A lot of people may not know this about me but I have a huge interest in contact sports- boxing, kick-boxing, thai-boxing.. the works! And around where I’m from, there’s very few really good clubs. I’v been boxing, on and off, since I was eleven. I started out in Monkstown Boxing Club (back when it was the flats), then I was fighting for Legends MMA, then I moved on to Bray Boxing Club (before Katie was a big hun all over the news!) and then I moved on to Enniskerry Boxing Club- where I still go now. My dad is a boxing coach and I suppose I kind of train wherever he is at the time. However, all of this jabbing around has taught me a few things and kept me interested in a few people on the scene, one of them being Cian Cowley, the youngest man in Ireland to own his very own Thai Boxing gym, Warriors. I’ve always kept an eye on Cian’s projects and fighters because I really do find it interesting how someone the same age as myself can put something so fantastic together- and keep it held together so well! It’s so obvious how much of a passion the gym has become for him and I guess I just wanted you all to read a little bit about Cian on a personal scale. Maybe some inspiration could come your way! I put together a few questions that I thought would be interesting to hear about and sent them Cian’s way. He was absolutely delighted to take part in a little blog like this which made it so much more exciting to work with him! I really think Cian and his gym deserve some great recognition.
With the last interview I did with The King Of Clubs, Craig Dalton, it was more about what he was up to and what was to come next. With this one, I really wanted to focus on how important and life changing the simple act of joining a gym can be. I think Cian is a great leading role for young kids around Ireland and really wanted to get deep down into what inspires him, himself, and how he feels about it all. Fair play to Cian, he had no problem speaking out about his past experiences and how he got where he is today! Enjoy guys! Don’t forget- you read it here first!
First of all, who are you and what do you do?
My names Cian Cowley. I’m twenty-two years old and I own & train full time in Warriors Thai Boxing Gym in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.
How old were you when you begun fighting/training?
I’ve been involved in martial arts all my life, starting with kick boxing when I was just a baby- in my dad’s gym. I’ve been training ever since. I then found Thai boxing when I was twelve and I had my first fight when I was thirteen, I’ve had over fifty in Thai boxing fights since then. I’ve also had about ten boxing fights, too.
And, why did you begin training?
I always say I was born into the gym which I think is true because I don’t ever remember not being around gyms. Everyday with my dad growing up. I always loved it and it’s in my blood.
Tell me how this choice has affected your life?
It has made me who I am today. I don’t think I would have gone anywhere if it wasn’t for being involved in combat sports.
Growing up I was never interested in anything else really other then Thai boxing, boxing etc…
And look at it now! I’m twenty-two and I have my own gym with some of the best fighters in the country training under my name. It’s madness but I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.
Who inspires you the most, in your everyday life, and why?
Mostly my da, especially lately I’ve realized more and more how much of part my da has played over the years. He has never missed a fight, he’s traveled abroad to my fights and all! He’s even come all the way to Thailand to watch me train & fight (twice!). I definitely look up to him the most, there’s nobody that has done as much helping me follow my dream as my da. My mam also plays a big part. Even though my parents are split, my mam has always supported me.
The man that actually handed the gym on to me has been such an inspiration through it all. I met Mike Dockery when I was twelve. He had his own gym beside my dad’s house in Loughlinstown and I used to always watch them train but couldn’t start because I was too young! But then eventually Mike let me start and ever since then I’v been hooked.
Mike has brought me to where I am today not only in Thai boxing but as a life coach as well. Since he gave me the opportunity to takeover the gym, which at the time I didn’t think much of because I didn’t think I could do so well or even keep the name going! I just taught I was gonna give it a go.Ever since then, Mike has guided me through day to day with it all- even with a busy timetable with family & work, he has still always been there.
I share some unforgettable memories growing up with Mike. From all the trips away with fights, things that money can’t buy. When it all comes down to it Mike is & always be my coach and lifelong role model.
When did you realize that what you were doing could be made into something a lot more important and a lot more huge?
When I first took over the gym from my old trainer Mike Dockery in 2012, I never could have imagined it would take off as much as it did. It has only been in the last year it’s really sunk in what I’m doing. When I look at the big picture now and see that I train close to fifty kids week in week out and everyone of them look up to me- it’s proper crazy! I never taught I would have that. Now that I know what I am to all the kids I train, it pushes me even more. Watching some of the kids growing into young adults, as well. I’ve been training them since day one! That’s another mad one. I love it all.
What are your main goals? Have you reached them?
I did set some goals when I first took over the gym, yeah. One was to train my own fighter from scratch to become a champion. I done that, but not only one fighter, I’ve now trained five fighters from scratch to become champions. So, in my eyes i smashed that first goal. I’m not done yet. My main goal with the gym is to make it a well known name throughout Europe & the international Thai Boxing scene.
If you were to pick one quote that you live by, what would it be?
“If you develop the habits of success, success will become a habit”
Has it ever bothered you what other people think? Has it ever affected anything you’v done?
No. People always ask me that. I understand where people come from asking that but I think if I let it bother me then I wouldn’t be able to keep going. I do what I want, when I want and don’t care what people think of me. Iv always been like that and I always will. I’ll never change.
Has your home life ever pulled you back or pushed you forward from your dreams? A lot of people have difficulties at home, it’s what goes on behind closed doors that nobody knows. Do you have any advice for young people, perhaps, being held back by the people that should be encouraging them?
When I was starting out, yeah, it was very hard because I was being foolish and not listening to the right advice. I wanted to leave school and did at a very young age, all to chase my dream. As any parent would, mine tried to keep me at school but me, being me, kept pushing on and in the end got what I wanted and I do believe that making them moves has me here today. I’m not saying it’s the right idea for everyone but for me it was what I had to do and I felt if I stayed in school and didn’t go to Thailand when I was sixteen, I definitely would not have got to the stage I am today.
My advice to young people who are in similar situations is to take a look at the big picture. Is it really something you can see yourself doing all your life? Is it really worth the long road ahead to chase it? You have to look at these things and if, deep down, they feel right then just go for it. Don’t let anyone hold you back. Do what makes you happy.
If you were to write, in a paragraph, what this sport means to you, how would you go about it?
My sport really is my life. I know a lot of people say it but for me it’s different, a lot different. My full time job is my sport, I travel the world with my sports, it’s on my mind 24/7. I have no other hobbies/interests other then my sport. Even my family are now roped into it all. Iv got my little brothers in the gym training with me and all! It’s my life and always will be.
Are you happy with your choices to stick by your goals and dreams? Have you ever had second thoughts about what you were doing?
Yeah, I couldn’t be more happy that I stuck by them. I actually don’t think I ever had a second taught about what I was doing because deep down I know it’s all I have and it’s the only chance I really have so I don’t really get doubts or second thoughts. If I ever had second thoughts, then I would have known this path wasn’t for me.
If you had a struggling teenager in front of you now, underprivileged, abusing alcohol and drugs etc. and you had the opportunity to talk some sense (with the possibility of them actually listening) into them, what is the main piece of advice you would give?
Straight up, I would try get them involved in my gym. I know the way Warriors is, it’s like a big family and anyone troubled like that comes through the doors will be well looked after. Myself, I would sit and talk with the person straight out, not hold anything back and I’d just tell them what I think they should do.
I like to think I’m good with stuff like that and I do think I could help them come off that path. I would talk them into chasing their dream. Everyone has a dream but only 1% of them will actually say ‘fuck it’ and go and chase it. The rest will moan about not being able to make it. Negativity will get you nowhere.
Isn’t it amazing how someone so young can be so determined and just go for it? It’s so inspiring to see someone just pick something they love and just stick at it without seeing obstacles as problems! I know, first hand, that sport can literally turn lives around and I had hoped that by interviewing someone like Cian that that would become apparent to some of my readers. I hope you enjoyed the read!
So, as I said, I wanted you all to get to know some local people on some sort of personal level! That was the aim of these blogs and I really hope I’ve been keeping you interested on some ground! However, I’m looking for some of you to become little scouts and point out who is worthy of an approach! If you guys have any ideas as to who I could interview or write about next, don’t be shy, comment or get in touch!