COACHES & STAFF
All our coaches are highly knowledgeable & skilled,
with years of experience in helping individuals with their goals



RAY CRUZ

Co-owner/Founder, Head Coach, BA-Sci, Cert Personal Trainer, AOS, Kru

Ray is one of the head instructors of NJMT. He began his journey in muaythai over 20 years ago under the strict training of Kru Nestor Marte and Ajarn Pra Sit Thang Dong. His first trip to Thailand was in 1998, at the end of golden age of Muaythai where he trained at the prestigious Saktaywan Muaythai camp.

Since then he has had the honor working with top level trainers and coaches such as Fahleap Sritrakool at the Eminent Air Muaythai Camp in Thailand and Bunkerd Faphima in California. After 10 years of training students and fighters, he finally received his title of Kru under former top 10 ten ranked Thailand fighter Thanonsak Sor. Plantalae. Ray was awarded the title of Kru by Ajarn Prasit, the head trainer of Saktaywan.

In addition to his Muaythai credentials, he holds a Bachelors degree in Biology, an Associate degree in Massage Therapy. He is also certified as a personal trainer through NASM and an Olympic Boxing trainer with USA Boxing. He brings new ideas on fitness and health from a western and eastern point of view in which he uses to help individuals achieve their health and fitness goals through Muaythai and exercise.



JOE BUMANLAG

Co-owner/Founder, Head Coach, BA-Bio/BS-Sci, Cert Personal Trainer, Doctor Physical Therapy, Kru

Joe Bumanlag is one of the head instructors of North Jersey Muay Thai. He began learning Muaythai in 1996 under the tutelage of Kru Nestor Marte in New York City. In 1999 he had the privilege of training at Saktaywan Gym in Bangkok, Thailand under Ajarn Prasit Thang Dong.

He also trained at Fairtex, San Francisco under Jongsanan, as well as the trainers of Eminent Air Gym in Bangkok. He has trained and developed several past and current champions who hold state, national, and continental titles. In 2011 he was awarded the title of Kru by Ajarn Prasit, the former head trainer of Saktaywan Gym and current owner of Pecht Prasit Gym in Bangkok, Thailand.

In addition to his Muaythai credentials, he has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a personal training certification. Joe also graduated recently with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2017.





OGNJEN TOPIC

WBC, WKA USA, MTGP, IKF & Lion Fight World Champion

Ognjen Topic is a WBC, WKA USA and a Lion Fight Lightweight World Champion in Muay Thai. He has been training at North Jersey Muay Thai (NJMT) since 2005. In 2008 he began fighting and training in Bangkok, Thailand.

Ognjen is available for personal training and can tailor the sessions to your needs. Visit his website for further information http://www.topicofficial.com











MICHAEL LASERNA

Coach

Coach Mike joined NJMT in 2009. Being a member of different fitness gyms for years, he lacked motivation and looked for something more. A friend invited him to a Muay Thai fight, and Mike immediately became interested in the sport. He did some research, found North Jersey Muay Thai, and hasn’t looked back since. After a few years of training in Muay Thai, Kru Ray and Kru Joe saw his dedication, desire, and potential, and they invited him to become a coach. He was given an opportunity to train his first amateur fighter in 2012. Since then he has developed his skills as a coach and currently trains professional and amateur fighters. In addition, coach Mike holds private lessons from beginner’s level to professional fighters.








RON AGUILA

Coach

In 2012, I walked through the doors of NJMT with no experience with any martial arts. The NASM certification was all I had under my belt. I took one introduction class and I was hooked.

"Muay Thai is about adaptation. You take what is given to you and adjust as necessary. As a coach for our fighters as well as group classes, there are many different styles you come across and it is through adaptation and adjustment of coaching techniques to help the fighter/student understand the art of authentic Muay Thai. This is a useful tool inside the ring as well as outside the ring. You cannot control what life gives you but you can control the response you give."








DIEGO FLORES

Coach

Diego Flores is the Strength and Conditioning Coach of North Jersey Muay Thai. Growing up as a competitive athlete, he quickly found his passion for fitness and health. In 2010, that passion led him to becoming a certified trainer through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Quickly realizing that the latest fitness trends and fads did not create quality results, Diego searched for proven principals and methods of training. In 2012 and 2013, Diego attended the 1st and 2nd level of the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) and the 2nd ever StrongFirst Certification (SFG). It was here he discovered that no matter what the goal, movement quality as well as proper athletic development prevails.

Today, Diego trains and coaches anyone from people looking to take their health and fitness more seriously to elite level athletes. Using his elevated knowledge of strength, conditioning, and kinesiology, he uses an individualized approach to help all his students reach their goals safely and efficiently. A believer in continuing education, Diego frequently attends and teaches seminars and certifications around the US.



LEE ITURBE

Instructor

Lee has been with NJMT since 2009. With no previous experience, he was looking for something new and stumbled upon Muay Thai. On his search for the perfect gym, he found his home at NJMT, where he’s been ever since. Through dedication to the sport and the gym, Lee was given an opportunity to teach group classes, and he took on the challenge. Presently, Lee is an instructor for the ramp-up beginners’ program.












NADIA KARALEWICH

Administrative Assistant /
Membership Coordinator

Nadia is the administrative assistant and membership coordinator at North Jersey Muay Thai Gym. She is the person who manages the office and answers all the inquiries. It is her smile members see first when they walk into the gym. Nadia has been a member since 2013, and being on the mat is her true passion. She always wanted to take up a martial art, and had tried a few different combat sports before learning about Muay Thai. Nadia was drawn to the beauty of the techniques and mindful strategies of Muay Thai: the sport had the right and balanced combination of kicking, punching, kneeing, and elbowing. When she first walked through the doors of NJMT, she was very impressed with everyone’s skill level, and the fact that so many women belonged to the gym. She knew she had some catching up to do, and she dove into training head first. Through her time at gym, it became clear that Nadia reflects the positive values and virtues of what North Jersey Muay Thai represents, and she was asked to be a part of the NJMT team.

“North Jersey Muay Thai is my second home. It was love at first sight. Not only it’s the best Muay Thai school around, it is family to me. Kru Ray and Kru Joe have created a warm and positive environment at the gym, and it rubs off onto everyone here. Our coaches are our mentors not only in the sport. We take the habits we learn at the gym, such as discipline, positive outlook, goal setting, hard work, determination, and apply them to real life situations. My only regret is that I haven’t found NJMT sooner.”





Please email us with any questions about our training or services @ train@northjerseymuaythai.net
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