meet the instructors
owner & founder | .
Jake is the owner and founder of South Side Muay Thai studio. He has studied martial arts for over 43 years, served in the US Special Operations for 22 years, and continues to live by the warrior creed since his retirement. During one of many combat injury convalescences’, Jake started studying with Master Garcia of Garcia Muay Thai. It was here that Jake discovered a passion for teaching and instilling into others the strength, patience, humility, resilience, and confidence that he feels honored to have achieved through practicing Muay Thai.
The South Side Muay Thai studio is named after a fallen comrade, and the wall above the door is dedicated to the fallen with whom Jake has served. Their stories are embedded within Jake’s teachings, and within the space itself.
Jake was asked to list some or all of his accomplishments and accolades for this post. He responded, “I am a quiet professional, it’s about what I am doing today that matters, not the past. I’m a big believer in ‘it’s what I’m doing now’, not what I used to do. This promotes forward progress. I still remember the past fondly, I just don’t live in it.”
South Side Muay Thai instructors
Business Manager, Communications Director, PR/Events, Instructor
Aja is a mother of two who was born and raised in Long Beach, NY. After attending the University of Massachusetts and studying abroad in Italy, she began her seventeen year journey in television production. After holding the title of Senior Producer for many years, she decided it was time for a change. It was then that she found and fell in love with the art of Muay Thai and has been practicing ever since. Aja is currently a kids instructor at South Side Muay Thai and is also in charge of all Business and PR affairs.
Luis Rivas is a Muay Thai fighter and former marine sniper who spent time serving in Afghanistan. Luis is currently the fight coach at South Side Muay Thai and has been practicing martial arts from the age of seven. Luis’ goal is to keep kids off the streets and help build confidence and skill with all of the South Side Muay Thai students.
Elijah spent his entire childhood wrestling and grappling and enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2017. He began his journey practicing Muay Thai a few years after arriving in Japan in 2020. Elijah is a Muay Thai fighter and has been working as an instructor at South Side Muay Thai since January of 2023. Currently, Elijah is an active duty Sergeant serving in the 6th Communication Battalion in Brooklyn, New York.
*Private sessions with Jake are encouraged and available upon request!
Train Like a Warrior, Fight Like a Champion