Q: Tell us about Dohjo Muay Thai.
A: Dohjo Muay Thai & Fitness is a fitness facility that specializes in the martial art Muay Thai. Muay Thai is a combat sport of Thailand that uses stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques. This physical and mental discipline which includes combat on shins is known as “the art of eight limbs” because it is characterized by the combined use of fists, elbows, knees, shins, being associated with a good physical preparation that makes a full-contact fighter very efficient.
At Dohjo Muay Thai & Fitness we have structured programs teaching the physical and mental aspects in Muay Thai. Most things learned in class can be manipulated for self-development in every aspect of life. Our main focus is our students. We gear teaching practices to all learning styles and abilities.
Classes are structured for beginners, intermediate and advanced students as well as age and gender. Our instructors are the most experienced in the Peterborough and surrounding area in competition as well as instruction. With that experience they are able to customize classes to ensure every student learns efficiently at their own pace.
As mentioned before our niche is the sport of Muay Thai but we also offer fitness classes. Some of the fitness classes consist of natural movement exercises, balance drills, plyometrics, strength and conditioning, explosive strength drills and kettle bell drills. These classes are also structured to meet client’s needs.
Q: Where did you get the idea to start it?
A: I got the idea to start my business because throughout my career as a fighter I have been at many martial arts schools that have either closed or haven’t been in the business for the students. So I decided that it was time for someone to provide that consistent, passionate, dependable and positive space for students to learn the great sport of Muay Thai.
Q. Why Peterborough?
A: I chose Peterborough as a suitable location for Dohjo Muay Thai & Fitness because I care about the community and am familiar with its residence. Through a lot of volunteer work in the Peterborough community I noticed a trend. Many of the people I volunteered my time to help had a hard time dealing with everyday life problems and let the stress of life get to them. I also noticed this in jobs that I’ve had. But when I was training everyone was happy. They didn’t care about that bad relationship or job and just trained. I realized that there was a need for self-development physically and mentally in today’s society and what better place to battle that problem than in my own back yard.
Q: How did you know there was a gap in the market you could fill?
A: When I first opened I knew there was a gap in the market that I could fill because I saw that my competitors didn’t have the experience or passion that I have for the sport. In my competition career I have never won fights by talking, I have won fights by showing people what I can do. People have told me that they can feel the passion from my teaching and I think that’s what has set me apart from my competitors.
Q: What were you doing before you set up Dohjo Muay Thai?
A: Before I set up Dohjo Muay Thai & Fitness I was in school for policing. I realized one of the only classes I liked in school was gym so… I opened a gym. For 3 years I ran Dohjo Muay Thai & Fitness as a night school with limited class options while working a full-time job. I saved up in that time for a lot of the equipment I needed to go full-time then made the leap in May 2015.
Q: Have you always wanted to be your own boss?
A: Yes in a way I think I have always wanted to be my own boss. I just didn’t know how to do it or what I wanted to do. I used to try to sell a lot of different things as a kid. At one time I even tried selling frogs to people that I caught in a pond. So yes I definitely was always trying to be my own boss.
Q: What were the major challenges you had to overcome when starting up?
A: The biggest challenge I had to overcome starting up would definitely be myself. I used to let fear guide decision making a lot of the time. I planned things out too much and always thought of the consequences after letting people have a say in what I should and shouldn’t do. So the realization that I could fail in something I didn’t like made the decision of failing at something I love seem like way less of a risk. I think a lot of people have great ideas but not everyone has the courage to do them because they let people have a say in their dreams. Many of my students know that I had to get my hearing tested in Grade 2 because I wasn’t paying attention in school to what I didn’t think was important to me. So I brought Grade 2 back in my 20’s and stop paying attention to those who said I couldn’t do it.
Q: Did you connect to any community resources (CFDC, Chamber, GPIC, Chamber, Angel Network, etc.) or entrepreneurs for support in your business startup?
A: I have started to connect to as many community resources as I possibly can. I read from a Richard Dawkins book that it is a lot quicker to learn from other people’s mistakes than make them yourself. So I decided to again learn from people far above me in business. I have gone to meetings at the CFDC, worked on business planning through Starter Company with Peterborough Economic Development, joined the Peterborough Chamber and have gone to many events, took part in Cubs Lair and recently started working with the Innovation Cluster. I am just trying to learn as much as I can about business and why not go to the people who teach it!
Q: Any tips for other budding entrepreneurs out there?
A: A tip for budding entrepreneurs is don’t chase money. Money is a tool not something that you need. Work off of your strengths but know your weaknesses and fill the gaps. Be humble in your learning process. Finally make sure you realize that everyone has limited willpower so prioritize and visualize yourself where you want to be before you are there. Then you will be there.
Dohjo Muay Thai: http://dohjomuaythai.com/
Lead Instructor/Owner: Mike Doherty
Location: 304 George St N Suite 201 Peterborough, Ontario
Telephone: (705) 931-2011