Marion Field: “Once l found Muay Thai l knew it was the only art l wanted to teach people.”
Growing up, Marion Field had always been interested in the fighting arts but coming from a musical and religious family it was not until she was 17 that she started karate classes, the only martial art available where she lived at that time. Whilst Marion enjoyed this traditional art she couldn’t escape the feeling that it didn't quite hit the spot because she wanted to learn to be an effective fighter more than anything. Work commitments made up her mind for her and it wasn’t until almost ten years later, when a friend told her that she was going kickboxing that Marion’s martial arts career really took off.
Making up for lost time, Marion was a veritable sponge, committed to learning all she could, attending any seminars and courses that came her way. Once she was proficient as a Kickboxer Marion started studying other arts to increase her knowledge, including Kung Fu, Torite Jitsu, Sanshou and Boxing. This desire for knowledge and experience led to Marion training in the art that would transform her life and eventually lead to the full-time gym she now runs. As a high-level Kickboxer Marion started judging at shows and now finds herself qualified and experienced as a judge in Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Boxing and MMA but it was during her formative period on the circuit that she met the legendary Ronnie Green who offered to teach her Muay Thai. The rest, as they say, is history as Marion and Muay Thai were an instant fit.
“I love everything about it. It's respectful, yet brutal. It is by far the most effective striking sport, but also involves the mind, like a game of chess. There is so much involved in perfecting your technique, and so many different aspects to it. Now it has completely become a way of life for me, and it's wonderful to see how it has helped people and literally changed their lives over the years I've been teaching.”
The discovery of Muay Thai was a pivotal moment in Marion’s development and subsequent career. She has a 2nd degree black belt in kickboxing and once she had attained 1st degree was qualified to teach but she realised that her love of Muay Thai made it the only art she wanted to teach others. With this goal in mind, she travelled to Liverpool and later Wigan three times a week for many years, to increase her knowledge and experience. After training with Ronnie Green Marion’s next coach was Si Audley from Huyton, whom she credits not only as a teacher but also as a great friend who supported her massively with her own club.
When Si closed his gym Marion went to train with renowned World Champion Kevin Harper of the Majestic gym in Wigan as she loved the style of his fighters. Marion readily admits that Kevin took her training to a whole new level, and again helped and inspired her with her own club.
With a refreshing display of humility Marion states that her own fight record is nothing to write home about. Remarkably, She had her first Muay thai fight aged 39, and always struggled with pre fight nerves although she adds that she always loved the actual fight itself. She instinctively knew that she would never be a world champion, but felt that her achievements would be defined by her fighters and her ability as a coach. And so it is proving to be as she has already trained one champion and is certain there will be many more to come.
When asked about her own favourite fighters, purely from a fans perspective, Marion cites an impressive list Master Ronnie Green, the first westerner to beat the Thais. really helped me believe in myself. I love fighters like Damien Trainor, who is so technical, and Andy Howson who is a real warrior. My favourite Thais (I have trained with) are Parnpetch Rirom and Omnoi Suttamueang and of course Saenchai is an ultimate fighter, one of the best of all time, l never tire of watching his impeccable timing and technique. More up to date, l like Joe Craven from bad co and up and comers Josh Hill and Ryan Stockley, from Majestic. My favourite female fighter has to be Amy Pirnie, my first time fighting thai was a demo with Amy as she was too experienced for me and my original opponent pulled out. It was more like a fight than a demo and l still have a scar where she kneed me so hard it broke the skin. She has awesome power and is only small.
”Like many who have longevity in the martial arts and who teach successfully, (Marion has been teaching for 15 years), Marion always dreamt of owning her own gym but with the Lake District proving very expensive, she was rightly concerned about making the leap into a full time property. However when the right unit became available she knew she had to take that leap as it felt the right time to take that next step and offer better facilities and timetable to her students. When Marion viewed the unit it just felt right but there were a lot of issues with the planners to facilitate a change of use and the whole process proved stressful. It also helped that Marion has fostered long term and loyal sponsors, who have helped enormously with the gym’s development, as Marion explains - “Sponsors such as Jintana Thai Restaurants, who have supported us for many years.
Macbarc rentals, the company belongs to one of my longest serving students, who has given me a lot of support over the years and the Dentdale Bookkeeping Company, the mother of one of our young students and who kindly bought all the punch bags for the new gym. Then there’s Reid Building who bought the ring, all these sponsors have been invaluable to our development.”
At the moment all the classes are Marion’s beloved Muay Thai but having trained eclectically herself, it comes as no surprise to find out that she hopes other instructors will join her under the same roof so that the arts on offer will include Boxing, MMA and Jiu-Jitsu. Marion’s personal trainer Sarah Storey does some fitness classes for her and they are proving very popular and Marion hopes to get her sister Imogen Field to teach yoga for a few sessions too. It may have been a risk taking on full time premises but given the determination Marion has shown during her remarkable martial arts journey one gets the distinct feeling that this is just the beginning of an even bigger story.
“I am so happy now, the gym is the best thing l could have done and it's great to see the team spirit and how everyone has come together to help build it up. We have one belt up on the wall and it will be the first of many.” With the thought of more titles in mind, Marion has just made the switch to the WKO alongside her long-time mentor Mick Fowles, who, in organisational terms, she has been with since she started. Since that time Mick kept Marion updated with courses and opportunities and also trained Marion up to be part of his judging team. Wherever Mick has taken his expertise with regard to Associations, Marion has gone with him, so the move to the WKO was seen as another such opportunity.
“I know Mick will always work hard for the people he is looking after and I am excited to see what new opportunities come from his involvement with WKO. In short I trust Mick 100% to promote and improve the sport for everyone and I feel that this new appointment will give him the chance to do this.”
Synergy Gym 2 Chancel Place Shap Road Industrial Estate Kendal LA9 6NZ
Timetable: (all classes are Muay Thai)
Mon: Kids 6.30-7.30pm Adults 7.30-9.30pm
Tues: Adults 6.30-8.30pm
Wed: Adults 6.15-8.15pm
Thurs: Kids 5.30-6.30pm Adults 6.30-8.30pm
Fri: Adults 6.15-8.15pm
Saturday: sparring 11.30-1pm
Sunday: sparring 10.30-12pm
New Monday: 5.30-6.20 HIIT with Rebecca Maddock