Growing up, Kirstie Gannaway was a chubby kid. She did not play any sports and was not considered an athletic student. She was into art and design, and she spent her free time
playing video games. Occasionally she would go horse riding and that was the most sporty thing she ever did. By her own admission, she was an overweight teenager who looked like a boy.
However, that changed when Kirstie started boxing at the age of 15. It all began when her father decided to send her brother for boxing classes to discipline him. Her brother had persuaded her to join him and eventually Kirstie gave in. She was immediately hooked after her first class. Little did she know that taking up boxing would change her life completely.
In 2011, Kirstie started training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) during her summer break in Singapore. It was love at first double leg. “The moment I started training BJJ it felt more natural to me,” she said. “I had seen people training mixed martial arts (MMA) when I was studying in Australia but it was in Singapore that I started training grappling and MMA.”
Kirstie won her debut bout in MMA in an impressive fashion and backed up that performance with a second-round submission win just a few months later. However, Kirstie was dealt with a major blow when she tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) while preparing for an MMA bout.
Following a successful surgery and rehabilitation process, Kirstie found her way back to combat sports through amateur boxing after signing a two-year deal Golden Glove Asia Promotions.
Been There, Done That
Having been in a similar situation as a non-sporty, overweight person, Kirstie draws from her own experience being in a boxing gym at the age of 15 as a total beginner. She understands the emotional roller coaster an individual will go through when they work out for the first time or come back after a lengthy layoff.
“As a coach, it is my duty to keep my students motivated and it is important for them to know that I understand what they are going through,” said Kirstie.
A firm believer in strength and conditioning for all and not just athletes, Kirstie does not make her students do anything she would not do herself. “As a coach, I want my students to feel comfortable but at the same time get a great workout when they attend a FaMA Fit class. I will try out the workout plan for each class myself and only if I am satisfied, I’ll have them do it.
Having the ability to execute a workout program is only half the process. Kirstie firmly believes a coach should observe each student closely and make necessary changes to suit a particular individual’s capability.
“If someone new walks into FaMA Fit, the first thing I’d do is ask them about their athletic ability, the type of sports they play, their lifestyle, etc. Once I have that information, I can tweak each program to suit the individual. Coaching a seasoned athlete is not the same as coaching someone who spends eight hours a day in an office. They have different needs.”
FaMA - Fitness and Martial Arts Established in 2016, FaMA is a world-class martial arts training facility located in the heart of the Central Business District in Singapore. Walking distance from the Clarke Quay MRT station, FaMA’s main goal is to help people improve their lives through martial arts regardless of age or athletic capability. Each program is led by experts in their respective fields. Whether it is weight loss, a fun workout, camaraderie, competition training, or just to break a sweat, FaMA has something for everyone.
An all-in-one fitness class suitable for everyone, FaMA Fit incorporates moves from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, Boxing and Kickboxing together with functional training to help develop flexibility, mobility, strength, balance, and stamina. For beginners who are just starting out, the FaMA Fit Fundamentals class is an entry-level program that will work the entire body. FaMA Fit and FaMA Fit Fundamentals classes are run by professional athlete Coach Kirstie Gannaway.
Muay Thai, or The Art of Eight Limbs, is a martial art developed in Thailand thousands of years ago to help the Kingdom protect itself against invaders. Using the human body as a weapon, Muay Thai practitioners are well-versed in punching, elbowing, kicking, kneeing, and clinching with their opponents. What was once only used for self-defence and protection of the Kingdom, Muay Thai has grown to become one of the most popular sports not only in Thailand but in the world. Muay Thai is known to provide a complete total-body workout that will help build lean muscle, core strength, and help with weight loss. At FaMA, Muay Thai classes are taught daily by Tanaphong Khunhankaew, or better known as Kru Ping, and Coach Jerel Louie.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or BJJ as it is commonly known around the world, is a self-defence martial art that enables a smaller, weaker person to protect themselves against a much larger attacker using leverage and pressure. Formed from Kodokan Judo in Japan, Jiu Jitsu found its way to Brazil in the 1910s through Mitsuyo Maeda, a Japanese judoka and no-holds-barred prize fighter. During his time in Brazil, Maeda accepted a young Carlos Gracie as his student. Carlos would later pass on his knowledge to his brothers, most notably Helio Gracie - the father of modern Brazilian Jiujitsu. The Gracie family would go on to spread BJJ through The Gracie Challenge and eventually the creation of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Today, BJJ has grown to be more than just an effective unarmed fighting system. It helps young children deal with bullies and adults live a healthy lifestyle. BJJ classes are offered daily at FaMA under the tutelage of Black Belts Zoro Moreira and Robyn Goudy.