New! Boonchu Online Masterclass

John Wayne Parr

It all started at the age of 11 when I started Taekwondo, I would love to train and spar and knew inside that this is what I wanted to do forever. Mum and dad moved alot when I was a kid and I was also a only child so training was the only thing that kept me sain.
Everytime we would move Mum would help me find enough gym for me to start training. We moved up and down the east coast and I was very lucky to train with all the people I did learning bits and pieces from everyone.
At the age of sixteen we moved back to Queensland and I started training with Blair Moore who was also one of Queenslands biggest promoters. Blair trained me for 13 fights picking up a Australian title when I was 17 and also a South Pacific title at 19.
When I just turned 18 Blair promoted Australia vs Thailand with Steve Rosten and myself fighting Thais, before the fight a friend of ours said he had a Thai friend that would help us train before the big fight, thats when I met Sake.
He trained us well but being only a kid was knocked out with in 30 seconds in the first round. We kept training with Sake and he said as a sponsor ship we could eat at his friends Thai take away once a week for free.
Thier we were introduced to a man named Richard Vell, a small Thai man whos heart is bigger then Tasmania. Not long after meeting Richard I would go to his shop nearly everyday talking about Thailand, muay thai and Thai culture.
Not long after meeting Sake and Richard my luck begun to change to I started to win my fights, even picking up some KO’s along the way.
My 13th fight I fought Scott Lovelock for the South Parcific title, I had my lead legs smashed for the first two rounds, at one stage even getting a standing 8, some how I survived til round five and ended up winning the fight by KO with around 10 seconds left on the clock.
After the fight Richard said that I showed alot of heart that night and I had the right stuff to become a fighter and said that he would sponsor me to go to Thailand and learn how to do it from the best.
About a month later I ws packing my bag and heading of to the land of the smiles. I went to Sidyodtong gym first for three months staying with Richards family who had a restuarant not far from the gym. I had two fights in Pattaya for two wins but was not happy with the training because of so many farlung.
I met up with enough Aussie Timur Dale and he knew of a gym called Jockey gym, we went there for a week but being the only two farlung in a busy Bangkok gym you don’t get much help.
After our first week one of the boys told me that Sangtien Noi was coming to the gym tomorrow to come and pick me up to go start training with him. he had just fought on the Gold Coast and Richard had taken excellant care of him and his family so to say thank you he said he would pick me up and let me train with him.
That was the biggest culture shock of my life being taken to a place were white people are only on telly and no one can speak a word of english.
I stayed there three months having three fights winning them all. by this stage my visa was up and it was time to go home. After christmas Por (the farther of the camp) rang and asked Richard if he would send me back because he thought I had a future in the sport, I was like a pig in human Faeces!!!
I ended up having 9 fights in Thailand that year winning six, in the year 1997 I won the Best Farlung Fighter of the year, I also was the first farlung to make the front page of Thailands number one selling magazine, got to fight at Lumpinee Stadium three times, international stadium twice, fought live on Thai TV five times this was also the year I fought my first Kings birthday but lost on points to Weihok Noi.
Christmas time was coming up again and I started to get home sick, after being home only a month the camp rang Richard again saying that Japan had been in touch with them and wanted me to fight with one of Japans rising stars Kohe(now ISKA world champion), I won the fight on points and become a instant star over night.
That year was a bit of a roller coaster meeting alot of tough Thai’s such as Super lek and also the year I fought fought Chris Alan 54 stitches later I went home that year thinking that I was never going to make it in the sport and I better start thinking of something better to do with my life.
Year four come along and things have never turned back, from the year 1999 I had nothing but good fortune having 6 fights 6 wins plus 2 boxing fights winning both by ko, I picked a an Australian WMTC title off Daniel Dawson and also was the only westener to win on my seconds Kings birthday.
By this stage I was living back in Australia, Boonchu gym had been built by Shannon Forrester and Ray Matsumura while I was in Thailand and I came back to Australia just as it was being finshed.
We started getting students and slowly started picking up the odd fighter here and there. Since then Boonchu has become one of the leading gyms in Australia and we now have more then forty students and a dozen fighters.
I could go on and on about every little detail but it would cost you too much in internet fee’s. One day I will write a book about all my adventures and who ever knows, it might even become a movie, lets just say it has a happy ending.