Exclusive interview with founder of Shin Do Kumaté “Persian Warrior”
Master Mehrdad “Persian Warrior” with extensive experience in Korean arts, how come you are promoting ring sports such as Muay Thai?
Persian Warrior roots go back to a very competitive background. I have always been very spirited and interested to compete in different styles of fighting. As a young child I loved Bruce Lee movies and watching Mohammad Ali fights. I liked western boxing and I was mesmerized watching how Bruce Lee represented the fighting style of martial arts. Growing up I competed in wrestling, many champion wrestlers were from my hometown of Sari, Iran I also trained in boxing and Martial Art.. When I left Iran in 1984, I lived in Asia and more intensely studied the Martial Arts and Yoga and later moved to Holland where I studied Muay Thai. In 1992 I created my own fighting system, Shin Do Kumaté, which I found to be unique and more practical. It encompasses tradition, the philosophy of Martial Art, and the skillful fighting style in America that allows for effective strikes and techniques. Fighters must master multiple strikes: kicks, knees, punches, and elbows. They must not only execute these techniques non-stop, but also defend themselves from these strikes.
With vast experience both in traditional martial arts and fight experience, do you think traditional martial arts work in real situations?
Yes, but it is not always the art that determines the effectiveness. It is the individual who brings out the best in the art. That is always the determining factor. It is the competitor, their skill level, and their passion that determines the outcome. However, from my many years of experience in Hapkido – I can tell you Hapkido can be a very deadly art, but it is not an easy art to master and be able to use in real situations. It takes tremendous repetition, devotion and expertise to be able to execute in real situations. That’s why I implement the art of Muay Thai, and Persian wrestling into my martial art training to make the system much more practical and complete in all situation.
Tell me why did you start Shin Do Kumaté while there are many fight organizations already?
The Persian Warrior started Shin Do Kumaté in 2002 and at that time there were not many fighting organizations. I started amateur Muay Thai kickboxing back in 1995 in America that included children and adults when no other organization in Florida was doing the same. In addition, we are the first professional Muay Thai fighting organization in the history of Florida to hold a professional fighting event. We have also been appointed by the Florida Athletic Commission as an official sanctioning body for amateur kickboxing and Muay Thai events. I started Shin Do Kumaté because it was my desire to build a professional fighting organization without politics and to build the sport of Muay Thai using fight rules that allowed more action and techniques. I wanted to allow women fighters the opportunity to fight professionally and for titles. We were the first to take female Muay Thai fighter pro and Kate Meehan was pioneer for that mention. I also built this organization for global television. From the very first event in 2002, all have been produced for television and we now own a very large library of fight videos that is currently distributed throughout multiple media platforms worldwide.
How do you differentiate Shin Do Kumaté from other organizations?
I focus on skill, talent, spirit of fighter and matching the best of the best fighters. I look for A-Class male and female fighters from around the world who are able to bring their skills, as well as a building block to Shin Do Kumaté to help take the sport to new heights. We are working towards building the next top professional sport league in the world and my team and I put our hearts and souls into this effort and have made many personal and financial sacrifices for the sake of building this organization. Our passion, vision and niche separates us from others.
As a top promoter, what qualities do you look for in a fighter to sign them up to fight in your organization?
We look for star quality athletes with skill, good management/trainer, and fighters seeking to help reach our goals of building the sport and next biggest Muay Thai super star.
We all know about the popularity of MMA especially in US. Has it affected your association? Do you think MMA would take over kickboxing and Muay Thai?
No, I believe it’s the other way around. Muay Thai will take over MMA and MMA has actually paved the road for us. I respect all fight promotions and fighters, but when I watch a fight – I want to see action, skill, technique, and a good fight between two high caliber fighters. I have great admiration for the original Mixed Martial Arts bouts founded by the Gracie family, but that is not what I see on television today. it’s rather more of a tough man contest or WWE with a punch. I believe Shin Do Kumaté will lead the way for combative sports very soon in the world.
What are some challenges that a successful promoter has to overcome to be successful in north America?
Support. We receive most of our support from television, but corporate sponsorship is a challenge. There is not enough support in North America for Muay Thai or for promoters wanting to build the sport professionally. We must also succumb to the politics and beurocracies of boxing commissions when this is not their sport. In North America, I believe boxing commissions should stick to boxing. It is unfortunate that combat sports outside of boxing must be overseen by boxing officials who have little to no experience in the Martial Arts.
What is in future for you and Shin Do Kumaté? What other goals do you want to achieve in life and business?
The future for me and Shin Do Kumaté is very bright. Since 2002, we have produced 15 professional shows for television and now have worldwide presence via multiple media platforms including networks license deals, PPV/VOD, mobile carriers, and more. We are soon to launch Strykerz® TV – which will house the library of all Shin Do Kumaté fights for the world to see. Currently, we are working with overseas venues to produce live Pay Per View events in partnership with television networks. We produced our first season of Shin Do Kumaté – Strykerz! – a weekly television series that runs for 13 weeks and currently airs in Florida markets on Bright House Sports Network, Central Massachusetts on Charter Media, and Canada on The Fight Network. Please look for this series to come to new markets very soon.