Looking back

Also posted here.

In the past 3 years, I have grown to love coming to training at Combat Room Muay Thai on Ghuznee St, Wellington. I found the gym when I decided that I’ve had enough of sitting around after 10 years of absence from martial arts. On Wednesday, I attended my last training session at the Ghuznee St gym. CRMT is moving to a new location on Hania St in about a week.

This is not the first time Combat Room moved location, but it is the first time for me, so I won’t lie, it’s hard to say goodbye to the place. I have emotional connection to that place and the people I met through the gym, but as someone pointed out, it’s a good thing to have that sort of attachment, but changes are inevitable, so just move with it, and see where it takes you.

Apart from the health benefits and friendships forged at this place, CRMT and the CR family are also largely responsible in developing my photography skills. I’m forever thankful to Charlie (RIP) who gave me the opportunity and had faith in me to shoot my very first ring side gig at Combat 1, and to Pete and Dex, who encourage me to keep taking photos. Over time, I learned so much about the mechanics of fight photography, and I learned more about my gear and its limitation (and how to push it).

So today I’m taking a look back and share the progress and improvement of my fight shots since I started shooting fights, thanks to Combat Room.



Joe Kelly (Alpha) vs Manuel Mancini (Jai) at Honour 4.

Honour 4 was the very first Muay Thai fight I have ever shot. I took the shots from the audience seats while also supporting my friends who were fighting on that night.



The North Island WMC Light Welterweight Full Muay Thai Rules Title Fight: Michael Foy (JAI) vs Jesse Mika (SMAC AKL), at Honour 5.

At Honour 5, I started to learn more about timing, and how to anticipate, turns out it’s not that much different than anticipating an attack while sparring or fighting, you are still looking for that twitch a split second beforehand.


Rehua Smallman (Combat Room) vs Tipene Maniapoto (Zero Tolerance) at Combat 1


Aisea Lealea (Combat Room) vs Jason Solomon (JAI) at Combat 1

Combat 1 was my very first ring-side fight photo gig, and the first thing I noticed when I stood by the ring that night was that everything looked so different from there.

Desmond Jones vs Gene-Gregory Elbourne - Siam 1

Desmond Jones (JAI) vs Gene-Gregory Elbourne (MAI Dojo) at Siam 1


Tomo Greer (JAI) vs Mamta Morganan (ETK) at Siam 1

With one of the Combat Room boys fighting at Siam 1, I decided that I would like to come along and watch the fights (with my camera in tow, of course). I asked the organizer if it’s ok to bring a camera and gave her the link to where I’d put my pictures up, and that’s how I ended up at ring side, she asked if I would take picture at ring side, and of course I said yes. I found myself more comfortable this time around, and in general I was happy with the results, but I also learned that I need to work on my endurance so that the results of my shot are consistent throughout the whole event.

Gerard Roach vs Daniel Chadfield

Gerard Roach (ALPHA) vs Daniel Chadfield (Relentless) at Honour 7


Rehua Smallman (COMBAT ROOM) vs Rick Smith (STRIKEFORCE) at Honour 7

To date, I found my best shots were from Honour 7 fights, mainly due to the great lighting setup and the venue, and I was happy with the overall result of the shoot.



Rosie Duxfield (ALPHA) vs Louise Fuller (BULLDOGS) at Honour 8


Carl “Meat” Tangen at Honour 8

I found many problems shooting at Honour 8 due to the lack of lighting, and it was the driving force for me to try out another lens that I have been eyeing for awhile for my next shoot.

Rohan Clark vs Kristopher Annear at The Trade Off

Henry Harper vs Kev Patterson at The Trade Off

The Trade Off was my very first boxing match I shot, and it was also the first time my partner and I shot a gig under Silver Duck.

Thank you for the amazing years at Ghuznee St!

Photo by J Mealings

Our big happy Combat Room family! – Photo by J Mealings


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