By TXMMA Guest Contributor // Jackson Lee Hawkins
After recent rebranding, Elton Wells’ Austin Muay Thai team charges on in pursuit of tournament wins
AUSTIN, TX – A tremendous shift occurred this other weekend. It was not tectonic in nature. The ground did not shake, but the rumblings were felt in the feet of the small, but growing, Muay Thai community of Texas and Oklahoma. Although the affected area of this figuratively seismic event cannot be outlined on a map, it inarguably centers around one man, Elton Wells.
At the Ascension Muay Thai Tournament in Oklahoma, Elton, and his Ambush Muay Thai team, fielded 6 fighters. When the final bell had wrung, the team had accrued six wins versus two losses (one due to a previously broken rib and the other in a higher weight class) along with four new belts to display on the collective mantel, staking their claim as a new significant player in the Muay Thai scene.
Elton, himself, sports the outer appearance of a star-wars loving, classical guitar playing, software-writing geek, which is suitable because he is all of those things. In fact, if you were to come back from the bar bathroom to find Elton had taken your seat, you would probably not hesitate to tell him to hit the bricks. Any follow-up, alcohol-induced effort to physically assert dominance over him would be a costly error. As we all have learned many times through martial arts, the quiet, seemingly harmless ones are often the baddest.
It would be easy to paint Elton as the layered, complicated genius we always want in our dynamic characters, but the beauty of Elton lies in his simplicity. He has a systematic approach, gleaned from his familiarity with computers no doubt, and a passion-driven follow-through which involves hellish conditioning and never-ending repetition. Any complaint from a pupil, such as “Coach, my legs are totally shot right now” is met with a smile and one word . . . “Good.”
Despite his constant availability to his team, he, until very recently, derived no income from his coaching endeavors. The phrase “for the love of the game” gets thrown around a lot, but this is an objectively fitting instance. It is exactly this level of dedication and cognition that inspires the same in Elton’s fighters. They strive to give him back just a sliver of what he gives to them.
Their team is organic, even deriving its name collectively. Apparently, a group of tigers, instead of being called a herd or gander or pod, is an ambush (How cool is that?).
Recently, the team changed their gym of residence to Brazilian Fight Factory, owned by Rodrigo Cabral, who has welcomed them with open arms. They’ve seen a lot of improvement since this move as individuals and as a team because, as Elton puts it, “Sometimes a plant needs to be repotted to grow.”
It should be noted Elton is my coach as well. So take this as the biased ranting of a student for his coach, which it is, but perhaps also take it as an ethnographic perspective from a close participant-observer who has been able to fully appreciate the process and struggle of this man and his team.
Or one could even take it has a veiled warning, an Ambush is coming.