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Eight Points Muay Thai & Fitness
Winston-Salem, NC

Owner: Chris Clodfelter

Chris Clodfelter’s goal for his students and fighters alike is to represent true Muay Thai. From his beginnings as a nine-year-old Karateka, a black belt at fifteen, and a tournament competitor, Chris moved on to Muay Thai when his friend took him to his first kickboxing class. Clodfelter recalls with a chuckle that as a black belt, he assumed that he would have no problem hopping right into the fighters’ class at a Thai gym. “Low kicks, clinch—I took a beating!” From then on, he had a change of heart. Seeing Muay Thai fighters and old Pancrase shows, Chris determined his new direction. He went on to attain an amateur Muay Thai record of 10-1 and an amateur MMA record of 2-1, becoming a pro at age 20 and earning a 9-7 MMA record and a Thai record of 7-3-1.

After a split from his coach, Clodfelter and some of the guys he was training with decided to open their own gym. After initially focusing on his own fight career, Clodfelter learned that coaching provided for him “a different fulfillment than fighting…my heart was hooked.” Since then he has been training champions. He currently has one professional MMA fighter, Michael Stevens, as well as Sean Good, an “MMA beast,” says Clodfelter. Making waves for Eight Points now is fight star Aracely Valenzuela, the current WKA Amateur Women’s Southeastern Regional Glory Rules Champion. Her standup record is 7-1, and she also trains Jiu-Jitsu and competes in MMA, with a current record of 1-1.

Clodfelter employs a specific training method that he believes to be extremely beneficial to fighters. He calls it “tit-for-tat sparring”. In this exercise, one fighter delivers a two-to-three punch-to-kick combination. The other fighter is not allowed to block, but must return immediately with his or her own combination. Thus, fighters learn to recover from an opponent’s activity and deliver it right back. He also employs handicapped sparring, in which a fighter may only use one technique or set of techniques, such as foot jabs, or punches alone. Clodfelter’s focus with this activity is “to build good, clean technique.”

Several other factors in Clodfelter’s training philosophy go into developing his fighters. He believes in attention to detail and technique. He also personally holds pads for all his fighters. Clodfelter also takes a personalized approach to training—he figures out “what makes [each fighter] tick” so that he can motivate each fighter according to his or her specific needs. All students train the same at Eight Points—fighters and ordinary students alike. Fighters build a three to four year amateur career before they think about fighting professionally. First and foremost, Clodfelter instills a sense of good sportsmanship in his students so that each and every one of them can become representatives of “true Thai style.”

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