Josiah MacPherson is willing to travel far and wide to further his advancement in Muay Thai.
Next month, in fact, the 18-year-old Red Deer man will venture to Thailand to train with some of the masters of the sport.
“I’ve done a couple of tournaments in Alberta, but basically this trip will be my first step in taking it to the next level and making it a serious sort of career,” said MacPherson, who trains at Arashi-Do Red Deer. “Training in Thailand is a pretty big deal, it’s pretty intense. Once you go there you get a little more recognized and I’m hoping that I can eventually compete for Alberta and then for Canada one day and win some titles.
“I’ve decided to take this seriously and see if it goes anywhere for me. It it does, we’ll let it take off and see where it goes.”
MacPherson was introduced to Muay Thai three years ago.
“It kind of just happened by accident,” he said. “I was looking for a sport to get involved in, something I could excel at. I decided to try some karate and kick boxing at Arashi-Do. They’re amazing. They worked with me and focused on me and helped me start to take it seriously once I decided to put in the effort. They have some amazing trainers and partners there.”
MacPherson will head to the Far East Nov. 11 with two members of an Arashi-Do studio in Edmonton and return 19 days later.
“We’ll be working with some high-end fighters,” said MacPherson. “This is not something to take lightly. It’s some pretty difficult training and I’m going to have to put everything I have into it, but it will definitely be worth it in the end.”
Naturally, such an excursion does not come cheap and MacPherson has enlisted the aid of a website — makeachamp.com — to hopefully offset some travel expenses.
“With this website, which originated in Montreal, you basically make a campaign and a profile of yourself and then turn to your friends, family and community to help raise funds for trips involving your sport,” said MacPherson. “It’s for people who go to big tournaments throughout the world, which can get pretty costly for young athletes.
“People can follow your campaign on facebook and twitter and see your progress as well as donate to your cause. Basically it helps out a lot of young athletes who want to take that next step and take things a little further.”
So far, MacPherson hasn’t been overwhelmed with sponsors.
“I’ve had some help from friends and family. I was trying to reach out to some local businesses for sponsorship but that’s not going as well as I hoped,” he said. “I’m trying my best to get the word out, not just for my campaign but also for the website. I think it’s an amazing thing that can help all young athletes.”