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Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, November 23, 2018
In 2011, the Tangerang native decided to take a trip to Thailand so that he could learn the art from the source. Going to the home of “the art of eight limbs” would benefit him personally, and ensure that he could help grow the sport in his native Indonesia.
However, it is rare for Indonesian athletes to leave their nation to train. Perceived wisdom states that they should make the most of what they have around them, but Agustian knew that he needed to go against the grain.
“When I wanted to open my own gym [Golden Camp] at that time, there were only a few Muay Thai practitioners in Indonesia, so I decided to learn directly from the birthplace of the sport,” the 34-year-old says.
“I needed to get the full picture of what Muay Thai was, so I went to Sitmonchai Gym in Tha Maka district in Kanchanaburi.”
Agustian’s endeavor was almost unprecedented. He had never traveled abroad before, did not speak any Thai, and encountered other challenges along the way. Still, he did not let anything stop him from getting to his destination.
“Internet access was limited at that time and I was struggling with the language. I could not speak Thai, and not many Thai people that I met spoke English,” he recalls.
“Before I took a bus, I asked some people if it was heading for Kanchanaburi. They were laughing and all they said was, ‘Yes.’ So I took the bus and apparently it headed in the wrong direction. I was lost for almost four hours before eventually taking the right bus.”
Any feelings of frustration or exhaustion quickly burned away when he reached his destination, and it made all the effort worthwhile. He was taken in with open arms by one of his sporting inspirations, and he instantly knew that he had made the right decision.
“When I arrived, all my fatigue and confusion seemed to suddenly disappear,” he continues. “I have always idolized a superstar from Sitmonchai Gym – [Lumpinee Stadium and WMC Muay Thai World Champion] Pornsanae Sitmonchai. When I arrived, he warmly welcomed me. The feeling was incredible.”
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“The Golden Boy” stayed at the gym — which is 95 kilometers away from Bangkok — for three months. Although it was tough, he soon found his feet.
The training schedule was nothing like what he had experienced in Indonesia, but he soaked up everything he could to make the most of the experience.
“The intensity of the training was unbelievable and they were very disciplined,” Agustian reveals.
“In the morning, we ran about eight kilometers. After that, we continued with intensive pad work. In the afternoon, we had sparring and clinching sessions. It was all crazy and exhausting.”
The hard work paid dividends when he returned home. Agustian had revolutionized his skills, went on to win multiple accolades on the national circuit, and represented Indonesia at the WMF Championships in the Thai capital.
On top of his success, he also had the blueprint to create elite competitors in “the art of eight limbs,” which will benefit the next generation of nak muay in “The Emerald Of The Equator.”
He had trained alongside Muay Thai World Champions every day and became more motivated than ever to spread his love for the striking art to his Indonesian compatriots.
“When I was there, I always tried to take something positive from them. I wanted to be as good as them, so I had to train like them,” he says.
“I got new experience, learned new techniques, and found a new brotherhood. What I learned there would be applied in my gym.”