THE TEXPAT SERIES: KC Carlos, Muay Thai fighter in Thailand
“I know my supporters will be proud of me no matter what the outcome, but just the fact that I’m part of the USA Team is a big deal."
You would think that KC’s been practicing Muay Thai since her youth, but it’s actually a sport she got into a little later in life. “My first martial art as a kid to adult was Taekwondo,” she says, explaining that as she got older, she wanted to try another martial art, something “more dangerous.” “I had a friend at the time that started learning Muay Thai and even went to Thailand to train,” says KC. “The more he spoke about it, the more I got interested, so I immediately transitioned!” She started training at a couple of Houston gyms, including Kru Pong May Thai and 4 oz. Fight Club, and, what became her main gym, Houston Muay Thai.
It wasn’t a completely seamless transition for KC. “It took me a couple of years to get used to the movement and different style of a Muay Thai fighter with my Taekwondo background,” she says. Once she started getting the hang of it though, she started taking it more and more seriously, and in 2013, KC made her first trip to Thailand to train and fight in the discipline’s motherland. What followed was several trips back again and again until finally, in 2015, KC decided to relocate permanently to train and fight full time in Thailand. “I’ve learned loads from training here than anywhere else outside of Thailand,” KC says. “Every trainer I meet teaches me something new every day due to their past experiences as fighters,” which KC says could be up to 100 or more fights under their belts. “So anything they teach me, I soak it in like a sponge.”
Being far from home, especially if home is Texas, can be tough for even the toughest Muay Thai fighter. “The hardest part of leaving Houston was leaving my family and friends,” says KC. “And I miss the food!” Steak, barbecue, and Tex-Mex are the foods she misses most from home, and when she gets a craving, she goes for Isaan style (Northern Thailand) BBQ to scratch the itch. And whenever she’s feeling homesick, KC does her best to make time to FaceTime with folks back home. She also plans to bring some of her Thai friends back to Texas for a visit and show them some Houston culture - “They are very curious how my life was there, and they would love to try the barbecue!”
With a regular training schedule of 24 hours a week — that’s twice-a-day two-hour sessions, six days a week, plus a 5-10k run before each training session when prepping for fight — it’s no wonder KC is of the caliber of fighter that would be tapped for the USMF World Championship Team. Aware of her impressive career development even from abroad, KC's former coach at Houston Muay Thai, Michael Corley, contacted her about filling in the spot for 60kg A-Class Women's Category earlier this year.
Although KC already has 20 fights, including 11 wins in the bag (one of which was a knockout), being part of the USA Team poses a unique set of challenges and pressure, namely, representing an entire country in such a popular event and not wanting to let anyone down. “I know my supporters will be proud of me no matter what the outcome, but just the fact that I’m part of the USA Team is a big deal,” she says. “I am excited to fight representing my country, meeting the other USA team members, and meeting fighters from around the world at the IFMA Championships!”
Learn more about the USA Muay Thai Team on http://www.unitedstatesmuaythaifederation.org
Follow KC during the IFMA Championships on instagram