Muay Thai fighter Laurie Cahill not slowing down

by Sandy Hackenmueller

 

Usually when someone describes their 32-year history in the martial arts, it is because they are retiring. Such is not the case with Laurie Cahill, who is just coming off of a big win from her fight with Friday Night Fights Muay Thai in NYC.

Laurie is fifty-two.

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Photo by William Mason Photography

Did you hear me? FIFTY-TWO! Her peers are grandparents! Shopping for hip replacements! Sneaking senior discounts at McDonalds! Complaining about children on their lawns! And Laurie is punching people in the face in public for fun.

Let’s just color me impressed.

In the fight world, Laurie is a role model not only for women, but for fighters of both genders and all ages. “I never feel my age because Muay Thai keeps me in great shape,” Laurie said, “and I’m having fun doing it. It’s like playing and being a kid!” Laurie also shared that eating only organic foods in her diet plays a huge part in how she feels and performs.

Laurie has been at this since she was 20 years old. She currently trains at Chok Sabai in New York City, 30th Street and 5th Avenue, with Kru Natalie. Part of her impressive resume includes Tae Kwon Do black belt and International Champion, Shotokan brown belt, Northeast Champion kickboxing title, and Oyama brown belt and Northeastern Champion title. Being a seasoned martial artist with 32-years of action is not without its obstacles, however.

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Photo by William Mason Photography

Obstacles

“An obstacle is often an unrecognized opportunity.” ~Robert South

Training in the fight industry since she was 20, Laurie has made changes as time progresses. “I need to do extra cardio to keep up my endurance and stamina,” said Laurie, “so I can keep up with the young fighters I train with.

“Being older, I stretch out more often to keep my flexibility. I use a lot of salt baths to relax the muscles and heal up from hard training.” Laurie has arthritis in one of her knees, which prevents her from running or jumping rope. “I bike, swim, and do lots of heavy bag/pad work, sparring, and strength and conditioning training. As I mentioned, my cardio training has doubled because I’m older. I need great wind to keep up with the younger fighters.”

But so what? In her last fight two weeks ago, she delivered a knuckle sandwich to her opponent’s face that knocked her down for a seven-count! “That was my most memorable night,” said Laurie. “My trainer, Kru Natalie, and I worked on throwing a strong cross to the face during training. Come fight time, it worked! It was sweet!

“Hard training and the results paid off in that fight. That was part of our plan, and that piece worked. We were both so happy.”

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In an industry dominated by men, Laurie is in a position to be an inspiration and example to young female fighters. She is invested in showing women that there are no limits to where they can go with hard training, and great coaches by their side to guide them.

“Young women, keep training hard, listen to your coaches, respect everyone along the way,” encouraged Laurie. “And always remember: you cannot fail. You are the hero of your own story!”

Laurie feels that when it comes to age, age is just a number. “If you take care of yourself and train with intensity, you cannot fail!” she said. “Every fight I lost, I learned and I worked on my weaknesses. They became my strength to keep on keeping on.

“It’s learning from your mistakes and making progress that gives you strength to move forward. Have a positive attitude and you will go further in life!

The joy of training, to Laurie, is that one is constantly learning. “Even at 52 I am learning so much. It constantly opens up my mind to new awareness about the sport. In 2010, I went to Thailand for 2 weeks with Kru Natalie. I trained and fought in four different training camps. Training has giving me such wonderful great experiences that I will treasure my whole life!”

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Her own inspiration

Those who inspire, also draw their own motivation and strength from others. “My inspiration has to be Chris Romulo from CROM Martial Training,” said Laurie. “Ten years ago, I was on the same fight card as Chris for Friday Night Fights. We were in the same locker room, and watching the focus and composure Chris had was awesome to me!

“Chris is a very talented fighter, with such heart and beautiful technique when he fights. When I watched Chris fight it gave me an education on proper form and technique in Muay Thai.

“As a person outside the ring, Chris is a gentleman with a fun, easy-going personality. He is a true, professional Muay Thai fighter!

“Chris is retired now and teaches in his own school in Rockaway, NY,” said Laurie. “He is helping so many learn Muay Thai, and learn respect for oneself and to respect others. Chris trained me for my last fight, and I learned something new every session! What a blessing to Muay Thai Chris Romulo is.”

When all is said and done

“At the end of my career,” Laurie shared, “I would like to be remembered as a good sport, win or lose, and as someone who is respectful of my opponent and her coaches.

“Muay Thai is a tough sport. But it is so much fun when you’re sparring with friends who are respectful and cool about exchanging kicks, knees and punches lightly. I have so much fun when I train and fight, and that’s what it’s all about for me.”

And being entertained is what it is all about for fight fans. And Laurie delivers it all – talent, strength, entertainment, inspiration, and something for fight fans to cheer about – on all levels.

Thank you, Laurie!

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Photo by William Mason Photography

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5 thoughts on “Muay Thai fighter Laurie Cahill not slowing down

  1. Great story. Laurie is the kind of fighter I look up to. Learning from your mistakes and continuously improving your weaknesses would let you go a long way no matter how tough the journey and battle would be.

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