The blueprint of ancient martial arts is a realm dedicated to honing ones craft, whether it is for war, honour or both; the bounty that martial arts offers can only be fully understood with unrivalled commitment. The modern day martial artist however, doesn’t necessarily need to take such a route to embed themselves with an arsenal of skills that will help them survive within the cage.
But some do choose that route, whether it be for months or years at a time. Mississauga’s Scott Hudson is the latter; a mixed martial artist whose professional record of 5-2-1 is painted with the colours of training in the Far East on more than one occasion.
“Every day you are in there with a tough group that is tight knit,” said Hudson about his various trips to Thailand. “You are held accountable and you can’t not show up. You can’t not work hard because it’s your job and that’s what you were brought there to do and if you don’t do it, then you may as well leave.”
It wasn’t until only a handful of months ago that Hudson returned to his native land of Canada after his longest tenure in Thailand while training under Team Quest. But even before that, the country, its training incentives for hungry martial artists and way of life had been a part of Hudson’s fabric since 2008 when he travelled across Asia recreationally.
“I always knew I would be back in Thailand,” said Hudson about his last year spent with Team Quest. “Because what these gyms do since they are all in Thailand and the cost of living is so low, the cost of doing business is so low and it’s got a real budding MMA scene… It’s a really nice place to live and you can support yourself as a fighter out there. Whereas here, you have to make at least a thousand bucks a week to cover your training expenses alone.”
It was at that point that Hudson was only becoming exposed to the sport of MMA and had few outlets for execution, coming from a boxing background with heavy exclusivity attached to it. But after experiencing live Muay Thai, beginning to understand the deep-rooted culture of combat sports in Thailand and in Asia itself, it is fair to say that Thailand not only struck a cord with Hudson, but also ultimately drew his career path in MMA out of him.
“[Being there] lead to me having a couple of amateur MMA fights out there and funny enough I had one of my first amateur bouts after only training for a month in Jiu-Jitsu!” recalled Hudson. “I did have some boxing and other things, but I was super green…But being there so early and my training and my career progressed me really quickly because I was training twice a day and doing nothing else. It was really good for my progression.”
It’s no secret that pursuing a mixed martial arts dream in North America – the continent that prides the sport with the most value – is hardly glamourous. So, with the incentive to live, breathe and train martial arts at a full-time level without the sacrifice of quality training and living essentials, brings an enticing light upon committing to Far East training. It also shows a logic to Hudson’s everlasting connection to the country and its camps.
But sacrifice is never far in a situation so ideal. Things like family, relationships and professional obligations stand in ones way before being rid their life and going across the world. And atop that, these kind of idealistic training camps only serve those with discipline. Luckily for Hudson, staying focused was always his only matter of business, otherwise his chance to train with Team Quest would’ve never came to fruition.
“You want to be able to make that lifestyle happen,” said Hudson. “And I am not lying when I say if you are a mediocre fighter today and you go to Thailand tomorrow with a couple grand in your pocket you can stay for a year…the only thing is you have to fight and it needs to be semi-consistently.”
The last time Hudson fought on home soil was 2014 with MMA and Muay Thai bouts throughout Asia peppered in between then and now. The Northern Lights of Yellowknife will embrace his first fight back in Canada on Sept. 17 at Xcessive Force FC 11 against 5-1-0 Craig Shintani. Although Hudson understands the privilege he has comfortably continuing his martial arts journey in North America without major struggle, he admits Thailand’s beckon will never cease.
“I’ve essentially put myself in a position where I can train full -time and make enough money to get by and cover my training, rent and car insurance,” said Hudson. “I do have a good thing going on here and I am very privileged to do that. But, of course I will go back, Thailand will be a life long thing for me I believe.”