COACHES & STAFF
All our coaches are highly knowledgeable & skilled



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, Ron walked through the doors of NJMT with no experience with any martial arts. The NASM certification was all he had under his belt. Ron took one introduction class and he 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."








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.












ROMAN AGUILA

Instructor

“My family always asked me when I’d fight in the Kumite since I saw Bloodsport like 100 times when I was a kid. Most of my friends liked Disney movies and cartoons while I was watching Jackie Chan and Van Damme films.”

Roman is one of the instructors for the adult class and ramp up program. As avid fight sport fan and previous amateur fighter, he has a strong belief in building solid fundamentals but keeping an open mind for new and interesting approaches to the game.

Before competing in muay thai and grappling, Roman was a semi-professional gamer. He believes that gaming at that level helped not only his coordination but also his mental endurance in the ring. Today he regularly livestreams both video games and muay thai content on his Twitch TV channel.





STEVEN LOBIONDO

Instructor

Bio coming soon