sometimes around 2008 -9 , possibly earlier...
I met Thai Boxing champion and instructor Phil Nurse in a rustic gym in New York City. The students and the workouts were serious, hard core; No short cuts, no easy way out, this was the real deal. If you wanted to train here you had better be prepared to push yourself to your limits, and beyond. This was not for the meek or the weak of heart.
Phil Nurse might appear as a contradiction to some; with a contagious smile, a happy disposition and oozing positive energy, he is also one of the toughest fighters and hardest trainers I have ever met. They say he broke a guy's leg in a fight when the guy tried to block of of his low kicks.
This is one tough dude. In Israel I met a guy named Ephraim; he came to our mixed martial arts class with Itay Gil in Jerusalem. He told me that if I am ever in New York I should look him up and he would take me to his Thai Boxing (Muy Thai) class. At the next opportunity I did just that. I ended up taking quite a few classes with Phil Nurse over several visits to New York. It was an experience I shall never forget.
The first thing that comes to mine was the warm and welcoming greeting I received from Phi, A.J. (his second in command) and the entire group. Again, a bunch of tough, tattooed, 'Bad Ass' looking types, but warm and as friendly as can be. I felt right at home.
Turns out I walked right into the "Advanced Fitness Class". We began with a 40 minute jump rope session. Yeah, you heard me right, Forty minutes of continues jump roping. I had never done anything like this before but I sure as hell was not going to quit in the middle. Heck I had my honor to protect. I had just come in from Israel and I didn't want to make us all look like wimps! Besides, there was a female kickboxer in the group, I couldn't embarrass myself.
I survived the forty minutes but not with the flair and style of the others. Towards the end they all started doing all sorts of fancy jump rope tricks, which was too much for me. I was content just to keep on my feet. Did I mention we did this barefoot on a hardwood floor?
When we, thank God, concluded that part, we did 100 slow push-ups on our knuckles. We were told that if anyone quit we would all start from the beginning. You got to love this guy! I survived. Once we finished that we began the pad work, kicking, punching, knee kicks. We continued training on all elements of full contact Thai boxing.
My feet were so sore the next day I was worried I would not be able to cross those long New York City streets before the light changed. I knew I had to back there for more training, what an amazing class.
I hear a lot of talk about 'fat loss secrets'; if you train with Phil Nurse you don't have to bother with any of that. We would do long sets of abdominal training interspersed with running an push-ups and kicking full force. There was such great energy in the room, and when you were done, you knew you earned yourself a nice cool fruit drink, no better feeling in the world.
When you train with Phil you are with one whose body and soul are one and whose devotion and dedication are complete. His amazing ability is only matched by his humility and kindness.