It smells awful inside Awa Kings Muay Thai on Guyton St, but in the best way possible.

The smell of sweaty feet and sweat-drenched socks lingers in stagnant air. It is the smell of hard work and dedication.

Inside, the rangatahi, children aged between 6 and 12, are training with partners Lee Ashford and Katarina Hiroti.

"5, 4, 3, 2, 1," Ashford says over upbeat music and like well-oiled machines the youngsters punch and kick pads with impeccable timing.


They are using brand new equipment while waiting for more to arrive, purchased after Awa Kings was awarded a $6945 New Zealand Community Trust grant.

Hiroti says it is the second year they have received funding in their fifth year as a club.

"We've received a new floor. We've got covers that are coming for the ring, some more medicine balls, weights, gloves and pads.

"We had nothing for four years so I think we would survive without it, but it's so much more pleasant for the members and ourselves to have nice gear."

Ashford and Hiroti originally started out training Muay Thai fitness at Inspire Health and Fitness Centre on Wilson St and spent seven years there.

With friends and family, they started Awa Kings Muay Thai which is now run by seven committee members.

Hiroti says the new equipment allows her to deliver more versatile training sessions to help trainees with their strength, stamina and endurance.

"It's quite exciting for us because we can have more variety. It doesn't all have to be kicking and punching.


"We try to do full body maintenance so all the extra gear helps out immensely with our cross-training."

Awa Kings has 56 members on file, but they are waiting on registration papers to be returned as more and more people join the not-for-profit club.

The club charges $2 for children, $5 for casual sessions and $10 a week for members, which pays for its operation and sometimes helps fund their fighters in competition.

Trainings are on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday for three groups of classes: kids, adult fitness and fighters.

Some of the most coveted equipment they have been able to purchase is new gloves, Hiroti says.

"The gloves get used all the time and get thrashed and full of sweat. We have to clean them every day.

"The gloves we just changed out, we bought ourselves. They deteriorate a lot and because we purchased them ourselves, we went on the cheaper end of the scale.

"The best thing about the funding is that we can get gear that's going to last a lot longer, even if it is getting thrashed."

Awa Kings Muay Thai offers a one-week free trial for anyone wanting to give it a go.