the week.”

Vivek said he started to feel himself again by about the fourth day.

“I finally felt like my body was acclimated to the hotter climate, and I felt much better,” he said.

On the day of the fight—August 22—Vivek was motivated and proud as he gave a great weigh-in, coming in at 63 kilos, and feeling ready to give the fight of his life.

All his hard work and dedication paid off, quickly.

“It was a short fight—and I won in the second round,” he said proudly. “I knocked him out mid-second round with a teep kick,” he explained.

In addition to being his first Muay Thai fight in Thailand, Vivek’s victory is incredible because of how challenging his opponent was.

“The guy I fought was way more experienced than me, so I was very excited about that,” Vivek said.

As he gets back into the swing of things here at home and at Pentagon MMA, it’s not just his victory in Chiang Mai that has him excited; Vivek said he is pumped up by all the connections he made in the industry while he was there.

“It was a great experience. I met a lot of people in the Muay Thai circle like promoters and match makers, so it will mean great connections that I can share with all our students at Pentagon MMA,” he said. “It will open doors for everybody; now there are people I can connect them with, that I can say, ‘I trust these guys.’”

Vivek is also excited that Muay Thai promoters in Thailand are already talking about wanting him to come back for another fight, soon.

“They saw me, now they know me, and now they want me to go back. So I’m looking to hopefully go back next year,” Vivek said. “They said I might even be able to do a Northern Thailand championship fight if I can give them another two or three good fights, which is a big deal for a foreigner in Thailand. So it was a good opportunity for me to meet all the promoters and officials there and make the relationships for the future.”

Once his fight was over, Vivek did finally take some time for himself. Instead of heading straight home, Vivek left Thailand for his home country of Nepal, to visit family that still lives there. He said he was excited that it was only a short 2 ½ -hour trip from Bangkok to Kathmandu, where he grew up and lived until he moved to the U.S. at 14 years old.

“I got to see my sisters for the first time in around five or six years,” he said. “It was great to catch up with them. It was a fun overall trip. I got to do some sightseeing, and just spending time with family.”

Body Strong, Spirits High: Meet Pentagon MMA Muay Thai Student Mark Felipe

Diana Nakarmi

A lot of people are a bit grumpy first thing in the morning until they have that first (and second, or maybe third) cup of coffee.

For Pentagon MMA student Mark Felipe, Muay Thai is his morning coffee. “I find myself getting cranky if I’m not in the gym at least three times a week.”

It wasn’t always that way. Mark says his first class challenged him harder than he could ever recall being challenged—but it sparked something inside him.

“I thought, ‘Mother of God, what have I gotten myself into?!’” he recalls. “I remember being so worn out that to sign up for further classes, I had to use both hands to hold the pen steady. But I fell in love with Muay Thai.”

Mark says it goes even further than that – he credits Muay Thai and the Pentagon MMA community for keeping his body strong and his spirits up as he recovered from surgery to remove a brain tumor last year.

Despite the challenge, Muay Thai kept him coming back

Mark describes himself as someone who used to fall in love with a particular type of activity quickly, then drop it later when he lost enthusiasm for it.

“I go through periods where I get really into activities,” he says.

First, it was running.

“In the early 2000s, I was a runner. I ran 5k and 10k races, and ran the Marine Corps Marathon twice,” he recalls. “Now, I don’t think I’ve run more than five miles at a time since.”

Then, weight-lifting.

“I used to lift weights, but a herniated disk and spine surgery put an end to that,” he says. “After that, bodyweight calisthenics were a lot easier on my back. But it just seemed like I was doing pushups, pullups and squats just for the sake of doing pushups, pullups and squats.”

One day, his wife drove by the Pentagon MMA building in Arlington and told him about it.

“I’ve always been interested in martial arts. I studied Isshinryu Karate at various stages of life, first in high school, then in my late 20s to early 30s. Then the kids came along….” he says. “Pentagon MMA is close to our house, so I came in to check the place out—and I’m still here!”

Mark has been at Pentagon MMA for close to three years, and he says he can’t imagine life without it—though his brain tumor diagnosis last year forced him to, for a short while.

Coming back after brain surgery

“The tumor wasn’t cancerous and wasn’t going to kill me, but it had to come out,” Mark explains. “Recovery from the surgery took three months. Having to take a break from training last winter was tough on me, but I didn’t have much choice.”

As eager as he was to get back to Muay Thai, his doctor warned him to take it slow.

“After being cleared for physical activity, my surgeon told me that drills are okay, but that I couldn’t spar. Obviously, getting hit in the head was—and still is—a bad idea. I thought, ‘maybe I’ll give Jiu-Jitsu a try—they don’t hit each other in the head.’” he said. “But not training just isn’t an option.”

These days, Mark’s face is a regular sight around Pentagon MMA again, and he said he loves all the positive ways his workouts and training have changed his body.

“I’ve lost about 15 pounds and three inches off my waist. Most of my pants are loose in the waist and tight in the thighs. And I have more energy,” he says. “But more importantly, it’s improved my state of mind. If I have a rough day, I know I’ll walk out of the gym happy.”

He also credits the friends and mentors he’s made at Pentagon MMA for his new outlook on life.

“Vivek and his staff don’t just run a gym—they’ve built a community,” he says. “It’s a community I’m glad to be a part of.”

When asked what he would say to anyone who may be thinking of giving Muay Thai or Jiu Jitsu a try, Mark says, “Give it a shot! If I can do it after having brain surgery, so can you!”

Student Spotlight: Carl Schmurr

Chris Cain

Get to know one of the newest members of the Pentagon MMA family, Carl Schmurr. He talks about his journey back to muay thai, fight team training, and what it means to be the son of a breast cancer survivor. ...

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