Andrew joined PRS in 2008, back at the old location on MLK. His main reason for joining PRS was to get into shape. He played sports growing up and was in decent shape, but felt he let himself go once he stopped. "I was lazy and unmotivated. I knew if I went to 24 Hour Fitness, or tried running on my own, it wouldn't happen." He grew up watching combat sports and thought anything involving Muay Thai or Boxing might force himself to workout since he enjoyed it.
He kept coming back to PRS because it had everything he was looking for. "If I just wanted to work out and take the classes, I could do that. If I wanted to push myself and do advanced sparring I could do that. If I wanted to eventually fight one day, I had top trainers surrounding me to get me to that level. Once I became familiar with a lot of people here, it became like my second home. I'm very close with a lot of people at PRS now, I can't imagine ever leaving."
He recalls how he started out: "When I first started at PRS, I was around 190 lbs. I was not very muscular though, I had no tone and I'm not a tall guy. I was able to force myself through some of the tougher workouts on will power, but my body was done by the end. I remember partnering with my friend in class and, so as not to embarrass myself in front of him, I'd keep going. But inside I was beyond exhausted. I could barely run a mile without stopping. Once I realized how hard it was to actually train, I wasn't sure if I'd ever make it to competition level."
His persistence started to pay off. "Eventually the trainers asked me to start sparring and from there I did my first smoker. I think I was around 160-165 lbs then. I had lost almost 30 lbs and felt pretty good about my skills as a beginner. I ended up sparring a guy with amateur experience and he basically beat me up for 3-4 minutes straight. I never gave up though, and when he was tired, I remember coming back and getting some good shots in. It wasn't a great performance, but I think I showed my trainers that there was something there to work with. I kept doing smokers for the next year or so and improved each time. One day, I showed up to the gym like it was any regular workout day and they told me they booked me an amateur fight. I wasn't sure if they were messing with me, but it was real. I started training even harder. That fight was at 140 lbs, so by weigh-in day from when I had started at PRS, I had lost about 50 lbs. I've never looked back since and now have around 11 fights, I run about 45 minutes to an hour everyday, and I've improved my overall fitness in many ways."
On fighting, he shared his future aspirations. "I have a lot of personal goals I still want to accomplish, but the fight game is hard and I just take each fight as they come. A lot of things can happen as a fighter, but for right now I'd be extremely happy to win a championship title and eventually fight professional one day. If I do what Ganyao tells me and I train hard, there is no reason I can't accomplish these goals. Once I'm done fighting, I will still be training Muay Thai everyday in some sort of capacity. It has completely changed my life and I'll never give up on it. I'd also like to move into a trainer role someday. I'm soaking up all the knowledge I can right now from Ganyao, Coach Rob, and Mike and I help them with their classes as much as possible. It's hard to predict the future, but I don't see an end anytime soon. I was not the most athletically gifted kid and I had a lot of problems that could have prevented me from becoming a fighter, but I'm living proof that hard work pays off. Whether you want to compete or just improve your fitness level/knowledge, anyone can do it and I hope that someday I can inspire someone the way my trainers have inspired and changed me for the better."
Andrew sure has come a long way from "unmotivated and lazy" to Muay Thai fighter. Two days after we talked with him, he won his bout at the Bay Area Challenge III event in Petaluma. Congratulations, Andrew! Outside of the ring, Andrew has been a loyal member and friend, helping out with the classes as well as supporting all that is PRS.