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Exploring Life & Business with Jace Gutierrez of Mission Muay Thai

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jace Gutierrez.

Hi Jace, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I fell in love with Muay Thai at 15 years old, and I have been training in martial arts and teaching for over 20 years. Muay Thai changed my life, and my martial arts teachers and coaches have significantly impacted me personally and professionally. My passion is in the creative arts spectrum, and I have also been a professional nightlife DJ/Music Producer in Las Vegas while training Muay Thai and fighting competitively. I believed there would be another significant milestone in my life throughout the ten years of living the dream by performing at world-famous nightclubs in Vegas and taking care of my family financially and comfortably. My next life chapter (post music) was to be a martial arts teacher and own an authentic Muay Thai school in my hometown of Long Beach.

I have embraced the Thai culture, and have been training, fighting, and visiting Thailand for many years to learn and enhance my Muay Thai skills and become a knowledgeable teacher, just like my teachers before me. I try to visit Thailand at least once a year to train and be with my teammates and teachers, and it is clear that they have become my actual family. Without Muay Thai, I would be a lost soul living my life without a sense of balance. Muay Thai is a violent yet beautiful art, and the journey to becoming a powerful fighter and teacher is a priority and a life goal of mine. My mission is to teach and share the authentic culture of Muay Thai while also guiding students throughout life’s journey and illustrating the distinct traits of training Muay Thai and how it parallels with the challenges of real-life situations. I love being a Kru (teacher), and I am thankful that I have the opportunity to spread my knowledge and passion for Muay Thai to students and members of the Long Beach community – I want to do this for the rest of my life.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The most challenging journey and most rocky road I have ever encountered to open up a business! After my last professional fight in Thailand (December 2019), I was all set to open my gym – I was ready. The business plan, financial capital, the mindset were all set to move the needle forward. We opened Mission Muay Thai on February 22, 2020, and had a successful grand opening celebration with over 150 people in attendance, but then we closed five weeks later due to the Covid-19 pandemic. I did not have a contingency plan for this disaster, and we ended up closing our doors completely; and I started teaching Muay Thai classes at local parks and beaches for the remainder of the year. We needed to apply for park permits and shifted logistics quickly as we transported lights, generators, training equipment, including portable heavy bags, to the parks to give our students the exclusive experience of training like we were inside our own walls. It was a rough road, and there were no clear definitives if we were financially going to make it at all. We ended up leaving our newly established gym and managed to keep the Mission Muay Thai brand alive and gain new students along the way as we trained at the parks.

As 2020 sped by while conducting all classes outdoors, there was an opportunity for an even larger space close by to our original gym. We decided to focus our strategy toward moving into the space when available. All of the dots connected, and as we signed the lease to the new spot, we ended up transferring all classes again to our future space’s parking lot adjacent to the potential gym. With thousands of dollars lost, no government assistance, and still unclear of how the pandemic would play another major role with our success, we still believed in our Mission. We decided to take another leap forward and started building a new gym again – this space was four times the size of the original gym. We ended up opening our doors at the new gym once the city/state officials said it was safe to return indoors in July 2020. We have been training in our new gym since, adding even more students to the roster, and now offering over 50 classes per week, including Muay Thai, Boxing, Strength & Conditioning, and Fighter Sparring. However, I know we are not 100% in the clear from the pandemic, but we don’t plan on giving up – ever. We’ve made it through uncharted waters, and we’re still here on Mission!

As you know, we’re big fans of Mission Muay Thai. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Mission Muay Thai is an authentic Muay Thai training facility focusing on traditional Muay Thai Arts and Boxing curriculums for professional combat sports, self-defense, and fitness in Long Beach, CA. Our classes are designed for adults, teens, and youth (ages 5-12) with a strict focus on curriculum, discipline, and conditioning for ALL LEVELS. (Beginner, Advanced, Professional fighter).

In terms of your work and the industry, what are some of the changes you are expecting to see over the next five to ten years?
Muay Thai is at its infant stages here in the United States. The sport and culture are growing massively every day, and I believe Muay Thai will be a prevalent martial art and way of fitness training in the years to come for all ages. It is one of the most successful and devastating martial arts in professional combat sports, and Muay Thai is now recognized as an official Olympic Sport. You can find Muay Thai events, fights, apparel, and workshops opening up more rapidly across the nation these days, and you do not have to travel to Southeast Asia to find authentic Muay Thai training like before. I foresee more Muay Thai training methods to be added to law enforcement and military training as well. The beauty of Muay Thai is that you do not have to fight on a professional level to learn the art – the strength & conditioning training alone will enhance your mind and body and also empower you to live a healthier and more positive lifestyle while being able to protect yourself, your family, and your friends.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Monica Castaloni (Photographer), Angel Amado (Odama Visuals, Photographer)

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